Spellskite targetting ETB ability

Asked by BlueScope 5 years ago

The situation in question is that one player has a Spellskite on the board, the other player casts a Briarhorn , targetting ianother creature. As I understand, the controller of Spellskite can respond (only) to it's ETB ability by paying the phyrexian mana and redirect the +3/+3 to itself.

However, Briarhorn's controller casts Vines of Vastwood (without kicker) targetting Briarhorn , and Spellskite's controller can't pay the cost to redirect that second spell as well.

Does Spellskite fail to see the ability and therefore fails to redirect the +3/+3, or does it work somehow because Vines of Vastwood affects the creature, but not explicitly the abilities of that creature?

Rhadamanthus says... Accepted answer #1

Like you say, Vines of Vastwood only affects the creature. Spellskite is targeting the ability, so Vines won't interfere with it at all.

July 20, 2014 6:39 p.m.

CamperCarl00 says... #2

While Vines of Vastwood would actually make Briarhorn unable to be targeted before Spellskite 's ability goes off, the problem is that Spellskite is that it isn't actually targeting Briarhorn when it redirects it's ability, it is in fact targeting the ability that it puts on the stack. So no, just because a creature has hexproof doesn't mean that it's abilities that it puts on the stack has hexproof.

It should also be mentioned that Spellskite 's controller should be able to redirect Vines of Vastwood unless that player only has 2 life.

July 20, 2014 6:40 p.m.

BlueScope says... #3

Thanks for the answers, I had actually not expected this, but it's a welcome clearup :) I marked the one with the earlier timestamp.

CamperCarl00: Well, the player in question was at 1 life, so they weren't able to pay the cost as I mentioned (at 2 life, they could have paid the cost, but would've died from it :) )

July 20, 2014 6:47 p.m.

Savitar1 says... #4

BlueScope you can't pay life to an ability if it will kill you, as far as i know. but i could be wrong. so even at 2 life he wouldn't be able to.

July 21, 2014 12:10 a.m.

JWiley129 says... #5

Savitar1 - You can continue to pay life as long as you can pay the cost. So if you have an even life total you CAN kill yourself with Spellskite activations. If you have an odd life total you can only take your life total to 1, because you don't have 2 life to pay for the last Spellskite activation.

July 21, 2014 12:15 a.m.

Savitar1 says... #6

JWiley129 (marks #5 as answer he was looking for) thanks, must be a house rule that was told to me as if it was a real rule then. thanks for clarifiying.

July 21, 2014 12:20 a.m.

Boza says... #7

Just a small clarification/addition, if the controller of Briarhorn cast Vines of Vastwood on Spellskite , it would become hexproof for abilities controlled by him, so it would not get the bonus from the redirected Briarhorn .

July 21, 2014 2:10 a.m.

BlueScope says... #8

Boza: True, nobody had considered that actually (which is interesting, as that kind of stuff was the reason to choose Vines of Vastwood over other cards).

So, Briarhorn 's ability would still resolve and buff it's intended target (because Spellskite 's ability would be the one with an illegal target by the time it resolves, leaving Briarhorn 's unaffected), right?

Savitar1: It's explained in several errata in Gatherer (unfortunately not for Spellskite), for example for Gut Shot : If you're at 1 life or less, you can't pay 2 life.

July 21, 2014 2:48 a.m.

Boza says... #9

No, it would be Briarhorn 's ability that is countered by the game rules for having an illegal target. The target of the ability is still changed, it would just fizzle. At least Spellskite will not be huge, but it is probably still huge.

July 21, 2014 2:58 a.m.

Boza says... #10

I meant to say "probably still an important little detail".

July 21, 2014 2:59 a.m.

BlueScope says... #11

Boza: Errata for Spellskite says: You can activate Spellskite's ability even if Spellskite wouldn't be a legal target for the spell or ability. However, the target of that spell or ability will remain unchanged.

The way I understand that, if Spellskite would change a target to itself, if it is illegal upon resolution, the ability fails to redirect. Am I missing or misinterpreting something here?

July 21, 2014 7:32 a.m.

Boza says... #12

The errata you quoted would relate more to something like Opportunity . Spellskite is not a legal target for that one, due to not being a player, but you can activate the ability for giggles basically.

In the case of briarhorn and vines though, that does not apply. The ability will be redirected to spellskite, but upon its resolution only (after vines has already resolved) the game will see that the target is now invalid and the ability will fizzle.

July 21, 2014 7:46 a.m.

Rhadamanthus says... #13

Whether or not the Briarhorn ability will get countered if Vines of Vastwood is also redirected depends on exactly when Vines is played.

  • If Vines is played after the +3/+3 ability gets redirected (but before it resolves), then the ability will be countered because Spellskite is an illegal target.
  • If Vines is played before the +3/+3 ability gets redirected, then the ability won't be redirected at all since Spellskite is an illegal target. This is part of what the Rulings note (not errata) that BlueScope found is talking about. Boza correctly explained the other part of what that Rulings note is talking about.
July 21, 2014 11:07 a.m.

Gidgetimer says... #14

I think that everyone is missing the fact that Spellskite 's ability does not target himself and does not change the control of the targeted spell or ability. It only switches targets. So the controller of the Briarhorn ability is the same as the controller of Vines of Vastwood , thus Vines of Vastwood has no effect in any iteration of this scenario.

July 21, 2014 11:16 a.m.

Rhadamanthus says... #15


July 21, 2014 11:17 a.m.

BlueScope says... #16

Wow, this is getting complex very fast. I will dare to ask just another question, though...

So, changing a target to something else doesn't automatically re-target unless specifically saying so. Does that mean if Spellskite redirects an ability to itself, it effectively will be the same as if the original controller of the ability would've chosen Spellskite as a target? In that case, if Briarhorn 's controller would've cast Ranger's Guile on Spellskite in response to Spellskite's ability instead, Spellskite would actually not get the +3/+3, and the ability getting countered because of the target (Spellskite) being illegal by the time it resolves?

July 21, 2014 3:02 p.m.

Rhadamanthus says... #17

That can't happen as described since Ranger's Guile says "target creature you control", but if Spellskite did get hexproof somehow then yes.

July 21, 2014 3:06 p.m.

BlueScope says... #18

Ah, dammit... of course :) But that did answer my question then. Alright, let's hope that clears it up for a while now, thanks to everyone involved! :)

July 21, 2014 3:08 p.m.

Gidgetimer says... #19

Target changing effects such as Spellskite 's ability, Redirect , and Misdirection only change the targets of an ability, they don't change who controls it. Commandeer and Perplexing Chimera are the only things I know of that allow you to gain control of a spell you didn't cast. Notice how they specifically mention control of the spell in addition to choosing new targets.

July 21, 2014 3:16 p.m.

Boza says... #20

Wow, I feel like I opened a whole new can of worms here. But it has taught me a good non-interaction of Vines, so I got that going for me, which is nice. Plus, it generated a nice discussion on fairly obscure rules, which is always good :)

July 21, 2014 5:05 p.m.

This discussion has been closed