When exactly do targets become invalid?

Asked by Karibou 2 months ago

  1. So I have a Seedborn Muse and a Vedalken Orrery on the battlefield. My opponent casts Doom Blade, targeting the Seedborn Muse. In response I flash Shalai, Voice of Plenty, giving hexproof to all my creatures. My opponent lets the Angel resolve, then hold priority and casts Plummet, targeting Shalai, Voice of Plenty. Shalai dies. Will Seedborn Muse die from the impending Doom Blade or did the spell already fizzle due to the target becoming invalid for the short time Shalai, Voice of Plenty was on the battlefield?

  2. I have the same board. My opponent casts pacify, targeting the Seedborn Muse. I let the pacify resolve. At end of turn, I flash Shalai, Voice of Plenty, giving hexproof to all my creatures. What happens to the pacify? Does it stay attached?

Tylord2894 says... Accepted answer #1

The legality of a target is checked twice, once while casting/activating and once when resolving. For your first question, you're Seedborn Muse will still die as the Doom Blade would not "fizzle" until it tries to resolve. Your Muse is a legal target after Shalai dies, so Doom Blade will properly resolve.

Only aura spells target. Once an aura/equipment is attached, neither hexproof nor shroud can remove it. So, your Muse in the second question would still be attached with the Pasifism after Shalai enters the battlefield. A great example of this interaction (or lack there of) is the card Diplomatic Immunity, which gives the enchanted creature shroud. If an aura unattached itself due to hexproof/shroud, this card would do next to nothing.

One quick sidenote for the second question, note that hexproof and shroud are very different from protection. A creature that is given protection for Pacifism will have Pacifism removed after it gets protection.

Hope this helps!!

April 26, 2020 9:59 p.m.

Karibou says... #2

Thank you for the quick answer. In the first example, if Shalai, Voice of Plenty instead gave protection from black to all other creatures, would Doom Blade still resolve? From your explanation I assume this wouldnt change the outcome.

April 26, 2020 10:11 p.m.

Tylord2894 says... #3

Doom Blade would still resolve in that case. The ability that makes something an illegal target has to be in place as the spell tries to resolve. This is slightly different with auras and equipment. Aura spells and equip abilities target, so the legality of the target is checked at the same time as a spell.

Once attached though, aura and equipment are removed at part of state-based effects. So, if an effect gave protection for even a brief moment, the any illegal aura or equipment would fall off.

April 26, 2020 10:45 p.m.

Karibou says... #4

A great explanation. Thank you very much.

April 27, 2020 1:48 a.m.

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