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Vraska and illegal targets



 
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chakal-PT



Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 166

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2014 6:35 am    Post subject: Vraska and illegal targets Reply with quote

Hi!

After watching this match, this specific situation and the comments, I'm not sure who's right or wrong...

With no permanents on battlefield other then lands, Evan played a Vraska, activated the -3 ability and choose an opponent's Mutavault as target... Well, that obviously can't happen, so he activated the +1 ability instead!
The discussion starts here! And I will quote some comments...
Let's see...

a)First doubt was, he activated Vraska -3 ability, is it legal to go back and use the +1 instead?
Comment: "he had no legal target therefore the ability couldn't be used." - Yes, I guess so... Not sure.... But it's a good point...

b)Comment: "Vraska herself is a legal target." - Well, that could change things... After all, there's a possible legal target if Evan +3 the Vraska! But does he has to target Vraska itself in this situation? Not sure, but makes sense!...

c) Comment: " It still doesn't work like that though because you have to choose a target before the ability resolves and he had chosen an illegal target so the ability couldn't legally go on the stack like that. It'd be different if adding counters was the ability and the actual ability was a trigger;" I agree that the ability couldn't legally go on the stack, but since Mutavault is an illegal target, he couldn't even target it to start with, so, this comment doesn't make that much sense in my opinion, and you go back to the previous question, does he has to target Vraska itself?...

In conclusion, can Evan go back since he targeted Mutavault, which is an illegal target? Is he obligated to target Vraska itself since he already activated the -3 ability and it's the only possible legal target?[/i]

(You can check it here at the exact moment that this specific play takes place: http://youtu.be/X9m09X3kuNA?t=4m19s)

Thanks for your help!
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Hardtrack



Joined: 10 Aug 2005
Posts: 651

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2014 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

a) You can't cast or activate something without the proper targets. If you try to anyway, we back up to before you started being all illegal. So yes, you can then do something, which can also be another ability of Vraska.

b) Note that this applies even when legal targets are present. You're not forced to choose another legal target for the same ability. We simply back up and you get to play whatever you want.
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Strid3r



Joined: 18 Jan 2010
Posts: 295

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2014 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Evan must go back and do something else.
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pseudodespot



Joined: 08 May 2011
Posts: 496

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2014 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Illegal actions will be rewound if caught in the act. Undoing the -3 ability and activating the +1 instead is totally legit. You will not be forced to chose another target in this case.
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chakal-PT



Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 166

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hardtrack wrote:
a) You can't cast or activate something without the proper targets. If you try to anyway, we back up to before you started being all illegal. So yes, you can then do something, which can also be another ability of Vraska.

b) Note that this applies even when legal targets are present. You're not forced to choose another legal target for the same ability. We simply back up and you get to play whatever you want.


First of all, thank you all for you replies!

On the Vraska situation, or any other ability, I get it!
But just clarify something to me pls...

" If you try to anyway, we back up to before you started being all illegal"

So, if I cast a spell and choose an illegal target, let's say a Abrupt Decay on a permanent with cmc 4.... I just grab my Abrupt Decay back to my hand and untap the lands I tapped to cast it?...
And if so, does this applies to a situation where you cast a counter-spell on an spell that can't be countered? (lands untapped and casted counter-spell back to hand)...
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sc4rs



Joined: 23 Mar 2006
Posts: 859

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a difference between an illegal target and a legal target.

If the target is illegal, it means the target is different than what is specified by the card. So, if you try to abrupt decay vraska, vraska does not have converted mana cost 3 or less, so you will get your card back and untap your lands.

If the target is legal, you can't back up and change your mind. So, if you cast Discombobulate on an abrupt decay, it is a legal target (it is a spell, which is all Discombobulate cares about - can't be countered does not mean can't be targeted while on the stack). Discombobulate will resolve as normal and mill a player, but abrupt decay's ability will cause it to not be countered and remain on the stack.

This is also different depending on when the target was made illegal. For example, if you tried to doom blade a creature with protection from black, you'd get it back, but if they responded to your doom blade with gods willing naming black, your spell would be countered on resolution for illegal targets.
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chakal-PT



Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 166

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sc4rs wrote:
There's a difference between an illegal target and a legal target.

If the target is illegal, it means the target is different than what is specified by the card. So, if you try to abrupt decay vraska, vraska does not have converted mana cost 3 or less, so you will get your card back and untap your lands.

If the target is legal, you can't back up and change your mind. So, if you cast Discombobulate on an abrupt decay, it is a legal target (it is a spell, which is all Discombobulate cares about - can't be countered does not mean can't be targeted while on the stack). Discombobulate will resolve as normal and mill a player, but abrupt decay's ability will cause it to not be countered and remain on the stack.

This is also different depending on when the target was made illegal. For example, if you tried to doom blade a creature with protection from black, you'd get it back, but if they responded to your doom blade with gods willing naming black, your spell would be countered on resolution for illegal targets.


Sure... About a target that for some reason becomes illegal, i knew that the spell would be countered cause of illegal targeting. That's almost part of the basic rules...

What's new to me here was the fact that you had your spells back and mana sources untapped if you choose an illegal target! Specially abilities like Vraska where you already payed the -3 counters cost... What in my opinion could be a bit unfair, since they should be countered just like when a target became illegal, instead of a second chance after you make a mistake with your spells and targets, but that's an all another story! (And only a matter of personal opinion obviously)...

Anyway,
About countering an spell that can't be countered, I always played like that, by the rules... When it happens, counter resolves, goes to grave, spell resolves anyway, etc, etc... But after this discussion, I started to doubt if a spell that can't be countered could or couldn't be a legal target for a counter-spell... Well, seems that at least I wasn't wrong about that! lol

Once more,
Thanks for your help!
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sc4rs



Joined: 23 Mar 2006
Posts: 859

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chakal-PT wrote:
sc4rs wrote:
There's a difference between an illegal target and a legal target.

If the target is illegal, it means the target is different than what is specified by the card. So, if you try to abrupt decay vraska, vraska does not have converted mana cost 3 or less, so you will get your card back and untap your lands.

If the target is legal, you can't back up and change your mind. So, if you cast Discombobulate on an abrupt decay, it is a legal target (it is a spell, which is all Discombobulate cares about - can't be countered does not mean can't be targeted while on the stack). Discombobulate will resolve as normal and mill a player, but abrupt decay's ability will cause it to not be countered and remain on the stack.

This is also different depending on when the target was made illegal. For example, if you tried to doom blade a creature with protection from black, you'd get it back, but if they responded to your doom blade with gods willing naming black, your spell would be countered on resolution for illegal targets.


Sure... About a target that for some reason becomes illegal, i knew that the spell would be countered cause of illegal targeting. That's almost part of the basic rules...

What's new to me here was the fact that you had your spells back and mana sources untapped if you choose an illegal target! Specially abilities like Vraska where you already payed the -3 counters cost... What in my opinion could be a bit unfair, since they should be countered just like when a target became illegal, instead of a second chance after you make a mistake with your spells and targets, but that's an all another story! (And only a matter of personal opinion obviously)...

Anyway,
About countering an spell that can't be countered, I always played like that, by the rules... When it happens, counter resolves, goes to grave, spell resolves anyway, etc, etc... But after this discussion, I started to doubt if a spell that can't be countered could or couldn't be a legal target for a counter-spell... Well, seems that at least I wasn't wrong about that! lol

Once more,
Thanks for your help!


It would be way more unfair if you were allowed to cast spells with no legal targets. Imagine you have a nimble mongoose and six cards in your graveyard and your opponent is at 3 life. You shouldn't be able to cast abrupt decay on their land or mana leak with no spells being cast, and go "oops no legal target" and put it into your graveyard to give yourself threshold.

It's even worse if the spell automatically redirects to the only legal target - if your opponent doesn't realize they can abrupt decay your oblivion ring and try to abrupt decay your land, it would be horrible if you had to tell them "no it targets oblivion ring instead"

The rules as they are are also the best way for judges to keep track of players choosing illegal targets to try to gain an advantage.

Hope this helps explain why the rules are the way they are.
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