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Abrupt Decay, Loxodon Smiter and other Return to Ravnica cards have an ability that reads '{card name} can't be counterd by spells or abilites'. Does this mean it is not a legal target for a counter spell?

this rule:

112.6f An object's ability that states it can't be countered or can't be countered by spells and abilities functions on the stack.

Simply states those abilities function on the stack, it makes no mention of giving the spell with the ability protection from spells.

So can they be targeted by counter spells?

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This blog post from a judge says they are legal targets.… – Colin D Jul 3 '13 at 20:58
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Yes, Abrupt Decay and Loxodon Smiter spells can be targeted by spells and abilities that would attempt to counter them.

When the spell or ability that would counter AD or LS resolves, the instructions of its effect are performed as normal except for the instruction that would counter AD or LS. That one is skipped.

609.3. If an effect attempts to do something impossible, it does only as much as possible.

Protection prevents

  • Damage
  • Enchantment/Equipment/Fortififcation
  • Blocking
  • Targeting

"Can't be countered" prevents

  • Countering

As you can see, there's no relation whatsoever. Something with protection can still be countered. Something with "can't be countered" can still be targeted.

Simply states those abilities function on the stack

Abilities of permanent cards normally only work when the object is on the battlefield [CR 112.6]. But you can't counter something on the battlefield. This rules makes it so LS's ability works when it needs to work.

it makes no mention of giving the spell with the ability protection from spells.

And nothing else does. It does not have Protection.

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"Can't be countered" spells are still legal targets for counter-spells. They just won't actually get countered

and this was already answered earlier today with the gatherer Rulings from Render Silent

4/15/2013 A spell that “can’t be countered” is a legal target for Render Silent. The spell won’t be countered when Render Silent resolves, but that spell’s controller won’t be able to cast spells for the rest of the turn.

and here's another ruling which will help illustrate the difference between illegal targets of a spell and can't be countered

4/15/2013 If the spell is an illegal target when Render Silent tries to resolve (because it’s been countered by another spell, for example), Render Silent will be countered and none of its effects will happen.

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Is that a ruling for render silent only or for all counter spells? – Pow-Ian Jul 3 '13 at 19:28
@Pow-Ian it applies to all counter spells – Sam I am Jul 3 '13 at 19:28

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