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I heard - (from an official MtG judge) - that Wrath of God ("Destroy all creatures") destroys creatures with the Shroud ability, because it doesn't target a single creature, it targets all creatures.

Is this really true? In my opinion it is very illogical.

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That phrasing — "targets all creatures" — isn't correct, and if the judge used it, I can understand your confusion. Wrath of God doesn't target creatures at all; it wipes them out in a grand swath. –  Jadasc Sep 6 '11 at 12:57

3 Answers 3

up vote 27 down vote accepted

Yes, Wrath of God will kill all creatures with shroud. It will also kill all creatures that have protection from white. It won't kill creatures that are indestructible.

To understand why this is, you have to look at the definitions of the terms.

Shroud means: "this creature can't be the target of spells or abilities".

Protection means (among other things): "this creature can't be the target of spells or abilities of the colour in question".

Wrath of God just says "Destroy all creatures". No mention of targets at all. And I think this is where your confusion is arising. Wrath of God doesn't "target all creatures and destroy them". It doesn't target anything. It just destroys them, whether they're slippery customers or not. Boom!

Indestructible creatures survive a Wrath because their ability ("cannot be destroyed") specifically interacts with the word "destroy" on the card Wrath of God. Creatures with Shroud only interact with, and care about, the word "target" on a card. If you can't find "target" written anywhere on the card, then Shroud won't have any effect on what that card can do.

As an interesting side point, take a look at a card like Copy Enchantment. This puts into play a copy of an enchantment already on the battlefield. But note that nowhere on the card does it say "target". This means that if you copy an Aura on the battlefield, you can put that copy onto a creature with Shroud... even if the original Aura would have been unable to enchant that creature when it was cast! Sometimes Magic does some pretty counter-intuitive things, but it's very internally consistent.

Hope that's clarified things more than it's confused them, for you!

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+1 extra for "Boom!" –  Jadasc Sep 7 '11 at 14:19
Huh, that's an interesting note about Copy Enchantment. Auras do target the object or player you're going to enchant when you cast them as a spell, but not when they enter the battlefield by any other means, according to rule 303.4f in the Comp Rules. Neat! –  adamjford Sep 7 '11 at 17:14
Note that the same enchantment shenanigans can be performed with a card like Lost Auramancers to put Aura Enchantments on creatures with Shroud or Hexproof. –  ghoppe Sep 26 '11 at 14:25

Not only Wrath of God is possible of doing this: Damnation, Hallowed Burial, Infest and Pyroclasm for instance can do it as well. Because they don't target.

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Another thing to note is that all the cards mentioned except for Pyroclasm also kills creatures with protection from < color >. Pyroclasm doesn't kill them because protection, besides from making it untargetable, also prevents damage.

I've seen a lot of people missunderstanding this.

Edit: Formatting

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Useful clarification - I didn't want to go too heavily into protection in my answer, in case I strayed too far from the point, but you're absolutely right. A creature with protection from all colours dies to a Wrath of God, and also from an (untargeted) effect giving it -X/-X where X is equal to or greater than its toughness; but no amount of (coloured) damage will kill it, not a million or a million million! –  thesunneversets Sep 6 '11 at 13:38

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