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I'm playing a mono-Green infect Pauper deck that relies heavily on instant-speed pump spells in order to win. My opponent ruins my day pretty badly by playing a Standard Bearer:

http://magiccards.info/scans/en/ap/18.jpg

Fortunately, my deck also has Vines of Vastwood and Ranger's Guile.

Vines of Vastwood Ranger's Guile

It occurs to me that I might be able to play one of these spells on the Standard Bearer, rendering it an illegal target for that turn, then play my other spells on my own creatures as intended. But will this actually work? I'm not sure about the subtleties of interpreting these effects when the target creature and the spell have different controllers, and I didn't get a chance to try it before the match ended.

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

Unfortunately, neither of these spells will help you in this situation.

Vines of Vastwood, sadly, doesn't actually grant hexproof. It appears to, as it has the same wording (and the latest Oracle text keeps this wording), but it doesn't actually give hexproof to the creature. This is an important distinction, because even if you play it on an opponent's creature, it doesn't prevent your spells or abilities, only those of your opponents, as worded. (It really should be reworded to hexproof, but it hasn't been.)

Ranger's Guile is no use for a simpler reason: you can't cast it on the Standard Bearer, because it can only target a creature you control. Even the Standard Bearer's ability doesn't redirect Ranger's Guile; as the bearer isn't a legal target for the Guile, the ability never triggers.

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It's quite possible that the reason Vines of Vastwood hasn't been (and perhaps arguably shouldn't be) reworded to say "hexproof" is that it would change the functionality of the card in situations like this. It certainly wouldn't be the first time a card has not been retroactively errata'd with a keyword ability because of some obscure corner case. –  David Z Dec 27 '11 at 7:14
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I suspect that the targeting restriction on Ranger's Guile was added specifically to prevent people from being confused about what happens when you make your opponent's creature hexproof. –  Stuart Cook Dec 27 '11 at 15:16
    
@DavidZaslavsky: I agree, that's probably why Vines hasn't been reworded. I was arguing that it should be changed; I think it would be better to be consistent with hexproof cards, even at the cost of wider card effect choice. –  Tynam Dec 29 '11 at 23:45
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