Can I use an ability after an opponent uses an instant?

Example: Opponent casts Victim of Night on my creature. It reads:

Destroy target non-Vampire, non-Werewolf, non-Zombie creature.

Can I use Bubbling Cauldron's ability to sacrifice the creature he just attempted to kill?

1, Tap, Sacrifice a creature: You gain 4 life.

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can do that. In Magic: the Gathering, most creature abilities are used like instants.

You should read the Basic Rules (PDF), page 10, if you're not familiar with the Stack and how spell casting works.

The situation you describe would work like this:

  1. Opponent casts Victim of the Night, choosing your creature for the target. It goes on the stack and doesn't resolve yet.
  2. Opponent chooses to cast nothing else yet and passes priority to you.
  3. You use Bubbling Cauldron's ability. That too goes on the stack and doesn't resolve yet. You pay the cost immediately, including sacrificing the creature targeted by Victim of the Night.
  4. You choose to pass priority so your opponent can respond. They choose to do nothing.

Now the top object on the stack resolves.

  1. Bubbling Cauldron's ability resolves first. You gain 4 life.
  2. Again there is an opportunity for your opponent or you to respond in turn, if neither of you do, the top object of the stack resolves.
  3. Victim of the Night resolves. Its target is gone, so it can't do anything. A new target can't be chosen. Victim of the Night goes to the graveyard.
  • What if after you pass priority, the opponent cast yet another Victim of the Night? Are you still able to sacrifice the creature to gain 4 life?
    – Pacerier
    Jul 5, 2015 at 5:37
  • @Pacerier That couldn't happen, you can respond to the Victim of the Night because destroying the creature is part of the effect, but your opponent can't respond to you using Bubbling Cauldron to sacrifice the creature because sacrificing the creature is part of the cost, not the effect. By the time they get priority again the creature is already gone and the life gain effect is on the stack.
    – Andrew
    Nov 21, 2023 at 19:19

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