How does Lava Burst work with hexproof/shroud ability?

Lava Burst text says:

If Lava Burst would deal damage to a creature, that damage can't be prevented or dealt instead to another creature or player.

However, hexproof / shroud ability also say:

This creature can't be the target of spells or abilities ...

So how does it actually work? Can Lava Burst damage a hexproof / shroud creature, or can't that creature be targeted at all?

  • Murgatroid99 covered the important parts, but I wanted to add the easy to remember acronym for Protection just for reference. D.E.B.T. Can't be Dealt Damage by, Enchanted by, Blocked by, or Targeted by whatever it is protected from. Hexproof literally means "Can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponent controls." As you can see, there is some partial overlap there. +1 to you for looking up some of the rules text before posting.
    – Rainbolt
    Apr 14, 2014 at 14:19
  • @Rusher, This question has nothing to do with Protection. Prevention isn't Protection. And the "E" of DEBT is really Enchanted/Equipped/Fortified by.
    – ikegami
    Apr 16, 2014 at 13:48
  • @ikegami I never said Prevention was Protection. Damage prevention is a component of Protection, and therefore related to the question.
    – Rainbolt
    Apr 16, 2014 at 14:25
  • @Rusher, By that logic, my company's policies are on topic since damage prevention is also a component of them. Your comment is very very very confusing.
    – ikegami
    Apr 16, 2014 at 14:38

2 Answers 2


No, Lava Burst cannot damage a creature with shroud or an opponent's creature with hexproof. An opponent's creature with hexproof or shroud can't be the target of anything you control, period. The "cannot be prevented" text only means that prevention effects do not prevent or change that damage. The relevant rules here are:

  • 615.1. Some continuous effects are prevention effects. Like replacement effects (see rule 614), prevention effects apply continuously as events happen -- they aren't locked in ahead of time. Such effects watch for a damage event that would happen and completely or partially prevent the damage that would be dealt. They act like "shields" around whatever they're affecting.

  • 615.11. Some effects state that damage "can't be prevented." If unpreventable damage would be dealt, any applicable prevention effects are still applied to it. Those effects won't prevent any damage, but any additional effects they have will take place. Existing damage prevention shields won't be reduced by damage that can't be prevented.

  • 1
    To clarify a bit, cards talking about preventing damage mean it very specifically and literally. So Lava Burst doesn't mean it's unstoppable, that you can't do anything that'd in any way avoid the damage being dealt, it just means that damage prevention effects (like protection, and things that actually say "prevent damage") won't work.
    – Cascabel
    Apr 14, 2014 at 3:48
  • 2
    I should point out that at least in this case, protection would also mean that the spell couldn't have targeted the creature.
    – murgatroid99
    Apr 14, 2014 at 5:11
  • Ack, yes - wish I could edit to clarify that. I really just wanted to emphasize that "preventing damage" is a nice specific thing, not a fuzzy description.
    – Cascabel
    Apr 14, 2014 at 5:24
  • 1
    Lava Burst can damage a creature with hexproof if it's your creature.
    – corsiKa
    Apr 14, 2014 at 15:37

It's quite simple: Hexproof and Shroud don't prevent damage; they prevent targeting. Lava Burst cannot target something with Hexproof, something Lava Burst must do far before it tries to deal damage.

  • In this case does a zone effet like "Deal X to target opponent creatures" deals damages to it despite Shroud | Hexproof ?
    – Rolexel
    Feb 7, 2018 at 11:32
  • I was speaking of effects to be applied to all creatures for example, and not just one specific. And I'm not sure, it's targetting a player, but the shroud is on the creature, not on the player
    – Rolexel
    Feb 7, 2018 at 12:32
  • Yes but since it's targetting the player, and the shroud is on the creature it should affect it. What could be a problem here would be they player having shrould on himself.. No ?
    – Rolexel
    Feb 7, 2018 at 13:14
  • 1
    @Alexandre Audin, I misread (in part because of the confusing reference to zone effects when the effect didn't mention any zones). The player would need shroud or hexproof to stop that effect. This is covered by my answer: Hexproof and Shroud don't prevent damage; they prevent targeting.
    – ikegami
    Feb 8, 2018 at 0:46

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