My friend has been playing a sliver commander deck and uses Root Sliver which is a thorn in the side of my control.

Lets say I have an instant in my had that can destroy the Root Sliver and a counter creature card that I may want to use on the next sliver (and the mana to do both). I can't cast it while Root Sliver is still on the stack as it is not on the battlefield yet so I cannot target it.

As I understand it after the stack resolves however my opponent regains priority meaning they can put their next sliver spell on the empty stack before I have a chance to play my card to destroy the Root Sliver.

I was originally thinking I could put both the counter and the destroy in the stack but the counter would have to go on first so that it would resolve after the destroy, but since before the destroy resolves the sliver on the stack is not a valid target for the counter so this move is illegal.

Is it possible to kill the Root Sliver in time to counter the next sliver?

  • 4
    You can put the counter spell on the stack targeting the sliver by the way. It just won't do anything when it resolves if you haven't removed root sliver by that time. "Can't be countered" is not the same thing as "cannot be targeted by spells and abilities." It's just like casting Terror on an indestructible creature. The play is legal, it just won't do anything when it resolves.
    – Affe
    Jun 27, 2014 at 19:16

1 Answer 1


Your opponent gets to put their silver on the stack first. However, you can then add your incinerate to the stack, targetting their Root Silver.

  1. Incinerate
  2. New Sliver

You can then pass so the Incinerate resolves, destroying the Root Sliver. Stack is now:

  1. New Sliver

Then you cast your counterspell so the stack is

  1. Counterspell
  2. New Sliver

Your counterspell resolves, and the New Sliver is countered.

  • Oh I didn't know you had an opportunity to play cards as the stack resolves. I thought once it started resolving it was going resolve completely before anyone gained priority.
    – Fr33dan
    Jun 27, 2014 at 16:26
  • 2
    That's the way it worked in Magic 4thEdition, but since the introduction of the stack both players get a chance to add things to the stack every time something resolves.
    – Nick
    Jun 27, 2014 at 16:28
  • 2
    The play described in the original question is actually completely legal too. Although this is a better line of play because your counterspell isn't wasted if your opponent cancels your incinerate.
    – Affe
    Jun 27, 2014 at 19:26
  • 1
    This is a possible line of play, but I'd like to see @Affe's comments included in an answer - details on how counterspells work when something can't be countered, as well as how spells resolve on the stack would greatly improve the understanding of how this interaction could work. Jun 27, 2014 at 19:55
  • 1
    I'll add that there are situations where an opponent's creature entering the battlefield will result in a trigger, allowing you a chance to respond to the triggered ability before your opponent can do any sorcery-speed action. (This matters against Birthing Pod decks where you can Dismember a Deceiver Exarch before your opponent can pod it into Restoration Angel.)
    – Hao Ye
    Jun 27, 2014 at 21:50

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