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Seeds of Strength has the following text:

Target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

Target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

Target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

Sage of hours reads

Heroic — Whenever you cast a spell that targets Sage of Hours, put a +1/+1 counter on it.

So would Seeds of Strength trigger the heroic once or three?

5

Only once. The actual trigger condition is "whenever you cast a spell...". And there was only 1 instance of "cast a spell" happening.

IF the ability said "whenever a spell targets Sage of Hours..." then it would happen 3 times.

See the Gatherer ruling on Sage of Hours:

Heroic abilities will trigger only once per spell, even if that spell targets the creature with the heroic ability multiple times.

  • 1
    I would like to note that alternate trigger you mentioned "whenever a spell targets..." will probably never exist. "Targeting" isn't an action in its own right. Choosing targets is just part of the spell casting process. – murgatroid99 Feb 16 '15 at 18:45
  • @murgatroid99 There are plenty of cards that care about getting targeted, and their ability would trigger as often as they get targeted. gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Search/… – Hackworth Feb 16 '15 at 20:19
  • @Hackworth Are you sure about that? I would have actually guessed it worked the other way, and I can't find any rulings or Comprehensive Rules that say either way. – murgatroid99 Feb 16 '15 at 20:23
  • Seeds of Strength is a spell with 3 abilities, you target each one individually, and each would trigger e.g. Sage of Hours. – Hackworth Feb 16 '15 at 20:28
  • I'm not sure about that interpretation. If the spell's abilities counted as abilities for the purpose of the triggered ability, the use of the phrase "spell or ability" would be oddly redundant. In any case, I don't think these comments are the proper place to figure this out, so I asked a question about it here – murgatroid99 Feb 16 '15 at 20:36

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