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During an opponent's turn, I had Guile and used Rethink to counter a permanent spell (in my case, it was a Deathbringer Thoctar).

Guile's second ability states "if a spell or ability you control would counter a spell, instead exile that spell and you may play that card without paying its mana cost" which makes no mention of timing.

There's no ruling posted on The Gatherer, but some forum posts around the web suggest I can play it out of turn. Can anyone provide rule snippets or examples from sanctioned tournaments to provide a definitive answer?

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Yes, when you control Guile and counter a spell, you can cast that spell immediately, no matter what type it is.

To explain, I'll need to give a little background. The Magic rules are fundamentally constructive in nature: they define all of the parts of the game and procedures, then list the things you are allowed to do, and then subtract the things you are not allowed to do (not necessarily written in that order). For example, there are rules that define your hand and battlefield, and cards, and permanents, and the land type. Then there is a rule that says when you are allowed to play a land, and what restrictions there are on taking that action.

Now, if we consider the rules regarding the Creature type, we see that rule 302.1 says

A player who has priority may cast a creature card from his or her hand during a main phase of his or her turn when the stack is empty. Casting a creature as a spell uses the stack. (See rule 601, "Casting Spells.")

It does not say that you are not allowed to cast it at other times. If something else does allow you to cast a creature spell at another time, there's nothing stopping you from doing so. Now, the third step of resolving a spell or ability, 608.2c, says

The controller of the spell or ability follows its instructions in the order written. However, replacement effects may modify these actions.

So when you control Guile and counter a Creature spell, Guile's replacement effect modifies the counterspell's instructions to say that you exile the spell and you may cast it. Now you have another instruction giving you an option to cast a (particular) creature spell, in addition to the option provided by rule 302.1.

The timing rules for other types is worded similarly to 302.1, so this same logic applies to other types.

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There actually is a Gatherer ruling related to the timing. I bolded the relevant sentences.

Guile's second ability replaces "counter [a certain spell]" with "exile [a certain spell] and you may cast it without paying its mana cost." You have the option to cast it immediately upon its exile. If you choose not to, it remains exiled and you don't get another chance to cast it. If the spell or ability that tried to counter the spell has additional effects, it then continues to resolve.

This means you cast the spell during the resolution of whatever counter spell you cast. Since normally you can't cast spells during the resolution of a spell this means you have to ignore normal timing restrictions (like only being able to cast it during your main phase when the stack is empty), it how ever doesn't ignore restrictions like Savage Beating's

Cast Savage Beating only during your turn and only during combat.

In order to cast it at some other time the ability would need to explicitly give you that ability, like Outpost Siege which gives you the ability to play it until the end of turn, or Kheru Spellsnatcher which gives you the ability to play the card as long as it is exiled (and the Spellsnatcher is on the battlefield)

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  • Are you suggesting that it would say "you have the option to cast it immediately if able" if casting it was still held to timing restrictions? I've read this ruling, but it doesn't seem clear that you can cast otherwise unplayable spells. – Murkaeus Jul 1 '15 at 17:03
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    Consider this: no standard timing restriction allows you to cast a spell during the resolution of another spell or ability. So a spell or ability that instructs you to cast a spell must ignore timing rules. – murgatroid99 Jul 1 '15 at 17:04
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    @Murkaeus Villanous Wealth is another good example. The ruling on that card specifically says "You cast the cards one at a time as Villainous Wealth is resolving [...]". – Rainbolt Jul 1 '15 at 17:20
  • @murgatroid99 That makes sense. If you post that as an answer, I'll accept it. – Murkaeus Jul 1 '15 at 17:27
  • @Rainbolt Good point. Villainous Wealth actually has a ruling about timing as well. – Murkaeus Jul 1 '15 at 17:27

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