My opponent had an Elvish Lyrist and activated its sacrifice to destroy my Seal of Fire. I sacrificed Seal of Fire after that. Would my Seal still do its 2 points of damage?

2 Answers 2


Yes you can sacrifice the Seal of Fire to do 2 points of damage.

When the Lyrist activates its ability, that ability doesn't happen right away, it's put on the stack. While on the stack, you have the chance to respond, and so you activate Seal of Fire, doing 2 damage.

Then Lyrist's ability tries to resolve, but since the enchantment isn't around anymore, it fizzles, but the costs stay paid (mana and sacrifice).

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    The process of putting the Elvish Lyrist activated ability on the stack includes paying the costs (Green Mana, Tapping the Elvish Lyrist, and Sacrifice Elvish Lyrist). It will be gone before priority shifts to the controller of Seal of Fire. Dec 29, 2015 at 4:39

Yes. Activated (and triggered) Abilities are independent of their sources. The typical analogy is of a hand grenade: If a soldier throws a grenade, and then is shot, the grenade will still explode.

As long as you activate the seal of fire's ability before the enchantment is destroyed (such as, in response to the effect that would destroy it), the effect still triggers (and does the two damage). In addition, the Elvish lyrist's effect would be countered upon resolution (because Seal of Fire is no longer a valid target), though this is of little importance, because the elf has already been sacrificed.

This works because abilities do not resolve instantly once activated. Instead, they are put on the Stack. When an item (be it an ability, trigger, spell being cast, or most anything else) goes onto the stack, each player gets an opportunity (called priority) to respond to that item.

In this case, Elvish Lyrist's ability is activated and placed onto the stack. You (along with any other players in the game) will receive priority in turn. While you have priority, you may activate Seal of Fire's ability in response. It goes onto the stack (above Elvish Lyrist's ability). Once each player has passed priority, items on the stack resolve in the reverse of the order they were placed there (ie, First in, Last Out). Additionally, each player will receive priority after each item on the stack resolves; so a player could choose to cast a spell after seal of fire's ability deals damage, but before Elvish Lyrist's ability resolves.

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    While true, abilities existing independently of their sources isn't really the reason this works. It's just a matter of the stack, activating Seal of Fire in response to it being targeted. If objects had to still exist for their abilities to work, Seal of Fire wouldn't work on its own either.
    – Cascabel
    Dec 23, 2015 at 19:09
  • No, but I believe that it was the source of confusion. Regardless, I have edited my post to explain exactly why this works.
    – aaron
    Dec 23, 2015 at 21:06
  • I dunno about that - if you know how the stack works the question wouldn't even occur to you. You'd know that you can use Seal of Fire entirely as normal while Elvish Lyrist's ability is still waiting around on the stack. Thanks for editing, anyway.
    – Cascabel
    Dec 23, 2015 at 23:41
  • I like the grenade analogy.
    – Cameron
    Dec 26, 2015 at 11:37
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    Also fun to note you can't respond by targeting the Elvish Lyricist with the Seal of Fire (if for some reason you wanted to), since the sacrifice is a cost and not an effect, so the elf is already dead by the time you can respond.
    – Dan Staley
    Dec 29, 2015 at 20:10

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