My friend had a Golden Urn on the board with 10 counters on it. If I destroy it and he sacs it in response to gain the life, is there anything that can be done about that? Like, can I put another destroy artifact on the stack to resolve before his sac resolves?

  • This question is possibly a duplicate of: boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/28058/…
    – aaron
    Jan 7, 2016 at 22:19
  • 2
    That one asks if something can be sacrificed as a cost in response to a spell that would destroy it. This question asks if anything can be done to the thing that's being sacrificed in response to sacrificing it. I don't think it's a duplicate.
    – murgatroid99
    Jan 7, 2016 at 23:36
  • 3
    While not compatible with the scenario you've described, if the first destruction spell is Krosan Grip, it'll prevent your opponent from even having the option of sacrificing the Urn between when the Grip is cast and when it resolves.
    – jwodder
    Jan 8, 2016 at 0:47
  • 3
    Note that, as a matter of practical strategy, the only decks that really care about a bit of life gain likes this are RDW/burn decks; and they can just use cards like Skullcrack and Leyline of Punishment.
    – Alex P
    Jan 8, 2016 at 17:42
  • One practical way to defeat the urn is to tap it, forcing the opponent to decide whether to use it before they know if you'll destroy it with something else.
    – Samthere
    Jan 12, 2016 at 14:42

3 Answers 3


Golden Urn's ability is an Activated Ability. You would need an effect that counters activated abilities in order to prevent it. Stifle and Trickbind are the most common choices (In my own experience), though other similar cards do exist.

You could also cast a spell to prevent players from Gaining life (False Cure, SkullCrack, etc), or End the Turn before the effect resolves (Time Stop)

Golden Urn's ability cost includes sacrificing itself. Therefore, it is no longer on the field by the time you would have an opportunity to respond.

  • 2
    In addition to preventing life gain, replacement effects would work; Tainted Remedy. Jan 8, 2016 at 0:51
  • Hmm. I had intended False Cure as an example of a Replacement effect, but after re-reading it, it doesn't actually replace the life gain.
    – aaron
    Jan 8, 2016 at 17:17
  • False Cure still works as a deterrent against Gold Urn though. Jan 8, 2016 at 17:22

You cannot do anything to the Urn to stop the ability once they activate it. In an activated ability, the cost is the part before the colon. Since they sacrifice the Urn as part of the activation cost, it's already in the graveyard by the time you have a chance to resolve.

More specifically, starting with your destruction spell (or ability), here's what happens:

  1. You cast a spell that would destroy their Urn (Naturalize, for example).
  2. Your opponent gets a chance to respond, and they decide to activate the Urn's second ability. To do that, they tap the Urn and sacrifice it. Now, the Urn is in the graveyard and its ability is on the stack on top of your spell.
  3. You now have a chance to respond. You can't cast anything targeting the Urn, because it's not on the battlefield.
  4. Their ability resolves and they gain 10 life.
  5. Your artifact destruction spell does nothing to the Urn.

Note that while you can't do anything to the Urn to stop the ability, you can stop the ability itself. Stifle, for example, would allow you to counter the ability directly once they activate it.

  • Your third sentence holds true in spite of the ruling on Urn, "As Golden Urn's last ability resolves, its last existence on the battlefield is checked to determine how many charge counters were on it." So even if someone tried to use something like Vampire Hexmage to remove its counters, the Urn is gone by the time could even target it, even if you responded to the activation.
    – corsiKa
    Jan 8, 2016 at 3:35

Responding to the activation of Golden Urn's ability with another destroy effect will not work, since you cannot respond to the cost being paid (which is sacrificing the Urn in this case). Other answers explained it better, I just wanted to offer another solution: Krosan Grip.
Due to Split Second, your opponent will not have a chance to activate the Golden Urn in response, causing it to be destroyed without an opportunity to activate it. Note that Split Second does not prohibit abilities to trigger, in case that should matter.

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