War-wing Siren has the Heroic ability:

Whenever you cast a spell that targets War-Wing Siren, put a +1/+1 counter on War-Wing Siren.

Captain Of the Watch states:

"Other Soldier creatures you control get +1/+1 and have vigilance."

With Siren in play under my control, I cast Captain Of Watch. The Captain has an effect on Siren: +1/+1 and vigilance. Does this count as casting a spell that targets Siren? Should Siren get a +1/+1 counter?

I see "Target" to mean the recipient of some spell or effect.


No, the Siren does not receive a +1/+1 counter. Although your understanding of the word 'Target' makes sense in english, it has a rather specific meaning in Magic.

A creature is only targeted by spells or abilities that actually have the word 'target' on it. For instance, Giant Growth. From the Comprehensive rules:

114.1a An instant or sorcery spell is targeted if its spell ability identifies something it will affect by using the phrase “target [something],”

The Siren needs to be identified as that 'target [something]' in order for Heroic to trigger. On instants and sorceries, this is spelled out; casting an Aura (ie Unholy Strength) on War-Wing Siren also triggers the Heroic ability, as they have an implicit target:

114.1b Aura spells are always targeted.

Casting an equipment would not trigger the ability, as they enter play unattached and not targeting anything. Their equip-ability is not the same as 'casting a spell', so it doesn't trigger Heroic. The same goes for other activated abilities with a target (Spikeshot Goblin does not trigger Heroic, also see this question).

To look a little closer at what spells do and do not target the War-Wing Siren:

  • Twiddle would trigger the Heroic ability.
  • Turnabout wouldn't, because the card doesn't target a creature, it targets a player.
  • Call to Glory would not trigger the Siren's Heroic ability, as it doesn't target anything.

(Thanks to @diego for suggesting these cards)

| improve this answer | |
  • I'm not sure why you chose to quote 114.1a over 114.1, but I'd suggest to use that one instead for being more general and therefore better applicable to an unspecific question, as well as better describing the concept of choosing a target. Choosing an Instant-and-Sorcery-specific rule could lead to the misinterpretation that only those effects would trigger Heroic abilities, while creatures' abilities and other effects are perfectly capable of doing the same. – TheThirdMan Nov 21 '16 at 10:32

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