I have stumbled upon a situation where my opponent chooses to counter a spell when it is not the most recent spell placed on the stack. It goes like this:

  1. Fog is cast
  2. Opponent casts Counterspell targeting Fog
  3. I cast my own Counterspell targeting their Counterspell
  4. Opponent casts another Counterspell targeting Fog

Is it possible for the opponent to target any spell on the stack? Shouldn't it be targeting the last spell placed on the stack?

  • When you say a counterspell was 'cast in response to X' do you mean it was 'cast targeting X'? Because in step 4 it generally wouldn't be called responding to Fog while there are still other things on the stack.
    – diego
    Apr 27, 2017 at 13:30
  • Yes, that's what I meant. 4th step the counter-like would target the Fog.
    – Renan
    Apr 27, 2017 at 13:40
  • I've made some edits to your question to clean up the wording a little. Can you take a look at them and make sure it still reflects the question you are trying to ask?
    – diego
    Apr 27, 2017 at 13:45
  • 1
    Even if you could only target the top-most spell on the stack (which isn't the case), you could still do what you describe by letting some of the stack resolve between steps 3 and 4.
    – ikegami
    Apr 27, 2017 at 16:55
  • It used to be the case that you could target only the top spell, but that was many, many years ago until they changed interrupts to instants. The basic rules have become a little easier since then.
    – Dennis_E
    Apr 28, 2017 at 8:41

1 Answer 1


You can target any spell on the stack, there is no rule limiting it to only the top item on the stack. As you can see below the term counter doesn't have anything that effects how targets have to be chosen, and the spells don't say they have to target the top most object on the stack, so they are able to target any spell that is on the stack.

114.1. Some spells and abilities require their controller to choose one or more targets for them. The targets are object(s), player(s), and/or zone(s) the spell or ability will affect. These targets are declared as part of the process of putting the spell or ability on the stack. The targets can’t be changed except by another spell or ability that explicitly says it can do so.

701.5. Counter

701.5a To counter a spell or ability means to cancel it, removing it from the stack. It doesn’t resolve and none of its effects occur. A countered spell is put into its owner’s graveyard.

701.5b The player who cast a countered spell or activated a countered ability doesn’t get a “refund” of any costs that were paid.

  • 2
    As the answer says, you don't necessarily have to target the top most spell on the stack. But, if you fail to announce your target at a competitive tournament, then you are assumed to be targeting the legal spell closest to the top of the stack. This is an official shortcut described by the Tournament Rules.
    – Rainbolt
    Apr 27, 2017 at 16:24

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