Puncturing light is an instant that has:

Destroy target attacking or blocking creature with power 3 or less.

If a creature has a buff on it until end of turn that makes it a 4/4 for example, would puncturing light still be able to kill this creature? In a stack what would happen to the puncturing light if the buff were applied after puncturing light was played.

  • 2
  • Answers so far haven't mentioned that the game evaluates targets for a spell both when it's placed on the stack (e.g. by casting) and as it resolves. If a spell's mandatory conditions are not met -- such as having no targets matching the criteria -- it has no effect (fizzles).
    – person27
    Jun 27 '17 at 0:35
  • @Anon234_4521 Are we reading the same answers? Jun 27 '17 at 3:45
  • They described the symptoms and not the cause. For a more complete picture, I stated the rule that the spell is evaluated twice; once when placed on the stack, and again during resolution.
    – person27
    Jun 27 '17 at 4:34
  • @Anon234_4521: That is precisely what ikegami explains in their answer, where the first paragraph handles the check done while declaring targets during the process of casting the spell, and the second handling what's happening when the target becomes illegal before the spell would resolve. It seems completely covered to me, although it could benefit from rules quotes. That said, the answer (the way I read it) only asks for the first case anyway. Jun 27 '17 at 12:18

If its power is greater than 3 (whether its power has been increased by a "buff" or not), then it can't be targeted by Puncturing Light, so you are unable to cast Puncturing Light targeting it.

If the power of a creature targeted by Puncturing Light increases so that the creature's power is greater than 3 when Puncturing Light would resolve, Puncturing Light will be countered by the game rules (for having only illegal targets) instead of resolving.

  • haha, just beat me to it....
    – Malco
    Jun 26 '17 at 20:44

It depends on the order that Puncturing Light and the buff spell resolve from the stack.

If the creature has a power of 3 or less when Puncturing Light resolves the creature will be destroyed.

If it is has a power of 4 when Puncturing Light resolves, Puncturing Light will have no valid targets and instead be countered so the creature will survive.

  • Note that the creature needs to be already attacking when both the buff and the Light get cast on it.
    – steenbergh
    Jun 27 '17 at 13:30

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