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I am playing magic with my friends and we have a problem with the ability Aura Swap on a card called Arcanum Wings.

Does it count as casting when you activate Aura Swap and put new aura on the battlefield with Arcanum Wings? If a player uses the Aura swap ability, can I counter the new aura with Nix?

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Aura swap says to "exchange this permanent with an Aura in your hand". The new Aura is not cast, it's simply put onto the battlefield. Since it's not cast, and is put on the battlefield during resolution of the effect, it cannot be countered by spells or abilities. There's never a time when the new Aura exists on the stack - the Aura swap ability goes on the stack with the new Aura in your hand, and upon resolution, the new Aura goes on the battlefield.

You could get around this by countering the Aura swap ability itself (e.g. Stifle), or by removing the permanent that has Aura swap (perhaps by bouncing the creature it's attached to). In either of these cases, though, your opponent will still have the new Aura in his hand afterwards.

  • Aura swap was attached to Invisible stalker so dealing with the carrier was little bit hard ;) . Is there any easy rules when something is going on the stack because i have always believed that everything goes to stack... – Quut Jun 30 '17 at 16:52
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    Generally, you put things on the stack when you pay a cost (mana to cast a spell, tap to activate an ability) or when things trigger (when enters battlefield, when you gain life). Here, the ability "exchange this permanent with an Aura from your hand" goes on the stack. Imagine it as if you'd written the instruction on a piece of paper and put it in a "stack pile". When you pull the top piece of paper, you do whatever it says all a once. In this case, the instruction doesn't put anything on the stack. If it had said "cast an Aura", then the instruction would put something else on the stack. – Nuclear Wang Jun 30 '17 at 17:00
  • @Quut, Spells and Abilities are the only 2 things that can go on the stack. Bringing the new Aura into play is not an ability, it is an effect generated by the resolution of an ability. See this question for details on effects vs abilities: boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/35405/… – GendoIkari Jun 30 '17 at 17:17

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