The new Ixalan card "River Heralds' Boon" says:

Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature and a +1/+1 counter on up to one target Merfolk.

The subtype "Merfolk" can apply to non-creatures, including Merrow Commerce and Aquitect's Will. My reading of Comp Rules 114.2 is that an Aquitect's Will on the stack is not a legal target for the Boon, but what about Merrow Commerce? (Yes, I know it will normally be useless to put a +1/+1 counter on an enchantment. Maybe you're planning to cast Opalescence later on. Whatever.)

Could you target a creature and a Merrow Commerce, and put counters on each of them?

  • 2
    Tip: Because the word "target" was used twice, you can pick the same object twice. That means you can give a single Merfolk creature 2 +1/+1 counters.
    – ikegami
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 1:02
  • 1
    Tip: If one of the targets becomes illegal before the spell resolves, but the other remains valid, the spell still resolves. Only if both targets become illegal is the spell countered by the rules.
    – ikegami
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 1:05
  • @ikegami Yes, I know about that part - but normal usage assumes you're putting the counter on a creature. I wanted to confirm my hunch that you could legally put the counter on a non-creature Merfolk.
    – rosuav
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 2:02
  • I actually had a guy once told me that he would he thought he would have won his local regionals in 2007 if he realised he could tap his Merrow Commerce to his Drowner of Secrets
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 17:14
  • This is probably one of the reasons why it is a good thing that the NWO thinks tribal is not worth bringing back, totally counter-intuitive.
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 17:17

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can target either a Creature - Merfolk or a Tribal - Merfolk, and put +1/+1 counters on them. Rule 109.2 says

If a spell or ability uses a description of an object that includes a card type or subtype, but doesn’t include the word “card,” “spell,” “source,” or “scheme,” it means a permanent of that card type or subtype on the battlefield.

And rule 308.2 says

Tribal subtypes are always a single word and are listed after a long dash: “Tribal Enchantment — Merfolk.” The set of tribal subtypes is the same as the set of creature subtypes; these subtypes are called creature types. Tribals may have multiple subtypes. See rule 205.3m for the complete list of creature types.

So, any spell that refers to an object just by a creature subtype is talking about a permanent of that subtype. And since the Creature and Tribal types share the same set of subtypes, an object that is referred to just by creature type can be either a creature or a tribal permanent.

  • 1
    Cool! Next step is to figure out how to exploit this.... muahahahahaha
    – rosuav
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 0:27

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