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After a creature is countered by a spell such as Counterspell can it regenerate. I was trying to counter my friend's Mortivore, but he said it could regenerate from that. So I need help trying to figure if he is lying or not.

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    Not sure what you are asking but if a creature is countered with a spell that has nothing to do with regeneration. – Joe W Apr 26 '18 at 15:21
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    On a tangent, unless your friend is a certified judge (or something like that) then it could simply be that he is mistaken. Being wrong doesn't make someone a liar. – Dean MacGregor Apr 27 '18 at 14:32
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No, a creature cannot use Regenerate to avoid being countered.

When your friend casts Mortivore, it goes on the Stack as a Spell. It is not a Creature until the spell resolves and leaves the stack.

Counterspell uses the Counter keyword action, which removes a spell from the stack. This means the spell never resolves and does not have any effect. In the case of a creature spell, the effect is to put a creature on the battlefield; if it is countered, the creature is never created.

The abilities on a creature card (including regeneration) cannot be used until the card has finished being cast and become a creature on the battlefield*. Therefore, Regenerate cannot be used while Mortivore is on the stack.

Since Counterspell gets rid of Mortivore while it is still on the stack, your friend cannot use Mortivore's regeneration ability to avoid your Counterspell.

Note: Even if you could use a regeneration ability from the stack, it still wouldn't apply here. Regeneration only applies when a permanent would be Destroyed, which is different than being countered.

*Except in certain exceptional cases, none of which apply here.

  • Doesn't this apply to any card being countered? Until it's in play, a card only has a casting cost, color(s), and a type; the text box is n/a until it's a permanent - unless it says otherwise. – Mazura Apr 27 '18 at 0:48
  • @Mazura I'm not quite sure what you mean. Are you pointing out that this applies to enchantments, artifacts, etc. as well as creatures? Or do you mean something else? – BJ Myers Apr 27 '18 at 1:41
  • Counter removes a spell from the stack. This means the spell never resolves and does not have any effect. This is about how counters work, not regeneration. – Mazura Apr 27 '18 at 14:36
  • Re "More broadly, it can't use any of its abilities to avoid being countered. [Except in certain situations where card text overrides the game rules.]", This line is wrong. "Can't be countered" doesn't override any game rule, yet it's an ability that can be "used" avoid it being countered. What was suppose to be the point of this line? Maybe I can help you come up with better wording. – ikegami Apr 27 '18 at 17:57
  • @ikegami "Can't be countered" overrides the game rule that says that cards can be countered. But after reading it again, I agree that my second sentence is a bit awkward. I was trying to emphasize the difference between a creature and a creature spell w.r.t. abilities, but I think the rest of the answer covers that with more clarity. Would it be better to just remove my second sentence altogether? – BJ Myers Apr 27 '18 at 18:28
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There's no possible interaction between Counterspell and regeneration.

You can't use Counterspell on a creature (a creature card or token on the battlefield), only on a creature spell (a creature card or copy thereof on the stack).

Yet Mortivore's activated ability can only be activated when it's a permanent, not a spell. This is the case for most activated abilities. One can only activate an abilities of object in other zones if they are in the only zone in which it makes sense to activate the ability. (e.g. Cycling on cards such as Akroma's Blessing can only be activated from one's hand since only cards in hand can be discarded.)

In fact, regeneration can only be given to permanents (cards or tokens on the battlefield), not spells (cards or copies thereof on the stack).

109.2. 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.

110.1. A permanent is a card or token on the battlefield. [...]

112.6. Abilities of an instant or sorcery spell usually function only while that object is on the stack. Abilities of all other objects usually function only while that object is on the battlefield. The exceptions are as follows: [No exceptions apply to Mortivore's activated ability.]

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You cannot regenerate a countered creature.

As a general rule, unless an ability only makes sense when applied in another zone (e.g. "return this card from graveyard to hand" clearly must work in the graveyard and "cannot be countered" must function on the stack) then that ability only applies while the card is a permanent on the battlefield.

Regenerate is one such ability. Countering a creature spell prevents it from entering the battlefield, so it never had an opportunity to be regenerated.

Furthermore, Regenerate prevents the destruction of a permanent, but countering a spell doesn't destroy it. So even if you could use regenerate while it was on the stack the ability wouldn't do anything.

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Regenerate means "The next time this creature would be destroyed this turn, instead tap it, remove all damage done to it, and if it is in combat, remove it from combat." Countering does not destroy, partially because "destroy", like many words in magic, is a word with a very precise meaning and countering doesn't say that it destroys, and partially because a spell is not on the battlefield, and destroy is exclusively relevant to things on the battlefield. So regeneration is not applicable, the same way you can counter a creature with indestructible.

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