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If there is a spell in the stack that can't be countered, can I still play a counter spell on it? and if so, will it resolve?

For example, let's say that the opponent plays Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, can I play Remand on it? and would I draw a card?

  • Always, just look at the targeting condition. What happen (or doesn't happen) later is irrelevant. For all you know, the spell will lose the ability that prevents it from being countered before the counterspell resolves. – ikegami May 14 '18 at 8:11
  • @ikegami I'm curious now; is it there a way with existing cards for a spell on the stack to lose the "cannot be countered" ability? – GendoIkari May 14 '18 at 14:12
  • @Gendolkari, Doubtful. The point is one shouldn't have to wonder about that when casting a spell or activating an ability. – ikegami May 14 '18 at 19:42
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Yes, you can, the same way you can "try" to destroy indestructible permanents. It is still a legal target, the countering effect just doesn't happen.

See the gatherer rulings for Emrakul:

Emrakul can be targeted by spells that try to counter it (such as Lay Bare). Those spells will resolve, but the part of their effect that would counter Emrakul won’t do anything. Any other effects those spells have will work as normal.

As a spell or ability resolves, as long as all targets are valid (so it isn't itself countered), it will try to do as much of its effects as it can. Drawing a card isn't conditioned on the countering being successful, so as long as Remand resolves, you get to draw a card.

  • Trying to target something with Hexproof would be a different matter, right? – Acccumulation May 14 '18 at 19:04
  • @Acccumulation correct, sort of. Hexproof, Shroud, and protection prevent the card from being a valid target, but only once it's on the battlefield. It can still be countered. – Arcanist Lupus May 14 '18 at 19:24
  • @ArcanistLupus No, Hexproof doesn't prevent the card from being a target, it prevents the creature the card summons from being a valid target. "Something with Hexproof" necessarily refers to a permanent, not the spell summoning the permanent, and only the latter can be countered. – Acccumulation May 14 '18 at 20:00
  • @ArcanistLupus Abilities mostly only apply for permanents on the battlefield. The exceptions are mostly abilities which specifically mention the card being in a different zone (see flashback and cycling, for instance). – Arthur May 14 '18 at 20:39
  • @Acccumulation My wording was a little imprecise, but that was what I meant. Since the question was focused on countering I didn't want someone to get the impression that Hexproof could prevent a card from being countered. – Arcanist Lupus May 15 '18 at 13:52

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