Haphazard Bombardment is worded slightly, so I assume intentionally, different from cards I can find that seem similar. Particularly in that it doesn't target the chosen cards.

Granted this is unusual, but suppose my opponent on the draw missed 3 land drops and has only 3 land on the battlefield on my turn 6. Can I cast Haphazard Bombardment given there are only 3 things (specifically not targets) I can possibly choose? Or does it count as part of the cost that 4 nonenchantment permanents be chosen? My understanding is, if it said "choose 4 target nonenchantment permanents" and there were only 3 options, it would be uncastable. Is the same true without the "target"?

If there are 4 or more options, I'm fairly confident I can't choose fewer but I'm unclear if I can get away with it when there aren't enough choices.

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can cast Haphazard Bombardment even if there are fewer than 4 valid choices for its ability, and you put aim counters on permanents even if there are fewer than 4.

Haphazard Bombardment's first ability is an "enters the battlefield" triggered ability. If you cast Haphazard Bombardment, the ability triggers after the spell resolves and becomes a permanent. Even if it did require you to choose targets, it would have no effect on whether you could cast the spell.

The ability itself has no conditions that might prevent it from triggering or resolving. So it will trigger and resolve no matter what the board state is. Then when it resolves you choose the permanents to put counters on. Rule 609.3 says

If an effect attempts to do something impossible, it does only as much as possible.

So if it is impossible to choose 4 permanents you don't control, you choose as many permanents as possible and put counters on them.

  • 1
    Thank you, this makes it now seem obvious and I'm now confused as to what I thought the issue would be. I feel like there are cards that have effects sort of like this that can be illegal to cast in some situations. But I can't quite put my finger on the scenario I'm thinking of. Maybe if this card said "Choose 4 target permanents and put aim counters on them." (not an ETB effect) then one of the 4 was removed before the spell resolves, would it fizzle? This may not be something I should try to resolve in comments...
    – T.Bullet
    Jul 11, 2018 at 0:47
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    Permanents in general don't have targets for this very reason.
    – murgatroid99
    Jul 11, 2018 at 0:48
  • Ah yes, that's probably where my brain is getting stuck. I think I'm picturing this as an instant/sorcery instead of an enchantment. Thanks again.
    – T.Bullet
    Jul 11, 2018 at 0:51
  • Not strictly true - Auras target when cast and will indeed fizzle if their target is invalid upon resolution as you expect! More interestingly, Auras that are "put into play" (such as by Zur the Enchanter) do not target and can enchant permanents that they could not target if cast (such as with "Shroud" or "Protection from Enchantments".. though in the latter case they would be removed when priority passes).
    – ti7
    Jul 11, 2018 at 4:21
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    @JollyJoker I agree it'd be clearer but I think this wording was very much intentional for both flavor and function and that would be a pretty significant change. Chances are there are 1 or 2 permanents (some big beastie or powerful artifact) you'd really like to hit and 2 or 3 that are less impactful (a low power creature or a land they've already got plenty of). If you could opt to put out just two counters, your odds of hitting what you really want are vastly better, even though you're taking out fewer things. And flavor-wise, it's not much of a "bombardment" if you're only firing once.
    – T.Bullet
    Jul 11, 2018 at 7:34

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