Yesterday I played a deck with the card Mage Slayer against a deck with Mystifying Maze. I equipped a creature with Mage Slayer and attacked. My opponent reacted by exiling the equipped creature with his Mystifying Maze.

The ability of Mage Slayer triggers and resolves in the declare attackers step. Can Mystifying Maze prevent this? It can only target attacking creatures, therefor it can only be used once the attackers are declared.

What's the correct ruling in this situation?

2 Answers 2


Mystifying Maze can't prevent the Mage Slayer ability from resolving.

It helps to visualise the stack. As you declare your attack, the Mage Slayer ability triggers and is put on the stack. In response, your opponent activates his Mystifying Maze and puts this ability on the stack. Everyone passes, Mystifying Maze's ability at the top of the stack resolves, the creature is exiled. Now we get to Mage Slayer's ability, still on the stack. The creature may currently be exiled, but the ability still resolves (and uses last known information to determine the creature's power and toughness).

There is no window to use the Mystifying Maze's ability before Mage Slayer can trigger; at any point before the trigger the creature is not yet an attacker, and is therefore an invalid target.

  • +1: Thanks for the answer, that makes it much clearer! I'll accept the answer on Monday if no contradicting replies appear until then. Thx!
    – Demento
    Aug 5, 2011 at 10:32

From what I know...

The Mage Slayer's ability will go into the stack to check the creature's power, then yout opponent youu put Mystifying Maze's ability on top so it resolves before. When Maze's ability resolves the creature will be exiled and, then when Mage Slayer resolves it will check the creature's power and it will 0 since there is no creature equipped.

In response to the negatives I received (since I can't comment). Since Mage Slayer states:"Whenever equipped creature attacks, it deals damage equal to its power to defending player."

The creature deals damage, not Mage Slayer. So... How can a creature that has been removed from the board deal damage? It's the same as saying that if you use Prey Upon on your creature and then blinking it until next end step, it will deal damage to the opponent creature and not take any.

  • 4
    This is incorrect. The previous answer to the question provides the correct explanation. It doesn't matter that the creature has been exiled, the ability already exists on the stack.
    – GendoIkari
    May 2, 2014 at 4:43
  • @NotFunny "How can a creature that has been removed from the board deal damage?" It's like the creature threw a grenade, then was killed. The grenade still goes off and deals damage after the creature died. This is the same if you destroy a Tim after it has tapped for damage.
    – GendoIkari
    May 2, 2014 at 15:09
  • 1
    If creatures could only deal damage while they're on the battlefield, then Goblin Arsonist wouldn't work. Since Wizards only print cards that work, we can conclude that creatures can deal damage when they aren't on the battlefield.
    – Kevin
    May 2, 2014 at 15:39
  • @Jefromi That's not exactly what happens. A spell is countered only if all of its targets are illegal. However, it's true that Prey Upon won't damage one of its targets if the other target is illegal, but that's because there is a rule indicating that an illegal target can't do any action (I'll quote the exact rule number when I get back home).
    – Pablo
    May 2, 2014 at 17:14
  • @Pablo Right, of course. All you need is 701.10b, specifically for "fight".
    – Cascabel
    May 2, 2014 at 17:21

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