For instance I want to cast Shock on Barkhide Troll during my main phase. Then my opponent can respond to it with Troll activated ability. If I understand it correctly - he had to use Troll's Active Ability before my instant had targeted the creature. So it means my instant should deal the damage.

It is like when you want to use an ability which says "your creature can't be blocked until the end of the turn" and if you use such an instant after an opponent blocked your creature - an instant won't work because you had to use it when you assigned attackers


2 Answers 2


No, the Shock will not deal damage if the target gains hexproof in response.

The reason is that target validity is checked both while you are casting the spell and as the spell starts to resolve. If the target becomes invalid, say by gaining hexproof, before the spell resolves, the spell will not do anything to that target, and if all of the targets are invalid, the spell will not do anything at all.

  • ok, makes sense. but it does not work in the same way with attacking and blocking. does it? Nov 11, 2019 at 18:22
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    No, this is specific to spells and abilities with targets.
    – murgatroid99
    Nov 11, 2019 at 18:29

No, the shock he used there will not deal damage to the troll.

As murgatroid99 said, spells check if their targets are valid both when they are cast and when they resolve. Responding to your cast with hexproof puts his hexproof on top of your shock, so that resolves first, gives the troll hexproof, and makes it an illegal target when Shock tries to resolve.

You could do the same thing - you can respond to him activating the hexproof by removing the counter with a second shock spell - that way your shock will be on the stack above his hexproof, this second shock would resolve before the troll actually gets hexproof and do the 2 damage needed to kill the 2/2 creature. The hexproof ability and your first shock spell will be removed from the stack doing nothing, as the object hexproof is tied to or the target in the case of shock no longer exists as a permanent, and is no longer legal.

The blocking/unblockable example doesn't really apply, since combat rules and targeting rules are very different in magic.

  • what you said is insane. I don't get it... If I use Shock he responds with hexproof and I use Shock again - it won't work because Troll gets hexproof until the end of the turn. Correct me, please. I don't understand why my second shock goes EARLIER than his hexproof Nov 12, 2019 at 12:07
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    @VadzimNemchenko When the opponent plays hexproof it does not go into effect immediately. It still needs to resolve. The stack works in a last-in-first-out method (except for special situations). When you play shock it goes on the stack, then the opponent activates barkhide ability, it goes on the stack, then you play another shock, it goes on the stack. No one responds. Shock #2 resolves dealing two damage killing Barkhide. Barkhide ability fizzles as it's not there. Shock #1 fizzles because it's target is gone.
    – LeppyR64
    Nov 12, 2019 at 12:24
  • @VadzimNemchenko Think of the stack as saying you intend to try to do something - with shock you intend to try and do 2 damage to the target, with the troll ability you intend to try and give hexproof. So when shock is cast you intend to try to do 2 damage, he intends to give hexproof so you can't do that, but since you have another shock and the mana to pay for it you can say you intend to do 2 damage before that hexproof is given. Until you both decide to do nothing else before the most recent action, nothing actually happens.
    – Andrew
    Nov 13, 2019 at 1:22

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