If I have priority and cast an Unholy Strength on a just summoned 2/3 creature, then, passing priority, my opponent casts a Lightning Bolt on that creature, does my creature survive? The first spell that resolves is obviously the bolt, that deals 3 point of damage to the creature; but immediately after, will the Unholy Strength resolve (giving +2/+1), allowing the creature to survive?

  • 1
    In other words, we have a stack with lightning bolt on top of it, and then an enchant creature (f.e. unholy strenght). What happens? Do the damage send the creature to the graveyard, or unholy strenght has the time to resolve and save the creature? Commented Nov 16, 2019 at 11:09
  • I really disagree with the sign - "this question already has an answer here" - because beginners may find the two interactions quite different.Here we have a stack with lightning bolt (instant) on top of it, and then an unholy strenght (enchant creature); in the linked question there are two instants, instead. Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 15:46
  • Who knows how the stack really works?Beginners still don't know very well if a certain type of spell goes on the stack or not,and therefore they need to know if there are differences in interaction between enchantments/instants/abilities,with other instants.To show the validity of the question I may talk about the case of a creature unmorphing itself:in this case,since it is a special action, the unmorphing WILL NOT GO on the stack.Therefore, interaction with it would be different (since opponent cannnot respond to it).Only experienced players,like Ikegami&Murgatroid,know how the stack works. Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 16:14

1 Answer 1


It's not "immediately after" at all. Between the bolt resolving and the strength resolving, the game goes through a whole bunch of steps that are usually glossed over in casual play.

  1. State-based actions are checked and then performed. This includes, but is not limited to, destroying creatures with lethal damage dealt to them, and causing players with 0 or less life to lose.
  2. Repeat 1 until nothing new happens.
  3. Abilities that triggered during the resolution of the bolt (e.g. "Whenever this creature is dealt damage") and during steps 1 and 2 are put on the stack.
  4. Repeat 2 and 3 until nothing new happens
  5. Players gain priority and may play instants and spells with flash.
  6. If no player played anything, now the Unholy Strength resolves, sees that it has no valid target, and is removed from the stack to your graveyard with no effect.
  • Point of order: #4 is actually first, and #3 repeats the SBA check as well. 704.3
    – JonTheMon
    Commented Nov 18, 2019 at 22:01
  • In other words, SBAs go first, then those repeat until nothing happens, then triggered abilities go on the stack, then you go back to the beginning of this sequence if anything happened in any of those steps.
    – murgatroid99
    Commented Nov 18, 2019 at 22:06
  • @JonTheMoon You're right. I'll fix.
    – Arthur
    Commented Nov 18, 2019 at 22:07
  • It's still a little off. step 4 should effectively by "Repeat steps 1-3 until nothing new happens", and then you don't need steps 5-7.
    – murgatroid99
    Commented Nov 18, 2019 at 22:15
  • 1
    This scryfall search lists several cards with abilities that trigger from targets being chosen, which can happen while putting triggered abilities on the stack.
    – murgatroid99
    Commented Nov 18, 2019 at 23:15

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