If a given spell, or a given effect, is able to exile other spells - not simply countering them - is it able to exile even uncounterable spells?

It is useful to give a couple of examples.
If the opponent is summoning Pearl Lake Ancient, but I cast Mindbreak Trap ,which is able to exile any spell, in response to the summoning, will Leviathan go into exile?

Or - (second example) - if the opponent cast Overmaster, and after his resolution cast a Fireball - which should be uncounterable at this point - but I cast the Trap (the same one, as above) in response, will the Fireball go into exile?

  • Although I think the answer is yes, I still wanted to ask players more experienced than me if this is the outcome. After having adequately distinguished between split-second spells and uncounterable spells (see questions about split second spells), it is good now - in my opinion - to adequately distinguish between two different actions: - 1)"to exile a spell"; and - 2)"to counter a spell", and have a written and confirmed track of the outcomes, quickly available online by anyone. I really thank you! Dec 30, 2019 at 10:27
  • If you want to know the purpose of this, there is an existing template for a spell that only exiles if it counters (see Dissipate for an example). It is a conscious choice when they release a counter that just exiles. The reason for this is that it is unbalanced to create cards without any weakness. There needs to be a way to counter uncounterable spells, remove indestructible objects, target hexproof objects, and so on or these cards could become unreasonably oppressive. The goal is to make cards that are challenging to beat without being unbeatable.
    – CALEB F
    Dec 30, 2019 at 22:38
  • 1
    First of all, let me excuse me Caleb,because in the other question I have - for some strange reason! - exchanged your name with that of Gendolkari...!I had just read his comment,and I was sure it was the one there,while it was yours. Anyway,it is true. It is ok put spells that are able to remove uncounterable spells. my purpose here is to create a sort of "quick-recovering archive" so that even beginners can catch this difference. Some of them, casting Emrakul, could in fact shout:-"Hey, what are you doing?You cannot do this, he cannot be countered!".Now,I got some evidence it is possible. Dec 31, 2019 at 10:06

2 Answers 2


is it able to exile even uncounterable spells?


When a rule, spell or ability refers to a keyword action (a verb with a rule definition), it strictly refers to that action.

Pearl Lake Ancient can't be countered (a keyword action), but it can be exiled.

Difference between countering spells and exiling spells

To counter a spell, move it to its owner's graveyard.

"Exile" isn't a keyword action. It's simply short for "move to the exile zone".[1]

In both cases, the spell will never get a chance to resolve since it will never be the topmost item on the stack after all players have passed in succession.

  1. "Move" also isn't a keyword action. That's why many different verbs are used for the action. The verbs include: "move", "put", "place", "return", "exile" and "die".

  1. Keyword Actions

701.1. Most actions described in a card’s rules text use the standard English definitions of the verbs within, but some specialized verbs are used whose meanings may not be clear. These “keywords” are game terms; sometimes reminder text summarizes their meanings.

701.5. Counter

701.5a To counter a spell or ability means to cancel it, removing it from the stack. It doesn’t resolve and none of its effects occur. A countered spell is put into its owner’s graveyard.

608.1. Each time all players pass in succession, the spell or ability on top of the stack resolves. (See rule 609, “Effects.”)

  • Great answer... lots of details. Dec 31, 2019 at 10:09

Yes, you can exile uncounterable spells.

"Counter" is a specific keyword action and so is "Exile". Uncounterable means you cannot be countered, but it doesn't mean you cannot be exiled. Of course, after a spell is exiled, it doesn't resolve, so it's effectively countered - but for the purpose of game mechanics, it still hasn't been countered.

There're some spells such as Spell Shrivel which are worded another way:

If that spell is countered this way, exile it instead of putting it into its owner's graveyard.

Therefore, Spell Shrivel will not counter & exile Pearl Lake Ancient - in this, it's different from Mindbreak Trap.

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