8

Last Word reads

This spell can’t be countered.

Counter target spell.

But if I were to be using another counterspell in any situation, couldn't I just choose to target the original spell again? There's no reason for me to be forced to target Last Word with, say, another Cancel. So in what situations is Last Word's first line really important?

18

Player A casts a spell that essentially reads "You win the game". Player B casts Last word to counter it. Player A has 20 counterspells ready, but they won't save his game-winning spell.

Last Word's uncounterability is less useful if it counters another counterspell because, as you say, the opponent can just target the original spell. But if the opponent is the one starting with the valuable spell, Last Word all but guarantees that the valuable spell gets countered.

Also, there can be many different variations of counterspells with various restrictions and benefits. If Player A casts any creature spell, and player B has Counterspell and Negate, player B has to use Counterspell. If player A protects their creature spell with Last Word, player B's Negate is useless because it can't target the creature spell.

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  • 2
    For some reason I was only thinking of it as a protective spell. Not really sure why. – CollinB Feb 18 at 13:19
  • Sounds like Player A needs to get more Determined. – Nat Feb 19 at 13:10
  • @CollinB: Probably because the spell's flavor feels like the end of an escalating back-and-forth exchange, not the start. – user2357112 supports Monica Feb 19 at 17:48
3

It's relevant because players can counter each others' counterspells back and forth. Consider this scenario:

  1. We're both blue players.
  2. You cast your big combo piece, maybe Nexus of Fate.
  3. I cast Cancel to counter it.
  4. You cast Cancel on my own Cancel.

Then we let the stack resolve. Your Cancel (from step 4) counters my own Cancel (from step 3), and your spell from step 2 resolves without a hitch.

If instead I was playing Last Word, the situation would look like this:

  1. You cast your big combo piece, maybe Nexus of Fate.
  2. I cast Last Word to counter it.

At this point, you can't do squat to my Last Word. Your spell is going to get countered unless you have something like Brutal Expulsion available.

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  • For some reason I was only thinking about the scenario the other way around, E.G: I cast my Nexus of Fate, you cast your Cancel. I cast Last Word on Cancel. You cast another Cancel targeting Nexus again. Too late to edit the question to specify protective uses? – CollinB Feb 18 at 13:21
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    @CollinB I think the question's fine as-is. This is the situation you use Last Word; you don't use it when you're protecting your own spell. If you updated the question we'd just have to say “You don't use it then, you use it like this” which is a lot messier. – doppelgreener Feb 18 at 13:23
  • Unless it's the only option available to you? My question is basically whether there is any fringe scenario in which it might be relevant to have that on a protective counterspell. – CollinB Feb 18 at 13:24
  • Meant to add an @doppelgreener to that, not sure what happened – CollinB Feb 18 at 13:34
  • @CollinB the analogous ability for a protective counterspell would be split second. i cannot think of a scenario where last words wording helps it as a protective counterspell – n0m4d3 Feb 18 at 13:45
2

Here's another situation where Last Word's "cannot be countered" clause is relevant: opponent has Chalice of the Void with 4 counters, or Counterbalance (with a 4-CMC card on top of their library).

Without the "cannot be countered" clause, Last Word would be countered by these effects.

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  • +1 for a solid matchup to deal with via Last Word – ti7 Feb 19 at 18:44

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