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Spellshock is an enchantment that says:

Whenever a player casts a spell, Spellshock deals 2 damage to that player.

If I play this, do I then have to pay two life for every spell I cast? Does it not apply only to other players?

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    The Gatherer ruling seems pretty clear... "04/10/2004 It affects all players, including you." – Philip Kendall May 1 at 15:36
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    As a future reference it is best to avoid accepting an answer right away as there is a chance a better answer could come along and at times having an accepted answer will stop some from providing a better one. – Joe W May 1 at 18:23
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There are a few ways that could be written which would change where it applies. It could have been written, in order from most narrow to widest:

Whenever you cast a spell, Spellshock deals 2 damage to you.

This applies to you, and only you. There aren't many cards that work this way anymore, downsides to cards have gotten more rare over time, currently the most recent example I can think of is Treacherous Blessing.

Whenever an opponent casts a spell, Spellshock deals 2 damage to that player.

This way of wording would mean it applies to each player who is your opponent - usually this is every other player, but some formats like two headed giant or archenemy can have players who are allies, it wouldn't apply to them. This kind of wording is on cards like Silverquill Silencer.

Whenever another player casts a spell, Spellshock deals 2 damage to that player.

This way of wording would mean it applies to everyone except you (as the controller of Spellshock). Unlike the previous wording this one does apply to allies in formats where those exist. No card has really been worded quite like this, but similar effects are on cards like Syphon Soul and Zur's Weirding.

Whenever a player casts a spell, Spellshock deals 2 damage to that player.

This is the wording that the spell has, and it applies to everyone in the game, your opponents, your allies (if any) and yourself.

Cards like Spellshock tend to be played in decks that don't intend to cast many spells - decks that use ways to play cards other than casting them, like Sneak Attack, Quicksilver Amulet and Elvish Piper do with creatures, or in decks where you can prevent the life loss with cards like Platinum Emperion or the Nine Lives and Solemnity combo, offset the loss with enough life gain, or prevent yourself from losing for having 0 life with cards like Platinum Angel.

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  • Cards like Spellshock tend to be played in decks that don't intend to cast many spells Or it's just outright unplayable =) I'd point out that similar effects are used by red decks to stop opponents from gaining life and therefore within burn range while simultaneously damaging them. Offhand the best example is Sulfuric Vortex, which is much more effective at what it does than Spellshock. – Allure May 3 at 5:02
  • @Allure No it's not a commonly played card, though it does serve a different purpose than Sulfuric Vortex - that one punishes evenly per turn, Spellshock could check storm decks - but otherwise yes it is of little practical use. – Andrew May 3 at 13:52
  • @Allure For instance, a spellshock would shut down the sorcery speed storm deck That's taken a big share of the MTGA meta (Grinning Ignus/Grapeshot) – Andrew May 3 at 14:49
  • fair point, although even then I have a hard time seeing it as inferior to Damping Sphere which is just as effective, costs less mana, and is colorless. – Allure May 3 at 20:19
  • @Allure Red can't deal with enchantments, it can deal with artifacts like Damping Sphere - I'm not arguing that Spellshock is a great card or a best option in any cases, just that it could have uses, and where those uses would be. – Andrew May 3 at 20:24
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Yes, everyone suffers the damage as it specifies all players as a target. However there are other cards that would protect you from that damage such as Circle of Protection: Red or other cards like that

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  • FYI: I updated the question to quote the card text. Up to you if you want to keep the quote in your answer. – doppelgreener May 1 at 15:55
  • @doppelgreener Thanks and I guess I should have done that as part of my edit. – Joe W May 1 at 15:59
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    Nitpick - Spellshock is not targeting. – Andrew May 1 at 18:29
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While Andrew has already answered this question, the rulings on gatherer reinforce this:

It affects all players, including you.

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