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The first part of Ent's Fury's specifies

Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature you control if its power is 4 or greater.

but then it continues

Then that creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn and fights target creature you don't control.

When targeting a creature with less than 4 power, my interpretation is that the first ability will do nothing, while the second will take effect (ideally burying an opposing creature and preparing to attack), but I see conflicting reports online and no Oracle Rulings yet

The spell can target a creature with less than 4 power because it's not a qualifier like "target creature you control with 4 or more power", triggering effects like "when X becomes the target of a spell", but does the second part of the spell take effect?

Ent's Fury Card

2 Answers 2

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The second part of the spell functions for creatures with less than 4 power.

The "if its power is 4 or greater" clause only modifies the first sentence. The antecedent of "that creature" in the second sentence refers to "target creature you control", and that creature is still that creature even if it doesn't have power 4 or greater.

Several similar fight spells have been printed, and they all work like this. For example, Ancient Animus has the text

Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature you control if it’s legendary. Then it fights target creature an opponent controls.

and the ruling

The creature you control doesn’t have to be legendary. It simply won’t receive a +1/+1 counter before it fights if it isn’t legendary.

And Savage Swipe has the text

Target creature you control gets +2/+2 until end of turn if its power is 2. Then it fights target creature you don’t control.

and the ruling

The target creature you control gets +2/+2 only if its power is exactly 2 as Savage Swipe resolves. It’ll still fight if it doesn’t get +2/+2.

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  • cheers - I think the rulings on the cards with the same style of wording are the best reference here!
    – ti7
    Jul 19, 2023 at 22:19
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Yes, you are interpreting this correctly. You simply follow all the instructions in the order written. Only the first part is qualified with "if its power is 4 or greater", so the second part happens either way. If the intent were to only allow the card to work at all on creatures with power 4 or greater, it would be worded something like

Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature you control with power 4 or greater. Then that creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn and fights target creature you don't control.

This version would make it illegal to target a creature unless its power were 4 or greater. There really isn't a realistic wording that would allow you to target any creature, but would only do anything at all if the creature had power 4 or greater. It would be strange to allow you to target a creature for no effect at all, just to potentially trigger "when this creature becomes the target of a spell" triggers.

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    It's rare, but there are a few cards that have a broad targeting condition, but have no effect unless a condition is met. One that is commonly used in Modern is Fatal Push, and one commonly used in Legacy is Pyroblast.
    – murgatroid99
    Jul 19, 2023 at 17:33
  • "Choose target creature you control. If that creature's power is 4 or greater, put a +1/+1 counter on it, then it gets +1/+1 until end of turn and fights target creature you don't control." Of course, like you say, they wouldn't print that card, but I believe something like that is a realistic wording for it if they did.
    – David Z
    Jul 19, 2023 at 18:49

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