Suppose Ovika, Enigma Goliath is on the battlefield, an opponent casts some form of targeted removal(Path to exile) at it, in response the ovika player casts Fierce Guardianship for free.

question is: what's the mana value of the counter spell on the stack?

I think it's still 3 and would make 3 goblins from Ovikas triggered ability, right?

  • FYI: found a bit of info on this mtg.fandom.com/wiki/Mana_value lists the MV for different kinds of spells on the stack and it seems that this case is falls under: 'Cast using an alternate cost' and in that case the MV of the spell on the stack is supposedly the original value, so 3.
    – garglblarg
    Oct 25, 2023 at 15:21
  • Memory Deluge is an example of how the wording would have to be in order for Ovika to not create you tokens.
    – Erik
    Nov 1, 2023 at 14:14

1 Answer 1


The mana value of a spell is always calculated from the mana cost printed on the card, no matter what you actually spent to cast it.

So yes, Fierce Guardianship always has a mana value of 3, and it will always cause Ovika to make 3 creatures. On the other hand, if a spell is printed with a mana value of 0, then Ovika will make no creatures, even if you spend mana to cast it.

  • "X" spells are an exception, they are whatever you chose for X when on the stack, but 0 in any other zone.
    – BradC
    Oct 25, 2023 at 16:57
  • 1
    They are not an exception. The mana cost of an "X" spell on the stack is determined by plugging in X. The mana value of that spell is calculated from the mana cost, just like for any other spell.
    – murgatroid99
    Oct 25, 2023 at 17:13
  • Ok, "exception" might not be the right word, but certainly a non-obvious case (and not addressed by your answer) that the OP will need to properly understand when playing an Ovika deck.
    – BradC
    Oct 25, 2023 at 18:23
  • 2
    Since this question was about casting spells "without paying their mana cost", and that always causes X to be 0, it doesn't make a difference in the kind of situation this question is about.
    – murgatroid99
    Oct 25, 2023 at 20:05
  • @BradC it can be a bit confusing if not explicitly stated, but there is an X in the printed mana cost on the card, and that X has a value while on stack, so Murgatroid's answer is still technically correct. The best kind of correct. And honestly for free X spells X is always 0, so it's irrelevant to this particular question.
    – Andrew
    Oct 27, 2023 at 13:45

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