Spelltwine: what does «cast if able» implies?

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I cast Spelltwine targetting Dispel and Twiddle.

I can't cast Dispel right away because there are no Instant on the Stack, so I cast Twiddle.

But then, I just became able to cast Dispel, targetting my Twiddle. Must I?     

I'd say that due to the if able clause on there, Dispel has no immediate target as it's being cast, since they seem to be cast simultaneously (which is definitely a first for me). The two spells have to have targets at the point they would be casted by Spelltwine's resolution.
tricky question

I think there is no other way to resolve this than to have you Dispel the Twiddle
while you choose the order in which to cast the spells you are simply not able to cast the Dispel before the Twiddle
proud member of the 2011 community team
From the rulings on Spelltwine:

 7/1/2012 The copy you cast first will already be on the stack when you cast the other copy. If that spell targets a spell, you may choose the first copy as a legal target.



 So if you want to cast the Dispel for some reason, cast it second. If you don't want to have to counter the Twiddle, try and fail to cast it first. I can't see anything in Spelltwine that compels you to cast them in any particular order. 
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That makes sense there, it wasn't quite clear in which order the copies are cast. If one can choose the order, then you can make this scenario work out favorably.
I'd say that due to the if able clause on there, Dispel has no immediate target as it's being cast, since they seem to be cast simultaneously (which is definitely a first for me). The two spells have to have targets at the point they would be casted by Spelltwine's resolution.

First, one thing is unambiguous: it is legal to cast the copy of twiddle first, then cast dispell targetting the copy of twiddle.
7/1/2012 The copy you cast first will already be on the stack when you cast the other copy. If that spell targets a spell, you may choose the first copy as a legal target.


As for your question chaikov... i'm not sure of the answer, but here's my take:

During the resolution of spelltwine, you have to make a choice: cast twiddle first, or cast dispel first. Casting dispel first is impossible because there are no legal targets, and since you can't make an illegal choice, you are forced to cast twiddle first. Given that you've chosen to cast twiddle first (not that you had any choice but to make that choice...), dispel will be cast second. When you cast dispell, there is a legal target, so you'll be able to cast it.
608.2d If an effect of a spell or ability offers any choices other than choices already made as part of casting the spell, activating the ability, or otherwise putting the spell or ability on the stack, the player announces these while applying the effect. The player can't choose an option that's illegal or impossible, with the exception that having library with no cards in it doesn't make drawing a card an impossible action (see rule 120.3). If an effect divides or distributes something, such as damage or counters, as a player chooses among any number of untargeted players and/or objects, the player chooses the amount and division such that at least one player or object is chosen if able, and each chosen player or object receives at least one of whatever is being divided. (Note that if an effect divides or distributes something, such as damage or counters, as a player chooses among some number of target objects and/or players, the amount and division were determined as the spell or ability was put onto the stack rather than at this time; see rule 601.2d.)

Good catch cyphern. Perhaps the if able clause on there only refers to timing restrictions such as Master Warcraft.

Which brings up another interesting point. If one were to target Twiddle and Master Warcraft in Main Phase 2, there is another case of an impossible action trying to occur regardless of the order the spells are cast. In this case, is it just a situation of do as much as you can, which is only casting Twiddle?
Good catch cyphern. Perhaps the if able clause on there only refers to timing restrictions such as Master Warcraft.

Yes, that's one example. Also, you might not be able to cast the copies because of additional costs.
In this case, is it just a situation of do as much as you can, which is only casting Twiddle ?

You do as much as you can and just cast twiddle. 
During the resolution of spelltwine, you have to make a choice: cast twiddle first, or cast dispel first. Casting dispel first is impossible because there are no legal targets, and since you can't make an illegal choice, you are forced to cast twiddle first.

playing devil's advocate here: wouldn't the "if able" make it a legal choice?
proud member of the 2011 community team
Spelltwine has a ruling;
You can cast the copies in either order.

During the resolution of spelltwine, you have to make a choice: cast twiddle first, or cast dispel first. Casting dispel first is impossible because there are no legal targets, and since you can't make an illegal choice, you are forced to cast twiddle first.

playing devil's advocate here: wouldn't the "if able" make it a legal choice?


Yes, it might. As i mentioned, i'm not sure about my answer.

Chaikov, you come up with some maddening questions -- and i mean that as a good thing  
Actually, Dimir_Mage should get the credit:

community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

Spelltwine offers the caster a single choice: In what order do I want to cast these spells? Once the order is determined, the game checks whether the spell could be cast, and if so you cast it.

"Cast Dispel first" is a legal choice, because we're not going to check whether casting it is possible until we actually try to cast it. (If the legality was checked when we decided the order, "cast Dispel second" would be an illegal choice, and the ruling shoots that down.)

In addition, Spelltwine would need to look into the future to determine that it will be legal to cast Dispel once you cast Twiddle, and that sort of thing is generally avoided by the rules. This principle is plainer in a case where one of the spells chosen has spilt second. (Since casting one spell first would impose a restriction rather than permitting the other to be cast.)

Rules and reasoning:
608.2g If an effect requires information from the game, the answer is determined only once, when the effect is applied.

I believe that Is it legal to cast this spell? can be interpreted as information that is required from the game. Therefore, we only determine whether the player is able to cast a given spell via Spelltwine one time. I consider the effect cast the copies... to be "applied" when the spells are cast, not when the player decides their order.

EDIT: Looks like that particular rule doesn't apply.
playing devil's advocate here: wouldn't the "if able" make it a legal choice?

Hum, this reminds me of a recent thread. The situation is rather different (because blocking has a rule requiring that the maximum number of requirement be met), but it could be relevant because "if able" was ignored when determing what constitutes a requirement.

Spelltwine offers the caster a single choice: In what order do I want to cast these spells? Once the order is determined, the game checks whether the spell could be cast, and if so you cast it.

So you're saying:

  1. The effect means "... Choose an order in which to cast the spells. Cast the spells in that order if able. ...".

  2. Choices only take into account restrictions that directly affect the choice. There's no restriction on the order itself, so any order is legal.

(1) is implied by the ruling.
You can cast the copies in either order.

(2) is definitely consistent with what I see in the rules, including the example on impossible choices.
Example: A spell’s instruction reads, “You may sacrifice a creature. If you don’t, you lose 4 life.” A player who controls no creatures can’t choose the sacrifice option.

I hope you're right. This is a nice elegant model. The alternative is look ahead, and that's inherently more complex.

Rules and reasoning:
608.2g If an effect requires information from the game, the answer is determined only once, when the effect is applied.

I believe that Is it legal to cast this spell? can be interpreted as information that is required from the game. Therefore, we only determine whether the player is able to cast a given spell via Spelltwine one time. I consider the effect cast the copies... to be "applied" when the spells are cast, not when the player decides their order.

This rule doesn't apply. The choice and the casting are part of the same effect.
My 2 cents.

You're forced to cast Dispel second targeting Twiddle.

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*enters voting booth* I think you can choose to cast Dispel first, which is illegal so you are "not able" to... Then cast Twiddle.

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Can someone escalate this?
I just sent it off to the list, but perhaps Natedogg will jump in before Daniel K. gets to it.

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We still have no definitive answer here...

I'm definitely in the "you're forced to cast twiddle first" camp. It seems a lot like the Drop of Honey vs. indestructible case.
All Generalizations are Bad
I'm definitely in the "you're forced to cast twiddle first" camp. It seems a lot like the Drop of Honey vs. indestructible case.

Not the same as [C]Drop of Honey[/C] as all. There, the choice is beetween destroying an indestructible creature and destroying an non-indestructible creature.

If there was a parallel, the choice here would be between casting an uncastable spell and casting a castable spell. But that's not the case. The spell must be cast unconditionally. The choice is between casting a spell first or casting a spell second.

Your example is not applicable. If that is the basis for your reasoning, you should reevaluate.

(I'm not saying your conclusion is incorrect; I'm saying your argument is invalid.)

I don't buy that the choice is "cast the spell first or cast the spell second." I think the choice is "cast dispel first" or "cast twiddle first" and then you do the other one afterwards. Since the first option is illegal before at first (no legal targets) you must cast twiddle first.
All Generalizations are Bad
The spell must be cast unconditionally. The choice is between casting a spell first or casting a spell second.

How can you conclude that «the spell must be cast unconditionally»?

If the chosen spell CAN'T be cast, then you just don't cast it. It HAS to be legal to cast it. 
For example, you just couldn't cast Terror if there were no creature in play. 

601.2. (...) Casting a spell follows the steps listed below, in order. If, at any point during the casting of a spell, a player is unable to comply with any of the steps listed below, the casting of the spell is illegal;...
 

(I haven't joined side yet, but I must admit Cyphern and Rootbreaker have a solid case)

I don't buy that the choice is "cast the spell first or cast the spell second." I think the choice is "cast dispel first" or "cast twiddle first" and then you do the other one afterwards. Since the first option is illegal before at first (no legal targets) you must cast twiddle first.

That's a good explanation of the other view.
I'm definitely in the "you're forced to cast twiddle first" camp. It seems a lot like the Drop of Honey vs. indestructible case.

Which, imo, was an absolutely ridiculous ruling. It is NOT illegal OR impossible to target an indestructible creature with a destroy effect. Casting Shatter with Darksteel Colossus as the target is perfectly legal.

Just because the destroy effect will fail to actually destroy the indestructible object doesn't make it an illegal target. The Drop of Honey ruling is just plain wrong (again, imo).

Likewise, I agree with the camp here that says the choice of order is made first and the legality of casting the Dispel shouldn't be a factor at that point. If the legality IS a factor, then it still doesn't matter because choosing to cast the Dispel AT ALL is illegal AT THE TIME YOU MAKE THE CHOICE.

If the final ruling comes down that you must cast the Twiddle first so that the Dispel can have a legal target, then that is going to open up a whole new arena of chained events for us to explore and break the game with.

I'm just a Pigment of your imagination.
How can you conclude that «the spell must be cast unconditionally»?

You're reading to much into what I said. How about "You must attempt to cast the spell unconditionally". It's not "you may cast", etc.

I'm definitely in the "you're forced to cast twiddle first" camp. It seems a lot like the Drop of Honey vs. indestructible case.

Which, imo, was an absolutely ridiculous ruling. It is NOT illegal OR impossible to target an indestructible creature with a destroy effect. Casting Shatter with Darksteel Colossus as the target is perfectly legal.

Drop of Honey does not target. You're being asked to do something impossible immediately. You're not casting a spell or activating an ability that may or may not have an effect.
Drop of Honey does not target. You're being asked to do something impossible immediately. Not later, like casting a targetting spell or ability.

We're getting a bit off topic here, but I don't see that it matters. Or, to be more correct, I don't see that it should matter.

There is nothing in the rules that says trying to destroy an indestructible object is either impossible or illegal. The indestructible object won't be destroyed by a destroy effect, but the attempt is perfectly legal.

Yes, I know it has been ruled the opposite. I don't care. I'll play it according to the ruling if it ever comes up, but I'll continue to believe that that ruling is just plain wrong.

I'm just a Pigment of your imagination.
Oops, sorry. I thought I had answered this. Guess I hadn't >.>

You have to cast the Twiddle first. You can't cast the Dispel first, so you have to cast Twiddle first. Since there's now a legal target for Dispel, you have to cast it now. It'll probably be covered better in the next Comp Rules update.

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Questions don't have to make sense, but answers do.

Drop of Honey does not target. You're being asked to do something impossible immediately. Not later, like casting a targetting spell or ability.

We're getting a bit off topic here, but I don't see that it matters. Or, to be more correct, I don't see that it should matter.

I'm not going to go into whether it should matter or not. I'm simply saying it does matter.

My wording was a bit poor, so let me try again:

You can choose to target [C]Darksteel Colossus[/C] with [C]Shatter[/C] -- it's a legal choice because Darksteel Colossus is an artifact and that's the only condition -- but you can't choose to destroy something indestructible. This is black and white in the rules.
700.4. If a permanent is indestructible, rules and effects can’t destroy it. [...]

608.2d If an effect of a spell or ability offers any choices other than choices already made as part of casting the spell, activating the ability, or otherwise putting the spell or ability on the stack, the player announces these while applying the effect. The player can’t choose an option that’s illegal or impossible, with the exception that having library with no cards in it doesn’t make drawing a card an impossible action (see rule 120.3). If an effect divides or distributes something, such as damage or counters, as a player chooses among any number of untargeted players and/or objects, the player chooses the amount and division such that at least one player or object is chosen if able, and each chosen player or object receives at least one of whatever is being divided. (Note that if an effect divides or distributes something, such as damage or counters, as a player chooses among some number of target objects and/or players, the amount and division were determined as the spell or ability was put onto the stack rather than at this time; see rule 601.2d.)



I think it's suppose to be like a mandatory cost. (The difference is that the rule/effect continues on even if you can't pay the cost.)

I'm definitely in the "you're forced to cast twiddle first" camp. It seems a lot like the Drop of Honey vs. indestructible case.

Which, imo, was an absolutely ridiculous ruling. It is NOT illegal OR impossible to target an indestructible creature with a destroy effect. Casting Shatter with Darksteel Colossus as the target is perfectly legal.

Just because the destroy effect will fail to actually destroy the indestructible object doesn't make it an illegal target. The Drop of Honey ruling is just plain wrong (again, imo).

There is a difference between "choose [a target]" and "choose [what to destroy]". When choosing something, the game only concerns itself with whether or not that specific choice is legal, not whether or not actions that may eventually happen at some later time as a consequence of that choice will be legal.

Imagine a spell that read "Sacrifice target creature." It would be legal to cast this spell targeting an opponent's creature, because an opponent's creature still matches the appropriate target phrase ("creature"). When the spell resolved, it would fail to do anything, because sacrificing something you don't control is impossible. But this fact doesn't mean that when an opponent casts Cruel Edict on you you can choose to sacrifice one of your opponent's creatures and fail--you can't, because that specific choice is impossible.

Same deal here. You can target a Darksteel Colossus with Shatter for the same reason you can target it with Auriok Transfixer's ability--because it matches the target phrase ("artifact"). The legality of the target choice is all the game's concerned about at the time you're making the choice of target. But if Drop of Honey's ability is resolving, you can't choose to destroy an indestructible creature and fail, because that specific choice is impossible--this time the game's concerned about the legality of destroying that creature, and it's not legal.

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Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

you can't choose to destroy something indestructible. This is black and white in the rules.
700.4. If a permanent is indestructible, rules and effects can’t destroy it. [...]


I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree because I don't see it as black and white in the rules AT ALL.

Yes, it is clear that the effect can't destroy it. It is not clear that it is legal to try if the effect has a target, but not legal if the effect doesn't use the word "target".

Suppose there are only two creatures in play, one indestructible and the other vanilla. A spell is played with the effect "Destroy a random creature."

According to your (and the Rules team's) interpretation, the vanilla will be destroyed every time. I think that is just plain wrong. but obviously I'm in the minority here.

I'm just a Pigment of your imagination.
But if Drop of Honey's ability is resolving, you can't choose to destroy an indestructible creature and fail, because that specific choice is impossible--this time the game's concerned about the legality of destroying that creature, and it's not legal.

Nitpick: It most certainly IS "legal", the debate is whether it is "possible". But there's nothing "illegal" about trying to destroy an indestructible object.

Maybe I'm just playing semantics here, but in my head, "impossible" has special meaning within the context of the rules. And while I see the end result being the failure to destroy, I don't see the choice as being "impossible".
I'm just a Pigment of your imagination.
Oops, sorry. I thought I had answered this. Guess I hadn't >.>

You have to cast the Twiddle first. You can't cast the Dispel first, so you have to cast the spell first. Since there's now a legal target for Dispel, you have to cast it now. It'll probably be covered better in the next Comp Rules update.

Thanks Nate.

But if Drop of Honey's ability is resolving, you can't choose to destroy an indestructible creature and fail, because that specific choice is impossible--this time the game's concerned about the legality of destroying that creature, and it's not legal.

Nitpick: It most certainly IS "legal", the debate is whether it is "possible". But there's nothing "illegal" about trying to destroy an indestructible object.

Maybe I'm just playing semantics here, but in my head, "impossible" has special meaning within the context of the rules. And while I see the end result being the failure to destroy, I don't see the choice as being "impossible".

Do you mean the dictionary defintion of legal? The word doesn't just mean allowed by the law and it's clear that Zamm is talking about the defintion used often in the rules, the one that means that something is allowed by the game rules.

I don't see any indication that impossible means something special in the rulebook. It's only used a few times, often in relation to impossible actions like this one.


All Generalizations are Bad
There are a few places where I simply disagree with the rulings. This is one of them. Doesn't mean I play the game I the way I "want" it to be or that I give people incorrect answers. But I'm entitled to my opinion as much as anyone else. And my opinion on this topic is that it should be ruled differently. No, I don't expect it ever will be, but that doesn't stop me from disagreeing with the ruling.

And with that, I think I'm through with this debate.
I'm just a Pigment of your imagination.
That's your right, of course, but I'd just like to remind you that postings here do sometimes influence policy. Every comprules update contains something I recognize as stemming from a debate here or on RT&T. However, they have a better chance of doing so if you can do a better job of articulating your reasons for having the views you do. No-one is putting a gun to your head and making you do so, but it might be in your interests since you clearly care about the issue.

(Of course, if you do wish to revisit this, starting an RT&T thread would probably be the way to go.)
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
you can't choose to destroy something indestructible. This is black and white in the rules.
700.4. If a permanent is indestructible, rules and effects can’t destroy it. [...]


I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree because I don't see it as black and white in the rules AT ALL.

Yes, it is clear that the effect can't destroy it. It is not clear that it is legal to try if the effect has a target, but not legal if the effect doesn't use the word "target".

Whether it's targetting or not has nothing to do with it.

There are two choices being made that leads to casting [C]Shatter[/C]:


  • The choice to cast Shatter or not. Casting a spell doesn't cause destruction (even if part of its effect does), so the rule I quoted doesn't apply. Absent other restrictions, you can cast Shatter.

  • The choice of target. The only constraint on the target is that it must be an artifact. [C]Darksteel Colossus[/C] is an artifact, so it's a valid choice of target.


As such, it's legal to cast Shatter targetting Darksteel Colossus. There's simply no rule forbidding it. I'm not sure why think it's unclear.
That's your right, of course, but I'd just like to remind you that postings here do sometimes influence policy. Every comprules update contains something I recognize as stemming from a debate here or on RT&T. However, they have a better chance of doing so if you can do a better job of articulating your reasons for having the views you do. No-one is putting a gun to your head and making you do so, but it might be in your interests since you clearly care about the issue.

(Of course, if you do wish to revisit this, starting an RT&T thread would probably be the way to go.)

A) This issue was debated at length in the past. A new discussion now is unlikely to have an effect.
B) I only mentioned it because someone else brought it up, I didn't mean to start a whole side debate, though perhaps I should have expected it.
C) I brought up an issue once before and it turned into a debacle that is still an unchanged disaster in the Rules. So I don't really feel much desire to try again, especially on something much less clear that it is a problem, ruleswise.

(Ante is still in the Rules without ANY clarification that it is only intended for 1-vs-1 duels and is not in any way shape or form supported in the Rules for multi-player formats. The Ante rules do stay they are an optional way to play, but under those Rules, should you choose to play with them, you can quit the game with lethal damage on the stack and as long as there are still at least two players that will continue the game, you take your Ante card(s) with you while they continue to play for their Ante cards. And that doesn't even begin to touch the problem of multiple players trying to concede "first" so that they keep their Ante cards while the second to last loses his to the winner.)

I'm just a Pigment of your imagination.
Suppose there are only two creatures in play, one indestructible and the other vanilla. A spell is played with the effect "Destroy a random creature."

According to your (and the Rules team's) interpretation, the vanilla will be destroyed every time.

There's no way you can claim that if you actually read the rule and what I said. The rule says "the player can’t choose an option that’s illegal or impossible". You have no choice as to which creature gets destroyed in the scenario you proposed, so the vanilla creature would only be destroyed half the time.