Activated +X/+X abilities and damage.

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So my opponent had a Mindshrieker in play and used its ability targeting me.  In response, I cast Izzet Charm targeting the Mindshrieker for 2 damage.  My opponent argued that the damage from the Izzet Charm wouldn't be calculated until the stack resolved completely, meaning that his Mindshrieker lives no matter what card is flipped over.  This seemed odd because if instead of using an ability he had tried to Giant Growth it, and I burned the creature in response, then his creature would die.  What's the difference here?
assuming no further responses his Mindshrieker will die before the card is even revealed
he can of course activate the ability again in response to your Izzet Charm, in that case the bird will live if he turns over a card with CMC > 0
proud member of the 2011 community team
So my opponent had a Mindshrieker in play and used its ability targeting me.  In response, I cast Izzet Charm targeting the Mindshrieker for 2 damage.  My opponent argued that the damage from the Izzet Charm wouldn't be calculated until the stack resolved completely, meaning that his Mindshrieker lives no matter what card is flipped over.  This seemed odd because if instead of using an ability he had tried to Giant Growth it, and I burned the creature in response, then his creature would die.  What's the difference here?



The difference is, he's wrong about how things work with the Mindshrieker.

The stack works the same way in all cases, Last In, First Out.  It doesn't matter whether it involves spells or abilities, or damage or no-damage effects.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Each thing on the stack resolves one at a time after each player passes priority. After the Charm resolves and the bird takes 2 damage, SBA will be checked and the bird will go to the graveyard. The last item would resolve and the card would go to the graceyard.
Alright that's what the rest of us figured.  The guy who made that ruling said that a judge made that same ruling against him in a tournament, and since the game wasn't really riding on this mindshrieker living or dying I just let it go. 
I doubt that, unless the tournament was a LONG time ago (like, 1994 or so). There was a time when (the then-current ancestor of) the stack resolved all at once and damage wasn't dealt with until everything had resolved, but this was only the case for a relatively short time, and has not been true at any time in the last 16 years or so. Damage has been dealt with on or shortly after resolution at least since Mirage - this wasn't even part of the big 6th Edition revision, it predates that.

Other possibilities include (1) he misunderstood or misrembered a ruling on some other subject, (2) the judge was really clueless, or (3) he's just plain making this up.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
he can of course activate the ability again in response to your Izzet Charm, in that case the bird will live if he turns over a card with CMC > 0

But if he reveals a CMC = 1, won't the bird die?

If I steal a hundred dollar from a loot of one thousand, people might notice;

If I steal a hundred dollar from a loot of one million, I might get away with it;

If I wish to steal even more and still go unnoticed, I need to make the loot bigger.

 

Now you know why taxes always go up.

 

Looting: ''the plundering of public assets by corrupt or greedy authorities'' (Wikipedia)

Yeah, the CMC needs to be at least two. I noticed that earlier, but figured noone would get confused by it. Enigma probably thought it was normally a 2/2.
yeah, I had it as a 2/2 in my head
silly bears
proud member of the 2011 community team