Cancel - Counter Target Spell

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Alrighty, I've got an issue with the Cancel (counter target spell) card. (By the way...I'm new and learning. I may be way off, so be gentle. XD)

Here are two scenarios:

1. It's Player One's turn. They untap, draw, etc...then play a creature. After Player One states that they're playing said creature, Player Two uses a Cancel card and sends the creature to the graveyard. Can this be done?

2. It's Player One's turn. They untap, draw, play a creature, and end their turn. Player Two, on their turn, uses Cancel on the creature Player One played during their last turn. Again, can this be done?

So, my questions are:
* Does playing a creature count as casting a spell, making it able to be countered from being put into play at all?
* Is putting a creature into play different from casting spells?
* I was under the impression that instants and sorceries were considered spells and were the only things that "counter target spell" could affect. I'm wrong?
* And if Cancel can be played on a creature being put into play, when must it be cast?
1. Yes, it can be done. The creature is being being summoned, the the summon spell is being put on the stack. Using Cancel will counter the summon spell so that creature card will go to the grave. You're stopping the spell before it resolves.

2. No, this cannot be done. Cancel only targets spells, because the summoning is the actual spell and not the creature, you cannot cancel a creature since it is not a spell. The spell has resolved so you cannot do anything.

Note: The creature is never put into play with cancel, the summon spell is on the stack and the cancel counters it before it ever comes into play.
1. It's Player One's turn. They untap, draw, etc...then play a creature. After Player One states that they're playing said creature, Player Two uses a Cancel card and sends the creature to the graveyard. Can this be done?

Yes. Whenever you play a spell, that spell is initially on the stack, waiting to resolve. Each player then gets a chance to respond, and you can respond with your Cancel.
2. It's Player One's turn. They untap, draw, play a creature, and end their turn. Player Two, on their turn, uses Cancel on the creature Player One played during their last turn. Again, can this be done?

No. If you do not respond while the spell is on the stack, the spell resolves, and the creature comes into play. At this point it is too late to counter it.
* Does playing a creature count as casting a spell, making it able to be countered from being put into play at all?

Yes, playing a creature is playing a creature spell is playing a spell.
* Is putting a creature into play different from casting spells?

Yes. Putting a creature into play is simply the action of moving that creature card to the in play zone from somewhere else.
* I was under the impression that instants and sorceries were considered spells and were the only things that "counter target spell" could affect. I'm wrong?

You are wrong. Artifacts, creatures, sorceries, enchantments, and planeswalkers are all spells while they are on the stack.
Sometimes it helps to look at Remove Soul to realize that a creature spell is indeed a spell. ;)
You need to familiarize yourself with the concept of the Stack game zone. Spells are cards or copies of cards while they are on the stack. The stack is where cards (and activated and triggered abilities) go before they resolve.

So when a player wants to play a Creature, they will announce the action and place the card on the Stack. They then pay the cost, choose any targets or modes and the card becomes played.

As long as the card is on the Stack it is a spell. In order for the spell to resolve (which in this case will place the creature into Play) all players must pass priority. It is at this point you want to play Cancel targetting the creature spell. Cancel will counter the spell on resolution and send the countered creature from Stack straight to the Graveyard.

Another good question you asked was is putting a creature into play the same as playing ('casting' is an older term) a creature spell. The answer is no, and an effect that would put a creature directly into play could not be Cancelled.
1. Yes. Creatures are spells while on the stack, so they can be countered just like any other spell. See Remove Soul.

2. No. Once the creature spell resolved, it leaves the stack and is no longer a spell. So long before it becomes player two's turn, the creature has left the stack and cannot be countered by Cancel anymore.

3. Putting something into play is not a spell. You cannot counter a creature being put into play with something like Elvish Piper

4. Anything on the stack (instants, sorceries, creatures, artifacts, enchantments, planeswalkers) is a spell.

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

Okay, I was wrong, then, lol. Thanks. ^.^

But, one thing has me a little confused. Cyphern, you said that playing a creature is casting a spell...but, you also said that playing a creature is different from casting a spell. o.O Unless when you say "moving that creature card into the play zone from somewhere else", you mean "somewhere other than your hand". But...hm. How can you "simply move" a creature without casting a spell of some kind?
So when a player wants to play a Creature, they will announce the action and place the card on the Stack. They then pay the cost, choose any targets or modes, pay the cost and the card becomes played.

Fixed.

Costs being paid is the LAST thing that happens before the Spell/Ability being played.

Thus, it IS possible to play the ability of a Mogg Fanatic, targeting itself.
But, one thing has me a little confused. Cyphern, you said that playing a creature is casting a spell...but, you also said that playing a creature is different from casting a spell. o.O Unless when you say "moving that creature card into the play zone from somewhere else", you mean "somewhere other than your hand". But...hm. How can you "simply move" a creature without casting a spell of some kind?

PLAYING a Creature IS playing a Spell, and it CAN be countered as such.

However, when an effect (such as Elvish Piper) instructs you to PUT a Card into play, you are NOT PLAYING it.
It's not a Spell and can not be countered as such.
But, one thing has me a little confused. Cyphern, you said that playing a creature is casting a spell...but, you also said that playing a creature is different from casting a spell.

No, he didn't. He said putting a creature into play, say with Elvish Piper's ability, is different from playing a spell.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
No, he didn't. He said putting a creature into play, say with Elvish Piper's ability, is different from playing a spell.

That still gets resolved by the stack and can still be countered by some other spell or effect, right? Maybe not Cancel but something similar that counters activated abilities.
The activated ability uses the Stack, Yes. And, it can be countered as such.

However, the Card that would be put into play is not determined until the Activated ability resolves.
And, at that time, there's nothing that anyone can do about it.
The activated ability goes on the stack and can be countered with something like Stifle. However, the creature card is never put on the stack; it goes straight from the hand to play. At no point is it a creature spell.
Yes; it isn't a spell, but that does not mean it doesn't use the stack.

But be careful here, because it's common to misunderstand how it uses the stack. You pay and tap Elvish Piper to pay for the ability and it goes on the stack at that time. This is when you can respond to it. Then when it resolves, you pick a creature and put it into play as one indivisible action. The creature itself is never on the stack, and once the identity of the creature is known, it is too late to respond. (This also means countering the ability will not send the creature to the graveyard.)
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
Yes; it isn't a spell, but that does not mean it doesn't use the stack.

But be careful here, because it's common to misunderstand how it uses the stack. You pay and tap Elvish Piper to pay for the ability and it goes on the stack at that time. This is when you can respond to it. Then when it resolves, you pick a creature and put it into play as one indivisible action. The creature itself is never on the stack, and once the identity of the creature is known, it is too late to respond. (This also means countering the ability will not send the creature to the graveyard.)

What about the whole bit about all targets getting locked in then priority passes to the other player.
What about the whole bit about all targets getting locked in then priority passes to the other player.

Elvish Piper's ability does not target. The creature card that's put into play is chosen when the ability resolves.
DCI Level 2 Judge Please use autocard when you ask a question about specific cards: [c]Serra Angel[/c] -> Serra Angel
Another good question you asked was is putting a creature into play the same as playing ('casting' is an older term) a creature spell.

Haha...I'm new and already outdated. My boyfriend is actually the one teaching me and he hasn't played for a while, so he still uses older terms. So, I suppose those are the ones I'm learning, lol.

Anyway, I do understand how the stack works (even though I didn't know it was called a "stack"...I just knew how it worked). I just wasn't aware that playing a creature counted as casting a spell. I thought it was different. ^.^

Sometimes it helps to look at Remove Soul to realize that a creature spell is indeed a spell. ;)

Ah...see, there's a card I haven't seen yet, lol. When I say that I'm new...I mean I'm really new. >.>; Heh. ^.^;

3. Putting something into play is not a spell. You cannot counter a creature being put into play with something like Elvish Piper

Another card I haven't seen yet. :D (I was already in the process of typing my last response before I saw yours, lol.) I actually haven't seen any cards yet that allow you to directly put a creature into play, so I was still under the impression that "putting" and "playing" were the same. So...now I know. ^.^

Costs being paid is the LAST thing that happens before the Spell/Ability being played.

Hmm...so...if I'm going to play a spell (ex. a creature spell), I need to put the creature down first and then pay the cost (by tapping the corresponding mana, correct?) o.O Because, the way I've been playing, I've been tapping first, then putting cards down... That's not right? o.o

And that leads me to another question, now that I think of it.

Say it's my turn and I want to play a Frostling. I tap my one Mountain and put my Frostling down. My opponent plays a Cancel and puts my Frostling into my graveyard. Does my Mountain remain tapped or does it become untapped, since the spell was prevented from ever happening to begin with?
Say it's my turn and I want to play a Frostling. I tap my one Mountain and put my Frostling down. My opponent plays a Cancel and puts my Frostling into my graveyard. Does my Mountain remain tapped or does it become untapped, since the spell was prevented from ever happening to begin with?

The Mountain was already used to pay for the creature and then it was on the stack, he cancels it so that mana you used to pay for it is still spent.
Elvish Piper's ability does not target. The creature card that's put into play is chosen when the ability resolves.

Ok, fair enough.

Another question on this then. And apologies, because this has thoroughly hijacked the original posters original question.

Rereading the card Elvish Piper it says "You may put a Creature Card from your hand into Play"

Does that not mean that the Creature Card has to resolve on the stack to go from being a Creature spell to becoming an actual creature with flesh and teeth and drool, or whatnot.
No. When the ability resolves, you take the creature card from your hand, and put it into play as a creature. That's it. At no time is it the creature cardon the stack, and at no time is it a spell.
Ok, fair enough.

Another question on this then. And apologies, because this has thoroughly hijacked the original posters original question.

Rereading the card Elvish Piper it says "You may put a Creature Card from your hand into Play"

Does that not mean that the Creature Card has to resolve on the stack to go from being a Creature spell to becoming an actual creature with flesh and teeth and drool, or whatnot.

No. At no time is the creature card on the stack. The Piper's ability goes on the stack. When that ability resolves, the creature card goes from the hand to in-play. As soon as it is in-play then it is a creature (drool and all).
Rereading the card Elvish Piper it says "You may put a Creature Card from your hand into Play"

Does that not mean that the Creature Card has to resolve on the stack to go from being a Creature spell to becoming an actual creature with flesh and teeth and drool, or whatnot.

The creature spell never goes on the stack, the ability is on the stack and when it resolves it causes a creature to go into play. That creature summon was never put on the stack in any shape or form.
And apologies, because this has thoroughly hijacked the original posters original question.

Eh, I'm used to that. I must have some weird kind of aura that makes people go "ACK! Hurry! Talk about something else!"...because, it strangely happens in pretty much every thread I make on every forum I visit, lol.
(by tapping the corresponding mana, correct?)

That's almost correct, but the terminology is wrong, and the implications it carries seem to be what's confusing you.

First, you tap lands which produce mana, and then you spend that mana to pay the cost of the spell you are playing. While you certainly can tap the lands to produce that mana before playing the spell, there is usually no reason to do so. Even if you do, though, the mana won't be spent until the last part of playing the spell.
Hmm...so...if I'm going to play a spell (ex. a creature spell), I need to put the creature down first and then pay the cost (by tapping the corresponding mana, correct?) o.O Because, the way I've been playing, I've been tapping first, then putting cards down... That's not right? o.o

Let's walk through what happens when you play a creature spell:
First, you announce that you are playing it. It moves to the stack from wherever it's at (almost certainly your hand).
Second, you determine the total cost. Usually, this is just the mana cost printed in the upper-right corner.
Third, you may play mana abilities, such as tapping lands to produce mana. If you tapped the lands before playing the spell, as you say you normally do, then you won't need to in this step.
Fourth, you pay the cost by spending the appropriate amount of mana.

It is important to remember the distinction between lands and mana. Lands are the permanents in play that you tap when you need mana. Mana is the intangible "stuff" that they produce, which sits in your "mana pool" until it's spent (or the phase ends, in which case you take mana burn).
Kool, I guess this would be one of those scenarios that make life hell for counters and control decks.
That's almost correct, but the terminology is wrong, and the implications it carries seem to be what's confusing you.

First, you tap lands which produce mana, and then you spend that mana to pay the cost of the spell you are playing. While you certainly can tap the lands to produce that mana before playing the spell, there is usually no reason to do so. Even if you do, though, the mana won't be spent until the last part of playing the spell.
Let's walk through what happens when you play a creature spell:
First, you announce that you are playing it. It moves to the stack from wherever it's at (almost certainly your hand).
Second, you determine the total cost. Usually, this is just the mana cost printed in the upper-right corner.
Third, you may play mana abilities, such as tapping lands to produce mana. If you tapped the lands before playing the spell, as you say you normally do, then you won't need to in this step.
Fourth, you pay the cost by spending the appropriate amount of mana.

It is important to remember the distinction between lands and mana. Lands are the permanents in play that you tap when you need mana. Mana is the intangible "stuff" that they produce, which sits in your "mana pool" until it's spent (or the phase ends, in which case you take mana burn).

*ponder ponder* So, are you supposed to play in the order you described or is it a preference thing? And when you're paying the mana cost...are you just kind of assuming that the mana's been paid?

And...eh. x.x What's mana burn? (Crap, I feel so...noobish. o.O) How would this occur?
*ponder ponder* So, are you supposed to play in the order you described or is it a preference thing?

Those are the steps for playing a creature spell, as described in the rules. That's just the way it works.

They're also the basic steps for playing any other spell or activated ability, except that somewhere near the beginning (right after putting it on the stack) you choose any targets, values for X, or modes. Those just don't tend to be relevant for creature spells.
And when you're paying the mana cost...are you just kind of assuming that the mana's been paid?

We don't follow. You have mana in your mana pool, which was put there when you played the ability of your land (you may find it useful to use beads or other small objects as a reminder for some time). When you pay the cost, you remove the mana from your pool.

If it helps, you can consider it sort of like money. The lands represent a sort of bank. When you tap a land, you are making a withdrawal and putting the money into your wallet (mana into your mana pool). Paying for a spell is like paying for a candy bar; the money comes out of your wallet and vanishes into the register (the mana is removed from your mana pool, never to be seen again).
And...eh. x.x What's mana burn? (Crap, I feel so...noobish. o.O) How would this occur?

Mana burn is a fairly rare event. In short, if there is any mana in your mana pool when a phase ends, it all disappears and you lose 1 life for each point that disappeared this way. It's so rare because you usually only put mana into your mana pool when you intend to spend it.
Those are the steps for playing a creature spell, as described in the rules. That's just the way it works.

They're also the basic steps for playing any other spell or activated ability, except that somewhere near the beginning (right after putting it on the stack) you choose any targets, values for X, or modes. Those just don't tend to be relevant for creature spells.We don't follow. You have mana in your mana pool, which was put there when you played the ability of your land (you may find it useful to use beads or other small objects as a reminder for some time). When you pay the cost, you remove the mana from your pool.

If it helps, you can consider it sort of like money. The lands represent a sort of bank. When you tap a land, you are making a withdrawal and putting the money into your wallet (mana into your mana pool). Paying for a spell is like paying for a candy bar; the money comes out of your wallet and vanishes into the register (the mana is removed from your mana pool, never to be seen again).Mana burn is a fairly rare event. In short, if there is any mana in your mana pool when a phase ends, it all disappears and you lose 1 life for each point that disappeared this way. It's so rare because you usually only put mana into your mana pool when you intend to spend it.

Hm. Why would someone put more mana into their pool than they're planning on spending? That doesn't make sense, lol. (Kind of a rhetorical question...but, if there's a reason it would make sense, feel free to answer, lol.)

So, tapping your land and spending your mana...yes, they're different, as I understand now, but they're still essentially the same thing, right? Because, if I'm putting only the amount of mana I intend to use into my pool...then, I could basically look at my tapped land cards as the beads you suggested, right?

Edit (in case you answer before I finish): Because what you put into your pool that you know you're going to spend, will automatically be spent when you play whatever you're using it on, right? So...tapping one land that you know you're going to spend could be seen as the equivalent of tapping it and spending it (versus tapping it and putting it into the pool)?
As Avedomni said, mana burn is fairly rare. It usually only happens when a land produces more than one mana. For example, if you tap Boros Garrison for mana to pay for Raging Goblin, you'll still have in your mana pool and will have to spend that before the phase ends or take mana burn.

There are also cards like Braid of Fire or Magus of the Vineyard that could produce mana at an inconvenient time and thus force you to either spend the mana or take mana burn.
First, you tap lands which produce mana, and then you spend that mana to pay the cost of the spell you are playing. While you certainly can tap the lands to produce that mana before playing the spell, there is usually no reason to do so. Even if you do, though, the mana won't be spent until the last part of playing the spell.
Let's walk through what happens when you play a creature spell:
First, you announce that you are playing it. It moves to the stack from wherever it's at (almost certainly your hand).
Second, you determine the total cost. Usually, this is just the mana cost printed in the upper-right corner.
Third, you may play mana abilities, such as tapping lands to produce mana. If you tapped the lands before playing the spell, as you say you normally do, then you won't need to in this step.
Fourth, you pay the cost by spending the appropriate amount of mana.

Ok, so then let me ask this...

If paying the mana cost is the last thing you do, is that the point where the spell becomes a part of the stack, and you're allowed to pass priority to the other player?
Announcing a spell and putting it on the stack is the first step in playing it.

But yes, it's not until you're done paying the total cost that you get priority again and are allowed to pass priority.
Ok, so then let me ask this...

If paying the mana cost is the last thing you do, is that the point where the spell becomes a part of the stack, and you're allowed to pass priority to the other player?

Technically a spell goes on the Stack as the first part of playing it.

However, it is only after the cost has been paid that the spell is now "played" (and triggers things like Dragon's Claw).

Then the player who played the spell receives priority (after those triggers from Dragon Claw go on the Stack)

Gerdef
Magic Judge Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Rules Theory and Templating: "They may be crazy, but they're good." --Matt Tabak, Rules Manager*
Technically a spell goes on the Stack as the first part of playing it.

However, it is only after the cost has been paid that the spell is now "played" (and triggers things like Dragon's Claw).

Then the player who played the spell receives priority (after those triggers from Dragon Claw go on the Stack)

Gerdef

Ok then, if that's the case, let's make this simple by setting up an example.

I put Flame Javelin on the stack, not tapping for mana yet. I pass priority to my opponent, who counters it with a Cryptic Command. He then passes priority back to me. I pass priority back, and he does the same, allowing the stack to resolve... at this point lands must be tapped and mana paid for the spells placed on the stack. But my flame javelin was countered before I even paid mana, so why should I have to now tap my lands for a spell that wasn't played?


P.S. I'm only asking this, because it sounds like a really confusing series of events, and it would be nice to know the exact chain that happens, and the "why" for each action.
No, that doesn't work.

You were right before when you concluded that you can only pass priority after the cost has been paid. However, you also said that this was when it "becomes a part of the stack", and that's not quite right. The spell is already on the stack while you're doing things like choosing targets and paying costs. That doesn't mean that you can pass priority partway through the process of playing it, however.
Ok then, if that's the case, let's make this simple by setting up an example.

I put Flame Javelin on the stack, not tapping for mana yet. I pass priority to my opponent, who counters it with a Cryptic Command. He then passes priority back to me. I pass priority back, and he does the same, allowing the stack to resolve... at this point lands must be tapped and mana paid for the spells placed on the stack. But my flame javelin was countered before I even paid mana, so why should I have to now tap my lands for a spell that wasn't played?


P.S. I'm only asking this, because it sounds like a really confusing series of events, and it would be nice to know the exact chain that happens, and the "why" for each action.

Re-read my post again. You only receive priority back after you've completed all the steps of playing Flame Javelin. You can't stop and pass Priority halfway through. You don't even have Priority to pass it!

Gerdef
Magic Judge Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Rules Theory and Templating: "They may be crazy, but they're good." --Matt Tabak, Rules Manager*
Announcing a spell and putting it on the stack is the first step in playing it.

But yes, it's not until you're done paying the total cost that you get priority again and are allowed to pass priority.

Which is why I always tap my lands and pay the mana before even announcing my spells usually...is this wrong?

I mean, the opponent can't respond to me tapping land anyway right? Is there some corner case where this is absolutely critical to put the spell on the stack before I've even tapped land for mana?

Which, by the way, doesn't make sense to me.
Which is why I always tap my lands and pay the mana before even announcing my spells usually...is this wrong?

I mean, the opponent can't respond to me tapping land anyway right? Is there some corner case where this is absolutely critical to put the spell on the stack before I've even tapped land for mana?

Which, by the way, doesn't make sense to me.

It's legal to do it either way. You can play mana abilities, putting mana into your mana pool, and then spend that mana on a spell. Alternatively, you can announce the spell, put it on the stack, and then play the mana abilities to get the mana you'll need to pay for it as part of playing the spell. Except in odd cases (usually involving abilities that trigger off of mana abilities), there's not usually a difference one way or the other.
It's legal to do it either way. You can play mana abilities, putting mana into your mana pool, and then spend that mana on a spell. Alternatively, you can announce the spell, put it on the stack, and then play the mana abilities to get the mana you'll need to pay for it as part of playing the spell. Except in odd cases (usually involving abilities that trigger off of mana abilities), there's not usually a difference one way or the other.

Hmm...okay, thanks. I think I'll keep doing it the way I have, seem odd not to.
I know people have posted the technical sequence of playing a spell. If you were to play in tournaments you will want to know this. And there's no reason to not learn it no matter what. But in casual play, it's usually done more simply -

1) Announce the spell ( Sometimes people don't announce, but I think this is bad form)
2) Tap lands for any mana you need (or any other sources of mana you have available) (If your opponent notices you making a mistake here, and it's good form to pay attention, they will usually polite correct you)
3) The spell is considered to be on stack
4) After maybe a brief pause, assume it resolves


If you are ****, or otherwise have a good reason to do so, you can replace step (4) with saying 'Does this resolve' to your opponent. It's not a bad idea, because it gives them time to think, and avoids any arguments.

If you don't give them time, you have to allow them to rewind the game if you attempt to do anything else and they wanted to respond. For example, my opponent might announce and play a creature. I am deciding whether to counter it not. While I am thinking they play a second creature without asking me if the first one resolves. That's fine in casual play, but I would then immediately say 'wait a minute, I am thinking about responding'. In that case they will put the second creature back in their hand, and untap any mana spent. Of course everyone differs, but I have played this way a lot with no issues.
Which is why I always tap my lands and pay the mana before even announcing my spells usually...is this wrong?

I mean, the opponent can't respond to me tapping land anyway right? Is there some corner case where this is absolutely critical to put the spell on the stack before I've even tapped land for mana?

Which, by the way, doesn't make sense to me.

Technically, any time you have priority, you can tap lands. The mana just goes into the mana pool. You won't take mana burn until the current phase ends. So there's nothing illegal about tapping lands and then announcing a spell or ability. Then when it comes time to pay the costs, you "remove" mana from the mana pool as needed.

I think a lot of people tap for mana first, maybe to ensure they can pay. Just realize in tournaments that tapping may not be reversible. You are stuck with that mana. I have not run into too many problems with that, but tournament players can be rules lawyers (and in many cases, rightly so.)
Alrighty, I've got an issue with the Cancel (counter target spell) card. (By the way...I'm new and learning. I may be way off, so be gentle. XD)

Here are two scenarios:

1. It's Player One's turn. They untap, draw, etc...then play a creature. After Player One states that they're playing said creature, Player Two uses a Cancel card and sends the creature to the graveyard. Can this be done?

2. It's Player One's turn. They untap, draw, play a creature, and end their turn. Player Two, on their turn, uses Cancel on the creature Player One played during their last turn. Again, can this be done?

So, my questions are:
* Does playing a creature count as casting a spell, making it able to be countered from being put into play at all?
* Is putting a creature into play different from casting spells?
* I was under the impression that instants and sorceries were considered spells and were the only things that "counter target spell" could affect. I'm wrong?
* And if Cancel can be played on a creature being put into play, when must it be cast?

Allow me to simplify:

1]EVERYTHING other than a LAND is a spell.

2]In order to play a spell, you must put it on the stack.

3]Whale it is on the stack, opponents have a chance to respond to it (i.e. with cards like counterspell).

4]If no one successfully counters the spell whale it is on the stack, it will resolve (once the stack works its way to that point).

5]Once a spell has resolved, it is too late to counter it.

6]Finally, putting a creature into play IS NOT THE SAME as playing a creature. If you want to stop a creature from being put into play, you have to find some way of stopping the EFFECT that caused it to happen (i.e. voidslime.)
1]EVERYTHING other than a LAND is a spell.

Activated and triggered abilities are not spells.