You must have priority to cast Surgical Extraction on a card in the graveyard like Gravecrawler or Lingering Souls.

In a game of Magic, you need to have priority in order to cast spells, activate abilities or take special actions such as playing a land. During your turn, you receive priority at the beginning of most steps. You also receive priority after you cast a spell/activate an ability/take a special action or if your opponent passes priority to you.

The most important thing here is that when a spell or ability resolves, the active player receives priority. If your opponent casts Lingering Souls from his hand, he will receive priority after it resolves. You might want to cast Surgical Extraction right away, but you don’t yet have priority to do so. Your opponent can to cast it again via its flashback cost before you have a chance to use Surgical Extraction on that card, because you won’t get priority until after the Lingering Souls is back on the stack and out of the graveyard.

Similarly, if your opponent casts Smallpox and discards a Gravecrawler during resolution, that player gets priority and has the opportunity to cast the Gravecrawler (if they control another zombie, of course) as the very next thing so you don’t get a chance to cast Surgical Extraction on it first. You will only be able to do so if the opponent does anything OTHER than casting Lingering Souls or Gravecrawler when they get priority.

Today’s Rules Tip written by
Jorge Pinto, Level 1 Judge from Santiago, Chile

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