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Magic: The Gathering» Forums » Rules

Subject: Combat Damage Assignment and Sacrificing rss

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Josiah Fiscus
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Here's the situation:

I am attacked by a 4/3 First Strike creature.

I triple-block it with a 2/2, another 2/2, and a 1/3 with Deathtouch.

The attacker assigns damage such that both the 2/2's will die, and then the first-striker will die to the deathtouch.

At this point, is it too late to sacrifice my 2/2's to put counters on my tapped Mortician Beetle? (I have a sac outlet.) If I do so, will the first-striking attacker still have to assign that damage to the (now dead) creatures, or can it switch and assign it to my 1/3 deathtouch creature?

Thanks!
 
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Jerbear
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First example deathtouch gets the first striker. The corroct play for him is to kill a 2/2 and 1/3 death touch. So his guy survives with 2 dmg on him.

Second example doesn't work. At one point damage stacked, but now you assign damage and deal it without a chance to respond in between. So you have to sac your creature before they have damage assigned. But if you did that than the opponent would be able to put damage on the remaining creature.
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PenumbraPenguin
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There is no longer any difference between when damage is assigned and when it is dealt. If the damage has been assigned, then it's too late to sacrifice your creatures.

If you sacrifice your creatures before the 5/3 deals damage, then it will just kill your 1/3 instead.
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Todd Pytel
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happyjosiah wrote:
At this point, is it too late to sacrifice my 2/2's to put counters on my tapped Mortician Beetle?

No, it's not too late. You would do that in the Declare Blockers Phase, before damage is dealt.

Quote:
If I do so, will the first-striking attacker still have to assign that damage to the (now dead) creatures, or can it switch and assign it to my 1/3 deathtouch creature?

It can "switch", as you describe it. See 510.c - as long as there are 2+ creatures blocking the attacker, damage will be dealt to those creatures in the order previously declared. Only blockers that still exist count for this - there's no proviso in the rules for blockers that existed when the order was declared but have since left the battlefield.

Rather than "switching", the better language is to say that the attacker can now assign damage to blockers further back in its damage assignment order than it would have originally been able to. The attacker isn't really "switching" what it originally declared, it's just that one of the blockers disappeared in the meantime.
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Todd Pytel
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PenumbraPenguin wrote:
There is no longer any difference between when damage is assigned and when it is dealt. If the damage has been assigned, then it's too late to sacrifice your creatures.

Technically correct, but I believe the OP is being loose with the phrase "assign damage". I think he's saying that the attacker declared the "damage assignment order" (509.2) so that the desired things would happen. That happens before the stack opens up, so instant-speed effects could still be played.
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Todd Pytel
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Syvanis wrote:
First example deathtouch gets the first striker. The corroct play for him is to kill a 2/2 and 1/3 death touch. So his guy survives with 2 dmg on him.

Excellent point.
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Sean Franco
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Players get the opportunity for priority both before and after blockers are declared, but not between damage being assigned and damage being resolved. Therefore, if you declare all three as blockers then sac two of them, he can assign all of his damage to the third one.

If his one creature has first strike and your last one creature has deathtouch, you're SOL; first strike is assigned and resolves before deathtouch is. By sacing two creatures, there is no way to kill his creature. If you don't sac anything and he assigns damage intelligently, there is no way to kill his creature.

In this case, you should only chump block, and that's it.
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Josiah Fiscus
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tppytel wrote:
Syvanis wrote:
First example deathtouch gets the first striker. The corroct play for him is to kill a 2/2 and 1/3 death touch. So his guy survives with 2 dmg on him.

Excellent point.


You know what, it was actually a 4/3 with first strike. My mistake.

So the bottom line is, there is no way for me to grow my mortician beetle while still killing the first striker in this case.
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Max Maloney
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This has all been said, but I'm going to break it down by steps to make sure it is clear:

Blockers are declared: you choose the three creatures to triple block.

Blockers are ordered: he chooses the order in which his first striker will damage your creatures

Spells and abilities can put effects on the stack: you can sac a creature here

Combat damage is dealt: he will deal damage to remaining blockers in order

So if you sac a blocker before combat damage, then he won't assign damage to it and will move on to the next blocker.

However, if he assigned the deathtouch creature last among blockers (presumably because that was the only way he could kill two blocker before dying), then you can sac one of the 2/2s and he has no way to assign lethal damage to the 1/3 (2 must first be assigned to the other 2/2, leaving only 2 damage on the 1/3).

You end up trading two 2/2s for his 4/3 and a +1/+1 counter on one of your creatures.
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Sean Franco
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happyjosiah wrote:
tppytel wrote:
Syvanis wrote:
First example deathtouch gets the first striker. The corroct play for him is to kill a 2/2 and 1/3 death touch. So his guy survives with 2 dmg on him.

Excellent point.


You know what, it was actually a 4/3 with first strike. My mistake.

So the bottom line is, there is no way for me to grow my mortician beetle while still killing the first striker in this case.

It being a 4/3 first strike rather than a 5/3 first strike changes a little, and it is a combat you can win now, at the expense of at least one of your creatures. However, you have to choose whether to win the combat or to grown your Mortician Beetle before combat is resolved. You can't do both.
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Josiah Fiscus
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Dormammu wrote:
This has all been said, but I'm going to break it down by steps to make sure it is clear:

Blockers are declared: you choose the three creatures to triple block.

Blockers are ordered: he chooses the order in which his first striker will damage your creatures

Spells and abilities can put effects on the stack: you can sac a creature here

Combat damage is dealt: he will deal damage to remaining blockers in order

So if you sac a blocker before combat damage, then he won't assign damage to it and will move on to the next blocker.

However, if he assigned the deathtouch creature last among blockers (presumably because that was the only way he could kill two blocker before dying), then you can sac one of the 2/2s and he has no way to assign lethal damage to the 1/3 (2 must first be assigned to the other 2/2, leaving only 2 damage on the 1/3).

You end up trading two 2/2s for his 4/3 and a +1/+1 counter on one of your creatures.


Thank you, this breakdown was exactly what I needed to see!
 
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Sean Franco
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Dormammu wrote:
Blockers are ordered: he chooses the order in which his first striker will damage your creatures

Spells and abilities can put effects on the stack: you can sac a creature here

Combat damage is dealt: he will deal damage to remaining blockers in order

I want to point out that this is a little unclear. After he choose which creatures to damage, that damage gets resolved. No one has priority for actions between the two events.

Dormammu wrote:
So if you sac a blocker before combat damage, then he won't assign damage to it and will move on to the next blocker.

This is true for timing purposes, but the damage won't be assigned to any blockers until the stack is fully resolved after blockers have been declared and both players have passed on priority.
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Josiah Fiscus
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logopolys wrote:
Dormammu wrote:
Blockers are ordered: he chooses the order in which his first striker will damage your creatures

Spells and abilities can put effects on the stack: you can sac a creature here

Combat damage is dealt: he will deal damage to remaining blockers in order

I want to point out that this is a little unclear. After he choose which creatures to damage, that damage gets resolved. No one has priority for actions between the two events.


It sounds like this directly contradicts what he just said. Can you clarify?
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Sean Franco
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Let's look at these sections from the comprehensive rules.

When you're declaring attackers:

Quote:
508.3. Third, the active player gets priority. Players may cast spells and activate abilities.

And when you're declaring blockers:

Quote:
509.5. Fifth, the active player gets priority. Players may cast spells and activate abilities.

Let's contrast this to how damage is assigned and dealt:

Quote:
510.1. First, the active player announces how each attacking creature assigns its combat damage, then the defending player announces how each blocking creature assigns its combat damage. This turn-based action doesn’t use the stack.

Quote:
510.2. Second, all combat damage that’s been assigned is dealt simultaneously. This turn-based action doesn’t use the stack. No player has the chance to cast spells or activate abilities between the time combat damage is assigned and the time it’s dealt.

Damage specifically does not use the stack, and no one has priority to do any actions one damage has begun, until it is done resolving.
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Yoga Wind
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logopolys wrote:
Let's look at these sections from the comprehensive rules.

When you're declaring attackers:

Quote:
508.3. Third, the active player gets priority. Players may cast spells and activate abilities.

And when you're declaring blockers:

Quote:
509.5. Fifth, the active player gets priority. Players may cast spells and activate abilities.

Let's contrast this to how damage is assigned and dealt:

Quote:
510.1. First, the active player announces how each attacking creature assigns its combat damage, then the defending player announces how each blocking creature assigns its combat damage. This turn-based action doesn’t use the stack.

Quote:
510.2. Second, all combat damage that’s been assigned is dealt simultaneously. This turn-based action doesn’t use the stack. No player has the chance to cast spells or activate abilities between the time combat damage is assigned and the time it’s dealt.

Damage specifically does not use the stack, and no one has priority to do any actions one damage has begun, until it is done resolving.

You missed 509.2. (Second, for each attacking creature that’s become blocked, the active player announces that creature’s damage assignment order, which consists of the creatures blocking it in an order of that player’s choice).

Declare blockers step goes:

1) Declare which creatures are blocking which attackers
2) If there are multiple blockers assigned to a single attacker, then the attacker decides which order damage will be dealt in (note that damage is not dealt yet)
3) Both players get a chance to play instants (attacking player gets priority)

Then after all that, it moves to the Combat Damage step (section 510 in the rules). This is when the attacker actually assigns the damage, but he or she needs to assign lethal damage in the order announced above.

Also note that since the attacker had First Strike, there would be a window for you to sac creatures after it dealt its First Strike damage, but before your remaining creature(s) deal their damage. (anything killed by the first strike damage couldn't be sacced, they are already dead).
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Todd Pytel
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spoon wrote:
This is when the attacker actually assigns the damage, but he or she needs to assign lethal damage in the order announced above.

That was my point upthread - in practice, the OP's question is about when the order is announced, not when damage is technically assigned. Blockers are declared, the attacker choose the order in which he'll damage multiple blockers, there's a chance to play instant-speed effects, and then the damage is assigned and dealt.
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Sean Franco
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Unusual. It does appear to work that way. I'll have to see if that changes the way combat works at my next FNM.
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Max Maloney
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logopolys wrote:
I want to point out that this is a little unclear. After he choose which creatures to damage, that damage gets resolved. No one has priority for actions between the two events.

I think you're being overly technical, which is not all that helpful for a newer player to understand the sequence of events. The important part is that blockers are declared, then the attacker orders blockers, then players can use instant speed effects, then damage is applied.
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Sean Franco
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Dormammu wrote:
logopolys wrote:
I want to point out that this is a little unclear. After he choose which creatures to damage, that damage gets resolved. No one has priority for actions between the two events.

I think you're being overly technical, which is not all that helpful for a newer player to understand the sequence of events. The important part is that blockers are declared, then the attacker orders blockers, then players can use instant speed effects, then damage is applied.

From a learning standpoint, that may be true. From a philosophical standpoint, the details matter a great deal in Magic. From a pragmatic standpoint, someone who knows the details better will always take a crap on you at FNM, all other things being equal (which they probably won't be).

But you are right from a kitchen table standpoint.
 
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Max Maloney
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logopolys wrote:
But you are right from a kitchen table standpoint.

And from a rules standpoint, since I knew blockers are ordered before priority is given to any player as part of the declare blockers step?
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Sean Franco
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Dormammu wrote:
logopolys wrote:
But you are right from a kitchen table standpoint.

And from a rules standpoint, since I knew blockers are ordered before priority is given to any player as part of the declare blockers step?

A point already conceded, yes.
 
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Eric O. LEBIGOT
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logopolys wrote:
Let's look at these sections from the comprehensive rules.
Since you are linking to the Comprehensive PDF Rules from the official web site, I would like to point out that there is a much more convenient resource available on the web: Yawgatog, which has the advantage of containing links, which makes the rules way easier to navigate.
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Does this mean that I can, for example, block a 3/4 creature with 2 1/1s, and then after "block order" is announced, play Giant Growth so that I now have a 4/4 and 1/1, and the attacker is forced to assign his 3 damage to the 4/4?

That doesn't sound right to me.
 
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Tommy Occhipinti
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Faranim wrote:
Does this mean that I can, for example, block a 3/4 creature with 2 1/1s, and then after "block order" is announced, play Giant Growth so that I now have a 4/4 and 1/1, and the attacker is forced to assign his 3 damage to the 4/4?

That doesn't sound right to me.


That is how it works, yes.
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Max Maloney
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Faranim wrote:
Does this mean that I can, for example, block a 3/4 creature with 2 1/1s, and then after "block order" is announced, play Giant Growth so that I now have a 4/4 and 1/1, and the attacker is forced to assign his 3 damage to the 4/4?

That doesn't sound right to me.

Given that you could simply block with a single 1/1 and cast Giant Growth?
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