blocking

Discussion in 'Rules Questions' started by timmy, Mar 11, 2004.

  1. timmy The Lord of Dance

    quick question

    i attack with an ophidian and another creature

    my opponent declare he is blocking the other creature with a phyrexian walker

    then he say i block the ophidian with a ornithopter,
    can i lightning bolt the ornithopter so that the ophidian is not considered blocked, and so i can draw a card from the ophidian
  2. kriz_riktr Member

    No. Once a creature has been declared as a blocker the creature it blocks will remain blocked for the remainder of that combat phase. Even if you do destroy the blocking Ornithopter the Ophidian is still blocked and it will not deal any combat damage to the defending player. Because of this the Ophidian's ability will not trigger.

    EDIT: I suppose that I should also add that declaration of blockers does not use the stack. Once your opponent announces that a creature of his is blocking, it is a blocking creature before you can do anything.
  3. Rooser Thread Necromancer

    Here's a slightly more involved explanation that should answer your question as well as answer similar questions you might have in the future. The Attack phase has several steps. They are:

    1. Declare Attack Phase
    2. Declare Attackers
    3. Declare Blockers
    4. Combat Damage Assigned
    5. Combat Damage Resolved
    6. End-of-attack-phase.

    During each step, each player is allowed to declare fast effects - which means instants or activated abilities. However, once a step is declared, what happens happens.

    Here's a run-down of some possible situations. A is the attacking player, D is the defending player.

    A controls a 3/3 elephant token and a Pianna, Nomad Captain. D controls an Icy Manipulator.
    Step 1 of the combat phase is the last chance D has to use the Icy Manipulator to prevent any creatures from attacking. After that, Attackers get declared and that's it, they are considered to have attacked. Note, however, that oftentime players will skip past this phase and just attack you. This doesn't mean you aren't allowed to say, "Back-up, I didn't agree to move past the Declare Attack Phase step." If a player skips over a step, you can tell them to back-up. It's not supposed to be a game of who can shout off their actions the fastest - look up the game rules on priority if you want to know exactly how this stuff.

    Anyway, During Step 1, D can use the Icy to tap Pianna or the Elephant, doing either will prevent either from attacking. This seems simple enough by itself, but now imagine that D has a Propaganda in play. A must pay 4 if they want to attack with both creatures, and D would probably like to see them use up 4 mana. A doesn't pay the mana until the attackers are declared however, which means that if D waits until A pays the 4 mana, they've lost the opportunity to use the Icy to prevent one of the creatures from attacking.

    Now imagine that instead of an Icy, D has an Unsummon in hand. D can wait two extra steps before returning either creature to owner's hand if they want to avoid the damage. Notice that the combat damage step is later. Let's say that only the Elephant attacked. The elephant can attack, you can declare no blockers, and then before the combat damage step, you can unsummon the elephant and avoid the combat damage - as if the elephant didn't attack at all. Notice that this would be the optimal play if you're hiding behind Propaganda - because you can wait until after your opponent has paid the 2 mana for the elephant to attack before you bounce the creature and nullify their attack. Notice that this means that the elephant did actually attack you, you just moved it out of the way before it dealt damage. I used Pianna in this example because she gives attacking creatures +1/+1 until end of turn whenever she attacks. If D is attacked by Pianna and the elephant, and then they unsummon Pianna before the combat damage step, the elephant will still keep the +1/+1 until end of turn. That effect was applied as soon as Pianna was declared as an attacker, and it doesn't matter if she stays in play for it to keep applying.

    Okay, now to address your specific question, the declare blockers step has similar finality. You go through step 1, each player plays effects if they want to, then A declares attackers, then each player has the chance to play more effects before moving on to step 3. When you do move on to step 3, blockers are decided and that's that, the attacking creatures are blocked - it doesn't matter what happens to them before the combat damage step. Once you let that Ornithopter block that Ophidian, you ain't drawing a card that turn - the Ophidian's blocked, and that's final. What you would need to do is Lightning Bolt the Ornithopter before the declare blockers step. Of course, if you did this, then your opponent would have the option of blocking the Opidian with the Phyrexian Walker instead. If you've only got 1 bolt and your opponent has two creatures, there's not much you can do to keep your ophidian unblocked.

    Please note that declaring attackers is done simultaneously, as is declaring blockers. If your opponent says "I'm blocking the Grizzly Bear with my Walker," you can't respond, "In response I'll lightning bolt the Ornithopter." No, your opponent declares ALL blockers before anybody is allowed to play any effects.

    To move beyond your question, I want to discuss the more complicated issue, which is combat damage. Just like how a creature can leave play and still be counted as blocking, a creature can also leave play and still deal it's damage. After the declare blockers step is the assign combat damage step. Between assigning damage and dealing damage is another space where players can play effects. This most often has its ramifications in terms of a sacrifice effect.

    Imagine A atacks with a 2/2 and D blocks with a Mogg Fanatic - a 1/1 creature that can be sacrificed to deal 1 damage to something. D can wait until after combat damage is assigned - 1 to the 2/2, 2 to the Fanatic - and then sacrifice the Fanatic to deal a point of damage to the 2/2. Then combat damage will resolve and the 2/2 will take its combat damage from the Mogg that isn't even there anymore. The result is that both creatures will be gone. A little weird, huh?

    For a more complicated scenario, imagine that A attacks with two 1/1s, and D only has a Mogg Fanatic to defend with. If D wants to use the Fanatic to kill both the 1/1s they have to block one of them, wait until damage is assigned, then sacrifice the fanatic to kill the unblocked 1/1. All three creatures would be gone, but D would still have to take 1 point of combat damage because they waited until the damage was assigned. If your dead mogg fanatic gets to assign combat damage to a 1/1, then a dead 1/1 gets to assign combat damage to you! Like declaration of attackers and blockers, assignment of damage is simultaneous, (The exception, of course, being First Strike). The difference here is that damage goes on the stack, which means it can be responded to.
  4. train The Wildcard!!!...

    Now go and put 4 aggravated assaults in your deck...

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