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Comprehensive Rules Glossary (October 4, 2019)

Lethal Damage
An amount of damage greater than or equal to a creature’s toughness. See rules 120.6, 510.1, and 704.5g.

Comprehensive Rules (October 4, 2019)

  • 120.6. Damage marked on a creature remains until the cleanup step, even if that permanent stops being a creature. If the total damage marked on a creature is greater than or equal to its toughness, that creature has been dealt lethal damage and is destroyed as a state-based action (see rule 704). All damage marked on a permanent is removed when it regenerates (see rule 701.14, “Regenerate”) and during the cleanup step (see rule 514.2).

Comprehensive Rules (October 4, 2019)

  • 704.5g If a creature has toughness greater than 0, and the total damage marked on it is greater than or equal to its toughness, that creature has been dealt lethal damage and is destroyed. Regeneration can replace this event.

Comprehensive Rules (October 4, 2019)

  • 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. A player assigns a creature’s combat damage according to the following rules:
    • 510.1a Each attacking creature and each blocking creature assigns combat damage equal to its power. Creatures that would assign 0 or less damage this way don’t assign combat damage at all.
    • 510.1b An unblocked creature assigns its combat damage to the player or planeswalker it’s attacking. If it isn’t currently attacking anything (if, for example, it was attacking a planeswalker that has left the battlefield), it assigns no combat damage.
    • 510.1c A blocked creature assigns its combat damage to the creatures blocking it. If no creatures are currently blocking it (if, for example, they were destroyed or removed from combat), it assigns no combat damage. If exactly one creature is blocking it, it assigns all its combat damage to that creature. If two or more creatures are blocking it, it assigns its combat damage to those creatures according to the damage assignment order announced for it. This may allow the blocked creature to divide its combat damage. However, it can’t assign combat damage to a creature that’s blocking it unless, when combat damage assignments are complete, each creature that precedes that blocking creature in its order is assigned lethal damage. When checking for assigned lethal damage, take into account damage already marked on the creature and damage from other creatures that’s being assigned during the same combat damage step, but not any abilities or effects that might change the amount of damage that’s actually dealt. An amount of damage that’s greater than a creature’s lethal damage may be assigned to it.

      Example: The damage assignment order of an attacking Vastwood Gorger (a 5/6 creature) is Pride Guardian (a 0/3 creature) then Llanowar Elves (a 1/1 creature). Vastwood Gorger can assign 3 damage to the Guardian and 2 damage to the Elves, 4 damage to the Guardian and 1 damage to the Elves, or 5 damage to the Guardian.

      Example: The damage assignment order of an attacking Vastwood Gorger (a 5/6 creature) is Pride Guardian (a 0/3 creature) then Llanowar Elves (a 1/1 creature). During the declare blockers step, the defending player casts Giant Growth targeting Pride Guardian, which gives it +3/+3 until end of turn. Vastwood Gorger must assign its 5 damage to the Guardian.

      Example: The damage assignment order of an attacking Vastwood Gorger (a 5/6 creature) is Pride Guardian (a 0/3 creature) then Llanowar Elves (a 1/1 creature). During the declare blockers step, the defending player casts Mending Hands targeting Pride Guardian, which prevents the next 4 damage that would be dealt to it. Vastwood Gorger can assign 3 damage to the Guardian and 2 damage to the Elves, 4 damage to the Guardian and 1 damage to the Elves, or 5 damage to the Guardian.

      Example: The damage assignment order of an attacking Enormous Baloth (a 7/7 creature) is Trained Armodon (a 3/3 creature) that already has 2 damage marked on it, then Foriysian Brigade (a 2/4 creature that can block an additional creature), then Silverback Ape (a 5/5 creature). The damage assignment order of an attacking Durkwood Boars (a 4/4 creature) is the same Foriysian Brigade, then Goblin Piker (a 2/1 creature). Among other possibilities, the active player may have the Baloth assign 1 damage to the Armodon, 1 damage to the Brigade, and 5 damage to the Ape, and have the Boars assign 3 damage to the Brigade and 1 damage to the Piker.

    • 510.1d A blocking creature assigns combat damage to the creatures it’s blocking. If it isn’t currently blocking any creatures (if, for example, they were destroyed or removed from combat), it assigns no combat damage. If it’s blocking exactly one creature, it assigns all its combat damage to that creature. If it’s blocking two or more creatures, it assigns its combat damage to those creatures according to the damage assignment order announced for it. This may allow the blocking creature to divide its combat damage. However, it can’t assign combat damage to a creature that it’s blocking unless, when combat damage assignments are complete, each creature that precedes that blocked creature is assigned lethal damage. When checking for assigned lethal damage, take into account damage already marked on the creature and damage from other creatures that’s being assigned during the same combat damage step, but not any abilities or effects that might change the amount of damage that’s actually dealt. An amount of damage that’s greater than a creature’s lethal damage may be assigned to it.
    • 510.1e Once a player has assigned combat damage from each attacking or blocking creature they control, the total damage assignment (not solely the damage assignment of any individual attacking or blocking creature) is checked to see if it complies with the above rules. If it doesn’t, the combat damage assignment is illegal; the game returns to the moment before that player began to assign combat damage. (See rule 722, “Handling Illegal Actions.”)
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