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I have this card and I don't understand the following:

Discard Scab-Clan Charger: Target attacking creature gets +2/+4 until end of turn

Alright, so the discard makes sense. What is "Target attacking creature"?

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So I take it you bought some Return to Ravnica packs to start playing with your 12-year-old. Glad you decided to give it a shot. –  SocioMatt Mar 5 '13 at 16:58
    
And a intro pack for Gatecrash. That way we could play 4 different colors. I was looking for some M13 but they didn't have any. –  Gregg Mar 5 '13 at 17:03

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

This probably has the simple answer of "any creature that is attacking can be a target attacking creature as long as it is targetable," but I'll expand on that below.

In the Magic Comprehensive Rules, Rule 508 explains attacking creatures. It's pretty long, so rather than posting all of 508, here is the relevant part.

508.1. First, the active player declares attackers. This turn-based action doesn’t use the stack. To declare attackers, the active player follows the steps below, in order. If at any point during the declaration of attackers, the active player is unable to comply with any of the steps listed below, the declaration is illegal; the game returns to the moment before the declaration (see rule 717, “Handling Illegal Actions”).

508.1a The active player chooses which creatures that he or she controls, if any, will attack. The chosen creatures must be untapped, and each one must either have haste or have been controlled by the active player continuously since the turn began.

After checking for restrictions and requirements that may prevent creatures from attacking, the rule continues:

508.1j Each chosen creature still controlled by the active player becomes an attacking creature. It remains an attacking creature until it’s removed from combat or the combat phase ends, whichever comes first. See rule 506.4.

So creatures become attacking creatures when the steps in 508 have been completed. More often than not, there won't be requirements or restrictions that limit your ability to attack, except for summoning sickness.

When the card refers to "target attacking creature," it is referring to a creature that is an attacking creature that can be targeted. This ability can be used for one target creature. Rule 601 lays this out (I've emphasized the important parts):

601.2c The player announces his or her choice of an appropriate player, object, or zone for each target the spell requires. A spell may require some targets only if an alternative or additional cost (such as a buyback or kicker cost), or a particular mode, was chosen for it; otherwise, the spell is cast as though it did not require those targets. If the spell has a variable number of targets, the player announces how many targets he or she will choose before he or she announces those targets. The same target can’t be chosen multiple times for any one instance of the word “target” on the spell. However, if the spell uses the word “target” in multiple places, the same object, player, or zone can be chosen once for each instance of the word “target” (as long as it fits the targeting criteria). If any effects say that an object or player must be chosen as a target, the player chooses targets so that he or she obeys the maximum possible number of such effects without violating any rules or effects that say that an object or player can’t be chosen as a target. The chosen players, objects, and/or zones each become a target of that spell. (Any abilities that trigger when those players, objects, and/or zones become the target of a spell trigger at this point; they’ll wait to be put on the stack until the spell has finished being cast.) Example: If a spell says “Tap two target creatures,” then the same creature can’t be chosen twice; the spell requires two different legal targets. A spell that says “Destroy target artifact and target land,” however, can target the same artifact land twice because it uses the word “target” in multiple places.

So the simply version of all this is that "target attacking creature" is a creature that has become an attacking creature and can be the target of a spell or ability.

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Thanks Matt. Very helpful. I changed my accepted answer to this because it was more comprehensive. No offense intended to ikegami. –  Gregg Mar 5 '13 at 17:15
    
It does this because it's intended to be a Gruul card. It's a creature that you can use like a giant growth, but only when attacking - Gruul isn't much for pumping its defenders. (Technically, you could use it to pump your opponents' attacking creatures too, if you were so inclined...) –  corsiKa Mar 5 '13 at 22:50

An attacking creature is one that was declared as an attacker earlier in the current combat phase, or a creature placed "on the battlefield attacking" in the current combat phase (e.g. Geist of Saint Traft's angel).

Say you attack with a 3/3 and it's blocked by a 4/4. You could discard a Scab-Clan Charger from your hand to make your 3/3 a 5/7 until the end of the turn. It would survive, and the 4/4 would die (instead of the other way around).

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Ok, that's what I thought. I just wanted to make sure. The language was just a little odd to me. "Target an attacking creature to gain +2/+4 until end of turn" would have made more sense. –  Gregg Mar 5 '13 at 17:07
    
@Gregg, No, that never actually gives it +2/+4, and it uses "target" as a verb which it's not in Magic. –  ikegami Mar 5 '13 at 17:10
    
@Gregg If you're confused about terminology, refer to the glossary at the end of the comprehensive rules. Just don't get overwhelmed and lost reading the comprehensive rules. ;) –  ghoppe Mar 5 '13 at 17:10
    
I consider your statement and my statement to be the same. I get it regardless, so thanks. I understand you're making a distinction between the target and the player. –  Gregg Mar 5 '13 at 17:11
    
ghoppe - I've looked at those rules. Just haven't read them. :) –  Gregg Mar 5 '13 at 17:12

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