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For cards like Vampire Outcasts or Shadow Slice, does Bloodthirst/Cipher only activate when combat damage is dealt directly to a player? For example, if an opponent blocks my attacking creature then the combat damage is dealt to the creature and not the "player", correct?

Should I be thinking in terms of since the player and the creature are separate then any combat damage dealt to a creature is not the same as a combat damage dealt to the player?

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A player and his or her creatures are separate things. Dealing combat damage to a creature does not count as dealing combat damage to that creature's controller, and vice versa. Also, regarding your last sentence, a player never deals damage to anything, only sources controlled by that player, such as spells and creatures.

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Thank you for the clarification. I have been playing Bloodthirst incorrectly and activating it when combat damage was dealt to a creature belonging to an opponent. Wasn't sure if it had to be dealt directly to the player. –  Damainman Jul 8 '13 at 7:28
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