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We had a situation occur in a game where my opponent had a creature with first strike, and I had one that didn't.

They attacked and I blocked, first strike creature did it's damage which didn't kill my creature, then before I was to apply damage my opponent tried to cast an instant which would have killed my creature.

Is this legal?

If the instant hadn't resolved I'd have killed my opponent's creature, but because we ruled that it did resolve before my creature did combat damage my creature died and her creature lived to fight another round.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

It seems that you can cast instants and trigger abilities that run at instant speed between first strike and normal damage.

510.4. Fourth, the active player gets priority. Players may cast spells and activate abilities.

510.5. If at least one attacking or blocking creature has first strike (see rule 702.7) or double strike (see rule 702.4) as the combat damage step begins, the only creatures that assign combat damage in that step are those with first strike or double strike. After that step, instead of proceeding to the end of combat step, the phase gets a second combat damage step. The only creatures that assign combat damage in that step are the remaining attackers and blockers that had neither first strike nor double strike as the first combat damage step began, as well as the remaining attackers and blockers that currently have double strike. After that step, the phase proceeds to the end of combat step.

The 510.4 and the highlighted portion of 510.5 shows that the combat damage step begins anew, and just before this, the active player gets priority. So therefore instants can be cast.

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You weren't the first to answer but you provided a source to I'm marking this as the accepted answer. –  Omar Kooheji Mar 11 '14 at 11:55
First doesn't mean best, so I think your choice a good one! a quick, short answer has it's place for people googling in the middle of a game, but a detailed answer is much more useful for those trying to get a deeper understanding. The latter should probably be the accepted one. –  Patters Mar 11 '14 at 12:33
Something important here is that this only applies if there's a creature with first strike or double strike. You don't always get this second round of priority (if you were hoping to make your opponent pass priority and then sneak something else in or some other shenanigans). –  corsiKa Mar 11 '14 at 18:07

This is legal. Both players get priority between the first strike damage step and the regular damage step.

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Found a clear explanation on the priority passing during combat steps:


During Combat there are a number of Turn Based Actions which do not use the stack, the majority of these take place at the beginning of the appropriate step.

  • The Combat Phase unfolds as such:
  • Beginning Combat Step - Players get priority.
  • Declare Attackers Step - Attackers are declared THEN players get Priority.
  • Declare Blockers Step - Blockers are declared THEN players get Priority (last chance to play Giant Growth to save your Goblins)
  • First Strike Combat Damage Step(if applicable) - Combat Damage is assigned and Dealt THEN players get Priority
  • Combat Damage Step - Combat Damage is assigned and Dealt THEN players get Priority
  • End of Combat Step - Players get Priority THEN creatures are removed from combat. (this is the one step where the turn based action is at the end instead of the beginning)
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One tiny bit of clarification - note that 'creatures are removed from combat' in the end-of-combat step does not refer to e.g. dead creatures being put in a graveyard or anything similar; that has already happened (as a state-based action) in the Combat Damage step. End-of-combat is basically just a 'cleanup' step to allow for (more) 'post-damage' opportunities to use e.g. Maze of Ith or the like. –  Steven Stadnicki Mar 12 '14 at 16:27

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