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An opponent plays a storm combo, ending in Tendrils of Agony. In response I play Angel's Grace. After the storm of Tendrils finishes resolving, I am at -10 life, but I have not lost the game because of the Angel's Grace effect. If I take one point of damage (from something like City of Brass).

What will my resultant life total be?

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What was your life total before Tendrils of Agony? How many copies were produced? –  DForck42 Mar 28 '12 at 16:21
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After the storm of Tendrils finishes resolving, I am at -10 life, but I have not lost the game because of the Angel's Grace effect. –  Hupperware Mar 28 '12 at 16:53

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

For a weird case like this, it's best to consult the Oracle rulings.

In this case, we're in luck, since this situation is covered directly:

If your life total goes below 1, being dealt damage will not increase it back up to 1.

So, according to the official rulings, damage from City of Brass can't "reduce" your life total to a higher number than its current value.

So, the remaining question is: does your life total stay -10 or become -11? My best guess (and it is a bit of a guess, to be honest) is that your life total becomes -11 because the "instead" just doesn't apply at all.

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It will be -11. The event isn't "Damage that would reduce your total to less than one" if it's already less than one. Yes it could be argued in circles for days, but that is the understood interpretation applied by judges. I think there's an [O] answer somewhere but I'm not finding it in my mailing list archive, might be from before I was a member of the list. –  Affe Mar 28 '12 at 0:08
    
However, this is only until the end of the turn. As soon as the turn ends and the new upkeep starts, you are with one hit point and no more damage reduction effect (i.e. a single damage can kill you). –  Yaztromo Mar 31 '12 at 15:54
    
@Yaztromo You're at -11, so you'd lose the game when state is checked during the cleanup step. –  Alex P Mar 31 '12 at 17:04

This was asked on the MTGRULES-L mailing list (by one of the people involving in asking/answering this question here? I don't know) and this was the official reply:

An opponent plays a storm combo, ending in Tendrils.

In response I play Angels Grace.

After the storm of Tendrils finishes resolving, I am at -10 life, but I have not lost the game because of the Angel's Grace effect.

If I take one point of damage (from something like City of Brass). What will my resultant life total be?

-11.

Whenever your life total would change, Angel's Grace applies if your previous life total is one or more and your future life total would be less than 1. If you were already at less than 1, Angel's Grace doesn't apply.

Do keep in mind however that Angel's Grace's effect lasts only until end of turn, so unless you raise your life total to 1 or more (or win the game, or bring a Platinum Angel onto the battlefield...), you will lose in the next cleanup step.

Daniel Kitachewsky L3, Paris, France MTGRules-L Netrep

Just in case anyone was still in any doubt!

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@user1873 - I don't believe that's true at all. See rules 514.2-3a in the Comprehensive rules. During the cleanup step "until end of turn" effects end, and state-based effects like losing the game are checked subsequently, before the new turn starts. Though if you're right, then this is a great opportunity to tell a really senior Level 3 Judge off for getting his rules wrong, which would be a lot of fun :D –  thesunneversets Mar 29 '12 at 14:53
    
@user1873. Yes, that's right. But 514.3a explicitly states that state-based actions can be carried out, and players can receive priority, during the cleanup step if circumstances such as this one call for it. –  thesunneversets Mar 29 '12 at 16:35
    
@user1873 Heh! It's weird that "you cannot lose this turn" doesn't mean the same thing as "you won't lose till next turn", so I completely understand where you were coming from. Magic is a quirky, quirky game. –  thesunneversets Mar 30 '12 at 11:55

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