Player A's board consists of:

  • 1/1 first strike with 4 +1/+1 counters
  • 1/1 creature

Player B's board consists of:

  • 2/2 lifelink creature

Player B has 5 life and has to block the creature with 4 +1/+1 counters.

Can Player A, after dealing first strike damage, transfer the remaining counters to the 1/1 creature and then deal lethal damage to Player B?

  • 1
    The question I have is why it is even necessary for the first strike creature to deal damage. It's blocked, and you know you're moving the counters anyway. If the player is dead, it doesn't really matter if their creature died first. – SocioMatt May 8 '13 at 20:24
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    Actually... To answer your comment is the factor of life gain. If an opponent before dying responds with gain x life. If the player kills the creature and deals 5 damage it shortens the number of turns player B has left to live – wesdfgfgd May 8 '13 at 20:34
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    Pretend the 1/1 creature is actually a 2/2 lifelink. ;) – Alex P May 8 '13 at 21:17
  • @wesdfgfgd If your opponent has the opportunity to "respond" with a life gain spell or ability, then you also have the opportunity to play Bioshift. But really, there's no need to specify that you're trying to deal lethal damage to your opponent. The question of whether you can both kill the creature and hit your opponent hard is perfectly valid even if your opponent isn't dead. – Cascabel May 8 '13 at 22:30

Yes, given that Bioshift is an instant.

The combat unrolls as follows:

  1. ...
  2. Declare Blockers [CR 509]
    1. Blockers are declared. [CR 509.1]
    2. Damage Assignment order for attacking creatures is decided. [CR 509.2]
    3. Damage Assignment order for blocking creatures is decided. [CR 509.3]
    4. Players get priority. [CR 509.4-5]
  3. Combat Damage Step (First Strike) [CR 510]
    1. Attacker assigns damage. [CR 510.1]
    2. Defender assigns damage. [CR 510.1]
    3. Combat damage is dealt. [CR 510.2]
    4. Players get priority. [CR 510.3-4]
  4. Combat Damage Step (Normal Damage)
    1. Attacker assigns damage.
    2. Defender assigns damage.
    3. Combat damage is dealt.
    4. Players get priority.
  5. End of Combat Step
    1. Players get priority.

First Strike damage is dealt in 3.3 above, leaving you free to shift counters in 3.4 before normal damage is assigned and dealt in 4.1 and 4.3.

Note that the counters could also have been transferred in the Declared Blockers Step (2.4 above). However, it's more advantageous to wait until the First Strike Combat Damage Step (if possible) since two creatures get to take advantage of them.

510. Combat Damage Step


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.

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Yes, Both players get priority between first strike damage and normal damage.

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  • 1
    Could you add a reference to the MTG Comp Rules for this? – SocioMatt May 9 '13 at 12:16

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