Annihilating Fire says:

Annihilating Fire deals 3 damage to target creature or player. If a creature dealt damage this way would die this turn, exile it instead.

If I deal lethal damage to an indestructible creature with Annihilating Fire or after Annihilating Fire has been played on it this turn will the the creature be exiled?

1 Answer 1



Lethal damage will not cause an indestructible creature to die.

700.4. The term dies means "is put into a graveyard from the battlefield."

702.12b A permanent with indestructible can’t be destroyed. Such permanents aren’t destroyed by lethal damage, and they ignore the state-based action that checks for lethal damage (see rule 704.5g).

704.5g If a creature has toughness greater than 0, and the total damage marked on it is greater than or equal to its toughness, that creature has been dealt lethal damage and is destroyed. Regeneration can replace this event.

However, if another effect causes the indestructible creature to die (for example through sacrificing), Annihilating Fire's effect will cause the card to be exiled.

A ruling on gatherer:

10/1/2012 A creature dealt damage by Annihilating Fire will be exiled no matter why the creature would die. It could be destroyed by another spell or ability.

  • 1
    In other words, Annihilating Fire's ability is equivalent to "Annihilating Fire deals 3 damage to target creature or player. If a creature dealt damage this way would be placed in the graveyard from the battlefield this turn, exile it instead." It doesn't get moved to the graveyard, so it doesn't get exiled.
    – ikegami
    Mar 14, 2014 at 13:14
  • I had some hope that the death state-based action would be checked and then the death event it would create could change into an exile event before indestructible stops it. But since indestructible prevents the entire state-based action that checks for lethal damage no such thing can happen.
    – Fr33dan
    Mar 14, 2014 at 13:46
  • 1
    Even regeneration doesn't bring back from the graveyard. It would affect creatures with Undying, though.
    – ikegami
    Mar 14, 2014 at 14:25
  • @ikegami True, but if they regenerate and I kill it later that turn it will still be exiled since only the damage was removed, not the exile effect.
    – Fr33dan
    Mar 17, 2014 at 16:05

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