Are you allowed to attack creatures instead of a player during the combat phase? Because it seems to me it's much more easier to block (because you can actually choose what you attack) than to just throw all your critters at the player and hope the right ones don't get blocked.

2 Answers 2


Since this is a basic rules question, a quote from the basic rules:

In your combat phase, you choose which of your creatures will attack, and you choose who or what they will attack. Each one can attack your opponent or one of your opponent’s planeswalkers, but not any of his or her creatures.

You say it'd be easier to just attack creatures. Sure - and that's kind of the point. If you could just use a bigger creature to kill off a smaller creature, combat wouldn't be nearly so interesting, and the game would lose a lot. You really do have to work out how to manage to attack your opponent and get through without losing too many creatures or leaving yourself vulnerable. It's more work, but it's part of what makes the game interesting and challenging, and gives you an edge if you're better at it than your opponent.

  • In the (computer)game Hearthstone you can attack creatures and there's a different strategy, I wouldn't call it less interesting. Sorry for not reading the rules! Mar 26, 2014 at 22:15
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    @GerbenJacobs Perhaps I stated it too simply, then. Magic was designed around this idea, so removing it would definitely make the game less interesting. A different game designed around the idea of being able to attack creatures will have made some different design choices.
    – Cascabel
    Mar 26, 2014 at 22:41
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    @GerbenJacobs, Hearthstone is not Magic. Comparing the two in this manner is like asking why your submarine can't attack my cruiser in battleship, because your bishop can attack my knight in chess.
    – Brian S
    Mar 27, 2014 at 14:53
  • Yep, I understand. In MGT it's asking do I attack yes or no, where with HS it's more who and when do I attack. Mar 27, 2014 at 15:00
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    Consider that Hearthstone is designed to be a fast-paced game where there is no player interaction (in Magic parlance, passing of priority) during each player's turn. Magic is designed to have a lot of player interaction: its choices with respect to combat rules, instants, and the stack reflect this design philosophy.
    – ghoppe
    Mar 27, 2014 at 15:57

No, you cannot. You can only attack a player, or a planeswalker he or she controls.

508.1. First, the active player declares attackers. This turn-based action doesn't use the stack. To declare attackers, the active player follows the steps below, in order. If at any point during the declaration of attackers, the active player is unable to comply with any of the steps listed below, the declaration is illegal; the game returns to the moment before the declaration (see rule 717, "Handling Illegal Actions").

508.1a The active player chooses which creatures that he or she controls, if any, will attack. The chosen creatures must be untapped, and each one must either have haste or have been controlled by the active player continuously since the turn began.

508.1b If the defending player controls any planeswalkers, or the game allows the active player to attack multiple other players, the active player announces which player or planeswalker each of the chosen creatures is attacking.

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