There are some spells and abilities that subtract from a creature's power/toughness: for example, part of Ulcerate says "Target creature gets -3/-3 until end of turn."

If the target creature is only a 2/2, is that target destroyed (goes to graveyard) from the -3 toughness given to it? If not what happens, does it stick around with negative toughness?


A creature with 0 or less toughness will be sent to the graveyard immediately, so yes, getting -3/-3 can kill a creature.

Note that this is not technically being "destroyed", it is a different way of sending the creature to the graveyard. This matters for things like regeneration.

From the basic MTG rules:

Your creatures go to your graveyard if the damage they’re dealt in a single turn is equal to or greater than their toughness, or if their toughness is reduced to 0 or less.

  • 8
    Just in case anyone is looking for the comprehensive rules, rule 704.5f describes the action that moves a creature to the graveyard, and rule 121.1a explains how counters affect toughness. I didn't post this as an answer because the basic rules are definitely more suitable here.
    – Rainbolt
    May 20 '14 at 14:55
  • It's moved to the graveyard the next time SBA are checked, which for most purposes is effectively "immediately", but there are cases where it's not. Mar 16 '20 at 18:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.