Question 1

I attack with a Benalish Hero and a Lord of the Pit banded together, and my opponent blocks with 3 10/10's. Can I assign all 30 damage to the hero and have the Lord survive?

Question 2.1

I attack with the Lord and my opponent blocks with a 5/5 and 4 1/1's. I choose to first deal 5 damage to the 5/5, then 1 damage to two of the 1/1's. Can my opponent wait until I've selected this damage assignment to play Heal and save his 5/5?

Question 2.2

If he can not save his 5/5 with heal in Question 2, why would I ever choose to assign more than lethal damage to the first blocker during damage assignment?

  • 4
    Welcome to boardgames.stackexchange. The idea is that if you have three questions, you ask each of them as a separate question. Aug 9, 2016 at 7:50
  • Should I split this question into 3 now, or just do so going forward?
    – Greg
    Aug 9, 2016 at 8:34
  • 1
    In this case, the compound of questions has a lot of familiar rule interactions and a lot of explanatory quality. You should certainly leave it intact. While @ToonKrijthe is correct in their remark, your questions are really multiple questions regarding the same situations, which they may have overlooked. Aug 9, 2016 at 12:45
  • 3
    I would just keep them separate going forward. Also going forward, I would include whatever research you have done on your own in the post. People here like to see research effort. And finally, I don't know why this question is getting close votes for being Too Broad. All three questions combined are answerable in a short amount of space. Separating questions is best practice, not a requirement. If the author feels strongly that the questions are related enough to ask together, then that is the author's prerogative.
    – Rainbolt
    Aug 9, 2016 at 13:02

1 Answer 1


For this question, it's important to note that damage assignment happens in the Combat Damage step, but damage assignment order happens in the Declare Blockers Step.

Main Question

You will be able to assign all damage to the Benalish Hero and save Lord of the Pits.

First of all, the rule that allows you (as the attacking player) to assign combat damage, rather than the defending player:

702.21k During the combat damage step, if a blocking creature is blocking a creature with banding (...), the active player (rather than the defending player) chooses how the blocking creature’s damage is assigned. That player can divide that creature's combat damage as he or she chooses among any number of creatures it's blocking. This is an exception to the procedure described in rule 510.1d.

This allows you to ignore the damage assignment order that's set by the defending player ¹ ²

509.3. Third, for each blocking creature, the defending player announces that creature's damage assignment order, which consists of the creatures it's blocking in an order of that player's choice. (...)

¹ http://magicjudge.tumblr.com/post/75765284769/explain-banding-now
² https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU552Z7PeAc

Question 2.1 and 2.2

As for part 2.1 of your question, banding isn't part of the question whatsoever, you don't get the benefit of 702.21k. Damage assignment happens a step further ahead, but you will have to assign the damage assignment order right after being blocking by those creatures. Assuming your choice is "5/5, then 1/1, then 1/1, then 1/1, then 1/1", your opponent will know that you intend to kill the 5/5. After declaring blockers and assigning the damage order, there is a round of priority:

509.5. Fifth, the active player gets priority. Players may cast spells and activate abilities.

So they may cast Heal after knowing what you intend to do. Heal will prevent the next damage dealt to a creature, not actually increase it's toughness, so assigning 5 damage to it will be enough to justify the "deal lethal damage" requirement. This means that you get the choice of dealing 5 damage or more to the 5/5, but you will have to deal 6 damage to it to actually cause it to be destroyed.

This is a great example of why it's useful to assign more damage than a creature has toughness at times.
Another possibility is that the second creature you're blocking is a Phyrexian Obliterator or a similar card that you want to avoid at all costs that it's being dealt damage. There are a lot of other good reasons in a game as complicated as Magic, and listing more would likely overcomplicate the issue, as I believe this scenario covers the most interesting one.

  • Is it correct to say a combat trick which increases toughness by 1 is strictly stronger than one that prevents 1 damage, in this scenario?
    – Greg
    Aug 9, 2016 at 13:51
  • Why does the damage assignment order matter when the rule you quoted says it is an exception to 510.1d which is the rule explaining how damage assignment works?
    – diego
    Aug 9, 2016 at 13:56
  • 1
    @Greg: I guess that depends on how you define "stronger" - they give you the choice, but gain a lot of information if you decide to deal 5 to the 5/5 and destroy two of the 1/1s by choice. In general, making the choice is better than being presented a choice, though. Aug 9, 2016 at 13:57
  • @diego: Because the defending player decides the damage assignment order - 510.1d only changes who does damage assignment, not who does the damage assignment order. Once decided that Lord of the Pit will be dealt damage first, it will have to be dealt lethal damage. No matter how you (as the controller of Lord of the Pit) assign the damage from there, you will have to assign 7 damage to Lord of the Pit first, meaning you won't be able to save it. Unless you had a Heal yourself! :) Aug 9, 2016 at 14:00
  • We started discussing this in the site chat. As TheThirdMan said, 510.1d covers damage assignment, not damage assignment order. Damage assignment order is covered by 509.3
    – Rainbolt
    Aug 9, 2016 at 14:03

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