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I played a multiplayer game of magic today that had a very interesting turn. The game was a five player game with your allies being the player to your left and right and your opponents were the people across from you. On of my allies ended up getting a Wall of Resistance and would gain +1 toughness at the end of a turn after damage was dealt to it. I decided to attack my ally with this ability with a 1/1 creature to strengthen it, but the other ally said I couldn't due to it being an ally. Right after that, the same ally used Rootwater Hunter's tap ability to damage that same 1/1 creature and kill it.

To me, these two action seem equal and if one action can't be allowed then the other shouldn't. Since this was the pivoting point of the game I would like to the actual rules and how they apply to each situation. So can you attack an ally and can you target an ally with an effect that deals damage?

  • Since it's kind of asking two different questions, I can split it up if needed. – Dom Aug 31 '16 at 2:07
  • You say 'your opponents being the player to your left and right and your opponents were the people across from you'; I assume the first instance of 'opponents' should be 'allies'? – Michael Snook Aug 31 '16 at 2:33
  • As Michael Snook indicates, it appears that you are playing a version of Star format. If this is true, you should edit your question to specify that. In that format, "Allies" can be attacked, but usually it isn't in your best interest to do so, because the object of the game is to kill the two people sitting across from you in the star before two other players are eliminated. – user1873 Aug 31 '16 at 15:43
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It sounds as if you were playing something similar to the Star format (though it sounds like you didn't use the color restrictions). The comprehensive rules don't have anything about it, so we have to rely on the group just agreeing on an interpretation. Wizards did list the rules for many popular casual MtG formats in an article written in 2008.

Players sit in a star pattern identical to the one on the back of every Magic: The Gathering card. The player with the white deck takes the first turn and then play continues clockwise around the table.

A color, and the player representing it, wins when its two enemy colors have been eliminated regardless of who eliminated them. This means a player may be able to win even after being eliminated from play! Each player can attack any other player (even their allies), and each player can target any player, permanent, spell, or anything else in the game. Decks are usually built following Standard deck-construction rules, but players can determine for themselves if they'd rather use Extended, Legacy, Vintage, or any other format.

Based on the articles above, it seems like the typical way is no restrictions on targeting or attacking your allies. This makes sense, since your allies aren't your teammates as the rules define teams. I'd say you had every right to attack your ally like you wanted to.

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    It might be useful to quote this line from the page you linked to "Each player can attack any other player (even their allies), and each player can target any player, permanent, spell or anything else in the game." – diego Aug 31 '16 at 12:52

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