3

So I understand the concept of dealing damage in the form of -X/-X to a creature.

The card in question is Elven Palisade. But with the example in my title, what's the point? If I use this enchantment on my opponent to give a creature of his -3/-0 until end of turn, wouldn't that -3/-0 disappear at the end of my turn and then his creature would be back to normal again? If I was dealing damage and reduced his toughness to 0 or less then I'd understand the significance, it would kill the creature.

I know there are similar questions out there but they usually revolved around the toughness, not power. I'm also fully aware that my vocab here might make some of you cringe, but I'm just starting and trying to learn. Any help would be awesome! Thanks.

  • 1
    Note that because it says "target attacking creature"; you aren't even allowed to use it on your opponent's creature unless that creature is attacking, meaning it will be your opponent's turn. – GendoIkari Oct 2 '16 at 14:27
4

The -3/-0 of Elven Palisade is the effect of its activated ability. It's not something that happens when you cast the palisade (which indeed will usually happen on your turn).

You can activate the ability (and pay the cost of sacrificing a forest) any time you have priority. But (as noted in the comments by Gendolkari) you must choose an attacking creature as the target, so generally you will do this during the opponent's turn after they declared attackers and make one of the attacking creatures less powerful until the end of their turn.

3

Let me help you with your vocabulary. I feel that, if you understand this terminology better, understanding of the rules will follow. Magic is very consistent in its wording, so it helps to understand that.

So I understand the concept of dealing damage in the form of -X/-X to a creature.

You do not 'deal damage' in the form of -X/-X. The term 'dealing damage' is reserved for combat (when a creature uses its power-stat) and for 'burn'-spells or abilities that explicitly say 'deal damage'. See, for example, Shock or Spikeshot Goblin.

The card in question is Elven Palisade. But with the example in my title, what's the point? If I use this enchantment on my opponent to give a creature of his -3/-0 until end of turn, wouldn't that -3/-0 disappear at the end of my turn and then his creature would be back to normal again?

You are right that the effect is not permanent. A -3/-0 will normally not kill a creature, and the ability on Elven Palissade explicitly state that it ends at end of turn.

I notice that you speak of enchanting his creature, but that's not the case here. You have an enchantment in play that has an activated ability (and it's the ability that gives a -3/-0), like Compulsion. This is not an enchantment that is attached to a creature, like for instance Insolence is.

So, when to use this ability? Well, you can activate this ability on his turn. When he attacks with a Trained Armodon, you can sac a forest to give it -3/-0 and avoid getting damaged. If you also block it with, for example, a 4/2 Firewing Phoenix, the Phoenix would kill the Armodon, but stay unharmed himself.

If I was dealing damage and reduced his toughness to 0 or less then I'd understand the significance, it would kill the creature.

Damage does not reduce toughness. -X/-X reduces toughness. Damage stacks until it's equal or greater than a creature's toughness and the creature dies. If a creature is damaged in a turn, but not sufficiently to kill it, the damage wears off.

A special case is dealing too little damage to a creature to kill it, but using another effect to reduce its toughness.

  • For completeness, recommend referencing that it is a State Based effect that causes the creature to die. – Drunk Cynic Oct 2 '16 at 14:16
  • 2
    Ok I'm definitely screenshotting these for reference. Thank you for helping me understand more than I was asking! – Colorblind Transformer Oct 2 '16 at 14:46
2

Giving a creature -X/-X is not dealing it damage. It simply reduces its power and toughness. A creature dies when it has damage marked on it greater than or equal to its toughness, or when it has zero toughness. So the toughness reduction makes it easier to kill or may just kill it outright, but it doesn't do so by dealing it damage.

So no, reducing a creature's power won't kill it. But that doesn't mean it's completely useless. The big reasons you might want to reduce an attacking creature's power:

  • you want to take less damage from an attack (effectively gaining life)
  • you want to block the attacking creature, and have your blocking creature less damage. For example, blocking a 5/3 with a 3/3 normally means they'd trade. But if you can turn your opponent's creature into a 2/3, your 3/3 will survive.

So you can cast Elven Palisade, and it'll sit around on the battlefield doing nothing until you decide you want to activate its ability. Since it has to target an attacking creature, you'll have to wait until your opponent attacks to use it. At that point, hopefully you'll be able to take advantage, using its ability on one or more attacking creatures of your choice. If you're really lucky, just the fact that you could use it will force them to be more cautious about attacking. But that also makes it much less likely you'll be able to take full advantage; they can just avoid dangerous attacks.

Obviously those things aren't as powerful as killing the creature outright, and sacrificing a land is a steep cost, so Elven Palisade isn't exactly the most powerful card. But the effect in general is far from useless.

  • So as an enchantment can't I only use it on my turn? This is how I'm interpreting the card(most definitely incorrectly). Reducing the opponents' creatures' power will only apply during my turn since the card says "until end of turn" and therefore when my turn ends and my opponents takes his turn he'll have his card back to normal. Or does this enchantment carry over from my turn to his turn? Also, thanks for helping @Jefromi !! – Colorblind Transformer Oct 2 '16 at 7:11
  • 5
    An enchantment just sits on the battlefield. In the case of Elven Palisade it has an activated ability that you can activate at any time. You don't sacrifice a forest when you play the card, and it has no effect at that time. – Miles Budnek Oct 2 '16 at 10:37
1

First off, effects that reduce power and toughness are not damage, and damage does not (normally) reduce toughness.

You are correct that reducing the power of your opponent's creature won't kill it, and it'll be back to normal the next turn. What it does do is reduce the damage the attacking creature does. This can potentially buy you time to find a better answer, or prevent an ability that would trigger on combat damage. If it buys you one turn, but that one turn is enough to win, it's done work for you. Maybe there's some effect that cares about the creature's power; you might have a Puncturing Light that you want you use to actually destroy the attacker but the attacker is too big.

  • That's where I'm confused. "it'll be back to normal the next turn". Do you mean the opponent's next turn? Here's my response to the other person who answered: So as an enchantment can't I only use it on my turn? This is how I'm interpreting the card(most definitely incorrectly). Reducing the opponents' creatures' power will only apply during my turn since the card says "until end of turn" and therefore when my turn ends and my opponents takes his turn he'll have his card back to normal. Or does this enchantment carry over from my turn to his turn? thank you for your help @Michael ! – Colorblind Transformer Oct 2 '16 at 7:14

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.