I'm the farthest thing from a magic know it all, so I have a question for you. If my opponent has a 40/40 with trample and I have a 20/20 with lifelink that is blocking it. and I have 20 life left. Do I gain life from lifelink at the same time the damage is dealt to me? Thanks for taking the time to answer!

  • You do but still end up at 0 life ;) – Stephane Oct 7 '16 at 22:33
  • @Stephane no you don't. Your 20/20 blocks the 40/40, soaking up 20 of the damage, the other 20 goes to your life. Your 20/20 gives you 20 life for the damage it dealt, which in effect cancels out the rest of the damage, so you end up at 20 life since 20-(40-20)+20=20 – Andrew Dec 30 '17 at 16:18
  • My bad. You're right. – Stephane Dec 30 '17 at 22:33

Yes, lifelink is not a triggered ability like you might expect but a static replacement effect that replaces damage being dealt with the damage being dealt and you gaining that much life:

119.3f Damage dealt by a source with lifelink causes that source’s controller to gain that much life, in addition to the damage’s other results.

702.15a Lifelink is a static ability.

Note that this is not the case with cards that say "Whenever this card deals damage, you gain that much life"; that would be a triggered ability, and you would lose before it could resolve.

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    While the conclusion is correct, I'm pretty sure Lifelink is not a replacement ability. It modifies the normal result of damage being dealt in the same way infect does. – GendoIkari Oct 4 '16 at 20:56

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