I've declared my attack, and my opponent declares their blocker. I then use an instant that boosts and gives first strike to my attacking creature, then in the middle of combat they tap the creature to activate its ability. Can they do this?

  • Why is your opponent tapping his creature? Is there an ability on the creature that he is trying to activate? Or is he trying to get out of blocking your buffed creature?
    – Malco
    Sep 11, 2017 at 20:50
  • @Malco The title did say "for its ability", so yes, the former. I edited to add that to the body too.
    – Cascabel
    Sep 11, 2017 at 23:20
  • @Jefromi Just wanted some clarity, thought it might be something along the lines of "only untapped creatures can block, so if I tap my creature now I am not blocking anymore and it won't die."
    – Malco
    Sep 12, 2017 at 13:35

3 Answers 3


Sure. As long as the creature is able to block at the beginning of the declare blockers step (typically this means untapped) it can be declared as a blocker. What happens after that doesn't affect it's status as a blocker. There are also no restrictions on whether it can tap to use an ability, pay a cost, etc.

  • 7
    Re "What happens after that doesn't affect it's status as a blocker", Unless it's one of the things that removes the creature from combat.
    – ikegami
    Sep 11, 2017 at 22:35


A blocking creature may be tapped to pay a cost or as the result of an effect.[1]

This has no effect on its status as a blocker.[2] It will still deal and receive damage as normal.

  1. It can't be tapped for no reason.

  2. The only way to stop a creature from being a blocker before the end of combat is to remove the creature from combat.

    506.4. A permanent is removed from combat if it leaves the battlefield, if its controller changes, if it phases out, if an effect specifically removes it from combat, if it’s a planeswalker that’s being attacked and stops being a planeswalker, or if it’s an attacking or blocking creature that regenerates (see rule 701.13) or stops being a creature. A creature that’s removed from combat stops being an attacking, blocking, blocked, and/or unblocked creature. A planeswalker that’s removed from combat stops being attacked.



During combat, players each get priority to activate abilities or cast spells after attackers have been declared and after blockers have been declared.

The fact that a creature is blocking doesn't change anything.

  • Recommend including a disclaimer that this does not apply to abilities that can be activated only when the player could cast a sorcery. Sep 18, 2017 at 4:08

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