Context :

We're playing a mtg multiplayer game with 3 people (2 friends and I). Let's say player 1 has no creature on the board and no way to defend himself and 1 Life left, player 2 has some big creatures on the board and plenty of Life, and player 3 has three 3/3 creatures on the board, each with lifelink and vigilance, but player 3 doesn't have much life left (he could die next time player 2 attacks him with full power). In order to survive the next turn, player 3 has to gain life with the 3 of his creatures AND keep them alive for defense purpose) so he decides to attack player 1 with everything.

Question :

How do you apply the damage from player 3's attack to player 1 ?

We're lacking information and can't tell if player 1 will die from the blow of the first creature to damage him (thus healing only 3 life to player 3), or if all three creatures hit him at the same time, letting player 3 heal 9 Life this turn.

1 Answer 1


All combat damage happens at the same time, barring abilities such as first strike. That means player 3 gains 9 life from the attack (and player 1 ends up at -8 life before losing).

From the CR:

510.2. Second, all combat damage that’s been assigned is dealt simultaneously. This turn-based action doesn’t use the stack. No player has the chance to cast spells or activate abilities between the time combat damage is assigned and the time it’s dealt.

  • An interesting question arising from this would be, "what if some of the creatures had first strike and some didn't?" Would the player take all of the damage (first strike and regular), or just the first strike damage, before they die? Feb 7, 2018 at 16:06
  • @Doctor Jones, If there are First Strike and non-First Strike attackers, there are two Combat Damage Steps. In each step, all damage is dealt simultaneously
    – ikegami
    Feb 7, 2018 at 21:54
  • Can players die in between damage steps? Or do they have to wait until all damage steps are resolved? Feb 8, 2018 at 9:57
  • @DoctorJones, a player can die during the first strike damage step (so after first strike damage is dealt, but before normal damage). This happens as a state-based action, so no player has a chance to respond before the player has lost the game (CR 104.3b and 704). In this case, you would of course only gain life from the first strike creatures.
    – Petzku
    Feb 8, 2018 at 10:46

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