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Related to: Blocking with First Strike + Deathtouch

It is said in the answers that the blocking player can choose how his Hundred Handed One deals damages to attacking creatures.

Example: Defending creature is a 6/8 with deathtouch, first strike who can block up to 100 creatures. Assume 10 3/3 creatures are attacking. To take advantage of first strike and deathtouch, he could deal one damage to 6 different attacking creatures, kill them, and only be dealt damage by the remaining 4 attacking ones.

Background:

To a question I asked on facebook to the official Magic page, I've had a specific answer which felt correct to me.

The question was: "If I have an attacking 9/9 creature with first strike who has to be blocked by every available creature and the defending player has ten 2/2 creatures to block, will the attacking creature deal 9 to each defensive creature, or 9 amongst the defensive creatures ? If so, who chooses how the damages are dealt ?"

The answer was : "Since attacking creature has first strike, attacking player chooses to which defensive creatures the 9 total damages are dealt, but has to deal enough damages to kill one creature before applying remaning damages to another one."

In the related answer, is it really correct that the defending creature can deal only 1 damage per attacking creature, using its deathtouch to kill them? And doing so, won't it take damage from every attacking creature since it doesn't kill them before they can attack, and not only the 4 last ones? (reminder: defending creature has first strike)

  • The "Since attacking creature has first strike" in that answer is misleading; that's how it would work whether it has first strike or not. – GendoIkari Feb 8 '18 at 13:36
  • It could have not be the case, I don't know the exact rule and knowing the defending player choses which creatures he'll defend himself with he could also chose which creature will take damages and how much. But since the attacker has first strike it wouldn't work this way. – Rolexel Feb 8 '18 at 14:35
  • No, the attacker always chooses how to assign damage among the various blockers (the obsolete keyword Banding is the exception to this). First Strike has no bearing on this at all. – GendoIkari Feb 8 '18 at 14:38
  • I've been explained that, now I know it. What I just wrote is the way I thought this worked before all the explanations. And with the idea I had about how it worked, the specification about first strike made sense. – Rolexel Feb 8 '18 at 14:40
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    "To a question I asked on facebook to the official Magic page" Well, I thought I made that clear – Rolexel Feb 11 '18 at 15:28
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510.1c A blocked creature assigns its combat damage to the creatures blocking it. If no creatures are currently blocking it (if, for example, they were destroyed or removed from combat), it assigns no combat damage. If exactly one creature is blocking it, it assigns all its combat damage to that creature. If two or more creatures are blocking it, it assigns its combat damage to those creatures according to the damage assignment order announced for it. This may allow the blocked creature to divide its combat damage. However, it can’t assign combat damage to a creature that’s blocking it unless, when combat damage assignments are complete, each creature that precedes that blocking creature in its order is assigned lethal damage. When checking for assigned lethal damage, take into account damage already marked on the creature and damage from other creatures that’s being assigned during the same combat damage step, but not any abilities or effects that might change the amount of damage that’s actually dealt. An amount of damage that’s greater than a creature’s lethal damage may be assigned to it.

If the defending creature has first strike and deathtouch, you can deal only 1 damage to each creature, as deathtouch make it lethal.

UPDATE: Thanks to tengfred to comment the key rule for this:

702.2c Any nonzero amount of combat damage assigned to a creature by a source with deathtouch is considered to be lethal damage for the purposes of determining if a proposed combat damage assignment is valid, regardless of that creature’s toughness.

  • So deathtouch is instant lethal ? I've always thought it was executing the damaged creature AFTER the fight no matter how much damages were dealt to it – Rolexel Feb 8 '18 at 10:02
  • Yo assign the damage in the damage phase, if your creature has deathtouch, you already know it is going to be lethal as long as you do any damage – Doruko Feb 8 '18 at 10:05
  • Yes but I would have expected the deathtoutch to be effective if damages were dealt during the battlephase, and make them lethal no matter what once this phase is over – Rolexel Feb 8 '18 at 10:07
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    For reference, the key rule here is 702.2c: "Any nonzero amount of combat damage assigned to a creature by a source with deathtouch is considered to be lethal damage for the purposes of determining if a proposed combat damage assignment is valid, regardless of that creature’s toughness. See rules 510.1c–d." – tengfred Feb 8 '18 at 11:20
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    @AlexandreAudin Before deathtouch was a keyword, a similar ability did appear a few times as a triggered ability ("Whenever a creature is dealt damage by [this creature], destroy that creature"). And that ability would not allow the blocker to assign 1 damage to each blocked creature. However, deathtouch is different, and changes the quality of the damage itself. Deathtouch on an attacking creature combos nicely with trample, for intance. – Arthur Feb 8 '18 at 12:36

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