What if you have a creature 1/5 and it attacks a 2/2 death creature does the 1/5 die or is deathtouch activated upon death

  • I edited the subject of that other question because "deathtouch mechanics", in addition to not being a question in itself, did not correctly describe the question.
    – GendoIkari
    Apr 19, 2018 at 14:55

1 Answer 1


First off, a creature cannot attack another creature. You can only attack players or planeswalkers, at which point your opponent can choose which creatures to block with. For the purpose of answering the question about deathtouch; I will assume that we are talking about a 1/5 attacking creature being blocked by a 2/2 creature with deathtouch.

From the MTG Quick Start Guide:

deathtouch—A creature dealt damage by a creature with deathtouch is destroyed

The 1/5 will die because it was dealt damage by a creature with deathtouch. The 2/2 deathtouch creature will have 1 damage, and will not die unless it is dealt another damage by something else before the end of the turn.

Note that this works whether it is combat damage from attacking/blocking, or other damage such as cards with the Fight keyword or cards that have an ability that deals damage.

This death occurs almost immediately, at the same time death due to a creature taking more damage than it has toughness would occur. This is a state-based action, which happens automatically each time a player would receive priority. From the comprehensive rules:

702.2b A creature with toughness greater than 0 that’s been dealt damage by a source with deathtouch since the last time state-based actions were checked is destroyed as a state-based action.

  • "Any nonzero amount of combat damage assigned to a creature by a source with deathtouch is considered to be lethal damage", from the comp rules. I think that explains it better. No triggered ability, no fancy effects happening. Just "A single point of damage is considered enough to kill". Also, as a sde note, that means that a creature with both deathtouch and trample only needs to assign one damage to each blocking creature, regardless of their toughness, and the rest will go through to the player.
    – Arthur
    Apr 20, 2018 at 7:51
  • 1
    @Arthur "Considered to be lethal damage" is dealing with how much you have to assign before you can move on to assigning damage to the next creature in line (or player, if it also has trample). "Considered to be lethal damage" doesn't tell you that the creature will be destroyed. 702.2b, the state-based action dealing with deathtouch, is what actually destroys the creature.
    – GendoIkari
    Apr 20, 2018 at 13:25
  • And I thought that a quick guide reference sounded more relevant than a comp rules reference, because if the basic/beginner nature of the question.
    – GendoIkari
    Apr 20, 2018 at 13:26
  • 1
    Oh, you're right. I thought "lethal damage" appeared explicitly in the state-based actions. My bad, then.
    – Arthur
    Apr 20, 2018 at 13:45
  • I did update the answer to include the state-based action, because I realized that the quick guide didn't deal with when the creature would die, only that it would.
    – GendoIkari
    Apr 20, 2018 at 13:52

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