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A player told me that attacking a planeswalker with a creature with lifelink doesn't provide lifegain. It sounds strange to me since damage are dealt by the creature (whatever to who, what).

This player was a judge but since he was also my oponent, I query about this point of rule...

  • 1
    how can a judge not know that? – user23545 Oct 5 '18 at 12:51
  • Are you sure he's a judge? – Tim B Oct 5 '18 at 16:00
  • 1
    Yes he's a judge, it's a shame but i think he's just a cheater 🤔 – sinsedrix Oct 6 '18 at 9:15
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You will gain life by attacking a planeswalker with a creature that has lifelink. More generally, any damage source with lifelink will cause you to gain life if it deals damage to anything.

The definition of lifelink in rule 702.15b says this:

Damage dealt by a source with lifelink causes that source’s controller, or its owner if it has no controller, to gain that much life (in addition to any other results that damage causes). See rule 119.3.

6

Lifelink is defined as follows:

702.15b Damage dealt by a source with lifelink causes that source’s controller, or its owner if it has no controller, to gain that much life (in addition to any other results that damage causes). See rule 119.3.

Attacking a Planeswalker deals damage to it.

510.1. First, the active player announces how each attacking creature assigns its combat damage, [...]. A player assigns a creature’s combat damage according to the following rules:

510.1a Each attacking creature and each blocking creature assigns combat damage equal to its power. [...]

510.1b An unblocked creature assigns its combat damage to the player or planeswalker it’s attacking. [...]

510.1c-e [...]

510.2. Second, all combat damage that’s been assigned is dealt simultaneously. [...]

Whatever additional effects the dealing of damage may have (loss of life, gain of poison counters, loss of loyalty counters, gain of marked damage, gain of -1/-1 counters, etc) are irrelevant. You will gain life.

3

Both the other answers quote a rule which tells you to look at 119.3, but fails to take a look at that rule. Rule 119.3 details what actually happens when damage is dealt. For instance, 119.3c says

Damage dealt to a planeswalker causes that many loyalty counters to be removed from that planeswalker.

And 119.3f says

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.

In other words, a planeswalker losing loyalty counters from receiving damage, and a damage source with lifelink giving its controller life are both equally fundamental to how damage works in MTG. The rules do not say they exclude one another (119.3f even specifies "in addition to the damage’s other results") so both things will happen.

  • 119.3f is just a "reminder rule" that repeats 702.15b. There was nothing left out of my answer. (You, on the other hand, didn't show that the the creature dealt damage to the Planeswalker, only that it would cause life gain if it did.) – ikegami Oct 5 '18 at 9:37
  • @ikegami The question was never about whether damage would happen to the Paneswalker, though, only whether lifegain would occur as a result. At least the way i read it. But sure, see my answer as a comment too long to be a comment if you will. It started out that way, after all. – Arthur Oct 5 '18 at 9:45

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