Since, in 2010, there have been changes in the rules, I would like to ask if what I'm reporting here – although fairly trivial – is still a possible action.

If, during a combat phase, Savannah Lions is blocked by Whirlwind Adept, and therefore the latter suffered lethal damage, is it still possible to take it back to the owner's hand - for example, with an Unsummon - but after it has still dealt its amount of damage to the other creature?

I ask this question because I know that the damage no longer goes on the stack, and the thing matters in lots of situations. I must say that I have not understood well if this can concern even a seemingly simple case like this.

So I wonder if, since I intend to assign Whirlwind Adept damage to Lions, but save the blocking creature too, you can cast an instant as Unsummon to still deal damage to the other creature, and - immediately after this - take the creature back into your hand before the Status Based Actions kill it.

  • 6
    Obligatory first strike mention. Dec 31, 2019 at 14:05
  • (see below...in what sense first strike is still an edge situation?) Jan 3, 2020 at 9:55

1 Answer 1


Yes, this is exactly one of the tricks which is no longer possible after the Magic 2010 rules changes (scroll down to 5) Combat Damage No Longer Uses the Stack). It's even mentioned explicitly:

How can you Unsummon your creature and have it still deal damage?

This didn't really make sense from a flavor perspective, and therefore they've fixed it:

The Fix: As soon as damage is assigned in the combat damage step, it is dealt. There is no time to cast spells and activate abilities in between; the last time to do so prior to damage being dealt is during the declare blockers step.

So you either have to Unsummon your creature before damage is assigned (but then the other creature survives as well) or both of them will die.

  • Thanks Glorfindel. This is yet another proof of the main reason why I wrote so many seemingly trivial questions: I played magic many years ago, and today the game is very different. So, even in the "easy to solve" situations for you, I actually find myself in doubt...too bad today it is not possible to unsummon creatures after they deal their damage! Dec 31, 2019 at 11:15
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    There are still a few edge cases, such as First Strike. Dec 31, 2019 at 21:50
  • In what sense first strike's combat situations could be different from what is described here? This means that creatures are still able to deal their first strike damage, and then disappear with,f.e., an Unsummon, or maybe Blink of an Eye? If there's no problem, please answer here, or I ask this with a formal question... Jan 3, 2020 at 9:52
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    @Massimiliano Yes. When there's a First (or double) striker, there's two phases of the Combat damage step: First and Double strikers hit (allowing all generated triggers to resolve and things to die), then Normal and double strikers hit. This means you can have your first striker hit then bounce him before any surviving defenders who do not have FS/DS hit back. See here for a diagram
    – Veskah
    Jan 3, 2020 at 18:05
  • Really interesting. This means that, although damage does not goes on the stack, there are two separate combat phases. This allow you to cast spells in between the two separate phases,after the first-phase's damage assignment,and before the second-phase's damage is assigned. Really good answer from Veskah... Jan 4, 2020 at 9:41

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