I played MTG Arena today and I attacked with Zulaport Duelist on which my opponent reacted with Stomp adventure of Bonecrusher Giant and instead of letting me change my Duelist for Zareth it simply passed to damage and destroyed Duelist. I encountered a lot of bugs in Arena so far but I'm thinking this might be right but don't know why, since Zareth ability is instant speed.

  • 3
    When exactly did you opponent cast Stomp? Was it before or after the declare blockers step?
    – Erik
    Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 11:48
  • @Erik it was before, but he had no blockers. I though about this but I played game where another player had no blockers and when I attacked it skipped to "Next to damage" instantly. Now that I think of it the previous player probably had no instant speed in hand. But still if having no blockers, declaring blockers seems to me very counter intuitive, but you are probably right that it is the reason.
    – eXPRESS
    Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 12:34

1 Answer 1


Though not exactly the same, Zareth San's ability is very similar to Ninjutsu, and even referred to here.

702.48c states:

A ninjutsu ability may be activated only while a creature on the battlefield is unblocked (see rule 509.1h). [...]

And when we follow up on 509.1h, we see that

An attacking creature with one or more creatures declared as blockers for it becomes a blocked creature; one with no creatures declared as blockers for it becomes an unblocked creature. This remains unchanged until the creature is removed from combat, an effect says that it becomes blocked or unblocked, or the combat phase ends, whichever comes first. A creature remains blocked even if all the creatures blocking it are removed from combat.

Since you added that your opponent cast Stomp during the declare attackers step, it wasn't determined yet whether your duelist is blocked or not. Therefore you weren't able use Zareth San's ability.

  • 1
    Thanks, I understand, it is a bit tricky to recognize that even if no blocker is available it still technically has to be confirmed. I guess in in-person game this could spark up some argument.
    – eXPRESS
    Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 13:06
  • 4
    Actually @eXPRESS, I think it's way easier to resolve this in person, since you can walk the other player step by step through what you're doing and why it works - while Arena just chains things, without giving much explanation. E.g, you can always react during the draw phase, but by default Arena ignores this for both players.
    – Erik
    Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 13:13

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