I had the below scenario happen while playing MTG Arena.

I have a 1/1 soldier token.
I have given it protection from Red, by sacrificing an Alseid of Life's Bounty.
My opponent has a Rimrock Knight equipped with an Embercleave.
My soldier blocks the Rimrock Knight.

Damage still gets through.

I was under the impression that protection from red would force all damage to be absorbed by the soldier. That was not the case. I'm assuming this is a bug in my understanding of the rules, as opposed to a bug in Arena?


2 Answers 2


The trample damage should get through in this situation.

Protection prevents damage, but it does not have any effect on how damage is assigned in combat. The attacking player must still assign 1 damage to the token before assigning any damage to you. The token will not take the damage and will not die, but the rest of the damage assigned to you is not prevented, so it will still be dealt to you.

One interesting note here is that this attacking creature has double strike because Embercleave grants that ability. This means that it will deal damage in both the first strike and regular combat damage steps, and since the damage is prevented by the protection ability, the token will be undamaged after the first strike combat damage step, so the attacking player will need to assign another 1 damage to it in the regular combat damage step.

  • OK, this conversation has run its course, so I am clearing it out.
    – murgatroid99
    Apr 7, 2021 at 7:06

As it turns out (and possibly counterintuitively), trample does go through protection. The point is that the attacker must assign lethal damage to the defending creature, and then they are free to assign the rest to the player. In this case the attacking Rimrock Knight must do 1 damage to your token (for each of its combat steps - since the token isn't destroyed, it can absorb one damage during first strike damage and then another one damage during regular damage), and the rest goes to you.

One of the examples given in the comprehensive rules deals explicitly with these two keywords:

702.19b The controller of an attacking creature with trample first assigns damage to the creature(s) blocking it. Once all those blocking creatures are assigned lethal damage, any excess damage is assigned as its controller chooses among those blocking creatures and the player or planeswalker the creature is attacking. 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. The attacking creature’s controller need not assign lethal damage to all those blocking creatures but in that case can’t assign any damage to the player or planeswalker it’s attacking.

Example: A 6/6 green creature with trample is blocked by a 2/2 creature with protection from green. The attacking creature’s controller must assign at least 2 damage to the blocker, even though that damage will be prevented by the blocker’s protection ability. The attacking creature’s controller can divide the rest of the damage as they choose between the blocking creature and the defending player.

Notably opponent can also choose to do you no damage, if they assign all the damage to the token.

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