On the board I had Dina, Soul Steeper and another creature with lifelink. My opponent had huge advantage on the board, but was at 1 life. He attacked with everything. I expected to lose dozens of lives, but trigger Dina by blocking one guy with lifelink creature, and cause opponent to go to 0, resulting in draw. Instead, I had just lost outright.


2 Answers 2


I believe your confusion is around triggered abilities and the stack.

In your scenario all combat damage is assigned and resolved, and state based actions are handled first. (i.e. life totals are checked).

If you survive, then all triggers are placed on the stack.

But you didn't survive combat, so Dina's triggered ability did not get on the stack.

Bottom line, you have to survive combat damage in order for Dina's triggered ability to get placed on the stack.

  • "800.4a When a player leaves the game, all objects (see rule 109) owned by that player leave the game and any effects which give that player control of any objects or players end. Then, if that player controlled any objects on the stack not represented by cards, those objects cease to exist." Door to Nothingness is the ultimate counterspell.
    – Zags
    Commented Apr 23, 2021 at 21:37
  • 6
    For two-player games, it's simpler than that: once a player loses the game, the game ends, and nothing happens after the end of the game.
    – murgatroid99
    Commented Apr 23, 2021 at 23:26
  • @Zags Section 8 the CR (the 8xx rules) apply specifically to multiplayer games, and since Arena only supports one on one games, we know this was not one of those.(not to mention an uninvolved 3rd player would have been who OP expected to win if he had expected himself and his opponent to both lose/draw)
    – Andrew
    Commented May 2, 2021 at 14:24
  • I am aware that the rule is specifically for multiplayer; I mention it because I believe it is the best illustration of the relevant principle.
    – Zags
    Commented May 4, 2021 at 14:48
  • I think what you are trying to do would work pre-6th Edition rules. Back then you had until the end of turn to life-gain yourself back from 0
    – JamesFaix
    Commented May 20, 2021 at 1:37

The key is that triggered abilities do not do anything at the moment they trigger:

603.2. Whenever a game event or game state matches a triggered ability’s trigger event, that ability automatically triggers. The ability doesn’t do anything at this point.

603.3. Once an ability has triggered, its controller puts it on the stack as an object that’s not a card the next time a player would receive priority.

Because of lifelink, you gained some life at the same time you lost a bunch. This caused Dina's ability to trigger, but it triggering doesn't do anything to stop you from losing; it would have to go on the stack and then wait until both players pass priority before it resolves and does anything. By this time, you have already lost the game due to being at 0 or fewer life.

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