Let's say I control a Neheb, the Eternal and attack my opponent with two 2/2 creatures. My opponent blocks one of those creatures with a 2/2 that has lifelink. When my postcombat main phase begins, does Neheb give me two mana or zero mana?

I searched the comprehensive rules, and this seemed to be the only section relevant to my question:

120.3a Damage dealt to a player by a source without infect causes that player to lose that much life.

120.3f 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.

This makes it sound like my opponent will simultaneously lose two life and gain two life, meaning that I expect to get two mana from Neheb. But I wanted to double-check that there isn't some sort of "canceling out" of the damage and lifelink that causes my opponent to in fact lose zero life.

  • 3
    You've linked to the Gatherer page which says "Neheb's ability checks only how much life opponents lost during the turn, not by how much their life total decreased compared to the start of the turn. For example, if an opponent lost 2 life and then gained 8 life before your postcombat main phase, you'll add {R}{R} to your mana pool" - what more do you want then that? Dec 11, 2023 at 17:45
  • Note that you omitted from your scenario the part where the player actually got damage during combat. I presume you meant the unblocked critter dealt damage and hence caused life loss, but that damage could also have been prevented by other means, leading to a total of zero life loss and zero mana from Neheb.
    – ilkkachu
    Dec 12, 2023 at 9:04
  • The basic assumption, in general, is that the only relevant game pieces/events are the ones described in the question. The question states that two creatures attack, and that one is blocked, and that a Neheb is on the battlefield. That section of the question does not explicitly state that any creatures deal damage, but the question later states that the expected outcome is that the defending player gains and loses 2 life. This implies that combat proceeds as normal, and that there are no unstated damage prevention or life gain prevention effects that would modify that outcome.
    – murgatroid99
    Dec 12, 2023 at 15:27

1 Answer 1


The life loss does happen, and you do get mana from Neheb's ability.

Rule 122.3, regarding the cancellation of +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters, sets the precedent that cancellation of opposite effects only happen when explicitly stated by a rule. There is no rule that explicitly states that life gain and life loss events cancel out so that they don't count, so that is not what happens.

Each of the effects described in 120.3a and 120.3f happens separately and simultaneously, so both the life gain and life loss events are considered to have occurred for anything that cares about them, and Neheb's ability does grant mana as a result.

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