Can you return Savage Knuckleblade to hand before it is damaged by a blocking creature?

Asked by Argy 2 years ago

let's say I have Savage Knuckleblade on the field and three untapped Islands.

If I attack with the Knuckleblade and it is blocked by a Ruthless Ripper, can I pay its return to hand ability before it receives damage from the Ripper?

If I can, does the Ruthless Ripper's damage have no target?

I hope that explanation is clear enough. Thanks for any help.

TheRedMage says... Accepted answer #1

First, combat damage doesn't "target" per se. "Target" is a loaded word in magic and it is restricted to the recipient of the effect of particular spells and abilities.

That said, the answer is yes, you can return it before it's damaged. Combat has 5 steps, each of which is named depending of what happens in the beginning of that step: Beginning of Combat, Declare Attackers, Declare Blockers, Combat Damage, End of Combat. After the relevant action has been performed, players get a chance to cast spells or activate ability.

At the beginning of the Declare Blockers step, your opponent declared Ruthless Ripper as a blocker. After that, you receive priority and you can activate the ability that bounces your Savage Knuckleblade. When the game progresses to the Combat Damage step, the Ruthless Ripper will stil be considered a blocking creature, but it doesn't have a blocked creature to deal damage to, so it won't deal damage at all.

May 20, 2015 5:29 a.m.

MSU_Iced_Z says... #2

Note that the Ruthless Ripper also survives, as your Savage Knuckleblade doesn't get to deal its damage either.

May 20, 2015 2:48 p.m.

Argy says... #3

Thanks people!

Now I'ma swing, swing, swing with this Knucklehead!

May 22, 2015 3:39 a.m.

This discussion has been closed