How do you kill an indestructible creature?

Asked by Skuzy 5 years ago

I have been playing for a few months now and people keep using indestructible creatures to block my strongest creatures, neither dies but it is still annoying that my strongest creature keeps getting blocked by something I feel should die but doesn't (i.e. 1000/1000 Primordial Hydra should kill a 1/1 creature, but the 1/1 creature is indestructible). Since "destroy" spells and lethal damage do not work, I would like to know how you get them into the graveyard.

Epochalyptik says... Accepted answer #1

Any creature whose toughness is reduced to 0 or less is put into a graveyard as a state-based action, regardless of whether or not it is indestructible. You could use creatures with wither or infect or you could use spells like card:Black Sun's Zenith and Disfigure to reduce the toughness of the indestructible creatures until they die.

Alternatively, you could exile them with something like Path to Exile or Oblivion Ring .

July 22, 2012 10:52 a.m.

GoblinsInc says... #2

or cause them to be sacrificed with something like geth's verdict.

July 22, 2012 10:59 a.m.

hunter9000 says... #3

Giving your big creatures trample would get damage through if they're blocking with small indestructible creatures.

Bouncing them with something like Vapor Snag also works.

July 22, 2012 11:32 a.m.

GoblinsInc says... #4

Bouncing them with something like Vapor Snag also works.
Only if they are bounced before blockers are declared, or the attacking creature also has trample
July 22, 2012 11:33 a.m.

A common thing to do against indestructible is Tragic Slip .

July 22, 2012 2:44 p.m.

Dranzogger says... #6

1000/1000 primordial hydra has trample. Attack and proceed to win.

July 22, 2012 3:08 p.m.

Cookieboy1221 says... #7

1.) Exile it

2.) Make you opponent sacrifice it

3.) Minus counters

4.) Pacifism or any other cards like it

5.) Depending on what colour it is, if you have a creature which has protection from what ever the indistructable creature is then no damage can be dealth by the indestructable creature to the protected creature.

6.) Return it to their hand

7.) Counter it before it comes in

These can all stop them from bothering you.

July 22, 2012 6:30 p.m.

Cookieboy1221 says... #8

Additionally i would like to point out that if you have a 1000/1000 Primordial Hydra being blocked by a 1/1 Indestructable dude then you would deal 999 damage to them. Primordial Hydra gains trample when it reaches 10 or more counters.

July 22, 2012 6:33 p.m.

Skeletontree says... #9

Actually the accepted answer is incorrect based on the game rules. Lethal damage does not destroy, or 'kill', a creature with indestructible. Please refer to rule 700.4 as I have pasted below:"700.4. If a permanent is indestructible, rules and effects cant destroy it. (See rule 701.6, Destroy.) Such permanents are not destroyed by lethal damage, and they ignore the lethal-damage state-based action (see rule 704.5g). Rules or effects may cause an indestructible permanent to be sacrificed, put into a graveyard, or exiled."Therefore the only way to destroy an indestructible is via the other actions other users have posted.

May 25, 2013 2:16 p.m.

hunter9000 says... #10

The accepted answer (post #1) is correct. Creatures aren't destroyed when they have 0 toughness, they're put in the graveyard as a state based action. That isn't a destroy effect, so indestructible doesn't prevent it.

May 25, 2013 3:01 p.m.

@Skeletontree: I fail to see how my answer is inconsistent with those rules.

May 25, 2013 7:55 p.m.

0610cja says... #12

Accepted Answer #1 is incorrect. The rule states that the indestructible ability completely ignores the state based action. Simply put the only way to destroy a creature that is indestructible would be to make force its controller to sacrifice it.

May 30, 2013 4:48 p.m.

@ 0610cja

  1. Where does this "rule" state that?

  2. You would think thousands of judges would have gotten this memo of making indestructible OP

  3. No.

May 30, 2013 4:55 p.m.

@0610cja: Actually, it is you who is incorrect.

Indestructible simply means this permanent can't be destroyed. That's it. Any other means of killing a creature (reducing its toughness to 0 or less, causing it to be sacrificed) still puts that creature into its owner's graveyard. Neither 0 or less toughness nor sacrifice cause a creature to be destroyed.

I'm curious now. From where did you source your information?

May 30, 2013 6:08 p.m.

Skeletontree says... #15

Allow me to clarify my answer. Lethal damage, I.e. from defending will still reduce an indestructibles toughness to zero but since indestructible prevents the creature from going to the graveyard due to lethal damage it is not destroyed, and its toughness returns to its previous level after combat is resolved. Indestructible does not prevent damage, just the effect of that damage. -1 counters are technically not considered damage so therefore if you bring the toughness below zero in this manner, and since no creature may have 0 or less toughness, it is sacrificed as a state based action. No damage was ever done to the indestructible this way. There is a difference and this has led to much confusion and research on my part since a majority of people tend to explain the rules to me in their own words and not exactly how the rules define them. Though who wants to study the game rules, besides myself..

May 31, 2013 9:40 a.m.

@Skeletontree: Almost every part of that post is incorrect.

Damage does not reduce a creature's toughness unless that damage is dealt in the form of wither or infect.

In the case of wither and infect, -1/-1 counters are considered damage, as that is how a source with wither or infect deals damage to creatures.

Creatures with 0 or less toughness are not sacrificed. They are simply put into their owner's graveyard as a state-based action.

May 31, 2013 12:28 p.m.

Skeletontree says... #17

I apologize if I have misquoted something. Here are the points I was trying to outline albeit incorrectly as you have stated:Damage accumulates on indestructible creatures, and that damage is removed during the cleanup step.Lethal damage is defined as an amount of damage greater than or equal to a creatures toughness. Even though an indestructible creature isn't destroyed by lethal damage, that definition is still used for things like assigning trample damage.If a creature with lethal damage on it stops being indestructible, it's destroyed the next time state-based effects are checked.Being indestructible stops only effects that would destroy the permanent, including destruction due to lethal damage and destruction that doesn't allow regeneration. An indestructible permanent can be exiled, returned to a player's hand, put into a graveyard for having 0 or less toughness, or sacrificed.You can use a regeneration effect on an indestructible permanent, but since that permanent can't be destroyed, the effect does not apply, unless it loses indestructibility before the end of the end step, then it would regenerate.

May 31, 2013 2:12 p.m.

All of that information is correct. However, there is still nothing in your argument that would refute my accepted answer (as you claim in post #9).

May 31, 2013 2:22 p.m.

Skeletontree says... #19

Clearly my understanding is too limited to be posting on this topic. I apologize for being a dick, my intention was only to provide more information but I went about that all wrong. I'll just delete my account and stop posting.

May 31, 2013 2:38 p.m.

I don't think that's necessary. You had a different understanding of the situation, so I wanted to clarify what exactly was going on on all sides. I'm not harassing you or anything; I'm merely trying to make sure everyone is on the same page here.

May 31, 2013 2:45 p.m.

trentp says... #21

Cant we just say it doesnt die by blocking or cards that say destroy? only by -1 -1 counters or its power is reduced to 0 by an instant or sorcery? and also, cant we ALL just get along? lol

July 2, 2013 11:11 p.m.

(This question was answered a year ago and has been dead for a month.)

July 2, 2013 11:14 p.m.

trentp says... #23

Ooooooo... So sorry! Jeez!

July 3, 2013 1:04 a.m.

Sorry, not trying to criticize you. I would just prefer that this one stay dead given how it unfolded last time it got revived.

July 3, 2013 1:07 a.m.

Argy says... #25

Sorry but there is one more way to get rid of an Indestructible creature that I have found recently.

If you use an Instant like Turn to Frog on it, then it loses its Indestructible ability and can be dealt combat damage or destroyed with a target spell.

December 26, 2014 11:24 p.m.

Martine546 says... #26

Arg someone lied to u.

January 8, 2015 7:24 p.m.

@Martine546: Indestructible is now a static ability, not a status. It can be lost just like any other ability.

January 8, 2015 7:27 p.m.

Argy says... #28

@Martine546 You need to do some more homework.

January 9, 2015 12:18 a.m.

Martine546 says... #29

700.4a Although the text [This permanent] is indestructible is an ability, actually being indestructible is neither an ability nor a characteristic. Its just something thats true about a permanent.

It's not an ability bro or a characteristic so it can't be removed.

January 9, 2015 7:02 a.m.

@Martine546: It can. You're using an obsolete rulebook.

702.12a Indestructible is a static ability.

January 9, 2015 8:45 a.m.

Martine546 says... #31

Are u sure seems fishy to me?

January 9, 2015 9:30 a.m.

I did just quote the rules on it...

January 9, 2015 9:57 a.m.

Martine546 says... #33

I don't know I'm not really feeling like ur a trustworthy source.

January 9, 2015 10:53 a.m.

Sounds like a personal problem. Look it up yourself, then. In a current rule book.

January 9, 2015 11 a.m.

DaggerV says... #35

Might want to read into it on Wizards site. Indestructable was changed during same time legend rules and sideboard rules were changed I believe. It can be removed.

January 9, 2015 11:03 a.m.

Martine546 says... #36

Forum patrol on dead posts. Love it.

January 9, 2015 12:06 p.m.

Argy says... #37

@Martine546 The Indestructible ruling was changed when M14 was released.

You can keep believing that it wasn't if you like. Good luck with that in an official tournament.

January 12, 2015 5:50 p.m.

Here's my question: if I have Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre and my opponent hits it with a Blaze type effect for 6 damage, and then uses Languish, will Ulamog get put into the graveyard?

August 21, 2015 4:46 a.m.

Behgz says... #39

I've been confused by this same scenario. Damage and -x effects don't add together to kill indestructible things.

You can fireball an ulamog for 11 damage, but you would still need to cobble together the full amount of -x regardless of how much damage it has taken.

If something indestructible has toughness 10, then you need to muster a -10 or more effect. Dealing any amount of damage does nothing to the indestructible creature, and it will still need a full -10 even if you fireball it for 11. Hope this helps. It was very difficult to wrap my brain around this same concept.

August 21, 2015 4:54 a.m.

Boza says... #40

Damage does not reduce toughness (I blame the Duels games) and creatures only die if damage marked on it >= its toughness. However, Indestructible dudes ignore marked damage.

Also, Reanimateing threads from half a year ago is not OK.

August 21, 2015 5:04 a.m.

Behgz says... #41

omg this is so fucking necro, someone plz lock this thread.

August 21, 2015 5:08 a.m.

Ledzeppoli says... #42

I'm sorry to join in the fray but it's really still unclear:

Can an indestructible creature be removed from the battlefield when it's toughness reaches 0?

August 31, 2015 6:40 p.m.

That's covered in the first reply, which is also the accepted answer.

August 31, 2015 6:45 p.m.

Packratmtg99 says... #44

Check out the video on Youtube.

September 6, 2015 12:05 p.m.

bladegeek says... #45

Indestructible creatures aren't protected by being enchanted by the opponent with cards like Paralyze or Lignify.

November 6, 2016 4:31 p.m.

bladegeek says... #46

aren't protected from, rather

November 6, 2016 4:32 p.m.

phlash12 says... #47

While something may be the "accepted answer", that doesn't mean it's right.

The person with the accepted answer keeps asking why it's wrong; here's why - because the answer is incomplete. That answer does not state that damage (combat or otherwise) can not reduce an indestructible creatures toughness to zero (unless in the form of -1/-1 counters).

So, that's why people are saying it's not right; they just haven't been able to articulate properly [email protected], keep trying!

May 7, 2017 4:06 p.m.

Samthere says... #48

@phlash12 The answer isn't incomplete. Why would an answer need to state that normal damage can't reduce its toughness? Does it also need to state that drawing a card at the beginning of the turn doesn't force you to sacrifice all indestructible creatures you control?

Normal damage doesn't affect a creature's toughness. A creature with 5 toughness still has 5 toughness when it takes 4 damage. Now it's a creature with 5 toughness and 4 damage.

Damage doesn't affect a creature's stats (except where specified otherwise, such as with wither and infect which do so through the use of -1/-1 counters). It's just damage. Toughness is a measure of how much total damage it takes to kill a creature.

May 8, 2017 8:03 a.m.

Argy says... #49

I like to say that a Creature has X damage marked on it, if it takes damage and doesn't die.

May 8, 2017 9:54 a.m.

phlash12 says... #50

@Samthere, because damage does reduce a creatures toughness (or at least that's what I've got tons of players telling me!). Once that toughness is reduced to zero, it dies.

Or to steal from an official page: "Indestructible ... is a static ability that means that any permanent that has indestructible cannot be destroyed, and cannot be destroyed as a result of lethal damage." [Look, lethal damage]

So maybe I have the semantics wrong. You can take comfort in knowing I'm not alone.

May 20, 2017 2 a.m.

Argy says... #51

phlash12 if a Creature is Indestructible it TAKES NO DAMAGE.

A 3/3 Creature targetted with Lightning Strike will take no damage from the strike. Its toughness will remain at 3, and it won't die.

If, instead, you put three -1/-1 counters on the 3/3 Creature its toughness would be reduced to nought, and it will die.

That's because the counters are not doing damage to the Creature. They are reducing its life total.

May 20, 2017 5:28 a.m.

@phlash12 and Argeaux:

Damage does not reduce a creature's toughness. Damage is marked on a creature until the cleanup step. Although games like Duels of the Planeswalkers represent this by "reducing" the toughness of damaged creatures, that is not what actually happens.

Second, indestructible creatures absolutely do take damage. A 2/2 with indestructible can be dealt 3 damage from Lightning Strike. It will survive because damage can't destroy an indestructible creature, but if that creature lost indestructible before the end of the turn, it would be destroyed as a state-based action.

Further, creatures don't have life totals. They have toughness. Reducing a creature's toughness to 0 is one way to kill it, even if it's indestructible.

The two above points are why creatures with infect or wither will still kill most creatures. Infect and wither damage are dealt to creatures in the form of -1/-1 counters. It's still damage.

May 20, 2017 12:01 p.m.

Samthere says... #53

Epochalyptik explained it well. Here are some of the relevant rules about how damage is dealt to creatures:

  • 119.3e Damage dealt to a creature by a source with neither wither nor infect causes that much damage to be marked on that creature.
  • 119.6. Damage marked on a creature remains until the cleanup step, even if that permanent stops being a creature. If the total damage marked on a creature is greater than or equal to its toughness, that creature has been dealt lethal damage and is destroyed as a state-based action (see rule 704). All damage marked on a permanent is removed when it regenerates (see rule 701.13, Regenerate) and during the cleanup step (see rule 514.2).
May 24, 2017 8:17 a.m.

Slamwise says... #54

Samthere I think it is entirely relevant that "an answer need to state that normal damage can't reduce its toughness". This is a thread about not fully understanding the rules, so explaining relevant rules can be important. I personally did not know that's how damage/toughness worked until I read this thread (and honestly was still confused about indestructible until I read ~70% of the responses).

September 3, 2017 10:25 p.m.

Samthere says... #55

Slamwise It is relevant, but not mentioning it doesn't make the answer incomplete. An answer to a question should answer the question, rather than assume it has to also explain all of the basics again.

October 17, 2017 1:07 p.m.

Slamwise says... #56

Samthere I disagree.

October 17, 2017 1:31 p.m.

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