How is trample damage distributed among multiple blockers with Vigor on blocking side?

Asked by BolasFucks 10 months ago

Last night my friend playing Elves in EDH buffed his Taunting Elf up to a 33/34 with trample and swung at a player who had a handful of creatures out, one of them being Vigor . According to Taunting Elf, all creatures able to block taunting elf must do so. How exactly is damage distributed here?

What we did: Defending player ordered his blockers with Vigor going last. Had damage distributed among each defender in order equal to their toughness before spilling over to the next blocker and so on and so forth. All damage was taken before getting to Vigor. Vigor lived after taking no damage, all creatures that took damage got a number of +1/+1 counters equal to their toughness.

My concern: Was each blocking creature supposed to take the full 33? How does trample effect this overall equation compared to if there was no trample? Can any creatures take no damage because the amount of toughness before them more than covered the damage? Would each blocking creature still deal full damage to Taunting Elf?

Caerwyn says... #1

The two key rules here are that combat damage is dealt simultaneously (rule 510.2) and that the attacking player gets to choose how attacking creatures assign combat damage (rule 510.1) (caveat: Banding changes how Rule 510.1 works, but, unless you are interested in that disfavoured keyword, I'll refrain from nerding out over Banding).

Was each blocking creature supposed to take the full 33?

When assigning combat damage, you assign the total points of power for that creature (rule 510.1a)--so, the Taunting Elf will assign a total of 33 damage between blocking creatures.

How does trample effect this overall equation compared to if there was no trample?

Trample only applies if the Taunting Elf is able to deal the equivalent of lethal damage to each creature blocking it.

Here, let's say there is only 10/10, as well as Vigor (a 6/6) on the field. Though 10 damage will not kill the 10/10 due to Vigor 's prevention of damage effect, the Taunting Elf would still be allowed to assign 10 damage to the 10/10, 6 to the 6/6, and 17 to the defending player, as all blocking creatures received what would normally be damage.

Interesting related note, Deathtouch makes 1 single point of damage count for trample purposes. If the Taunting Elf had trample and deathtouch, it could assign 1 point to the 10/10, 1 point to the 6/6, and 31 points to defending player.

Can any creatures take no damage because the amount of toughness before them more than covered the damage?

Yes. Your opponent will get to decide which creatures take damage. If we have Vigor (6/6), then a 10/10, an 11/11, and a 12/12, they can divide the damage however they choose.

Generally, they should assign 6 damage to Vigor , killing it--the more "damage" they would assign to the other creatures, the more counters those other creatures would receive.

Would each blocking creature still deal full damage to Taunting Elf?

Yes. Blocking creatures deal damage simultaneously with attacking creatures.

all creatures that took damage got a number of +1/+1 counters equal to their toughness.

Not quite true. Vigor prevents other creatures from taking damage. In your hypothetical, the only creature that takes damage is Vigor itself, and Vigor 's ability does not allow it to get the counters.

January 15, 2019 10:35 a.m.

Rhadamanthus says... Accepted answer #2

There's a problem in your example: When multiple creatures are assigned to block a single attacker, the attacking player decides the damage assignment order, not the defending player.

Regardless of that, putting Vigor in the front of the damage assignment order won't interfere with its damage-prevention ability due to the fact that the damage is all dealt simultaneously after being assigned (as cdkime mentioned).

The key thing to know is that for the purposes of assigning combat damage, "lethal damage" only considers the creature's current toughness, any damage already marked on it, and whether or not the source of the damage has deathtouch. It doesn't take into account any other effect that would increase, reduce, or otherwise change the amount of damage that would actually be dealt after it's assigned.

January 15, 2019 10:44 a.m.

BolasFucks says... #3

Rhadamanthus I don't know how I still mix up who decides blocking order. Embarrassing...

Anyway regardless of where Vigor is in the order (because damage is assigned simultaneously), each non-Vigor creature that blocked would still have their toughness worth of damage prevented and that amount of +1/+1 counters placed on them?

I think I get it other than that. Thank you and cdkime for the note about Deathtouch. That will definitely come in handy one of these days.

January 15, 2019 10:53 a.m.

Caerwyn says... #4

Anyway regardless of where Vigor is in the order (because damage is assigned simultaneously), each non-Vigor creature that blocked would still have their toughness worth of damage prevented and that amount of +1/+1 counters placed on them?

Not necessarily. They will have however much damage is assigned to them prevented and +1/+1 counters received.

You always have the option of assigning more than lethal damage.

So, your opponent could assign 33 damage to Vigor 's 6/6 body, and 0 to all the other blocking creatures. That would kill Vigor and prevent anyone else from receiving counters.

January 15, 2019 11 a.m.

BolasFucks says... #5

cdkime Interesting. So the attacker chooses how to divide up the damage? i.e. say just a 1/1 was blocking this 33/34 Taunting Elf with Trample, the attacking player can feasibly deal 16 to the blocker and let the remaining 17 hit carry over to the player just for shits? I always thought it was automatically however much of the damage isn't blocked.

January 15, 2019 11:07 a.m.

Caerwyn says... #6

You are correct. In fact, there are very fringe reasons why an attacker might not want trample damage to carry over. One example I can think of: in a multiplayer game, Player A has a strong pillowfort (i.e. set of cards preventing them from being attacked) and 20 life. Player B has a Stuffy Doll linked to Player A. Player C has a 20/20 and is the attacking player. Player C can assign all the damage to Player B's Stuffy Doll , taking out Player A.

Or perhaps it is the case they have some sort of mirror effect, where you take damage when you deal damage to them, but you still want to attack and clear some of their creatures. Or it could be the case you presented--in order to have damage trample over, you have to assign lethal to all blocking creatures--here, it is better to assign everything to Vigor, even if it means foregoing some damage to the opponent's life total.

Or, perhaps Banding is in play. Banding allows the defending player to assign the attacking creatures blocked by the creature with banding's combat damage. so, if Player A's 1/1 with Banding blocks Player B's 20/20 with Trample, Player A can assign those 20 points of damage to the 1/1, such that none Trample over--Banding is a hard counter to Trample. (Promise not to nerd out over Banding broken).

Anyway, in general players will always have damage trample over, but it's worth knowing that is not a mandatory effect, just for those super rare situations where it is worth using.

January 15, 2019 11:17 a.m.

BolasFucks says... #7

cdkime Really helpful and insightful stuff! Thank you! I'd like to just clarify one more thing about trample and deathtouch at then I promise I'll let this already answered question be.

So when assigning combat damage from a creature with deathtouch and trample, you said only 1 damage is needed to be "considered lethal" and the rest can carry over to the player via trample. So does Indestructible change that? i.e. if an indestructible 10/10 blocks a 30/30 with trample and deathtouch can the attacker still do 1 damage to the creature and 29 trample damage?

January 15, 2019 11:52 a.m.

Caerwyn says... #8

Indestructible does not change anything. Trample does not care if the blocker would actually die, only that what would be a lethal amount is assigned. Same goes for Protection or other damage prevention effects.

January 15, 2019 noon

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