Astral Slide and „new“ Damage on Stack rules

Asked by RobinTheBird2 1 year ago

Hello all, I haven't played Magic since 2004 and started again this year. I've learned that some rules have changed, including the "Damage on Stack" rule. Specifically, I am now wondering about the former Astral Slide combo: For example, is it still possible to block a 2/2 attacker with a 1/1 creature and save the creature with Astral Slide, by cycling a card, while preventing life loss? Or would my creature be destroyed? Or would the damage go through but the creature would be save? Thanks a lot for your help!

legendofa says... Accepted answer #1

Your creature would survive, and you would not take damage. An annotated sequence of events for the combat step is basically

  • Enter combat step. Activate abilities, cast instants, trigger "at the beginning of combat" abilities, etc.
  • Active player declares which creatures are attacking, and which opponent or Planeswalker they're attacking. (Opponent attacks with 2/2.) Activate abilities, cast instants, trigger "Whenever ~ attacks" abilities, etc.
  • Defending player(s) declare which creatures are blocking and how. (You block the 2/2 with a 1/1.) Activate abilities, cast instants, trigger "Whenever ~ blocks" abilities, etc. (You cycle a card, triggering Astral Slide. You choose to exile the blocking creature. Slide resolves, and the creature is exiled.)
  • Attacking player assigns damage. Blocked creatures deal damage to blocking creatures, and unblocked creatures deal damage to whatever they were attacking. (The attacking 2/2 is still considered blocked, but has nothing to deal its damage to.)

Fast forward to the end step, when your creature returns.

There are a couple of exceptions, but this will get you through most interactions. The most common exception is probably trample. When damage is assigned, it is legal for the attacker to assign all damage to you, since it will overcome all present blockers by assigning them zero damage. Also, if you block an attacker with two creatures and exile one of them, the attacker can still choose to assign all damage to the blocker that's still in play.

August 31, 2022 2:24 p.m.

Rhadamanthus says... #2

The key thing to know is that there's no longer an extra step in-between combat damage being assigned and dealt for players to get another chance to make responses. Now damage is dealt immediately after being assigned. This means your last chance to make a response before combat damage is dealt is after blockers are declared (as legendofa described above), and this also means the creature you slide won't assign/deal any damage to the attacker.

August 31, 2022 2:54 p.m.

Arcath says... #3

A few other notes about removing a blocking creature from combat, the attacking creature is considered 'blocked' (there could be triggers based on that) and if the attacking creature has trample there is no creature to assigned combat damage to, so all of that creatures damage would be applied to the defending player even though the creature is 'blocked'.

August 31, 2022 4:22 p.m.

RobinTheBird2 says... #4

Thank you very much for the quick and well explained answers!

August 31, 2022 4:55 p.m.

Rhadamanthus says... #5

RobinTheBird2: Since it's clear you got a satisfactory answer to your question, I marked one of the responses as the "Accepted answer" so this topic can move out of the list of unanswered questions. In the future you can take care of this yourself using the "Mark as Answer" button on the response that you feel best answers your question.

September 1, 2022 8:43 a.m.

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