Combat Phase - Declaring Attackers

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Ok, I need a little input here to settle a debate that turned from a simple disagreement into a full blown argument that ended the game as we all went "ok, that's it, this game is over" with there essentially being two viewpoints here. The setup was something like this:

*6-player game, 3 teams of 2.
*All teams were staggered throughout the progression. The seating was essentially Team 1-first player, Team 2-first player, Team 3-first player, Team 1-2nd Player, etc.
*Combined team blocking was allowed, along with buffing/enchanting.

The following happened:

Team 2-2nd Player has a mono-green Elf deck that had generated a lot of tokens (somewhere around 24 or so) and he progressed through his turn to the combat phase.

T2-2P: "I'm attacking Team 3 with all creatures"
T1-1P: "I'm going to play X card that states 'Tap x target creatures, these creatures don't untap during their next untap phase'" (apologies here, the effect was something extremely close to this)

This is where the problem came in. 5 of us play fairly regularly at all the same games and at the point where someone declares their attackers priority is passed to others to respond prior to declaring blockers, thereby making T1-1P's play of tapping X creatures a perfectly valid move. T2-2P didn't agree with this since he was essentially blowing his entire wad banking on eliminating Team 1 since Team 3 had no way of killing off Team 2 prior to the creatures untapping again.

Team 2-2nd Player stated that by declaring his attackers they tap *at the moment he declares them as part of the attacking force*. The ensuing argument would've been entertaining to gamers, bizarre to others. The normal players at this table were coming at it from varying angles but our main point was "In MTGO, when you declare attackers it's merely stating your intention to do so, at that point priority passes to the other player to play any spells they wish before declaring blockers and creatures don't tap until both attackers and blockers have been declared".

Reading through the Comp Rules didn't do anything to alleviate this as we reached Section 508 and went through it step by step applying each subsection to our situation. 508.1F states:

508.1f The active player taps the chosen creatures. Tapping a creature when it’s declared as an attacker isn’t a cost; attacking simply causes creatures to become tapped.

At which point it degenerated into something resembling a pacifist's version of SSBM with words instead of insane characters bashing each other over the head. Can anyone clarify this for us?
If the player trying to declare his attackers did not give his opponents to cast spells/activate abilities before rushing to the declare attackers step, then his opponent is perfectly in his right to back the game up and tap the player's creatures. If the player did give the chance and his opponents all passed priority, then his opponents cannot stop his attack by tapping the creatures.
Steps and phases don't end till all players pass priority on an empty stack [others will post more info I am sure, but when I get more time I'll see about answering in a bit more detail]
Level 1 Judge. Feel free to call me out on any errors. I'm only human, and am working to improve.
Awesomely quick reply! Thanks Allanen! You've essentially decided in favor of the team being attacked since this player never passed priority to anyone (I would've been next to act). It was simply "I declare all my creatures as attackers. They are now tapped. Deal with it." Whereas everyone else went "uhhh... Priority?" The other two teams both wanted to respond but simply never were as it went from Declared to tapped in less than a second.
Awesomely quick reply! Thanks Allanen! You've essentially decided in favor of the team being attacked since this player never passed priority to anyone (I would've been next to act). It was simply "I declare all my creatures as attackers. They are now tapped. Deal with it." Whereas everyone else went "uhhh... Priority?" The other two teams both wanted to respond but simply never were as it went from Declared to tapped in less than a second.


Yeah, most games that we play at my home [casual games] are basically when we're done our main phase we leap to declare attackers. However if someone decides they want to do something before attackers are declared, they are allowed to back us up [since they haven't passed priority, and want to do something in the beginning of combat]. If someone wants to avoid this, I usually encourage players to say something like "I'm going to declare attackers. Doing anything before?" to check if they are passing priority.

Edit: Note that if you do pass until attackers are legally declared, then it is too late to tap the creatures to prevent attacking. the only reason it works here is because technically you're doing it before attackers are declared. If they don't jump the gun, you won't technically know what they want to attack with beforehand, and must try to guess.
Level 1 Judge. Feel free to call me out on any errors. I'm only human, and am working to improve.
Your games sound exactly how ours normally go. As play progresses we each announce our moves and phase transitions (when reasonable). On the turn in question this person played through most of his turn up to the meltdown at "you're being attacked" without handing priority to anyone else at any point or announcing a single play. He'd been called on this prior without major incident, allowing us to essentially turn back the clock as you stated in each instance. We announce the majority of stuff simply because... well... we're a lively bunch. Only when it came down to what he considered to be his game-winning coup-de-grace that he dug his heels in. Surprisingly, the next five hours of games went smoothly.

Thanks for your time, and I'll be sure to bring this thread to everyone's attention before the first shuffle on next weeks game.
Your games sound exactly how ours normally go. As play progresses we each announce our moves and phase transitions (when reasonable). On the turn in question this person played through most of his turn up to the meltdown at "you're being attacked" without handing priority to anyone else at any point or announcing a single play. He'd been called on this prior without major incident, allowing us to essentially turn back the clock as you stated in each instance. We announce the majority of stuff simply because... well... we're a lively bunch. Only when it came down to what he considered to be his game-winning coup-de-grace that he dug his heels in. Surprisingly, the next five hours of games went smoothly.

Thanks for your time, and I'll be sure to bring this thread to everyone's attention before the first shuffle on next weeks game.


Sounds all good, though I'm sure [and actually kind of hoping since, to be honest, they type things out way better for play by plays than I] that a few others will post to reaffirm what I said and make sure any areas of confusion are made more clear. If there are ever any issues don't hesitate to post another thread on it, and there's always the IRC which usually has some people available.
Level 1 Judge. Feel free to call me out on any errors. I'm only human, and am working to improve.
Just to be sure about something.

If, for some reason, the caster actually cast his spell after declaration and tapping of creatures, the already tapped targets of "this very intriguing tapping spell i'd really like to put in my EDH deck" would still be legal and the creatures would not untap on their controller's next untap step right.

Of course, when resolving, the event of tapping would not happen again but the targets are legal even if they are tapped.

Right? 
Just to be sure about something.

If, for some reason, the caster actually cast his spell after declaration and tapping of creatures, the already tapped targets of "this very intriguing tapping spell i'd really like to put in my EDH deck" would still be legal and the creatures would not untap on their controller's next untap step right.

Of course, when resolving, the event of tapping would not happen again but the targets are legal even if they are tapped.

Right? 

This is correct for spells like Sleep or the abilities of creatures such as Lorthos the Tidemaker. Sleep targets a player, not any creatures. Lorthos targets eight permanents, not eight untapped permanents.

By contrast, Backlash must target an untapped creature.
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Greetings...

Just a quick note here:

The quickest way to avoid further conflict in this regard (imho) is to simply remember (and remind everyone else to remember) that there is always an opportunity to cast spells before the actual attackers are declared. In my home group we always say "going to attack?" or something similiar just to avoid such issues.

Well, actually, that's the second quickest way.

The quickest way is to remind everyone that this is first, and foremost, a game (especially in the casual setting); even if we're playing for chips and dip, we remember that the primary purpose is to have fun.

Until that time... 
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