Combat clarifaction

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I know the rules for combat changed, but its stilll causing some confusion among my group,  example, my opponent attacks me with lets say [C] Arbor Elf [/C] i declare blockers, and block with a [C] Vampire Nighthawk [/C], he then casts [C] Giant Growth [/C] on his elf. Isn't damage assigned before before spells can be played? I've read the new rules and it still confuses me, the way i read it, is spells and abilites must be played before combat, is that wrong?

No. Each player will get priority after blocks are assigned but before damage is dealt. 
No.

All players get priority during all steps of combat, he can do that.  (this hasn't changed)


The change you are probably thinking of is the M10 change.  Prior to this, combat damage could be assinged, then players got priority, then damage was dealt.

That isn't the case in your example, your opponent is casting a spell during the declare blockers step.
MTG Rules Advisor
so the rule never really changed other than damage not using the stack? 
Correct.

Players use to get priority between damage assignment and damage being dealt.
This was removed.

MTG Rules Advisor
If you go through everything explicitly, what would happen is, (and I'm sure this is probably incomplete and somewhat flawed, but its a decent attempt at it, I think):

Opponent is in his own precombat main phase and declares that he wants to move to his combat phase.  You say "ok." implying that you have no instants to do or whatever.  Now we're in his "Beginning of Combat Step" which is the first step of his "Combat Phase". 

He get's priority but cannot cast "sorcery-type" stuff.  He says "move to declare attackers?" and you say "ok.".  You've just passed priority to him and now we're in his "Declare Attackers Step" of his Combat Phase. 

Neither player can cast anything, what happens now is that your opponent chooses which creatures, if any, will attack, and what they're attacking (remember a creature can attack a player or a planeswalker now, and you have to decide that when declaring attackers, so just saying "I attack with this stuff" isn't really enough information anymore, you have to specify WHO OR WHAT each creature is attacking).

After "locking in" the attackers (which is generally assumed when you say "this is what's attacking", meaning that as soon as you decide on attackers, you cannot go back and change your mind), the game defaults back to giving the active player (now called the attacking player, or the attacker) priority.  It is usually assumed that the active player automatically passes priority at this point, but technically he get's priority at this time.

He then passes to you, you pass as well and now we move to his "Declare Blockers Step" at which point nobody can cast spells and all that happens is you declare what's blocking what.

After you've "locked in" your choices regarding blocks, the active player (attacker) get's priority again, and (in your example) casts Giant Growth on his Arbor Elf.  You pass priority and the Giant Growth resolves, making the elf a 4/4 until end of turn.

Then, the active player (attacker) once again get's priority, and now passes, you pass as well and we move to the "Combat Damage Step". 

In the combat damage step, combat damage happens and in this case the Elf and Vampire deal damage to eachother, and as soon as state-based actions are performed (the games does this inbetween just about everything, it happens many many times per turn) both creatures will die.  Combat damage doesn't use the stack, it just happens.

After combat damage happens, the active player (attacker) once again get's priority and can cast instants, etc (people rarely do anything here). 

After both players pass priority on an empty stack,  we move to the "End of Combat Step" of the Combat Phase.  People can still cast spells or whatever that effect "target attacking creature" or "target blocking creature" now if they want to. 

Both players pass priority and we go to the active player's second main phase the active player is no longer considered the attacking player and the creatures that attacked and blocked are no longer considered "attacking creatures" etc from this point on, and now the active player may cast sorceries, etc.

so the rule never really changed other than damage not using the stack? 

This, and a necessary change on how to assign damage when an attacker is blocked by multiple blockers (or when a single blocker blocks multiple attackers, if allowed). That's all that changed.

[<o>]
Thanks,  FriniacVII!

I'm not just confused, I'm dazed. Just had relevant stuff thrown at me today without knowing rules had changed. Not quiite a newbie but ...  

Please, how do these fit your rundown:

A. He attacks with a 2/1 (here and later no rules text) and I block with my 2/1. He flops a  spell not remembered that tosses my blocker into the grave. Damage? To whom, what, how?

B. I attack with my big fellow and he blocks with a 1/1 deathtouch (didn't see it? Flashed?) and I:

    Ba: Use Venser, the Sojourner to (to try to) exile my big fellow and hopefully return it.    

    Bb: Use an instant to return it to my hand.
 
Damage to whom, what, how?

C.  I declare my attacker and he flops the card that buries it.  Damage to whom, what, how?
 

Thanks, y'all!
A. He attacks with a 2/1 (here and later no rules text) and I block with my 2/1. He flops a  spell not remembered that tosses my blocker into the grave. Damage? To whom, what, how?



Creature remains blocked but deals no damage.  If it had trample, it would deal all its damage to the defending player (/or planeswalker).  But no trample = no damage dealt to anyone.


B. I attack with my big fellow and he blocks with a 1/1 deathtouch (didn't see it? Flashed?) and I:

    Ba: Use Venser, the Sojourner to (to try to) exile my big fellow and hopefully return it.    



You can't use planeswalker loyalty abilities during combat, fullstop.  They can only be used under the same situations you could cast a sorcery - your main phase with the stack empty.  If you used an instant speed blink spell (like, say, Cloudshift), your creature would go away and a brand new, startlingly similar creature would return to play.  The new creature wouldn't be attacking, though.  It'd even have summoning sickness.  It would have no memory of the creature that card represented before it went away and came back - no counters, no auras, no temporary boosting effects (a la Giant Growth), it's for all intents and purposes a new creature.


    Bb: Use an instant to return it to my hand.



He returns to your hand.  Nobody dealt any damage to anybody.  His deathtouch creature is still a blocking creature, but it doesn't damage anyone because there's nobody there to damage anymore.
 

C.  I declare my attacker and he flops the card that buries it.  Damage to whom, what, how?



No damage to anyone.  Creature's long gone before blocking or damage is considered or relevant.
 
A. He attacks with a 2/1 (here and later no rules text) and I block with my 2/1. He flops a  spell not remembered that tosses my blocker into the grave. Damage? To whom, what, how?


No combat damage will be dealt.  A creature that gets blocked will continue to be blocked, even if the blocking creature gets removed from combat.
B. I attack with my big fellow and he blocks with a 1/1 deathtouch (didn't see it? Flashed?) and I:

    Ba: Use Venser, the Sojourner to (to try to) exile my big fellow and hopefully return it.


This is illegal.  Planeswalker abilities can only be activated only during your turn, and only during one of your main phases while the stack is empty.
    Bb: Use an instant to return it to my hand.


No combat damage will be dealt.  A creature that gets blocked will continue to be blocked, even if the blocking creature gets removed from combat.
C.  I declare my attacker and he flops the card that buries it.


No combat damage will be dealt because the creature was removed from combat before damage.

Rules Advisor

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