Combat damage assignment rules

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When the change from "damage on the stack" to "assignment order" was announced, the amount of posts on the topic pretty much drowned any interesting points that were made by either side, which is really a shame.

I'd really like to see an interesting discussion which sums up the good and the bad of both rules, and maybe even bring to light good alternatives or ideas (or possibly show why no alternative is better than the current rules). Here's my take on it:

Damage on the Stack 
Pros:


  • The damage assignment itself is very easy to explain. Just divide the power among the recipients however you like. Here's how it is described in the basic rulebook of Tenth Edition: 


    • Each creature can block only one attacker, but multiple blockers can gang up on a single attacking creature.
       



    • Attacking creatures that are blocked deal damage to the blocking creatures. If one of your attacking creatures is blocked by multiple creatures, you decide how to divide its combat damage among them.



Cons:


  • Introduces "ghost damage" which feels unintuitive and rule-lawersih.

  • Increasing or reducing a creature's power before damage is dealt will not affect the amount of damage.



Damage Assignment Order 
Pros:


  • No "ghost damage". Creatures deal damage only if they exist to deal it and as the look like before dealing it.
     

  • Increasing or reducing a creature's power always affects the amount of damage dealt. after damage is assigned doesn't  affect the amount of damage that would be dealt, this may feel weird to some.
     

  • easy memorization when you actually assign damage. you figure out what you deal and then figure out the net result which happens right away. With damage on the stack you'd have to remember the exact damage assignment while other effects could occur before it's dealt.


Cons:


  • More complicated to explain, involves two kinds of assignments and more limtation to how you can assign the damage. Here's how it is described in the basic rulebook of Magic 2014:




    • Each creature can block only one attacker, but multiple blockers can gang up on a single attacking creature. If that happens, the attacking player orders the blockers to show which is first in line for damage, which is second, and so on.
       

    • An attacking creature that is blocked deals damage to the blocking creatures. If one of your attacking creatures is blocked by multiple creatures, you decide how to divide its combat damage among them. You must assign at least enough damage to the first blocking creature in line to destroy it before you can assign damage to the next one in line, and so on
       


  • hard memorization. You need to remember the assignment order before you actually assign damage and also as you assign it, to know you're assigning it correctly. Most of the time it can be easily remembered by ordering the cards themselves.
     

  • many-to-many, many attackers blocked by many blockers (thanks to "block any number" abilities) requires horrendous amounts of memorization for each attacker and blocker. You can't use the physical card order as visual aid because the order can be different for each attacker and blocker. Furtunately, such situations don't happen realistically.



  • assignment order stays the same for both first strike damage and regular combat damage. You need to remember the order even after you assign first strike damage. You don't get to order the blockers again before the regular damage.



Possible alterantives, alterations and improvements

1) Bring back damage free damage assignments and a window to respond before it's dealt (they don't have to necessarily put it on the stack). But don't use LKI to deal damage:


  • No "ghost damage".

  • Specific damage prevention can be as efective as it used to be.

  • Assignment rules can be simplified again.

  • First stirke works as it used to

  • Drawback: changing the creature's power before damage is dealt does not affect it.



2) Keep the damage assignment order - Make the players choose assignment order again after first strike damage.

I'm having a feeling I missed an important drawback with suggestion #1 above.


Please share your thoughts and ideas on the matter.

Uh, in your DotS 'cons' you say 'changing the power before damage is dealt will affect the damage dealt.' I think you meant to say 'will not affect the damage,' because it didn't.

In your pros for the damage assignment order, you say 'changing power after damage is assigned doesn't affect the damage that would be dealt,' which implies that you think assignment and dealing happen at two different times with the ability to change power between them. They happen together, in order, and with no time to do anything at all between them (even SBAs aren't checked between the two actions). 

The DAO is not really all that complicated to explain. 'Your creature has to assign lethal damage to the first one you choose before it can hit the next one.' You know what that's exactly like? Trample. So there's a parallel that makes it /really/ easy to explain.

Your whole bit about 'if you have multiple blockers you have to remember the order you chose for them' assumes that people playing this game are dumber than a rock. It's not hard to remember the order, especially since you can line them up via the cards. You're making it sound far more complicated than it actually is. The DOA is fine. 
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Uh, in your DotS 'cons' you say 'changing the power before damage is dealt will affect the damage dealt.' I think you meant to say 'will not affect the damage,' because it didn't.

Oh... indeed... Copy pasted it from the pros for damage assignment but forgot to reverse the meaning. ...

In your pros for the damage assignment order, you say 'changing power after damage is assigned doesn't affect the damage that would be dealt,' which implies that you think assignment and dealing happen at two different times with the ability to change power between them. They happen together, in order, and with no time to do anything at all between them (even SBAs aren't checked between the two actions).

Oops, again somewhat a mistake. I'm aware that nothing can happen in between the two. What I meant ot say is that any change to the power and toughness will affect the damage dealt (which is becuase there's nothing that can happen in between).

I'll go edit these two points. Thanks.

The DAO is not really all that complicated to explain. 'Your creature has to assign lethal damage to the first one you choose before it can hit the next one.' You know what that's exactly like? Trample. So there's a parallel that makes it /really/ easy to explain.

First it was mostly about begginers. And second, both DAO and Trample are complicated in that regard. the existance of trample should not mitigate it as a drawback for DAO nor as an advantage for damage on the stack.

Your whole bit about 'if you have multiple blockers you have to remember the order you chose for them' assumes that people playing this game are dumber than a rock. It's not hard to remember the order, especially since you can line them up via the cards. You're making it sound far more complicated than it actually is. The DOA is fine. 

Perhaps I am making it sound more complicated than it is, especially since it's solvable with physical order of the cards as visual aids.  But there are still cases where that visual aid is harder to use, for example if you're using that visual aid to remember soulbond pairs, and it is less workable when you have many-to-many blocker blocking attackers. Also, it's not meant to assume that people can't handle it, but it does add up to mental stress (But again, it's probably less complicated than that as you say.)

---

I still find it weird that you don't get to rechoose blockers order before regular damage is assigned and dealt. So if the consensus is that DAO should stay, I'd like to promote suggestion #2 to allow the players to set a new DAO after the first combat damage is dealt.

Other shortcomings of DAO:


  • Doesn't interact well with replacement effects that change the amount of damage dealt.  For example if you have Furnace of Rath on the battlefield and your 2/4 attacker is blocked by two 2/2s, you can't spread 1 damage to each that would double and destroy them both.
     

  • Damage prevention effects of specific amounts are less effective with DAO. With DotS you could see how much damage your creature is dealt and possibly save it with even with a small effect such as Bandage.



  • Damage prevention effects of specific amounts are less effective with DAO. With DotS you could see how much damage your creature is dealt and possibly save it with even with a small effect such as Bandage.




At first glance, DAO seems more intuitive than DotS here.


One unintuitive interaction with both rules is that they both have ghost blocking, where a creature can keep blocking even while dead. This has tripped up every new player I have taught the game.
Removing it would strengthen doublestrike and terror while weakening mogg fanatic and restoration angel, but I don't think any of these are gamebreaking.

Personally, I don't really like either method.  I would prefer to allow responses after blockers are declared, but not require a damage assignment order, and then the attacking and blocking players to distribute damage however they want among the respective blocking/blocked creatures.

For instance, if I block four 2/2's with Avatar of Hope, I should be allowed to just deal one point of damage to each.  If four 2/2's block my Avatar of Hope, the same should be the case.  The cons to DAO mean you tend to get questions about things like Lashknife Barrier (e.g. do you have to assign N or N+1 damage to the first creature in line before you assign damage to the next creature in line?) and Furnace of Rath (e.g. do you have to assign N or N/2 damage to the first creature in line before you assign damage to the next creature in line?) far too often.  I recognize the answer is the same, it just slows down play.

DotS, of course, had its own problems.  I wouldn't really like to see damage on the stack, where it is respondable to, ever again.

I think it would just be vastly more intuitive.  Declare attackers --> triggers and priority --> declare blockers --> triggers and priority --> assign damage among legal objects, distributed however you want --> no responses --> damage is dealt --> triggers and priority.

Trample, of course, gets the clause in this case that you must deal lethal damage to all blockers (regardless of order) before you can deal damage to the attacked player/planeswalker.

I think "divided any way you choose" is just much smoother.

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The problem with that is that is that if you block a Squire with two Drudge Skeletons, you have to regenerate both of them. Both DotS and DAO exist specifically to prevent things like that.
blah blah metal lyrics
The problem with that is that is that if you block a Squire with two Drudge Skeletons, you have to regenerate both of them. Both DotS and DAO exist specifically to prevent things like that.


Given that regeneration doesn't even work like it used to within the rules anymore, I actually don't have much of a problem with that.

They could either, 1) Fix regenerate to work as a replacement effect instead of an activated ability, (e.g. if this would die, you may XXX.  If you do, it doesn't die instead), or 2) Leave regenerate alone and replace it with something that isn't both a rules and flavor/immersion destroying headache in the first place.

A different combat system with neither damage on the stack, nor arbitrary defense order mechanisms could be much more intuitive and clean.  Whether that's better or not is subjective, of course, but I think it certainly has the potential to be.

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Regeneration was just an example. Instead say you're blocking the Squire with a pair of Eager Cadets, with a Samite Healer in play. Under your system, you can't save the Cadet that's going to die.
blah blah metal lyrics
EU, your method gives the defending player a huge disadvantage, because he can't use prevention effects to block and save a creature and the like. I can tell you right now that any method that involves the defending player not knowing where damage is going and being able to do something before the damage is dealt will not be accepted by Wizards. Both players matter in a game, and the NAP should not be put at such a big disadvantage.
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  • Damage prevention effects of specific amounts are less effective with DAO. With DotS you could see how much damage your creature is dealt and possibly save it with even with a small effect such as Bandage.


At first glance, DAO seems more intuitive than DotS here.

I think I can somewhat understand that position. But to be sure here's a scenario: AP attacks with a 5/4 and NAP blocks it with two 2/2s and would like to save one of the 2/2s with Bandage.

On one hand, we may want the damage to be predictable enough to allow it, or we  may want the damage to be dynamic enough to allow AP to destroy both anyway.

---

Here are some other scenarios to demonstrate differences:

A 3/3 is blocked by two Horned Trolls, but NAP can only afford to regenerate one of them. Without any response time after some foreknowledge of how damage would be dealt, one of the trolls will inevitably be destroyed. With DAO or DotS, foreknowedge of who is dealt damage first may be used to save both.

A 4/4 is blocked by a 2/2 and Gaddock Teeg. With DAO, preventing 2 damage would save one of them but AP can choose to destroy Gaddock (and it's the same with no "middle response"). With DotS, NAP can have Gaddock  saved.

A 3/3 is blocked bt two 2/2s. with DAO or DotS, preventing 2 damage would be able to save one of them, but not if no "middle response" is possible.

There are also cases where DAO gives an advantage to NAP and Dots doesn't:
A 5/5 is blocked by two 2/2s and NAP has Show of Valor. With DotS the damage would likely be divided into 2 and 3, and only one blocker could be saved with that spell. With DAO, both could be saved by casting that spell on the first blocker.

I like the fact now only spells and abilities use the stack; no need for that weird hack "special game object" for combat damage. Why respond to combat damage as if it was a spell, but not other turn-based actions like declaring attackers/blockers or drawing at the draw step?


I do think we can have a better solution to replace the DAO. As long as it doesn't use the stack.

[<o>]

Doesn't interact well with replacement effects that change the amount of damage dealt.  For example if you have Furnace of Rath on the battlefield and your 2/4 attacker is blocked by two 2/2s, you can't spread 1 damage to each that would double and destroy them both.



Since they fixed Deathtouch in the M11 tweak, that^ is the only thing I dont like about CLoD.

The problem is, once you start factoring in things beside toughness (and deathtouch) into what is considered "lethal", where do you draw the line? I dont want a 2/2 with Pro Green stopping all the damage from a 30/30 trampling green hydra or something (which is how I played it before I learnt how it really worked). So I am not sure what could actually be done about it...

In all other ways, I feel happy with the CLoD. 

~ Tim 

I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)
I'd like to be able to distribute damage as I like rather than declare an order. That's the only change I'd make. In my model, combat would look like this:

Beginning of Combat
Declare Attackers
Declare Blockers
 - Defending player declares blockers
 - Active player announces damage allocation
 - Defending player announces damage allocation
 - Triggered abilities go on the stack
 - Active player gets priority
Combat Damage
End of Combat

Some examples of cards that situationally get better in combat situations are Samite Healer, Bandage, Furnace of Rath, Tok-Tok, Volcano Born
How would that work with effects that increase or decrease power?
Hmm, good point. That could get messy, so maybe it's better the way it is now

There isnt really any rulesy reason why we couldnt assign less than lethal damage to a blocker (maybe a minimum of 1 point of damage before moving on to the next creature) under CLoD.

It would make sweepers more powerful, would involve a lot more memory work, and would make it harder to properly set up regeneration shields etc, but I think the rules themselves could handle it.

I would allow damage doubling effects to work as expected as well.
 
~ Tim   

I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)
I'd like to be able to distribute damage as I like rather than declare an order. That's the only change I'd make. In my model, combat would look like this:

Beginning of Combat
Declare Attackers
Declare Blockers
 - Defending player declares blockers
 - Active player announces damage allocation
 - Defending player announces damage allocation
 - Triggered abilities go on the stack
 - Active player gets priority
Combat Damage
End of Combat

Some examples of cards that situationally get better in combat situations are Samite Healer, Bandage, Furnace of Rath, Tok-Tok, Volcano Born


No priority between attackers and blockers or blockers and damage allocation, or is that there, just not spelled out? Also isn't this just DoTS with a diffrent name?

Level 1 Judge

I didn't spell out all the details of every step, because they'd be unchanged except for the second item under Declare Blockers. Players still get priority in each step, and abilities can still trigger due to creatures attacking, for example.

This is not DotS with a different name at all. The only change was to switch "assign damage order" to "distribute damage." I was going for a happy medium where responses like prevention and regeneration were still useful, but creatures can choose not to kill one creature before moving to the next (for example, if you planned to follow up combat with Pyroclasm).

Anyway, adeyke pointed out that it'd be a terrible mess if a creature's power were to change in between, so I'm not sure it'd work.
My envisioned solution to allowing tricks like 'spread damage out then Pyroclams in Main Phase 2' to work once again is one I rather like, and I've suggested it before, so let me suggest it again:

You can spread damage as you like among creatures, but you can't assign lethal damage to any one creature until all creatures before it in the DOA have been assigned lethal damage. That is, you could be blocked by two 2/2's and assign one to each, but to assign 2 to the second one you'd have to first assign 2 to the second one.

This would also allow deathtouch to work without its interaction with trample that I find to be very unflavorful, and would allow the defending player the knowledge of which creature he needs to most protect to save creatures behind it while also allowing a spread of damage to allow for post-combat shenanigans.

(If someone else has already said something similar and I missed it, my apologies; at work so doing a quick post before logging off the forum again.) 
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The only change I would like to see to the current combat damage rules (as others have stated above) is the following single word change...


10.1c A blocked creature assigns its combat damage to the creatures blocking it. If no creatures are currently blocking it (if, for example, they were destroyed or removed from combat), it assigns no combat damage. If exactly one creature is blocking it, it assigns all its combat damage to that creature. If two or more creatures are blocking it, it assigns its combat damage to those creatures according to the damage assignment order announced for it. This may allow the blocked creature to divide its combat damage. However, it can’t assign lethal combat damage to a creature that’s blocking it unless, when combat damage assignments are complete, each creature that precedes that blocking creature in its order is assigned lethal damage. When checking for assigned lethal damage, take into account damage already marked on the creature and damage from other creatures that’s being assigned during the same combat damage step, but not any abilities or effects that might change the amount of damage that’s actually dealt. An amount of damage that’s greater than a creature’s lethal damage may be assigned to it.



Simply adding the word "lethal" at that point would allow you to distribute damage amoung all blockers as you choose provided no higher-ordered blocker has a lethal damage assignment before all lower-ordered blockers have lethal damage assignments.
You can spread damage as you like among creatures, but you can't assign lethal damage to any one creature until all creatures before it in the DOA have been assigned lethal damage. That is, you could be blocked by two 2/2's and assign one to each, but to assign 2 to the second one you'd have to first assign 2 to the second one.


This I like. A lot.
    
~ Tim   

I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)
You can spread damage as you like among creatures, but you can't assign lethal damage to any one creature until all creatures before it in the DOA have been assigned lethal damage. That is, you could be blocked by two 2/2's and assign one to each, but to assign 2 to the second one you'd have to first assign 2 to the second one.


This I like. A lot.
    
~ Tim   




The only downside I can see to this change is, if something like Furnace of Rath is out, depending on how you deal out the "non-lethal" damage you can kill a higher-ordered blocker without killing all lower-ordered blockers.  This can make prevention effects (and other responses) somewhat difficult to apply appropriately.  However, I think this corner-case, which I would consider relatively minor, is not enough to counteract the significant increase in strategic situations gained by dealing out non-lethal damage to multiple blocking creatures.
You can spread damage as you like among creatures, but you can't assign lethal damage to any one creature until all creatures before it in the DOA have been assigned lethal damage. That is, you could be blocked by two 2/2's and assign one to each, but to assign 2 to the second one you'd have to first assign 2 to the second one.


This I like. A lot.
    
~ Tim   




The only downside I can see to this change is, if something like Furnace of Rath is out, depending on how you deal out the "non-lethal" damage you can kill a higher-ordered blocker without killing all lower-ordered blockers.  This can make prevention effects (and other responses) somewhat difficult to apply appropriately.  However, I think this corner-case, which I would consider relatively minor, is not enough to counteract the significant increase in strategic situations gained by dealing out non-lethal damage to multiple blocking creatures.



Not really; since the controller of the affected object gets to choose how to apply replacements and prevention effects, they can still use damage prevention to reduce the damage a higher-order creature will take. So I wouldn't say they'd be difficult to apply appropriately--you've got an X/4 taking 2 damage and a FoR is out, you prevent even 1 of that damage and it'll live because the end result will be it taking 2 damage (if you apply it correctly). And honestly, a player is more likely to put the creature they absolutely have to kill first in the order just so they can skip all chances and assign lethal. (And you can also just choose not to block with a creature you really don't want to die in that situation.)

I've been saying they need to add the word 'lethal' to the rule (as demonstrated above) since M10. When M11 came out and they said deathtouch was gonna work more 'sensibly,' I'd assumed they were doing this instead of the thing I hate. I still wish they'd do this.
 
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Ugh... I'm just reminded of how frustrated I was when the new combat system came out. I still don't know why the whole thing was revamped when the biggest problem was creatures dealing damage when no longer in combat. The simplest solution was to have combat check for the source of damage being in combat in order for damage to "resolve", similar to checking targets for spells to resolve.

Doesn't fix all problems (like the morphling toughness tricks) but those weren't nearly as problematic.

3DH4LIF3

Another problem that they had hoped to solve when removing DotS was the bad feeling new players would get when it was first used against them. It sounded like something that was made up on the spot and new players would end up feeling like more experienced players were taking advantage of them. This is the same reason that Banisher Priest has a different template than Fiend Hunter.
Yes, the reason mogg fanatic was a problem was that feeling new players got when that little goblin dealt 2 points of damage. These are one in the same, and would have been fixed with requiring creatures still be in combat for their damage to resolve.

3DH4LIF3

Yes, the reason mogg fanatic was a problem was that feeling new players got when that little goblin dealt 2 points of damage. These are one in the same, and would have been fixed with requiring creatures still be in combat for their damage to resolve.



I'm fine with DotS just being gone. Even with the 'the creature has to be in play to deal the damage' issue, it still felt weird. And clunky. And it was clunky because it was part of the 6E overhaul when they got a little too zealous in making everything use the stack.

My only problem with the DAO is the fact that you have to assign lethal before you can move on at all. I think it should be that you have to assign lethal to creature 1 before you can assign lethal to creature 2, but you can spread damage around as you want otherwise. That would allow deathtouch to work without it having to be "considered lethal damage for the purposes of damage assignment" (and thus make it stop working with trample in that very unflavorful manner), and it would allow tricks such as combat, then MP2 pyroclasm, while still allowing the defending player enough knowledge to know which creature(s) he likely needs to protect (if he plans to do so at all).
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I'm fine with DotS just being gone. Even with the 'the creature has to be in play to deal the damage' issue, it still felt weird. And clunky. And it was clunky because it was part of the 6E overhaul when they got a little too zealous in making everything use the stack.

Thats probably true. Sure it sounds nice to have the stack be the end-all system, but... 

My only problem with the DAO is the fact that you have to assign lethal before you can move on at all. I think it should be that you have to assign lethal to creature 1 before you can assign lethal to creature 2, but you can spread damage around as you want otherwise. That would allow deathtouch to work without it having to be "considered lethal damage for the purposes of damage assignment" (and thus make it stop working with trample in that very unflavorful manner), and it would allow tricks such as combat, then MP2 pyroclasm, while still allowing the defending player enough knowledge to know which creature(s) he likely needs to protect (if he plans to do so at all).

Then we have DotS without it using the stack? Split-Second Damage? Sounds great. The combat assignment is pretty lame under the current system, but I don't see how you can have unfettered damage assignment without a chance to respond with pumps or prevention effects. Lining up blockers and forcing lethal assignment gives the defender the necessary information to use combat tricks, the same as how the stack did. If you were able to spread the damage around as you saw fit, how would  the defender have the required information or an opportunity to play tricks? Are we assigning damage and then allowing responses?

3DH4LIF3

My only problem with the DAO is the fact that you have to assign lethal before you can move on at all. I think it should be that you have to assign lethal to creature 1 before you can assign lethal to creature 2, but you can spread damage around as you want otherwise. That would allow deathtouch to work without it having to be "considered lethal damage for the purposes of damage assignment" (and thus make it stop working with trample in that very unflavorful manner), and it would allow tricks such as combat, then MP2 pyroclasm, while still allowing the defending player enough knowledge to know which creature(s) he likely needs to protect (if he plans to do so at all).

Okay, deathtouch's interaction with trample makes more sense that way, sure, but now it opens up the "I don't know which one I need to regenerate" issues whenever deathtouch is involved.
blah blah metal lyrics
Actually, I find the deathtouch/trample interaction entirely flavorful. A creature with deathtouch knows that he doesn't need to use up all his effort on the first 10/10 that gets in his way. The creature strikes with his deadly venom or curse or disease or whatever and moves on to the next target. In my eyes, it wouldn't make sense for deathtouch creatures to use extra unnecessary force to kill the final blocker when normal trample creatures don't.
Actually, I find the deathtouch/trample interaction entirely flavorful. A creature with deathtouch knows that he doesn't need to use up all his effort on the first 10/10 that gets in his way. The creature strikes with his deadly venom or curse or disease or whatever and moves on to the next target. In my eyes, it wouldn't make sense for deathtouch creatures to use extra unnecessary force to kill the final blocker when normal trample creatures don't.



You don't take into account protection, indestructible, Furnace of Rath, etc when assigning damage. It doesn't make sense to take into account deathtouch if your not going to account for other abilities.

Why is deathtouch treated differently when looking to the future to determine lethal damage?

Because deathtouch changes something about the damage itself. Toughness moves out when deathtouch moves in. Besides, that's a mechanical concern rather than a flavorful one. It'd certainly be more flavorful to take some of those abilities into account as well, but it would (a) be a bookkeeping nightmare and (b) be unclear how to apply them consistently.
Actually, I find the deathtouch/trample interaction entirely flavorful. A creature with deathtouch knows that he doesn't need to use up all his effort on the first 10/10 that gets in his way. The creature strikes with his deadly venom or curse or disease or whatever and moves on to the next target. In my eyes, it wouldn't make sense for deathtouch creatures to use extra unnecessary force to kill the final blocker when normal trample creatures don't.



You don't take into account protection, indestructible, Furnace of Rath, etc when assigning damage. It doesn't make sense to take into account deathtouch if your not going to account for other abilities.

Why is deathtouch treated differently when looking to the future to determine lethal damage?



This is another big reason for why I don't like the new system. As the supreme planeswalking controller of my summoned creatures I should be able to direct them to split damage up too account for the Furnace of Rath enchantment I have cast.

If it were up to me, damage assignments would be announced in a similar way how damage used to stack, and then allow for reactions. If pumps are played that would increase the damage output then the additional damage is assigned, but previously assigned damage is left in place. similarly, if a creature is hit with a power reducing effect, the controller chooses where the damage is reduced. If damage prevention is played, damage cannot be redirected to account for the pump. So essentially, ALL potential damage stacks, but will resolve in a single event once all reactions are played out.

And while I find the deathtouch/trample interaction flavorful, I think it simpler to require damage assignment to meet the total toughness of blockers in all instances before trample damage is assigned, with allowances for damage that had been assigned to a creature to be reassigned to a player or walker in the event that the creature is removed from combat or damaged from another source before damage is dealt...  So, I bolt a creature that has blocked my trampler, so I then can reassign three points of damage that would have hit that creature as trample damage. If then a pump is played- say a +0/+4 on the same creature, I would have to pull back 4 points of trample damage to reassign to that creature.

(I lied, if it were really up to me, I would have left damage stacking and forced creatures to remain in combat to deal it, but whatever...) 

3DH4LIF3


I'm fine with DotS just being gone. Even with the 'the creature has to be in play to deal the damage' issue, it still felt weird. And clunky. And it was clunky because it was part of the 6E overhaul when they got a little too zealous in making everything use the stack.

Thats probably true. Sure it sounds nice to have the stack be the end-all system, but... 

My only problem with the DAO is the fact that you have to assign lethal before you can move on at all. I think it should be that you have to assign lethal to creature 1 before you can assign lethal to creature 2, but you can spread damage around as you want otherwise. That would allow deathtouch to work without it having to be "considered lethal damage for the purposes of damage assignment" (and thus make it stop working with trample in that very unflavorful manner), and it would allow tricks such as combat, then MP2 pyroclasm, while still allowing the defending player enough knowledge to know which creature(s) he likely needs to protect (if he plans to do so at all).

Then we have DotS without it using the stack? Split-Second Damage? Sounds great. The combat assignment is pretty lame under the current system, but I don't see how you can have unfettered damage assignment without a chance to respond with pumps or prevention effects. Lining up blockers and forcing lethal assignment gives the defender the necessary information to use combat tricks, the same as how the stack did. If you were able to spread the damage around as you saw fit, how would  the defender have the required information or an opportunity to play tricks? Are we assigning damage and then allowing responses?




True, deathtouch in this situation would be really good because you wouldn't know what you have to regenerate from deathtouch since they can assign it willy-nilly. I don't think multi-blocking against a creature with deathtouch would come up that often, though--it doesn't now because of the fact that the damage can get spread around so you'd be sacrificing multiple creatures for little gain, and so I don't see it happening often under my suggestion.

In regards to trample and deathtouch being "flavorful": Trample has a flavor of a creature just charging ahead, hitting some bumps, and doing a little less damage when it gets to its goal afterward because some of the energy was expending running over the speedbumps. Deathtouch is the flavor of lightly touching something and it dies anyway. Deathtouch + trample, to me, doesn't make sense, because something that's just blustering ahead isn't going to poke things in its way--it's going to run it the [censored] over.

And, from a rules point of view, deathtouch is the only one that gets considered when assigning damage--no other ability does outside of the one that has to do so by definition (trample). It's inconsistent. So, there's another reason I want to see my idea done.

MTG Rules Advisor Mirrodin_Loyalty.png

As Wizards themselves have said, you can make anything work flavorfully. I see your point that deathtouch and trample don't really make much sense together. It's certainly outside the realm of established fantasy tropes.

Here's a video of what happens when Super Mario gets deathtouch and trample:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gq3ucjaArGM&t=30

I'm not sure whether this helps my argument (because voila, here it is working) or yours (because Mario does not. make. sense.) Enjoy