Warning: if you don't like wasting your time defining every day words so people can understand this game, skip this thread and help someone with real problem.
If you're still around, thank you so much.
I had a dispute tonight over the language in the card "Goblin Psychopath" The key phrase disputed being " the next time it would deal combat damage." I argued that the effect would be triggered once blockers are declared, (technically after a coin flip but same step) then the "next time" would be the damage resolution of that combat phase. (unless something intervenes). My friend agrees that the effect triggers once blockers are declared but argues that the damage resolution is "this time" and that "next time" would be if the goblin deal damage after combat.
So, let's say his Goblin Psychopath attacks me. I don't defend. We flip a coin and he loses. No other spells are played and no other abilities affect combat. Will I be taking five damage from that attack or will he?
Thanks again for any clarification.
It affects the next time the goblin deals combat damage. Since the ability triggers and resolves in the declare attackers or declare blockers step (depending on whether it's attacking or blocking), he hasn't dealt any combat damage yet. The "next time" he would deal combat damage is in the combat damage step of the current combat phase. If its controller loses the flip, the goblin deals 5 damage to him or her during that phase's combat damage step.
The word "next" on the card uses the actual English definition of the word, not the way most people use it to explain dates (eg if it's Friday, "next saturday" usually means 8 days from today, when it technically means tomorrow.). The reason it says "next" instead of "this" is because the damage has not happened yet, so there is no "this damage" to talk about when explaining the ability.
Please Autocard: [c]Goblin Psychopath[/c] = Goblin Psychopath
If your opponent is attacking with the goblin psychopath it's ability triggers when it attacks, and will resolve before blockers are declared. So if after your opponent loses the flip and you choose not to block the damage that it would deal to you is dealt to your opponent instead. Long story short your opponent is dealt 5 damage.
He'll take the damage.
There is no "this time". It's not currently dealing combat damage. The ability cannot possibly (trigger or) resolve when the Golbin is dealing damage.
If your friend follows through with that logic, they should realize it implies that the coin flip is (almost) pointless. Combat damage is dealt (almost always) once during a turn. Suppose the text does mean what your friend thinks it does. Suppose further that you attack or blocked with the Psychopath and also lost the coin flip. Then, by your friend's logic, the only situation under which it would actually end up dealing damage to you would be if
1) The Psychopath had Double Strike (because, according to your friend's logic, the use of "next" implies that the first instance of combat damage being dealt by the Psychopath in a turn is ignored)
2) There remains at least one creature blocking or blocked by the Psychopath, or the Psychopath was unblocked (because we need the second instance of combat damage to actually be dealt, otherwise the ability has nothing to replace).
Ask them if they really believe this to be the intended function of the card.
If they still doubt this use of "next time", I can refer them to a host of TV and Radio shows which used that phrase to refer quite precisely to the immediately subsequent episode, and definitely not the second subsequent episode.
I showed him the text regarding regeneration and it's use of the phrse "the next time" and what his interpretation implied. It simply came down to asking someone with more credability than myself.
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