I don't get the benefit of first strike. Double strike is obvious - you get to attack twice (if the creature survives). But with first strike, the creature attacks once, just like all creatures without it. The only difference is that I can't send along any non-first strikers. So I'm just stumped as to why it's a gameplay benefit.
Thanks for enlightening me!
A creature with first strike inflicts damage BEFORE other creatures do. Consider the following scenario:
You have Attended Knight , a 2/2 with first strike. Your opponent has, say, a Drudge Beetle , another 2/2, but no first strike. If the beetle attacked, and you blocked with your knight, your knight would kill the beetle, and the beetle would die before inflicting damage on the knight, and the knight would survive.
An interesting way to use first strike is to combine it with deathtouch. If a creature has both, it would do damage for a nearly-guaranteed kill.
For instance, you have Typhoid Rats , a 1/1 with deathtouch. Your opponent has an Axebane Stag , a 6/7. The stag attacks, you block with the rats, and thanks to deathtouch, both die. BUT, let's say you are holding Kindled Fury , a card that grants +1/+0 and first strike to a creature. If you used that on your rats, the stag would die, but the rats would survive to kill again.
These are just a few of the uses of first strike.
Creatures with First Strike deal combat damage in an extra combat damage step that happens before regular combat damage - they strike first (unsurprisingly).
If your 2/2 is blocked by my 2/2 then both creatures die. But if yours has First Strike then only mine will die.
If your 4/2 Trample creature is blocked by my 2/2, then normally I take (up to) 2 damage and both creatures die. However, if my creature has First Strike then not only will your creature die and mine will live, I wont take any damage at all.
It also means you can use combat tricks after your creature deals damage but before it would die from the damage it is about to receive (which you normally cannot do, since combat damage does not use the stack (anymore)).
For example, if your Vampire Hexmage blocks my Hada Freeblade that has ten +1/+1 counters on it, you can have her deal 2 damage to my creature and then sac here to remove all the counters from it, killing it before it can deal any combat damage.
Hope that helps
p.s. have you read the Basic Rulebook?media.wizards.com/images/magic/resources...
Two additional points that need to be addressed: Creatures with Double Strike don't get to attack twice, they attack once, and they get to deal both First Strike and normal combat damage.
And there is absolutely nothing preventing you from attacking with both First Strikers and non-First Strikers. They will just deal damage at different times.
I feel that a bit more clarification is in order. A creature with double strike inflicts damage twice when attacking; once with first strike, then again normally.
Thank you!!! Yes, I've read the rules, but I never really grasped the way dealing damage was different than attacking (for the timing of first strike) and the difference between "extra combat damage step" and "attack twice" (in the case of double strike). Thanks for the examples and explanations!
for future rules related question please use the Rules Q&A forum above, that is better frequented and you get more and faster answers
also, while I'm at it
when dealing with specific cards please autocard them like so [c]Fencing Ace[/c] => Fencing Ace , that way the people answering can work out the answer much faster
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