On each player's turns, their creatures attack, and some number of them may become blocked by opposing creatures. A blocked creature trades damage with its blocker, potentially killing one or both of them. An unblocked creature deals damage to the opposing Planeswalker.
Each player has three creature slots. Their order is from bottom to top (the "first" slot is on the bottom). Both attacking and blocking relies on this creature slot order. Creatures generally fill the creature slots in the order they are cast. There are a few exceptions to this:
- A creature with Defender reorders to the first slot that does not have a creature with Defender in it.
- A creature with Reach reorders to the first slot that does not have a creature with Defender or Reach in it.
- A creature with Vigilance reorders to the first slot that does not have a creature with Defender , Reach , or Vigilance in it.
- A creature with Bravery moves to the first slot during combat on its controller's turn.
- Temporary effects that grant or remove Defender , Reach , or Vigilance reorder a creature until that effect wears off, at which point, the order reverts using the rules above.
Temporary effects which gain control of opposing creatures can sometimes use creature slots beyond 3.
A player's creatures attack each turn in the order of the slot they are in. Generally, all creatures attack, however a creature doesn't attack if any of the following is true:
- It was brought into play this turn and doesn't have Haste .
- It is Disabled.
- It has the Can't Attack ability.
- It has a power of 0.
Generally, an attacking creature always attacks the opposing Planeswalker, unless a blocker gets in its way. The exception is an attacking creature with Berserker , which attacks an opposing creature instead, forcing that creature to block it.
- A Berserker with Flying attacks the first opposing creature, if any.
- A Berskerer without Flying attacks the first opposing creature without Flying , if any.
- If the attacking creature has Unblockable , then it bypasses all blockers.
- If the attacking creature has Menace , then it bypasses blocking if there is only one opposing creature which could block it. (If more than one creature could block it, it's blocked as normal by the first blocker.)
- If the attacking creature has Flying , it can only be blocked by a defending creature having either Reach , or Flying combined with Defender or Vigilance .
When a creature is blocked
In general, when a creature is blocked, it trades damage with its blocker. That is, the attacking creature deals damage equal to its power to its blocker, and the blocking creature deals damage equal to its power to the attacker. This can change depending on various Abilities of the attacker or the blocker.
An attacking creature with Trample can split its damage between a blocking creature and the opposing Planeswalker. Instead of applying all of its power as damage to the blocking creature, only enough damage is assigned to match the toughness of the defending creature. Any remaining damage is assigned to the opposing Planeswalker.
Example: A creature with a toughness of 5 blocks a creature with Trample and a power of 8. 5 damage will be applied to the defending creature, and the remaining 3 damage will be applied to the defending Planeswalker.
The Planeswalker receives the excess damage even if the blocking creature has Prevent Damage or other effects that keep it from dying when taking damage.
If either the attacker or blocker (or both) has First Strike , then the first strike damage occurs first, then there is a check for whether one of the two creatures in combat would die prior to the second creature applying any damage. If a creature without First Strike dies during the first strike attack phase, it doesn't retaliate: it does not damage the other creature, and if it has Deathtouch , the effect does not trigger.
Double Strike applies damage in both the First Strike and normal combat damage phases. In MtGPQ, trample damage applies to both the first and second strike of a double strike creature, even if the defending creature would die from the initial First Strike damage. An attacking creature with Double Strike is not considered to attack twice per combat round; it attacks once, but deals damage twice.