Combat Phase

    Once creatures have been summoned to the battlefield and they have
been under your control for at least one turn (so they are unaffected by
summoning sickness), they can begin combat. The combat phase can be
vexy complicated and often is an integral part of achieving victoiy, so it's
important to go over this phase in more detail.
    First, here is a break down the timing of how combat works (you will
see this illustrated with a specific example soon). As with the beginning
phase, the combat phase is broken down into smaller steps. They are:
  1.     Beginning of Combat 一 Both players may play instants and
  2.     Declare Attackers 一 Decide which, if any, creatures that you
        control you would like to attack your opponent with. You
        show that creature is attacking by tapping it. Both players
        may play instants and use abilities.
  3.     Declare Blockers 一 Your opponent decides which, if any, of
        their untapped creatures they want to use to block your  attack. Again, both players may play instant spells and use        abilities. 4.     Assign Damage 一 All creatures involved in combat assign        damage based on their power (the first number in the lower-        right of the card). This is the final opportunity for all players        to use instants and abilities during the combat phase. 5.     End of Combat - If a creature is dealt more damage than it        has toughness. It is removed from the battlefield and placed        in the graveyard. Make any changes necessaiy to life totals        and Planeswalker loyalty^ counters.   Now let s put that together with a real・life example. Here is the   board state as you move to the beginning of the combat phase: 

 In this example, the player controls two Forests and one Mountain and has a Runeclaw Bear under their control that was summoned during the last turn. The opponent controls an Island and a Plains and has used those two lands to summon a Stormfront Pegasus. First, the player will declare an attack. As the attacking player, he can only declare an attack against the opposing player or any Planeswalkers she controls. He cannot attack a specific creature. That means the decision to block or not block rests entirely on the defending player.       Let s look at both scenarios and see what would happen. Since the player is on the attack, they will declare their Runeclaw Bears as an attacker and show this by tapping the bears. 

 Once the attack is declared, the opponent must choose whether or not to block the bears. If she chooses not to block and does not use any spells, the player's bears will assign their damage directly to her. Since Runeclaw Bears has a power of two, the opponents life total will go down by two points, from 20 to 18. If the opponent chooses to block, the creatures will deal damage to each other. Both Stormfront Pegasus and Runeclaw Bears have a power of two. When creatures interact in combat, they each deal their damage (equal to their power rating) to the other creature's toughness (the second number at the bottom-right of the card). 

 This means Runeclaw Bears will deal two points of damage to the Stormfront Pegasus. Since the Pegasus has a toughness of one, this will be enough to kill them and at the end of combat, the Pegasus will go to the graveyard. However, Stormfront Pegasus also has a power of two, which is enough to kill the Runeclaw Bears, who have a toughness of two. In Magic terms, this type of situation is called "trading". By blocking here, the defending player is sacrificing her creature to in turn destroy the player's (her opponent's) creature. Both will be destroyed leaving the battlefield empty until more creatures are summoned. When two creatures deal damage to each other this way, all damage is dealt at the same time. Therefore, they are both destroyed simultaneously. It is also important to understand that any cariyover damage does not go on to the player. Even though the players bears do two points of damage and the Pegasus only has a toughness of one, the extra one damage is lost, it doesn't go anywhere else. It is also worth note that damage does not cany over after the turn is over. If a creature takes damage, but is not killed, that damage is erased when the turn is over. Revisiting the Stack Earlier, when speaking about game zones, we briefly touched on the concept of the stack. Now it's time to take a more in-depth look at the stack and how it affects game play. Remember the bailie between Runeclaw Bears and Stormfront Pegasus? This time,  we will add some firepower. 37 Approach with caution when your opponent's lands are untapped.     If you look closely, you should immediately see the difference in this battle. Now the opponent has added an Island to their side of the battlefield and all of her lands are now untapped. In a Magic duel, this is something you want to watch out for. Untapped lands usually mean your opponent has more options available to them. The player is still attacking opponent with their Runeclaw Bears. The opponent is going to choose her Stormfront Pegasus to act as a blocker in order to not lose points from her life total. This time, however, the player will play another spell to try and keep their bears alive! 38 Giant Growth is a great way to turn combat in your fevor. The spell chosen to be cast is called Giant Growth. It allows the player to tap one Forest to give a creature they control +3/4-3 until end of their turn. Those pluses are applied to the creature's power and toughness, essentially upgrading the bears from a 2/2 to a high・powered 5/5 until the end of the turn. 

 Now, instead of trading with the opponent's Pegasus, the bears will be able to kill the flying nuisance and still live to fiutlier threaten the opponent! Unfortunately, the extra damage doesn't cany over, but the player is still happier with this situation than if they put their bears in the graveyard. The way this plays in-game is that after the player declares their attacker (Runeclaw Bears) and the opponent has chosen her blocker (Stormfront Pegasus), the player then casts their Giant Growth. When that happens, Giant Growth goes on the stack. That means before it resolves and the player's creature actually gets the bonus, the opponent has a chance to react. Lefs say they opponent decides to tap all of her lands and play a spell of her own: Cancel. 

        In this case, she can stop the player's Giant Growth from resolving and force both of their creatures to still trade. This is true because spells resolve in a certain order: Last in, first out.      This means that the last spell cast is the first one to resolve. In      the above scenario, the opponents" Cancel will resolve first, which      will stop the Giant Growth from ever happening. Let"s take a      look at a slightly more complex example of how to use the stack. 

     There is a lot happening here, so let's examine the plays here and the two possible results.           If the attacking player choose to play Giant Growth as     before, the opponent can then respond. In this case, she tapped a     mountain to play a Lightning Bolt. Lightning Bolt deals three     point of damage to a creature or player. If the opponent targets     the player s bears with the bolt, it will take three points of     damage before their Giant Growth can take effect.        Since Runeclaw Bears only has two points of toughness, these        three damages will destroy them and they will be placed in the        graveyard. When the player's Giant Growth spell tries to make        them bigger, they will no longer be there to receive the effect.        The spell will therefore “fizzle" and also be placed in the        graveyard, and the player will be veiy sad, as the spell lias been        wasted.        If you turn things around though, use of the stack can work much        better for the player. Let's say that instead of blocking the        player's bears, the opponent instead decides to just target them        with the Lightning Bolt in an attempt to save lier Pegasus for        later combat. Now what happens when the player plays their        Giant Growth?        Well, because it was the last tiling placed on the stack, it will        resolve first. That means that the bears will be 5/5 and more        than large enough to absorb the Lightning Bolt's three damage        points and sundve! Even better, since the opponent chose not to        block, all five power points will go against her life total, knocking        her down from 20 to 15!        As you can see, there are many decisions to be made during each        and even⁷ combat phase. It is a veiy dynamic part of the game        that will take lots of practice to master. Remember to read each        card carefully, as many times understanding how to use your        tools and the best time to use them will be the difference behveen        winning and losing. 

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