Beginner Planeswalker Guide: Time to Battle

Beginner Planeswalker Guide: Time to Battle

August 23, 2018 Off By Tifa

This is part 5 of a series of Magic articles aimed at welcoming people into Magic: The Gathering! If you are an experienced Magic player, I hope you can use this article series to help your friends become Planeswalkers. If you are new to Magic, let me show you some things that will help you break into the game.

You have prepared for this moment. You built your deck, stepped up to the battlefield, and used mana to summon creatures. You feel a rush of adrenaline as you ready your army to attack. Today you will partake in combat.

As a reminder, the combat phase is in the middle of the turn:

  • Beginning Phase
  • Pre-combat Main Phase
  • Combat 
    • Begin combat 
    • Declare attackers
    • Combat damage
    • End combat
  • Post-combat Main Phase
  • End Phase

This is where most of the action happens in a Magic game. In combat, you attack your opponent with creatures you have on the battlefield. In a two player game, your opponent is your only target. You can’t attack your opponent’s creatures. You can decide to have all, none, or some of your creatures attack your opponent.

Your opponent decides if they will use their creatures to block your creatures. Keep that in mind when deciding which of your precious pets are going into war. Also, creatures you attack with will tap, so know that they won’t be able to block on your opponent’s turn. Think of it as them using all their energy for the round by attacking, so they won’t be up and ready to block damage for you.

Combat happens in a series of important steps. As a reminder, your opponent must have the option to respond as you move from one step to the next. You are also allowed to use abilities and Instant spells between steps.

  • Begin Combat – First and foremost, inform your opponent to be ready for your vicious attack. This allows them to respond before you decide what creatures you will be sending after them.
  • Declare Attackers – Decide what members of your cavalry will be slaying your opponent this turn. Tap them sideways so that your opponent knows which ones are coming. Keep an eye on comparing power and toughness with your opponent’s creatures and try to think about how your opponent will likely block. Also, ensure you are prepared for any damage that might be coming your way next turn based on what creatures your opponent has on the battlefield. 
  • Declare Blockers – Your opponent gets to determine what creatures of theirs will be going up against your creatures. Or they can decide to take all the damage themselves. When blocking, you can have multiple creatures block one creature.
  • Combat Damage – All combat damage happens at the same time. Creatures on both sides each deal damage equal to their power and take the opposing creature’s damage against their toughness. If a creature dies, it goes into the graveyard. Players take any unblocked damage.
    • Some notes on damage:
      • In most cases, if a creature is blocked, no leftover damage is dealt to the player. Even if you block a 6/6 creature with a 1/1, all 6 damage will be blocked and the 1/1 will die.
      • Any leftover damage on creatures that haven’t died will stay on that creature until the end of the turn.
      • If one creature is blocked by multiple creatures, the attacker gets to decide how the attacking damage is distributed.
  • End Combat – Congrats! You have completed this combat phase.

Put this together with the rest of the phases from last week, and you now know the basics of how to play through a game of Magic!

Next week learn all about one of most powerful card types in the game – Planeswalkers.