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Combat phase

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Comprehensive Rules
Game Concepts
Parts of a Card
Card Types
Zones
Turn Structure
500. General
501. Beginning Phase
502. Untap Step
503. Upkeep Step
504. Draw Step
505. Main Phase
506. Combat Phase
507. Beginning of Combat Step
508. Declare Attackers Step
509. Declare Blockers Step
510. Combat Damage Step
511. End of Combat Step
512. Ending Phase
513. End Step
514. Cleanup Step
Spells, Abilities, and Effects
Additional Rules
Multiplayer Rules
Casual Variants
Turn Structure
Beginning Phase
Untap Step
Upkeep Step
Draw Step
Main Phase
Combat Phase
Beginning of Combat Step
Declare Attackers Step
Declare Blockers Step
Combat Damage Step
End of Combat Step
Main Phase
Ending Phase
End Step
Cleanup Step

The combat phase is the third phase in a turn, and has five steps in this order:

If no creatures are declared as attackers, the declare blockers step and combat damage step are skipped. If any attacking or blocking creatures has first strike or double strike, there are two combat damage steps.

A creature is removed from combat if:

  • it leaves play
  • it regenerates [CR 419.6b]
  • its controller changes
  • it stops being a creature
  • an effect removes it from combat

When a creature is removed from combat it stops being an attacking, blocking, blocked, and/or unblocked creature.

If a creature has been declared as an attacking or blocking creature, spells or abilities that would have kept that creature from attacking or blocking do not remove the creature from combat.

Example

If a player wants to cast an Off Balance it must be done before a creature has been declared an attacker or blocker. Otherwise it will have no effect.

Tapping or untapping a creature that’s already been declared as an attacker or blocker doesn’t remove it from combat and doesn’t prevent its combat damage. (This is contrary to pre-sixth edition rules.)

From the Comprehensive Rules (Born of the Gods)

  • 506. Combat Phase
    • 506.1. The combat phase has five steps, which proceed in order: beginning of combat, declare attackers, declare blockers, combat damage, and end of combat. The declare blockers and combat damage steps are skipped if no creatures are declared as attackers or put onto the battlefield attacking (see rule 508.4). There are two combat damage steps if any attacking or blocking creature has first strike (see rule 702.7) or double strike (see rule 702.4).
    • 506.2. During the combat phase, the active player is the attacking player; creatures that player controls may attack. During the combat phase of a two-player game, the nonactive player is the defending player; that player and planeswalkers he or she controls may be attacked.
      • 506.2a During the combat phase of a multiplayer game, there may be one or more defending players, depending on the variant being played and the options chosen for it. Unless all the attacking player's opponents automatically become defending players during the combat phase, the attacking player chooses one of his or her opponents as a turn-based action during the beginning of combat step. (Note that the choice may be dictated by the variant being played or the options chosen for it.) That player becomes the defending player. See rule 802, "Attack Multiple Players Option," rule 803, "Attack Left and Attack Right Options," and rule 809, "Emperor Variant."
      • 506.2b In the Two-Headed Giant multiplayer variant, the nonactive team is the defending team. See rule 810, "Two-Headed Giant Variant."
    • 506.3. Only a creature can attack or block. Only a player or a planeswalker can be attacked.
      • 506.3a If an effect would put a noncreature permanent onto the battlefield attacking or blocking, the permanent does enter the battlefield but it's never considered to be an attacking or blocking permanent.
      • 506.3b If an effect would put a creature onto the battlefield attacking under the control of any player except an attacking player, that creature does enter the battlefield, but it's never considered to be an attacking creature.
      • 506.3c If an effect would put a creature onto the battlefield attacking either a player not in the game or a planeswalker no longer on the battlefield or no longer a planeswalker, that creature does enter the battlefield, but it's never considered to be an attacking creature.
      • 506.3d If an effect would put a creature onto the battlefield blocking but the creature it would block isn't attacking either the first creature's controller or a planeswalker that player controls, that creature does enter the battlefield, but it's never considered to be a blocking creature.
    • 506.4. A permanent is removed from combat if it leaves the battlefield, if its controller changes, if it phases out, if an effect specifically removes it from combat, if it's a planeswalker that's being attacked and stops being a planeswalker, or if it's an attacking or blocking creature that regenerates (see rule 701.12) or stops being a creature. A creature that's removed from combat stops being an attacking, blocking, blocked, and/or unblocked creature. A planeswalker that's removed from combat stops being attacked.
      • 506.4a Once a creature has been declared as an attacking or blocking creature, spells or abilities that would have kept that creature from attacking or blocking don’t remove the creature from combat.
      • 506.4b Tapping or untapping a creature that’s already been declared as an attacker or blocker doesn't remove it from combat and doesn't prevent its combat damage.
      • 506.4c If a creature is attacking a planeswalker, removing that planeswalker from combat doesn't remove that creature from combat. It continues to be an attacking creature, although it is attacking neither a player nor a planeswalker. It may be blocked. If it is unblocked, it will deal no combat damage.
      • 506.4d A permanent that's both a blocking creature and a planeswalker that's being attacked is removed from combat if it stops being both a creature and a planeswalker. If it stops being one of those card types but continues to be the other, it continues to be either a blocking creature or a planeswalker that's being attacked, whichever is appropriate.
    • 506.5. A creature attacks alone if it's the only creature declared as an attacker during the declare attackers step. A creature is attacking alone if it's attacking but no other creatures are. A creature blocks alone if it's the only creature declared as a blocker during the declare blockers step. A creature is blocking alone if it's blocking but no other creatures are.
    • 506.6. Some spells state that they may be cast "only [before/after] [a particular point in the combat phase]," in which that point may be "attackers are declared," "blockers are declared," "the combat damage step," "the end of combat step," "the combat phase," or "combat."
      • 506.6a A spell that states it may be cast "only before (or after) attackers are declared" is referring to the turn-based action of declaring attackers. It may be cast only before (or after) the declare attackers step begins, regardless of whether any attackers are actually declared. (See rule 508.)
      • 506.6b A spell that states it may be cast "only before (or after) blockers are declared" is referring to the turn-based action of declaring blockers. It may be cast only before (or after) the declare blockers step begins, regardless of whether any blockers are actually declared. (See rule 509.)
      • 506.6c Some spells state that they may be cast only "during combat" or "during a certain player's combat phase" in addition to the criteria described in rule 506.6. If a turn has multiple combat phases, such spells may be cast at an appropriate time during any of them.
      • 506.6d Some spells state that they may be cast "only before (or after) [a particular point in the combat phase]," but don't meet the additional criteria described in rule 506.6c. If a turn has multiple combat phases, such spells may be cast that turn only before (or after) the stated point of the first combat phase.
      • 506.6e If a spell states that it may be cast "only before [a particular point in the combat phase]," but the stated point doesn't exist within the relevant combat phase because the declare blockers step and the combat damage step are skipped (see rule 508.6), then the spell may be cast only before the declare attackers step ends. If the stated point doesn't exist because the relevant combat phase has been skipped, then the spell may be cast only before the precombat main phase ends.
      • 506.6f If a spell states that it may be cast "only during combat after blockers are declared," but the declare blockers step is skipped that combat phase (see rule 508.6), then the spell may not be cast during that combat phase.
      • 506.6g Rules 506.6 and 506.6a–f apply to abilities that state that they may be activated only at certain times with respect to combat just as they apply to spells that state that they may be cast only at certain times with respect to combat.

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