Magic Ruling: Double the Trample, Double the Pain?
You control Angrath’s Marauders and a Charging Monstrosaur, a 5/5 creature with trample. You attack your opponent with the Charging Monstrosaur, and your opponent blocks it with a 3/3 creature.
How much damage can you deal to your opponent with your Monstrosaur’s trample damage? Up to 4? Or up to 7?
You can deal up to 4 damage to your opponent.
The answer is simple, but the path to that answer pulls from a number of different rules and nuances.
First, we’ll look at Angrath’s Marauders, which reads “If a source you control would deal damage to a permanent or player, it deals double that damage to that permanent or player instead.”
Similar to last week’s ruling, this ability creates a Replacement Effect.
- 614.1a Effects that use the word “instead” are replacement effects. Most replacement effects use the word “instead” to indicate what events will be replaced with other events.
But when does that replacement occur? Is trample damage decided before or after the damage is doubled?
According to the Ixalan Release Notes for Angrath’s Marauders:
If a creature with trample you control would deal combat damage to a blocking creature while you control Angrath’s Marauders, you must assign its unmodified damage. For example, a 3/3 creature with trample blocked by a 2/2 creature can have at most 1 damage assigned to the defending player. It will then deal 4 damage to the blocking creature and 2 damage to the defending player.
And there’s the next part of this solution. During combat, damage is assigned prior to damage being dealt. So as the Monstrosaur’s controller, you must decide how to assign its 5 power in damage.
702.19b The controller of an attacking creature with trample first assigns damage to the creature(s) blocking it. Once all those blocking creatures are assigned lethal damage, any remaining damage is assigned as its controller chooses among those blocking creatures and the player or planeswalker the creature is attacking.
And there we have it. In order to use Trample, you must assign at least 3 damage (lethal damage) to the 3/3 blocker, and can then assign the remaining 2 damage to your opponent.
Now, because of the Marauders, instead of dealing that damage, your Monstrosaur deals double that damage: 6 to the blocker (now SUPER lethal) and 4 to your opponent.