Indestructible, Damage, and Bile Blight

Indestructible is a neat little ability. It does exactly what you’d expect- it means that the permanent in question simply can’t be destroyed, whether that be via lethal damage or a “destroy” effect like Shatter or Doom Blade. It does NOT protect against other forms of removal or death, though: exile, the Legend Rule, the Planeswalker Uniqueness Rule, and having 0 or less toughness all get around Indestructible pretty easily. However, a common misconception I’ve run into is people trying to ‘combine’ damage and -X/-X effects to kill an indestructible creature. An indestructible 4/4 that takes 3 damage is not a 4/1, because damage does not reduce toughness. It’ll be a 4/4 with 3 damage marked on it. If you then hit that creature with a Bile Blight it would be an indestructible 1/1 with 3 damage marked on it, which does not kill it because it is indestructible. You can’t try to combine the damage with the -X/-X like that; it doesn’t work! You’ll have to use -X/-X effects to reduce the toughness to 0 or less, damage won’t help at all (meaning you’d need two Bile Blights to kill an indestructible 4/4).

Today’s Rules Tip was written by Trevor Nunez

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