Angel of Grace vs Banefire

Welcome back to the Rules Tips Blog, and Happy Friday! As of today, Ravnica Allegiance is legal in Standard, Modern, Legacy, and Vintage, so sleeve up your finest new cards and enjoy FNM tonight!

Today we’ll be talking about Angel of Grace and how she interacts with various kinds of damage. Angel comes down with Flash for 3WW, and when she does she keeps your life total from dropping below 1 via damage. This can be very handy if you’re facing down a lethal tap-out attack from your opponent- she can save your life and then lead the charge on the crack back, possibly snatching victory from the jaws of defeat! She can also be exiled from your graveyard to set your life total to 10 if she dies, but today we’re focusing on that first ability. The most important thing to note is that this ability does not prevent damage. Even if you’re already at 1 life when her trigger resolves, you still take the damage- it just doesn’t change your life total. For example, if your opponent has Lifelink attackers, they might not be able to reduce your life total below 1 with their damage, but the damage is dealt, and so your opponent gains life. Ditto on any “Whenever this creature deals combat damage” triggers- your opponent will get those. For those of you who play Commander or try to make Angel work in Modern, note that she has no interaction with Infect because of this- Infect creatures don’t try to change your life total with their damage at all, so all Angel’s good for there is a surprise 5/4 blocker. If you let the attack go through, you’re still gonna get poison counters!

And finally… Banefire. Banefire for X > 4 hecks things up but good. The spell becomes uncounterable and the damage unpreventable. So should you be sad if your opponent throws a Banefire for X = Your Face at you, because your Angel of Grace in hand can’t help? No! Remember, Angel doesn’t prevent any damage- she just alters the outcome OF that damage. Banefire’s still going to do 10 or 15 or however many damage to you- it just won’t drop your life total below 1. You’ll still be in a precarious position, but you’re not dead yet- and like they say, the only life point that matters is the last one. Keep this last-chance play in mind when your opponent thinks they’ve got the W already confirmed. Happy Angel-ing!

Today’s Rules Tip was written by Trevor Nunez

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