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Mtga trample.png
Keyword Ability
Type Static
Introduced Alpha
Last Used Evergreen
Reminder Text Trample (This creature can deal excess combat damage to player or planeswalker it's attacking.)
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Trample is a keyword ability that changes the rules for assigning damage in the Combat Damage Step. An attacker with trample deals excess damage to the defending player or planeswalker even if it is blocked. Trample is primary placed in green on the color wheel, but red's share has been growing over time. Any color is allowed access to trample if the creature is large enough and of a higher rarity.[1]

History[edit | edit source]

Trample was introduced in Alpha.[2][3] and is generally printed on creatures with high power, such as Crash of Rhinos, or creatures with the ability to increase their power, such as Keldon Battlewagon. It has also been printed on small creatures with no intrinsic ability to gain power, such as on Defiant Elf, but these are rare.

Trample was removed from the core set with the Sixth Edition. Later on, WotC introduced a vertical cycle of creatures known as "super tramplers" in the Starter 1999 starter-level set, which were all reprinted in Seventh Edition. Lone Wolf, Pride of Lions and Thorn Elemental each can do combat damage to defending players as though they weren't blocked. It is said that this ability was created because Wizards thought trample was too confusing, yet this new ability wasn't taken too well in its place. Consequently, Trample was brought back in Ninth Edition.

In a "Ask Wizards" column, Aaron Forsythe said about Trample:

“  Three things combined to get trample back in the Core Set with Ninth Edition. One, newer players were running into trample in expert-level sets and not knowing how it worked. Most keywords without reminder text in black-bordered sets --flying, swampwalk, first strike, etc. --are clearly explained in the Core Set. But trample (and protection) were not, meaning the first time players saw it, they were clueless. Two, our replacement for trample (the Thorn Elemental ability) was not particularly easy to understand either. Three, our rules people came up with good reminder text for the mechanic, allowing it to exist happily in the Core Set.

We're not trying to dumb the game down. In fact, we want the Core Set to be a teaching tool, which means we want it to cover as much ground as realistically possible, which is why we worked so hard for a way to get trample (and protection and equipment) into Ninth Edition. [4]


In the silver-bordered set Unstable, Trample appeared for the first time on a non-creature spell (Super-Duper Death Ray).[5] Chances of the rules being altered to allow trample on spells in black border are low.[6] Flame Spill was later printed in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths essentially spelling out the reminder text of Super-Duper Death Ray - the phrase "excess damage" was deemed sufficiently clear for players that it has been introduced into more designs. Ram Through mimicks trample damage, Toralf, God of Fury grants an even more powerful form of trample, and Aegar, the Freezing Flame rewards "overkilling".

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths introduced trample counters.

Reminder text[edit | edit source]

The Ninth Edition reminder text read: Trample (If this creature would assign enough damage to its blockers to destroy them, you may have it assign the rest of its damage to defending player or planeswalker.)

Starting with Magic Origins, it gained a new reminder text: Trample (This creature can deal excess combat damage to defending player or planeswalker while attacking.). There was no change to how trample worked, the reminder text was just changed for clarity and brevity.[7]

In Unstable, the keyword featured on Super-Duper Death Ray (an instant direct damage spell) with a new adapted reminder text (This spell can deal excess damage to its target's controller.)[8]

When Dominaria abandoned the Planeswalker redirection rule, the reminder text was changed to This creature can deal excess combat damage to the player or planeswalker it's attacking.[9]

Silver-bordered[edit | edit source]

Main article: Silver-bordered

In Unstable a non-creature spell with trample was printed. This is not supported by the black-border rules and has its own reminder text: This spell can deal excess damage to its target's controller.

Rules[edit | edit source]

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (February 5, 2021—Kaldheim)

A keyword ability that modifies how a creature assigns combat damage. See rule 702.19, “Trample.”

From the Comprehensive Rules (February 5, 2021—Kaldheim)

  • 702.19. Trample
    • 702.19a Trample is a static ability that modifies the rules for assigning an attacking creature’s combat damage. The ability has no effect when a creature with trample is blocking or is dealing noncombat damage. (See rule 510, “Combat Damage Step.”)
    • 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 excess damage is assigned as its controller chooses among those blocking creatures and the player or planeswalker the creature is attacking. When checking for assigned lethal damage, take into account damage already marked on the creature and damage from other creatures that’s being assigned during the same combat damage step, but not any abilities or effects that might change the amount of damage that’s actually dealt. The attacking creature’s controller need not assign lethal damage to all those blocking creatures but in that case can’t assign any damage to the player or planeswalker it’s attacking.

      Example: A 2/2 creature that can block an additional creature blocks two attackers: a 1/1 with no abilities and a 3/3 with trample. The active player could assign 1 damage from the first attacker and 1 damage from the second to the blocking creature, and 2 damage to the defending player from the creature with trample.

      Example: A 6/6 green creature with trample is blocked by a 2/2 creature with protection from green. The attacking creature’s controller must assign at least 2 damage to the blocker, even though that damage will be prevented by the blocker’s protection ability. The attacking creature’s controller can divide the rest of the damage as they choose between the blocking creature and the defending player.

    • 702.19c If an attacking creature with trample is blocked, but there are no creatures blocking it when damage is assigned, all its damage is assigned to the player or planeswalker it’s attacking.
    • 702.19d If a creature with trample is attacking a planeswalker, none of its combat damage can be assigned to the defending player, even if that planeswalker has been removed from combat or the damage the attacking creature could assign is greater than the planeswalker’s loyalty.
    • 702.19e Multiple instances of trample on the same creature are redundant.

Rulings[edit | edit source]

  • If a creature with both Deathtouch and trample is blocked by one or more creatures, assigning to the blockers 1 damage each (and the rest is dealt to the initial target, being player or Planeswalker, regardless of their toughness or previous damage, is considered a legal way to assign the damage. However, if the attacking playing desires, the attacking player may distribute excess damage any other way they see fit.

Examples[edit | edit source]


Stampeding Rhino {4}{G}
Creature — Rhino
Trample (This creature can deal excess combat damage to the player or planeswalker it's attacking.)

Enchantments that grant just Trample[edit | edit source]

One creature

All your creatures

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mark Rosewater (June 5, 2017). "Mechanical Color Pie 2017". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Brady Dommermuth (June 01, 2009). "Mechanically Inclined". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater (June 8, 2015). "Evergreen Eggs & Ham". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Aaron Forsythe (November 8, 2005). "Ask Wizards". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Mark Rosewater (November 22, 2017). "Unstable FAQAWASLFAQPAFTIDAWABIAJTBT". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Mark Rosewater (April 17, 2018). "What are the chances of the rules being altered to allow trample on spells (in black border)?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  7. Wizards of the Coast (July 8, 2015). "Magic Origins Release Notes". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Mark Rosewater (November 16, 2017). "Thank you for Super Duper Death Ray.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  9. Eli Shiffrin (April 13, 2018). "Dominaria Oracle Changes". Wizards of the Coast.

External links[edit | edit source]