Rule: Combat Phases and Order of Play

Replaces: Clarification of standard combat

Used In: None

Synopsis: Spells out when, during the course of a combat round, everything happens. Used for sake of consistency in rulings.

Combat Phases and Order of PlayEdit

A round is divided up into three distinct phases. Different things happen during each of these phases. Players familiar with Magic: The Gathering will recognize some of what follows. This is not a new set of rules so much as a clarification and codification of the order of events.

Phase I: UpkeepEdit

The following things happen during a player's upkeep, in the order presented. Not every event on this list will occur during every upkeep; simply ignore events that do not apply.

  1. "Until start of next turn" effects end
  2. Any ongoing damage is sustained, including bleeding out
  3. Saves and checks versus ongoing or environmental effects are made
  4. One-minute saves versus poison are made
  5. Regeneration and/or fast healing is applied
  6. Any active auras trigger
  7. Attacks of opportunity reset
  8. Power attack and combat expertise reset
  9. Minor action is recovered

Phase II: ActionsEdit

The player gains a standard action and a move action, or may combine these into a full-round action (in which case he gains a five-foot step). These actions may be resolved in any order. However, if the player declares an attack, the Combat sub-phase begins.

The Combat sub-phase proceeds in the following order:

  1. Targets are declared for all attacks. Targets must be valid when declared.
  2. Combat Expertise and/or Power Attack are declared.
  3. All attacks are rolled and resolved.
  4. Damage is rolled and applied.

This is the only time during the round that Power Attack and Combat Expertise may be declared. If they are not declared prior to the attack roll being made, they may not be declared until the player's next round.

A player may not know whether or not an attack has killed a target before his next attack is made. Likewise, if a target somehow becomes invalid between declaration and attack roll (such as through an immediate action), the player may not declare a new target.

Phase III: CleanupEdit

The cleanup phase represents the very last things to happen before a player's turn ends. The following events happen in sequence; as with Upkeep, not every event will happen at the end of every player's turn. Simply ignore those events that do not apply.

  1. "Until end of turn" effects end.
  2. Spells and effects cast by the active player end.
  3. The stabilization roll is made.


Immediate actions may be taken at any time, as long as the player has one available. The exception to this is after an attack roll's result has been announced and before damage is declared; once the roll is made, the attack happens and cannot be interrupted.