Trample is a keyword ability that changes the rules for assigning damage in the Combat Damage Step. An attacker with trample can potentially deal damage to the defending player or planeswalker even if it is blocked. Trample 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 is primarily placed in green on the Color Wheel, although other colors have received the ability.
Trample was removed from the core set after 6th Edition. It was brought back in 9th Edition. Wizards introduced a vertical cycle of creatures known as "super tramplers" in the Starter 1999 starter-level set, they were all reprinted again in 7th 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.
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.
From the Comprehensive Rules:
- 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 remaining 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.
A 2/2 creature with an ability that enables it to block multiple attackers blocks two attackers: a 1/1 with no abilities 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.
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 he or she chooses 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.
As of Magic 2011, the latest reminder text for Trample reads "If a creature you control 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."
- Stampeding Rhino -
Creature — Rhino
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.)
Enchantments that grant just Trample
All your creatures