So what was the ruling on three creatures blocking two attackers?
Hello! Eric Levine - the judge of the Press & Pros draft - here. This is what happens when you do what Josh did:
First, for each attacking creature, the attacking player orders the creatures blocking it. This is a pretty normal process - multiple creatures can almost always block a single attacker. The weird part here is that, since all three blockers are blocking both creatures, the order may be different from each creature, so simple physical manipulation of the cards may not actually tell you how the creatures are ordered.
Once that's done and clarified (and probably written down on paper!) the blocking player orders the attacking creatures for each of the three blocking creatures. This is just like the previous process, but in reverse, and with three creatures. (Fellow Level 3 judge Aaron Hamer, who was also at #PTKTK, called this whole thing a "2-by-3 Attacker-Blocker Ordering Matrix." I call it a cluster... well, you know.)
Finally, damage is assigned, starting by assigning each individual attacker's damage, and moving on to each individual blocker's damage. Note that this can play merry hell with how damage can be assigned by the individual creatures - once one creature has lethal damage assigned from one creature, another creature can simply skip it in the order! (From Comprehensive Rule 510.1c: "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. An amount of damage that's greater than a creature's lethal damage may be assigned to it." - so make sure you do things in the order that's most advantageous to you!)
So how the heck does this work in practice? Well, let's say we have two attacking creatures:
Snowhorn Rider (5/5, trample)
Bear token from Bear's Companion (4/4)
Our opponent has a Brave the Sands and three eligible blockers:
Ruthless Ripper (1/1, deathtouch)
Sage-Eye Harrier (1/5 with some irrelevant flying)
Ainok Bond-Kin with a +1/+1 counter on it (3/2, first strike)
Opponent blocks everything with everything, as described. Creatures get ordered as follows: (top to bottom, so top card is first in the order)
I know, it's not as exciting because all the orders are the same, but believe me, this example showcases the strategic value of this decision. (Other times, it might be different, but I only have so much brainpower right now.)
So first, Ainok Bond-Kin deals its first-strike damage. It has 3 to dish out, so 3 damage is marked on the Bear Token. Now we check state-based actions - all we have is 3 damage on a 4-toughness creature, so we're OK to move onto regular damage. Attackers go first, and we choose to start with the Bear Token, because that is our right (and it's also a good idea.)
Ruthless Ripper is first in the order. We drop one damage there (we could do more, but why?) and then move on to drop two onto the Bond-Kin and one onto Sage-Eye Harrier. The Ripper and the Bond-Kin have lethal damage assigned to them (but not yet marked on them!)
We then move on to our other creature, Snowhorn Rider. The damage assignment order is the same, but we can skip the Ripper and Bond-Kin since they are already being assigned lethal damage. Sage-Eye Harrier has one damage assigned to it, so we put another four on, allowing us to trample over to our opponent for 1 damage. Not great, but it could have been worse - we could have done the Rider's assignment first and lost out on trample!
The two remaining blockers without first strike still have something to say. Our opponent wisely allows Sage-Eye Harrier to go first - it assigns one damage to the Bear Token, which already has three damage marked on it. That's a lethal total, which means that Ruthless Ripper can bypass it entirely and assign its one deadly point of damage to Snowhorn Rider. Good call, opponent - doing things in the other order would have wasted the deathtouch damage and left Snowhorn Rider alive!
Once all the damage has been assigned, it is dealt - this bloodbath ends with no survivors and one point of damage to the blocking player. Yowza.
Hope that helps! Feel free to contact me with more questions at ericlevine AT channelfireball DOT com or check out http://chat.magicjudges.org/mtgrules/ for live rules answers!