February 2011 Update Bulletin

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Comprehensive Rulebook Changes

 What are the Comprehensive Rules?  
Magic is complicated. No, really. When you have over 11,000 interchangeable game pieces, you get some freaky interactions. The Comprehensive Rules cover everything the game has ever come up with, from basic game play structure, to every keyword ever, to entire pages dedicated to single bizarre cards (hello, Mindslaver!) The Comprehensive Rules are, well, comprehensive ... but they're also obtuse, unfriendly, and looooong. They're not intended to be a player resource—they're a judge resource, a rules guru resource, and a place to store definitive answers. In fact, I honestly recommend never reading them. For a much friendlier rulebook that is intended to be a player resource, check out the Rules Page and download the Basic Rulebook (2MB PDF). It doesn't have sections about phasing or subgames ... but you'll never miss them.

There was a typo in the cross-reference to leveler cards.

This rule was enhanced. Not only can you not change a target to an illegal target, but you also can't change a target such that another target becomes illegal. For example, consider Searing Blaze. You clearly can't change the target creature to a creature the targeted player doesn't control as it would be an illegal target. But what about changing the targeted player? Nothing in the targeting phrase stops you, but it causes the creature to then become an illegal target. This rule now prevents that weirdness.

Long ago, this rule (along with 615.5) was added to handle Swans of Bryn Argoll. Later changes correctly reclassified the last sentence of Swans as not a replacement ability, but this inadvertently broke the tie between the two rules. We're adding "and prevention effects" to 120.7 to reestablish that connection.

The new vocabulary term "poisoned," meaning "having one or more poison counters," is introduced.

Gremlin is lovingly welcomed back to the list of creature types.

This rule previously referred to effects that changed a land's subtype to one of the basic land types. Now, the effect only has to set a basic land type, no necessarily change it. For example, if Spreading Seas were attached to a Mystifying Maze, the land would lose its abilities, become an Island, and inherently be able to tap for Blue Mana. But if the enchanted land were a Moonring Island (a nonbasic land with the Island subtype), you could interpret the rule such that the land wouldn't lose its abilities. This seems wildly unintuitive, so it's being changed.

508.1d, 509.1c
These rules dealt with requirements to attack or block. Instead of exempting tapped creatures and creatures with unpaid costs to attack or block if an effect requires them to, the rule now simply states that paying such costs is never required. Say I control Berserkers of Blood Ridge and you control Ghostly Prison and a planeswalker. Before, I could just not attack without disobeying any requirements. Now, I can either pay 2 Mana and attack you or pay nothing and attack your planeswalker, which is a more intuitive result.

This rule was added to clarify that the order in which you apply continuous effects may change midstream if a new dependency (or independency) is created.

This rule was strengthened to emphasize that a replacement effect applies only once to any given event, including modified events it may become.

This rule was created to handle the case where a nonempty set of objects would be shuffled into a library but are instead moved to another zone. This could happen with one of the Fifth Dawn Beacons or Mirrodin Besieged Zeniths cast with flashback. Subsequent rules were renumbered.

The new Mirran ability battle cry is added to the rulebook so it can, you know ... work.

The new Phyrexian ability living weapon is added to the rulebook so it can, you know ... start terrifying and subjugating the populace.

A new rule changing how certain copy effects interact with characteristic-defining abilities. Before, if a copy effect didn't copy a certain characteristic, it still copied any CDAs defining that characteristic, which led to some weird results. Consider a Vesuvan Doppelganger copying a Transguild Courier. The Doppelganger says it doesn't copy color, but this is effectively ignored because it picks up Transguild Courier's CDA. Now, it'll still copy that ability (so Muraganda Petroglyphs doesn't mess anything up), but you won't consider it when determining the Doppelganger's characteristics.

This rule was intended to clean up copies of spells and other objects on the stack when an effect ends the turn. Unfortunately, it was worded in such a way that swept up emblems as well. Clearly unintentional, so command zone gets added to keep them safe.

This rule should use "assigned" instead of "dealt."

808.1, 811.5
Each was missing a period.

The casual format previously known as EDH is now known as Commander. In this format, your deck is led by a legendary creature previously known as a general and now known as a commander. This caused terminology changes to numerous rules. In addition, the following changes were made:

This rule introduces the concept of color identity. Color identity is a set of colors derived from your chosen commander before the game begins. It includes any colors of the card itself, including characteristic-defining abilities, and (in an extension from previous EDH rules) the color of any mana symbols found in the commander's mana cost or rules text.

Color identity is now revealed to all players when you put your general in the command zone as the game begins and it can't change throughout the game. Under the old rules, if your then-general was on the battlefield and changed color, it affected what color mana you were allowed to produce. This was insane and incorrect.

So, Bosh, Iron Golem fans can rejoice: he (it?) is no longer excommunicated from being a commander and can lead a red deck.

Subsequent rules were renumbered.

This rule, defining what cards could be played in a Commander deck, was rewritten slightly to include the color identity concept.

This rule broadened to include not just basic lands but any land with a basic land type. Previously, the original "dual lands" were not excluded from a deck if one color of mana it could produce was not in the commander's color identity.

Glossary: Active Player, Nonactive Player Order
An extra period was removed.

Glossary: Battle Cry
Definition added for Mirrodin Besieged release.

Glossary: Color Identity
Added for Commander rules overhaul.

Glossary: Commander
Added to define both the casual format previously known as EDH and the card used to lead decks in that format.

Glossary: EDH
Now labeled as an obsolete term.

Glossary: General
Second definition now labeled as obsolete.

Glossary: Living Weapon
Definition added for Mirrodin Besieged release.

Glossary: Poisoned
Definition added for Mirrodin Besieged release.

Legal Text
It's now 2011. Hooray!

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