May 2011 Update Bulletin

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Comprehensive Rules 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, Karn Liberated!) 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.

This rule was expanded to accommodate New Phyrexia's cycle of Chancellors. Like the Leylines and Gemstone Caverns, the Chancellors have an ability that is applicable in your opening hand. Unlike those other cards however, the Chancellors are not being put onto the battlefield. Subrules now handle the different types of abilities that are relevant in a player's opening hand.

The title of this section is changing from "Winning and Losing" to the more inclusive "Ending the Game." A rule was added (104.6) to state that a game could be restarted, which ends the current game. More on that later!

This rule was added to cover the case where mana represented by a Phyrexian mana symbol is added to your mana pool. In this case, you add the appropriately colored mana to your mana pool. This could happen if, for example, you controlled a Thundering Tanadon enchanted by Elemental Resonance; you would add 4 ManaGreen ManaGreen Mana to your mana pool.

The five Phyrexian mana symbols were added to the list of mana symbols.

This rule was added to define how Phyrexian mana symbols work.

This rule was added to define the use of the Phyrexian symbol in the rules text of Rage Extractor.

This new addition to the list of rules explaining where abilities work says that if an object has an ability that says counters can't be placed on it, that ability functions while the object is entering the battlefield. "Placed" carries double duty, meaning adding counters while an object is on the battlefield and also having an object entering the battlefield with counters, so the ability of Melira's Keepers, and Tatterkite before it, has to work in both situations.

In fact, the dual nature of "placed" leads to some pretty interesting interactions. Take Melira, Sylvok Outcast. Her second ability effectively means "-1/-1 counters can't be put on creatures you control as they enter the battlefield." This is awesome if that creature is Etched Monstrosity.

I added a sentence to this rule concerning choosing one target per use of the word "target" in a spell or ability to clarify that it applied both when originally choosing targets and when changing targets. You can't change all six targets of Hex to Spellskite, for example.

The rule was added to explain how Spellskite's "change a target" template functioned.

This rule was added to clarify that you only look at the final set of targets when changing targets of a spell or ability to determine if the change was legal. For example, it was ambiguous whether you could change the first target of Arc Trail to the second and vice versa. Well, you can!

This rule was added to define what happens when a cost is reduced by an amount of mana represented by a Phyrexian mana symbol: it's reduced by one mana of the appropriate color.

120.4, 608.2d
These rules referred to a player attempting to draw a card from an empty library losing the game. Thanks to spells like Oblation, it's possible that a token could be in a library while a card draw happens before going poof. Clearly, we meant an empty library to mean a library with no cards in it, so we might as well just say that.

It turns out that no rule really explicitly stated what happens to counters on an object when that object changed zones. In practice, we know that a Runeclaw Bear on the battlefield becomes a different object when it goes to the graveyard, and counters it had on it cease to exist. But it seemed appropriate to actually spell that out.

We clarified that a placing a counter on a permanent also refers to that permanent entering the battlefield with a counter as the result of a replacement effect.

This rule formerly stated that paying a mana cost involved matching the color of any colored mana symbols as well as paying the generic mana indicated in the cost. Well, the Phyrexians have kind of blown that whole "you must match the colors" idea out of the water, so this rule was adjusted.

Phyrexian mana symbols in a mana cost also define color.

A new rule to say that each Phyrexian mana symbol in a mana costs contributes 1 toward the converted mana cost.

Karn is added to the list of planeswalker types. Hi Karn!

Praetor is added to the list of creature types. Hi Praetors!

The Scars of Mirrodin block is now complete, so the rule can just refer to faction insignias in the whole block rather than individual sets. They still have no effect on game play.

301.7, 303.4i
Okay, here's a fun one. Let's imagine you have a Myr Welder that's exiled a Demonspine Whip and a Transmogrifying Licid. (Someone in the rules forum actually imagined this.) You activate the Licid's ability to attach the Myr Welder to another creature. The Myr Welder is no longer a creature at this point and is just an Aura enchantment, so this works nicely. It still has the Demonspine Whip's ability, which says "X Mana: Equipped creature gets +X/+0 until end of turn." Is the creature Myr Welder's attached to the "equipped creature?"

For even more fun, imagine the creature above is a Kor Duelist. There isn't an Equipment attached to it, so it's not equipped, so it doesn't have double strike. But at the same time, if Myr Welder's ability sees it as the "equipped creature," it would give it a bonus. Well, that's weird. So we drew some harder lines.

Enchanted, equipped, and fortified are all ways for one object to be attached to another, but they are not interchangeable. For an ability that refers to the "equipped creature" to function, that ability must be on an Equipment. The same is true for Auras and abilities that refer to the "enchanted creature." Ditto Fortifications and "fortified land." These two rules address this issue.

Now, if an object is moving to a public zone, all players (not just its owner) look at it to determine if it has any abilities that would affect the move, like an enters-the-battlefield replacement ability. For example, I'm able to see the card you're putting onto the battlefield with Show and Tell and name that card with the Runed Halo I'm putting onto the battlefield.

506.3c, 508.4a
These rules explain that a creature put onto the battlefield attacking a player no longer in the game or a planeswalker no longer on the battlefield (or no longer a planeswalker) is simply put onto the battlefield but is never an attacking creature. Mostly this happens in response to a ninjutsu ability, as it defines who the newcomer is attacking by rule.

Some spells and abilities, like that of Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed, state that they may only be cast or activated during your turn, before attackers are declared. If this never happens because the combat phase is skipped, you must cast these spells or activate these abilities before the precombat main phase ends.

Sometimes we give players a choice using flavorful, but otherwise meaningless, terms. For example, some Archenemy schemes ask a player to choose between "self" or "others." This ability and any ability that refers to this choice are linked.

This is a new rule to cover effects that replace an object entering the battlefield by adding an additional event that moves other objects out of the zone the original object came from. Perhaps an example is in order: a Sutured Ghoul entering the battlefield from the graveyard can't be exiled due its own ability.

A brand-new section on restarting the game! We played around with a long, complicated algorithm to basically put everything back where it started and make it look like the beginning of the game. Ultimately, there were just too many complications and we found it much easier to just end the game and start over. For purposes of reporting game wins in a tournament (and Shahrazad!), it's still the same game.

This is a rule about range of influence and how it affects what spells and abilities can "see" and get information from. The problem is, there was an example that didn't follow logically from the rule. Imagine a game where each player has range of influence 1. Alex is in between Frank on his left and Rob on his right. Alex controls Coat of Arms, so its bonuses will be calculated by everything within Alex's range of influence. Rob's creatures will get bonuses for Frank's, even though those two players are not within each other's range of influence.

A new rule that states Karn Liberated pwns the Grand Melee format, so someone better stop him. This may be edited down to "effects that restart the game are exempt from range of influence" or somesuch.

901.3. and others
In rules documents, the planeswalker symbol will now be denoted as {PW}. The Phyrexians muscled their way in and claimed {P} for their very own.

This is the rule for putting your commander into the command zone at the start of the game. We clarified that you put it from your deck into the command zone, neatly answering what happens if Karn Liberated exiles a commander and then restarts the game. The commander isn't in your deck, so it stays in exile, waiting to be put onto the battlefield.

Glossary: Definitions added for Phyrexian Mana Symbol, Phyrexian Symbol, and Restart the Game.

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