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, 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 is a new rule explaining when you place your commander in the command zone at the beginning of a Commander game. The Commander section always included this information, but the general section on starting the game mentions similar exceptions for adjusting life totals in various formats, so this addition seemed appropriate.
The rule was beefed up a bit to explicitly tell you that each Phyrexian mana symbol has a color. There was certainly plenty of evidence to lead you to this conclusion before: the rule does refer to each symbol by talking about "its color." But now it's a bit clearer.
Whether a +1/+1 counter on a creature card outside of the battlefield actually adjusted that card's power and toughness was an unanswered question because it couldn't happen. Well, Skullbriar, the Walking Grave has something to say about that! This rule was modified to answer the question.
Oh, you want the answer? Sure! Counters that affect power and/or toughness on a creature card in a zone other than the battlefield will affect that card's power and/or toughness. Skullbriar hanging out in the command zone with three +1/+1 counters on him/her/it is a 4/4 creature card.
Join forces joins forces with the list of ability words.
This rule details some of what a player must do to cast a spell or activate an ability. Specifically, this rule handles choosing modes and using alternative or additional costs. Even more specifically, it now includes that you announce how you intend to pay for each Phyrexian mana symbol in the cost of the spell you are casting or ability you are activating.
It was our intention that this choice be made at the same time you make a similar choice for hybrid mana symbols. Unfortunately, this was overlooked in the New Phyrexia update. In practice, this choice was usually made by players at the intended time. So, no harm, no foul. But, because it was not an explicit choice between life or mana, some players were led to a false conclusion concerning what you actually paid to cast a spell with Phyrexian mana.
To be clear, a Phyrexian mana symbol represents a cost that can be paid either by spending mana or paying life. If you choose to pay 2 life to cast Surgical Extraction, for example, you have not spent any mana to do so, so it could be countered by Nix. Similarly, Trinisphere will see that you are casting a spell that costs fewer than three mana and changes the cost to and 2 life.
The new term "dies" is defined here. It means "is put into a graveyard from the battlefield" and is used when referring to creatures. Some older cards will receive updated wordings in the mid-July Oracle update. Why put it in the rulebook now? The term shows up on some cards in Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 (available on June 15, 2011 for Xbox, PS3, and for your PC through Steam).
Look everyone, it's hexproof! Subsequent rules (and many cross-references throughout the Comprehensive Rulebook) were renumbered.
Ownership of cards is determined when the game begins. If you start the game with the card in your deck, you own it. This gets a little fuzzy in a restarted game, so this rule clarifies that if you owned the card in the game that was restarted, you own it in the new game as well, even if Karn Liberated lets you go all Cheatyface with it.
This new rule states that if a player in a Two-Headed Giant game can't get poison counters, no player on that player's team can get poison counters. In effect, it makes Melira, Sylvok Outcast and Platinum Emperion (and other cards like them) work the same way.
The fine folks at mtgcommander.net, including the Commander Rules Committee, get a shout-out here, redirecting players looking for additional information, discussion, and recommended banned lists for the Commander format.
An extraneous "the" was deleted.
This rule explains what cards can be in your Commander deck based on which commander you've chosen. We clarified that you look at a card's colors (as defined by its mana cost or characteristic-defining abilities) and the colors of any colored mana symbols in its mana cost or rules text. All of these colors must be in the commander's color identity. The previous rule accidentally neglected to mention that you looked only at colored mana symbols. Under a strict interpretation, any card with a generic mana symbol in its cost couldn't be in any deck with a colored commander.
This new rule covers situations where a card in a Commander game is exiled face down (due to Praetor's Grasp, for example). If a player is allowed to look at that card, he or she must immediately do so. If the card is a commander, the player turns it face up and moves it to the command zone. This prevents a player from exiling another player's commander face down and abandoning it there for the rest of the game.
Dies entry added.
Hexproof entry added.
Comprehensive Rulebook Changes