September 2011 Update Bulletin

  • Boards
  • Print
Author Image

Comprehensive Rulebook Changes

 What are the Comprehensive Rules?  
Magic is complicated. No, really. When you have over 12,000 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 (2.1 MB PDF). It doesn't have sections about phasing or subgames ... but you'll never miss them.

Many of the examples used throughout the document were updated. In some cases, a card had received an updated wording, but that wording never found its way into the rulebook. In other cases, I just changed the text to use more recent cards.

I wanted a rule that gave some direction as to when you set aside double-faced cards that are represented by checklist cards in your deck, also subtly reminding players that such double-faced cards should not be included in your deck. As sideboards operate under much the same principle, they got included in the rule as well.

This rule was updated to say an object's colors can also be defined by a color indicator.

107.13 & 107.14
The sun and the moon symbols are defined. They have no game function other than identifying which is the front face and which is the back face of a double-faced card.

The symbol that represents color indicator is introduced here, although the color indicator rules are later in the document.

Double-faced cards necessitated some reworking of what a legal Magic card is. The previous definition of traditional cards included the Magic card back. The new definition expands this a bit.

Color indicator joins the roster of characteristics.

This rule stated that a token couldn't return to the battlefield after leaving it. It's being expanded to include any zone change for a token that has left the battlefield. This shuts off some shenanigans, probably involving token copies of Panglacial Wurm.

The rule now includes information about naming a double-faced card: you can name either face, but not both.

The name of a card can show up in rules text in one of two contexts: it's referring to the object itself or it's preceded by "card named," meaning it's probably referring to another card. This rule explains that if an ability that includes a card name is gained by another object, you replace all instances of the name of the object that had the ability with the name of the object that gained the ability. But really, this rule wanted to only apply to card names used in the first context, so now it does. If an ability says "card named [something]," it means a card named [something], not a card named whatever this card's name is.

This rule, in the Mana Cost and Color section, also addresses color indicators.

This is the new Color Indicator section. Subsequent sections were renumbered.

This new rule states that an object can only gain a subtype if it is the appropriate card type. For example, if Phantasmal Image copies an animated land, the copy effect will fail to make it an Illusion because it's not a creature.

Curses! Added to the list of enchantment types. Seriously.

Werewolf is added to the list of creature types.

Morbid is added to the list of ability words.

A new exception is added to the rule that says objects have no memory of their previous existence after changing zones. The exception is that if an object is moved to a public zone during the casting of a spell or activation of an ability, that spell or ability can perform actions on that object. The only card I found that this applies to is Jhoira of the Ghitu, but her ability wasn't covered by the existing exceptions.

Color indicator was added to the list of things copied in the Volrath's Shapeshifter rule.

This is a new rule that includes a change to the way multiple replacement effects are applied to an object entering the battlefield. Under the new rule, effects that replace how an object enters the battlefield are applied in the following order: effects that would affect under whose control an object enters the battlefield, effects that would cause an object to become a copy of another object, then all other applicable replacement effects.

This new rule explains exchanging two numerical values that aren't both life totals. (It also doesn't apply to switching a creature's power and toughness.) Like all exchanges, the entire exchange must be made or none of the exchange is made.

These are the new rules of fight. The first rule of the rules of fight is you don't talk about the rules of fight. Other rules include the fight involving exactly two creatures and the damage being simultaneous noncombat damage. Also, if one creature doesn't show up for the fight (isn't on the battlefield) or has gone into hiding (not a creature), there is no fight and no damage is dealt. Subsequent rules were renumbered.

Another new keyword action: transform. These rules explain that only double-faced cards can transform, how to transform a double-faced permanent, and that transforming a permanent and turning it face down are not the same thing.

706.2, 706.2a
Color indicator is added to the list of things copied when copying an object.

This new rule explains how to copy a double-faced permanent. You only get the characteristics of the visible face. Or, as we put it in development, "the Clone sees what the Clone sees." (I know, the Clone sometimes sees things it doesn't see.)

This rule explained that characteristic-defining abilities that define a characteristic that's specifically exempted from the copying process are not copied. This is now also applicable to color indicators as well. For example, a Vesuvan Doppelganger copying a Crimson Kobolds will not have a red color indicator and will be blue.

Oddly, the rules describing casting a face-down spell never specified that the resulting permanent will be face down. There was, however, a rule that specified that it was face up by default, so this felt like an important thing to mention.

This is the new section on double-faced cards. See the double-faced card rules page for most of the information contained within.

This rule, defining color identity in Commander games, was reworked a bit to clarify that every card has a color identity, not just the commander.

This new rule states that the back face of a double-faced card is considered when determining a card's color identity.

This rule was rewritten to make the color identity limitations of a Commander deck clearer, especially given the rewording of 903.4.

New entries: color indicator, double-faced cards, fight, moon symbol, sun symbol, transform

  • Planeswalker Points
  • Facebook Twitter
  • Gatherer: The Magic Card Database
  • Forums: Connect with the Magic Community
  • Magic Locator