Comprehensive Rulebook Changes
What are the Comprehensive Rules?
is complicated. No, really. When you have more than 13,000 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.
This version of the Comprehensive Rules is effective as of February 1, 2014.
This new rule describes effects that stop an object from having a particular ability, as seen on the Archetype cycle in Born of the Gods. If the object has that ability, it loses it, and if it tries to gain it later, it doesn't. For clarity, the Archetypes explicitly cover all three ("lose," "gain," and "have"). One subsequent rule was renumbered.
This rule explains exactly what we mean we refer to a counter being "placed" on an object. Essentially, we need to clarify that when a permanent enters the battlefield with some number of counters, those counters are being placed on that permanent and will be subject to cards like Doubling Season. This rule got a second look in light of the tribute ability, but no functional changes were made.
Kiora makes the jump from Duels of the Planeswalkers to the list of Planeswalker types.
Inspired joins the list of ability words. Untap those creatures!
A missing word ("the") was added.
This rule talk about how a resolving spell or ability checks to see if its targets are still legal. If a spell or ability has multiple targets, it can still resolve as long as at least one of its targets is still legal. Here's where it gets fun. The rule specified that the spell or ability couldn't perform any actions on an illegal target, make that target perform any actions, or make another object perform any actions on the illegal target. This was a technical way of saying that illegal targets aren't affected by spells and abilities.
But there was a problem: spells and abilities could affect an illegal target without performing any actions. Consider Frost Breath. If one of its targets was illegal when it resolves, both creatures wouldn't untap during their controller's next untap step. This feels very wrong, so when Sudden Storm appeared in the Born of the Gods set, it seemed like a great time to address it. The change to this rule shuts down this hole. Illegal targets of Sudden Storm (and Frost Breath) won't be affected and will untap as normal.
This rule is layer 6 in the world-famous layer system. "Can't have" abilities, like the Archetypes have, apply here, in addition to ability-adding and ability-removing effects.
This rule talks about self-replacement effects, which are effects of a resolving spell or ability that modify other parts of that spell or ability. Memory Lapse is the classic example. It says to counter the spell, which normally means put it into its owner's graveyard, but it has a self-replacement effect that modifies that, so the spell goes to the top of its owner's library instead. Normally, self-replacements are part of the ability whose effect is being replaced, but we do make exceptions if ability words are involved. For example, Caravan Vigil's self-replacement effect is expressed as a separate ability because of morbid, even though it modifies the first ability. We added a sentence to this rule to explain that this construction is fine.
We added the definition of devotion to two colors, as seen on the Gods in Born of the Gods. Remember, it's the number of mana symbols that are one or both of the listed colors. A white-blue hybrid mana symbol adds one to your devotion to white, your devotion to blue, and your devotion to white and blue.
We added a clarification in this rule that an Aura, Equipment, or Fortification that moves from one object or player to another becomes unattached from the first object or player. However, it doesn't become unattached. For example, an Aura with bestow can move from one creature to another without stopping being an Aura.
Setting a scheme in motion in Archenemy games was conceptualized as similar to drawing a card. Because of Plots That Span Centuries, it was possible to set multiple schemes in motion at the same time, which caused a logic logjam. This rule now specifies that those three schemes are now set in motion one at a time.
This new section includes the rules for tribute.
Thanks to Strionic Resonator, you can now copy triggered abilities. After pouting in protest for several updates, this rule on copying spells and abilities finally acknowledges this fact.
We updated the subgame rules! They didn't really tell you what happened to counters the player might have (such as poison counters) when you moved to and from subgames. Your main-game poison counters don't go with you to the subgame, but they'll be waiting for you when you get back.
A minor typo in the example was fixed.
We updated this rule to state that if you cast a commander owned by someone else from the command zone (as can happen with Daxos of Meletis), the "commander tax" applies.
Glossary: Added "tribute"