Born of the Gods
Update Bulletin

Posted in Feature on January 28, 2014

By Matt Tabak

Matt Tabak is the reigning, defending, and undisputed rules manager for Magic: The Gathering, Kaijudo, and Duel Masters. Matt Tabak is Gruul. Matt Tabak tries to laugh, think, and cry every day. Matt Tabak is hungry. Matt Tabak doesn't want you to sass him. Matt Tabak loves puppies.

Like every new set, Born of the Gods brings with it plenty of new cards and abilities to spice up your Magic games. For us here at Rules Central, it's also a fine time make some improvements to the Comprehensive Rules and revisit some Oracle wordings that may not be all they can be. Most of these changes are fairly deep down the rules minutiae rabbit hole. I don't expect them to affect most of the games you play. But, it's nice when the rules and Oracle databases are operating at peak efficiency. An acronym we use a lot in R&D is CQI: Continuous Quality Improvement. It's not an original concept, but it pretty accurately describes how we feel about Magic.

By the time you read this, the Release Notes have been published. Born of the Gods will be available in Gatherer by Wednesday, along with all the Oracle updates mentioned in this bulletin. The update to the Comprehensive Rules will be published soon after a final review. I hope you all have a great time at the Born of the Gods Prerelease. The extra activities at Prereleases and other events are a relatively new innovation, and I love how they give us another way to experience each new set.

If you notice a rule or card whose wording you think merits attention, there are several ways to let me and the rest of the rules team know. You can respond to this article down below or mention it in the forums (particularly the Rules Theory and Templating forum). If you're interested in interacting with me personally, you can do so on Twitter (@TabakRules) or tumblr (tabakrules.tumblr.com). Most of the changes you read about are started by players and judges just like you, for which I am eternally grateful. I'd hate to have to hunt everything down myself. Enjoy!

 

Oracle Changes

 

 What is Oracle?

Magic is a game made up of more than 13,000 interchangeable pieces—the cards. Over the years, we've felt the need to update the wordings of older cards, whether because we've introduced a new keyword, or a card was printed with a mistake, or we have a clearer wording for what a card does, etc. Rather than sneak into your room at night and change your cards with a magic marker, we keep a database of the "modern wordings" (what the cards would say if we printed them today) of every tournament-legal card ever printed. These wordings are considered the official wordings of the cards, and accurately reflect their functions.

You can access a card's Oracle wording by looking it up in Gatherer.

Blind Fury (functional)

Before Mirage was released on Magic Online, Blind Fury was given a restriction to when you could cast it, specifically before the combat damage step. This was to prevent you from putting combat damage on the stack and then casting Blind Fury in response, before combat damage resolved. If you did this, the fact that creatures lost trample wouldn't matter as combat damage had already been potentially assigned to players from blocked creatures with trample. You would still get the bonus of all combat damage assigned to creatures being doubled. Basically, the rules structure of pre-M10 allowed you to evade the clearly intended drawback of Blind Fury, something the rules structure when Mirage was first printed didn't allow.

However, now that combat damage no longer uses the stack, this timing restriction is unnecessary. If you cast Blind Fury before the combat damage step, the spell will work as intended. If you cast it during or after the combat damage step, basically nothing will happen (except possibly if there are multiple combats, but even then you get what you expect). So, we're removing the timing restriction.

As a side note, a few other cards, such as Blood Frenzy, were given similar restrictions so you couldn't evade their intended drawbacks, but because of the nature of their effects, removing those restrictions would essentially create different cards. This is something we're not interested in, so those cards are being left alone.

Old wording:

Cast Blind Fury only before the combat damage step.
All creatures lose trample until end of turn. If a creature would deal combat damage to a creature this turn, it deals double that damage to that creature instead.

New wording:

All creatures lose trample until end of turn. If a creature would deal combat damage to a creature this turn, it deals double that damage to that creature instead.

 
 

Bloodletter Quill (nonfunctional)

It's standard to always specify who is losing life. This card was missing a "you."

Old wording:

2 Mana, Tap, Put a blood counter on Bloodletter Quill: Draw a card, then lose 1 life for each blood counter on Bloodletter Quill.
Blue ManaBlack Mana: Remove a blood counter from Bloodletter Quill.

New wording:

2 Mana, Tap, Put a blood counter on Bloodletter Quill: Draw a card, then you lose 1 life for each blood counter on Bloodletter Quill.
Blue ManaBlack Mana: Remove a blood counter from Bloodletter Quill.

 
 

Burning of Xinye (functional, but a reversal)

In the Innistrad update, I updated this card in an effort to clarify who was doing what and when. Unfortunately, I accidentally introduced a functional change with respect to lands with indestructible. Ah, the frivolity of youth. Um... let's just go back to the last wording. *waves hands* Nothing to see here.

Old wording:

Choose four lands you control and destroy those lands. Then target opponent chooses four lands he or she controls. Destroy those lands. Then Burning of Xinye deals 4 damage to each creature.

New (and yet old) wording:

You destroy four lands you control, then target opponent destroys four lands he or she controls. Then Burning of Xinye deals 4 damage to each creature.

 
 

Cloudstone Curio (functional)

Back in 2007, the text of this card changed from "permanent type" to "card type." "Permanent type" was described at the time as an obsolete term. However, the term stuck around in the rules. When it came time to template Innistrad, we dug the term out of the mothballs to use on Creeping Renaissance. Given that it's a valid term, we should put it back on Cloudstone Curio to undo the functional change.

What functional change? Well, cards can share a card type without sharing a permanent type thanks to the ongoing bounty of wonderfulness that is tribal. A Tribal Enchantment – Goblin and a Tribal Artifact – Soldier Equipment share a card type (tribal) and could previously be affected by Cloudstone Curio. But they don't share a permanent type (tribal isn't one), and now they won't be.

Old wording:

Whenever a nonartifact permanent enters the battlefield under your control, you may return another permanent you control that shares a card type with it to its owner's hand.

New wording:

Whenever a nonartifact permanent enters the battlefield under your control, you may return another permanent you control that shares a permanent type with it to its owner's hand.

 
 

Goblin Warchief (functional)

Goblin Warchief, originally printed in Scourge, also joined his brethren in the very first Duel Decks: Elves vs. Goblins. At that time, its creature types were updated to Goblin Warrior. Not only is he called a Warchief, but he's in a very war-like posture. And check out that stick! Unfortunately, this change was accidentally left out of Oracle and lost to time. Well, time's up, because I noticed. I'll just make that Oracle update now, I suppose.

Old creature types:

Goblin

New creature types:

Goblin Warrior

 
 

Opal Palace (nonfunctional)

This Commander (2013 Edition) card was missing an "additional." That word is helpful but not necessary, so this isn't a functional change.

Old wording:

Tap: Add 1 Mana to your mana pool.
1 Mana, Tap: Add to your mana pool one mana of any color in your commander's color identity. If you spend this mana to cast your commander, it enters the battlefield with a number of +1/+1 counters on it equal to the number of times it's been cast from the command zone this game.

New wording:

Tap: Add 1 Mana to your mana pool.
1 Mana, Tap: Add to your mana pool one mana of any color in your commander's color identity. If you spend this mana to cast your commander, it enters the battlefield with a number of additional +1/+1 counters on it equal to the number of times it's been cast from the command zone this game.

 
 

Psychic Battle (functional)

The last line of Psychic Battle's old wording was added quickly after the card was released to prevent immediately drawing the game every time. Given that you choose new targets when you change them, Psychic Battle's ability would just trigger itself, over and over and over again. Although the added line took care of the problem for one Psychic Battle, two or more Psychic Battles would still draw the game by causing each other to trigger ad infinitum. This was a templating oversight at the time, which we can now button up.

Old wording:

Whenever a player chooses one or more targets, each player reveals the top card of his or her library. The player who reveals the card with the highest converted mana cost may change the target or targets. If two or more cards are tied for highest cost, the target or targets remain unchanged. Changing targets this way doesn't trigger this ability.

New wording:

Whenever a player chooses one or more targets, each player reveals the top card of his or her library. The player who reveals the card with the highest converted mana cost may change the target or targets. If two or more cards are tied for highest cost, the target or targets remain unchanged. Changing targets this way doesn't trigger abilities of permanents named Psychic Battle.

 

Comprehensive Rulebook Changes

 

 

 What are the Comprehensive Rules?
Magic 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.

112.11

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.

121.6

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.

205.3j

Kiora makes the jump from Duels of the Planeswalkers to the list of Planeswalker types.

207.2c

Inspired joins the list of ability words. Untap those creatures!

305.2b

A missing word ("the") was added.

608.2b

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.

613.1f

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.

614.15

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.

700.5

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.

701.3d

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.

701.22c

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.

702.103

This new section includes the rules for tribute.

706.10

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.

715.4b

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.

810.9d

A minor typo in the example was fixed.

903.10

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"

Latest Feature Articles

FEATURE

In-Store Play Evolves by, Chris Tulach

In-store play is one of the best ways to foster community among Magic players, to meet new friends, and to experience everything the game has to offer. Over the past year we've been rampi...

Learn More

Articles

Articles

Feature Archive

Consult the archives for more articles!

See All

We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. By clicking any link on this page or by clicking Yes, you are giving your consent for us to set cookies. (Learn more about cookies)

No, I want to find out more