Kaladesh Update Bulletin

Posted in Feature on September 30, 2016

By Eli Shiffrin

Welcome aboard on our trip to a world full of enthusiastic inventors and their fanciful creations! We've got rows upon rows of exciting new cards to dazzle your senses and ignite your imagination. Of course, if we're going to start playing with brand new technology, we need to lay out some rules. I've even tinkered with existing rules to make them 2.3% more efficient.

I'd sum up the changes that will rock the foundations of your world and change the way you play, but there really isn't anything that earth-shaking. The new "create" template for the Oracle update is the largest change by a wide margin, and it doesn't actually change anything other than the words you see. It took amazingly little work to update the rules—I had to change more examples than rules to support "create."

The Comprehensive Rules update has some fairly extensive cleanup on the rules about triggered abilities and especially "at the beginning" triggers, but these changes won't affect ordinary play. They bring some edge cases in line with the rest of the game and spell out some interactions that could be derived from other rules.

So, with that higher-level overview out of the way, let's dive into the details!

Comprehensive Rules Changes

107.14

This is the rule for the energy symbol. Shocking, I know.

119.7 and 609.7a

These rules discuss what a "source of damage" is. That's more or less "anything you can see." We had included plane cards and scheme cards from the Planechase and Archenemy variants, but never actually included emblems. This has been corrected so Chandra's emblem can be chosen like anything else.

205.3g

Vehicles join the short list of artifact subtypes.

205.3j

Dovin and Saheeli join the not-so-short list of Planeswalker subtypes.

205.3m

Aetherborn, Monkey, Pilot, and Servo all join the short-on-an-astronomical-scale list of creature types.

208.3a

Some effects modify an object's power and toughness. But what if that object isn't a creature? That's okay, this rule reminds you that the effect can still be created and will then wait patiently to do its thing.

208.5

Also on the subject of power and toughness, we have a new rule that if a creature has no power or toughness, that value is 0. This can happen if you manage to get a crew ability to animate a non-Vehicle artifact.

301.7

These are the rules for Vehicles. No driver's license, turn signals, or seatbelts required. You're welcome.

400.6

This rule talks about how to move an object from one zone to another. Among the things that happen in this process is to determine whether or not it has any replacement effects, such as "enters the battlefield tapped," that affect that move. However, it was written a little too broadly and could be interpreted to mean that you could look at face-down spells your opponent cast and cards exiled face down with Bomat Courier. The language has been tightened up to avoid any such misunderstanding.

500.6

This is the start of the big, triggered ability update throughout section 5. A number of the rules stated that "at the beginning" triggered abilities are simply put onto the stack right away, rather than waiting for a player to receive priority like most triggered abilities. There was no reason for them to behave differently, so now they don't. Other rules have been updated around them, to more accurately illustrate the flow of the turn structure while providing this information. In a few places, it was possible for multiple triggers to be put on the stack in an order other than the order in which they triggered, and these have a rule reminding you that this is possible, instead of making you cross-reference rules to figure that out.

This looks like a lot of change, but it's not a functional shift, so don't worry.

601.2b

A small number of cards (Back from the Brink and Caller of the Untamed, for example) ask a player to pay a cost based on another choice. It was obvious that you have to make that choice earlier to pay the cost, but we never actually noted this in the rules. Now we do.

603.1

Continuing some triggered ability cleanup, we've deleted and removed the unnecessary redundant phrases from this rule.

607.2c

This is the only existing rule that changed for the new "create" template. It referred to objects "put onto the battlefield with" another object, and now also allows a reference to an object "created with" another object.

610.3c

If multiple Banisher Priests die at once, do their banished foes return one at a time or at the same time? Questions like these keep me awake at nights. Thankfully, this one has been answered. They return at the same time, now.

700.6c

The list of cards originally printed in Homelands has been updated to replace Æther Storm with Aether Storm.

701.6

Here, I fabricated the rules for "create." As an evergreen keyword action, it gets inserted alphabetically, and everything else gets booted down a bit.

701.14c

What happens if you're looking at a card in a library and the library's shuffled? How can you possibly randomize the card's position in the library while still looking at it? Now we know. You can't look at it anymore. Oh, wait, this rule only applies to "revealing" cards. Let's fix that.

701.14d

This rule defines "look" as a one-player-sees variation of "reveal" so that all of the various rules for revealing cards apply to looking at cards without having to repeat every one of those rules.

701.16

Since I was upsetting the entire 701 section by adding "create," I also moved "scry" to its proper place in the world of evergreen keyword actions.

702.1a

Varolz, the Scar-Striped gives creature cards scavenge and define their scavenge cost. But wait, isn't exiling the card a cost to activate a scavenge ability? Varolz doesn't give it that cost. So if you've got a Memnite in your 'yard… No, just no. This rule defines "scavenge cost" to be only the variable mana component, and the keyword itself provides the cost of exiling the card.

702.36d

This rule said that you could only cast a spell face-down if it had a morph ability. This made Illusionary Mask very sad. With a stroke of my pen, I've turned its frown upside down and changed this rule to be informative rather than restrictive.

702.61c

When the process of casting a spell was updated to only check "can't cast" prohibitions late in casting, suspend didn't tag along. The prohibition still applied. Now suspend has a rule to state this so that there's no confusion.

702.121

I added some very refined rules about how Vehicles are crewed.

702.122

Here, I created a new rule for "fabricate."

708.2b

Fused split spells want to compare the names for legality before you put them on the stack fused, but they did so a little too broadly. The rule's been tightened up to say exactly what it wants to.

712.4e

Paradoxical Outcome wants to count the number of cards that moved, not the number of objects. That'll be the same in every case unless the object is a melded permanent. This rule lets the game see that object as two cards for counting purposes.

716.4

If the monarch loses the game, the active player becomes the monarch. If the active player was the monarch, the next player becomes the monarch. But what if there is no active player and the monarch loses the game? Rather than spark a succession crisis, I've reworded this rule to be clear that the next player in turn order becomes the monarch.

800.4b

This rule prevents objects from being put onto the battlefield or stack under a player's control if that player has already left the game. It's been made broader to refer to more than just tokens.

Glossary

New entries for: create, crew, energy symbol, fabricate, and Vehicles.

Oracle Changes

Create (Non-Functional)

In Magic's long history, we've printed a few cards that put tokens onto the battlefield. Quite a few. Nine hundred thirty-two, to be precise. Did you know that Limited Edition (Alpha) has only one card that creates a token? Yes, The Hive! If you look at the printed card, it even says that The Hive "creates one Giant Wasp." How adorable.

As you probably know by this point, Kaladesh returns to using "create" to describe the process of putting a token onto the battlefield. All nine hundred thirty-two of those cards, from The Hive in Limited Edition (Alpha) all the way up to Queen Marchesa (long may she reign) in Conspiracy: Take the Crown get errata.

The Æ Ligature (Non-Functional)

Æ, pronounced "ash," is the loneliest ligature. How many of you even knew what it was called? With the introduction of Aetherborn and no desire whatsoever to ask people to type Ætherborn, that letter also has no place in Oracle anymore, and forty-four cards got an exceptionally rare name change in the Oracle card reference.

Sarpadian Empires, Vol. VII (Non-Functional)

Speaking of cards that got a super rare name change, Sarpadian Empires, Vol. VII is now known as Sarpadian Empires, Vol. VII. Yes, my friends, we removed the text formatting.

Copy Comma Except (Non-Functional)

Some cards become a copy of, or create, a token that is a copy of another object. Except not quite. There's something...different about them. And when we express this difference, we've sometimes used a comma before the word "except" and sometimes we haven't. From now on, we're always using a comma, and the ten older cards that don't are gaining one.

Monkey Monkey Monkey (Functional)

The taxonomical innovations in Kaladesh allow three cards that have "Monkey" in their name to use that creature type. Tree Monkey and Zodiac Monkey, despite being printed as Apes in Ninth Edition, can now live up to their name again. Monkey Cage can create Monkey tokens again. Thanks to Kelly the Creature Type Czar, we can even provide arcane zoological education: did you know that baboons are monkeys? Well, now Ravenous Baboons can be a Monkey, too.

Casting spells as though they have flash (Functional)

We fixed most of these with the Eldritch Moon update, but held off on three cards for being weird. They say that you may "play," rather than "cast," spells of a certain quality as though they had flash. They were printed with "play" and never got the "cast" update because they could be used to let you play Dryad Arbor. After watching FernGully a couple of times, we decided that a little thing like a Dryad Arbor shouldn't impede progress.

Will other cards change from "play" to use "cast" instead? Probably not. Cards that were printed with "play" are still allowed to use that word as long as it's not conflicting with a more relevant template.

This functional change affects three cards:

Old rules text for Aluren:

Any player may play creature cards with converted mana cost 3 or less without paying their mana cost and as though they had flash.

New rules text for Aluren:

Any player may cast creature spells with converted mana cost 3 or less without paying their mana cost and as though they had flash.

Old rules text for Quick Sliver:

Flash

You may play Sliver cards as though they had flash.

New rules text for Quick Sliver:

Flash

You may cast Sliver spells as though they had flash.

Old rules text for Winding Canyons:

{oT}: Add {oC} to your mana pool.

{o2}, {oT}: Until end of turn, you may play creature cards as though they had flash.

New rules text for Winding Canyons:

{oT}: Add {oC} to your mana pool.

{o2}, {oT}: Until end of turn, you may cast creature spells as though they had flash.

Energy Vortex (Non-Functional...ish)

Energy counters are great. You collect a few and do cool things with your Kaladesh cards. Wait, what's this Mirage card doing with energy counters? And it gives the counters to itself, not to you? Well, we'll just have to fix that.

Note that we're not using charge counters here. By changing from one unique kind of counter to another, there's no functional difference from how Energy Vortex worked before.

Old rules text:

As Energy Vortex enters the battlefield, choose an opponent.

At the beginning of your upkeep, remove all energy counters from Energy Vortex.

At the beginning of the chosen player's upkeep, Energy Vortex deals 3 damage to that player unless he or she pays {o1} for each energy counter on Energy Vortex.

{oX}: Put X energy counters on Energy Vortex. Activate this ability only during your upkeep.

New rules text:

As Energy Vortex enters the battlefield, choose an opponent.

At the beginning of your upkeep, remove all vortex counters from Energy Vortex.

At the beginning of the chosen player's upkeep, Energy Vortex deals 3 damage to that player unless he or she pays {o1} for each vortex counter on Energy Vortex.

{oX}: Put X vortex counters on Energy Vortex. Activate this ability only during your upkeep.

Lion's Eye Diamond (Non-Functional)

We liked the order of the costs on Bomat Courier more than the order on Lion's Eye Diamond, so the latter's changing to match the former. The order that costs are listed on an ability isn't functionally relevant.

Old Rules text:

Sacrifice Lion's Eye Diamond, Discard your hand: Add three mana of any one color to your mana pool. Activate this ability only any time you could cast an instant.

New rules text:

Discard your hand, Sacrifice Lion's Eye Diamond: Add three mana of any one color to your mana pool. Activate this ability only any time you could cast an instant.

Fluctuator (Non-Functional)

This card had a vestigial "you" hanging out in its text. We performed a very careful youectomy to remove it.

Old rules text:

Cycling abilities you activate cost you up to {o2} less to activate.

New rules text:

Cycling abilities you activate cost up to {o2} less to activate.

Avarice Amulet (Non-Functional)

Triggered abilities that can trigger multiple times during an object's lifetime usually get "whenever" rather than "when." Avarice Amulet has an insatiable appetite, so we gave it those few more letters to chew on.

Old rules text:

Equipped creature gets +2/+0 and has vigilance and "At the beginning of your upkeep, draw a card."

When equipped creature dies, target opponent gains control of Avarice Amulet.

Equip {o2} ({o2}: Attach to target creature you control. Equip only as a sorcery.)

New rules text:

Equipped creature gets +2/+0 and has vigilance and "At the beginning of your upkeep, draw a card."

Whenever equipped creature dies, target opponent gains control of Avarice Amulet.

Equip {o2} ({o2}: Attach to target creature you control. Equip only as a sorcery.)

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