Amonkhet Update Bulletin—Comprehensive Rules Changes

Posted in Feature on April 28, 2017

By Eli Shiffrin

Comprehensive Rules Changes

In multiplayer games, we've established that "I win!" really means "You all lose!" This is vital to games with a limited range of influence (such as in the Emperor format) where your exclamation may not be heard by players outside of your range of influence who don't respect your newfound victory. However, it's confusing to players who never touch range of influence games, so the rule has changed to only apply to games with range of influence rather than all multiplayer games. Several other rules were removed because all they did was remind you that this was true.

This is the rule that defines what "card" means when it appears in text and rules. It was trying to serve two masters. On one hand, it wanted to explain what a card is; on the other, it wanted to explain how we use the word "card" in templating. I've removed the templating information and made this rule stick to just the facts.

Special actions are pretty awesome. They don't use the stack and stuff. I've made two changes in this section: I've added a qualifier that you can perform them "any time you could cast an instant" unless they specify otherwise (like Channel does), and I've added a case for Circling Vultures.

We've never cared who puts counters on things before, only how many. With Amonkhet, we care about who does it, so the rules for wither and infect got an update to answer a question we've never had an answer for: the controller of the source puts the counters on the creature.

Continuing the previous topic, here we clarify that a creature entering the battlefield with counters on it has its controller-to-be put those counters on it.

This rule handles the "choose a name" template update. Its subrules also received updates and clarifications for some things that were obvious but never stated. For more information on this update, check out the Oracle update section.

Cartouche joins the list of enchantment types with no rules baggage.

Jackal joins the list of creature types. None of the creature types have rules baggage, but Orgg has a lovely set of tartan suitcases.

When a card moves to a new zone, it becomes a new object with no relation to the object it was in its previous zone. The 400.7 subrules list exceptions to that rule. Madness is joining them: if you don't cast the card you exile with madness, the game can track it when it moves to your graveyard.

Amonkhet's "you may exert this as it attacks" creatures represent the first time we've had an optional cost on attacking that you could just not pay. This new rule injects those into the combat machine. Other rules got bumped down.

This rule is all about reflexive triggered abilities, as seen on Heart-Piercer Manticore. These are a new thing—they work like delayed triggered abilities (of course you know exactly what those are, right?) except that after creating the trigger that floats in nowhere, delayed triggered abilities wait while reflexive triggered abilities immediately look back at what's happened earlier and trigger if appropriate.

Sometimes you just can't even. We've given a lot of rulings over the years on what it means if a card says that something can't happen, and most of them are just plain English language. I've consolidated those rulings here and squeezed actual rules out of them to make it easier to stop anything from happening.

This rule addresses a situation that used to be a corner case. If you create a token that becomes a copy of something as it enters the battlefield (such as by embalming Vizier of Many Faces) and an effect doubles the number of tokens you create (such as Anointed Procession), do you double the token before or after copying? We've never had to call out the answer in the rules because we've never put them together in the same set or anything. Certainly not engineered for a cool deck and creatively pointed at a single, cohesive strategy like "swarm of mummies." But just in case that ever somehow comes up, now we know that you have to double token creation before you apply "as this enters the battlefield" effects.

When Volcano Hellion's echo trigger comes around, what happens if you take damage in response? When Fumiko the Lowblood blocks, when do her points of bushido lock in if attackers die in response? If a split card gains flashback from Snapcaster Mage, what is the flashback cost you pay? This new rule explains that the keyword ability's variable is constantly updated. Other rules will define the lock-in point depending on what the variable is used for: Fumiko locks in X as the bushido trigger resolves, and Volcano Hellion and flashback on split cards lock in when you determine the cost to pay.


When we decided that the extra words in "whenever you cycle or discard" helped to point newer players to the cycling deck, we realized that some might think that these extra words got you two triggers for cycling a card and one for discarding a card in other ways. That would be crazy good. I added this rule to assure you that it's not quite that good.

Here are the rules for fuse. When split cards got an overhaul, fuse got a lot of minor modifications to clean up its language, but no functional changes. You knew all about the split card changes, right?

I wanted to align the rules for aftermath here sideways, but my editor said no.

Here's where the rules for embalm lie in wait of eternity. I seem to have misplaced their organs.

Here's the section on split cards. They changed a little. The core of the change is simple: We were saying that they had two sets of characteristics that you sometimes considered together, sometimes considered separately, and sometimes did arcane comparisons with that would make an alchemist proud of you. Knowing which way to treat the characteristics was a challenge. The change here is that now a split card has one set of characteristics that merges the characteristics of the two halves. I restructured the entire section while I was at it, so it looks more different than it is.

For more information on this change, check out this short article that we posted earlier in the preview season.

New entries for aftermath, embalm, exert, and reflexive triggered abilities.

Comprehensive Rules Changes
Oracle Changes

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