Eldritch Moon Update Bulletin—Comprehensive Rules Changes

Posted in Feature on July 28, 2016

By Matt Tabak

Senior editor. Game designer. Writer. Bon vivant. Matt wears many hats inside Magic R&D, but they're hard to see as he's so tall.

Comprehensive Rules Changes


We reorganized this rule that includes information on how to legally name a card. One notable addition is that you can choose the name of a combined meld pair, such as Chittering Host.


We added a rule explaining how to calculate the converted mana cost of a melded permanent. Specifically, you consider the combined mana costs of the front faces and calculate accordingly.


This rule used to tell you that if two or more cards are put on the top or bottom of a library at the same time, their owner chooses their relative order. This is still true, but we've broadened the rule to cover the cards being put in any specific position in the library. Why the change? Because now you can cast Unexpectedly Absent targeting a Chittering Host, natch.


A fun little tweak to the rule talking about extra turns. The language previously assumed you'd be adding a turn after the current turn. Emrakul says...well, it's unpronounceable, but now the rule references adding a turn after the specified turn.

508.4b and 509.7b

We added two reminder rules stating that a creature that enters the battlefield attacking or blocking isn't subject to any attack requirements or restrictions. This isn't a change, but the question comes up often enough that it warranted providing some assistance.


We also added a rule stating if one creature is put onto the battlefield blocking another creature, but that second creature is no longer attacking, then the first creature is never considered a blocking creature. It just enters the battlefield. The same is true if the controller of the creature that enters the battlefield isn't a defending player for that attacking creature. The last ability of Brimaz, King of Oreskos can cause this to happen, for example.


A new rule that codifies some exceptions to the process of casting a spell. For the vast majority of spells, casting it is pretty easy. First, a rule or effect must allow you to cast the object in question. The rules have the cards in your hand covered, and effects such as the one created by the flashback mechanic can let you cast cards in other zones. With me so far? Great.

Some effects allow you to cast a spell as though it had flash under certain conditions, usually if an alternate or additional cost is paid. The problem is you don't choose to pay that cost until after you've already started to cast the spell. This creates a logical paradox. In order to start casting the spell, you need to take an action after you've started casting the spell. Complicating matters are bestow and cards like Sigarda's Aid. In this case, you don't even know the spell you're casting is an Aura until you've started casting it.

We want this all to work as players would reasonably expect, so we built in structure to support that. Basically, if the process of casting the spell would yield information relevant to whether you can cast it or not, you can consider that information to get permission to start casting the spell. It necessarily has to peek into the future a bit, but that's fine. There is still a check at the end of the process before you pay costs to make sure what you've proposed is still legal.


A new rule that says once you begin to activate a mana ability, you can't activate it again until the original activation resolves. The addresses a corner case involving mana filters like Bog Initiate. You could activate the ability, which requires a payment of {1}. Great! Now you have a chance to activate mana abilities, so you activate Bog Initiate again. Great! Now you have a chance to activate mana abilities, so you activate Bog initiate again. Great! Now you...you see where this is going. At the end of all of that, the result is the same as if you just activated it once. Additionally, digital Magic really wants to not care about any of this. So we just closed the loophole.


This rule mistakenly referred to an effect using last known information when requiring information from an illegal target. The problem is effects can't get information from an illegal target.


We retooled this rule that explains how to handle enters-the-battlefield replacement effects that cause other objects to change zones. For example, if a Sutured Ghoul enters the battlefield from your graveyard, you can't choose to have it exile itself or any other creature entering the battlefield at the same time.


We beefed up this rule that talks about modal spells that allow you to choose more than one mode. Specifically, we clarified that if you're allowed to choose the same mode more than once (the Confluences from Commander (2015 Edition) allow you to, for example), the spell is treated as if that mode just appeared that many times in sequence.


The new rules for meld, the keyword action, as in "Golly, I wish you hadn't melded Bruna and Gisela into Brisela and ripped my face off."


We reworked the rules for offering. For reasons. I guess. Eli lost a bet or something.

The real story is we were working on emerge, which has some clear similarities to offering. Offering had to jump through some timing hoops. It couldn't be an additional cost because of the old rules concerning casting a spell any time you could cast an instant. But because we reengineered those rules (see the note on 601.3, above), offering can now just be an additional cost, and the flow of the offering rules can be improved. We also updated the rule to include the case where colorless mana is in the mana cost of the sacrificed permanent, which got overlooked in the Oath of the Gatewatch update.


Rules for emerge have emerged in this very spot.


Rules for escalate have emerged in this very spot.


This rule tells us all that when copying a double-faced permanent, you consider only the copiable values of the face that's up. Face-up meld cards and melded permanents were added to the rule.


This new rule reminds us that effects that copy a spell or ability for each player or object it "could target" are put on the stack in an order of the controller's choice. Also, it says that if the spell or ability has more than one target, each of its targets must be the same player or object. Also, copies aren't created for players or objects that would be illegal targets. It's essentially a Zada how-to guide.


These rules tell you all about the front-face and back-face symbols found on double-faced cards and, now, meld cards. There are suns and moons and Planeswalker icons and Emrakuls, oh my!


The rule in the double-faced card section reminds you that meld cards aren't double-faced cards. They can't transform. They even have their own set of rules...


Meld cards have their own set of rules! There's a lot here, but most of it is covered in the Eldritch Moon Release Notes.


Now that both meld cards and double-faced cards exist, we created a separate section detailing the use of checklist cards. Subsequent rules were renumbered.


Emrakul adjusted this rule to say that even when controlling another player, you can't look at that player's sideboard, nor can you have that player access the sideboard.


The new rule reminds us that, in a multiplayer game, a player who has left the game can't begin a turn. This was self-evident before, but effects like Emrakul's try to specifically instruct a player to take a turn, so we added a note.


A new rule to explain what happens when your commander is a meld card. For example, if Bruna is your commander and she melds and becomes Brisela, Brisela is now considered your commander for the combat damage rule and any other effect that may refer to your commander. Of course, you can still produce white mana to cast your spells and such.


More on meld commanders. Say you control Brisela, and Bruna is actually your commander. When Brisela dies, you may choose to have Bruna go to your command zone. Gisela will still go to your graveyard as regularly scheduled.


New entries for checklist card, emerge, escalate, meld, and meld cards.

Comprehensive Rules Changes
Oracle Changes

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