Thursday, June 11, 2009

Magic 2010 Rules Changes

There have been rumors about rules changes for the upcoming Magic 2010 set and Wizards has finally put up an announcement. I’ll go over the high points.

1. Simultaneous Mulligans – because technically one player mulliganed and then the second player mulliganed.

2. Terminology Changes – "In Play" becomes "Battlefield", "Removed from the game" becomes "Exile"

"Cast" is being reinstated as the verb used when referring to the act of playing spells or types of spells. "Play" is being kept as the verb associated with lands (and with cards of unspecified types). Activated abilities are also no longer "played" but rather "activated.

3. Changing "end-of-turn step" to the "end step" – to help clarify the difference between "at end of turn" and "until end of turn" effects.

4. Mana Pools now empty at the end of every step and phases, instead of only at the end of every phase. And mana burn is no more which helps a few cards and hurts other cards like Spectral Searchlight.

5. Token Ownership was changed from "the controller of the effect that put it into play" to "the player under whose control the token entered the battlefield".

6. Combat Damage No Longer Uses the Stack - As soon as damage is assigned in the combat damage step, it is dealt. This is probably the biggest change.

7. Deathtouch and Lifelink are being changed from a triggered ability into a static ability.

Hopefully MTG Forge can implement all of these changes. The biggest difficulty will be changing how combat damage is assigned. What do you think of these rule changes?

Personally I don't have much to say about the rules changes. Some of them will help out new players. I don't think the rules changes will really improve the game but every little bump in the right direction (if this is the right direction) is a good thing. The weather changes, the winds blow, and Wizards changes a few rules, nothing more, nothing less.

13 comments:

Forge said...

I was going to post this tomorrow but I just posted it today. Having just read the rules changes 5 minutes ago it seems like I'll miss some of the complexity combat damage. I thought the difference between assigned and actually doing the combat damage was important but on the other side programming it should be easier (and programming the AI should be alot easier too).

I never considered mana burn to be all that important in the first place, so I won't miss it.

Forge said...

Changing the zone names is just funny to me. It reminds me of the times when I can't decide between naming a method newGame() or startGame(), either way it doesn't really matter.

Be prepared to be EXILED, lol.

rising fruition said...

I like the change to Exile from 'Removed from the game'. Especially since some newer cards allow you to remove cards, and then under certain circumstances bring them back. The fact that there is a 'pointer' (to use computer programming lingo) to the cards always meant to me that they are still 'in' the game.

Having to order the blockers and then assign lethal damage to the first before assigning damage to the next is a definite change. The damage step seems much more locked in after blockers are chosen (and ordered). You can still cast spells at the end of declare blockers I guess.
For programs that enforce the rules, you have another subtly different thing to keep track of: what is lethal damage. I guess it's just toughness minus current damage. When I was reading about the changes last night, er morning, I felt like there was some added complexity. Now I'm not so sure...

I think a number of the changes make it easier for new players to actually play correctly. They remove some confusion ('play' vs 'put into play') and some complexity (damage on the stack). I played recently with some novice players and they were doing all KINDS of stuff wrong. Hopefully this will help.

Forge said...

Exile is certainly more elegant than "remove from play". I'm always a fan of making things shorter. It will still take some time for me to adjust to the change from "in play" to battlefield. I know they are the same thing but my mind will still ask, "What is the battlefield?" and then I'll remember a second later.

In a way I'm glad that combat damage is done when it is assigned, it will make programming triggered abilities like Hypnotic Specter MUCH easier, otherwise you had to do wierd voodoo with the code to remember which creatures dealt damage even though they may not be in play.

Bill Christian said...

I think their continued involvement in making their own computer games is showing them some of the unnecessary complexities. Being an initial Revised player, I enjoyed combat damage stack. It made Healing Slav and regenerate much easier to understand. I personally feel having combat damage act differently than any other damage more confusing. Plus you need to factor in the exceptions for trample and deathtouch.

WilLoW :--) said...

@Forge: the fact that combat damages don't use the stack will probably not ease anything for hypnotic specter in your case. Take the following example: You cast Quicksilver Dagger on your Hypnotic Specter. You don't put the Hypnotic specter in combat, but you have it deal damage to your opponent through the Quicksilver Dagger ability: this damage will go to the stack, so I guess you'll still have to do some weird computation (you should send an event to your god class when the damage is actually dealt, in fact...)

So I'm with Bill Christian on this one: it will make things even more confusing since other types of damages will still go to the stack...

Silly Freak said...

that's not quite right. it's the spell that goes to the stack. when the spell resolves, the damage is immediately dealt. the damage is never on the stack like combat damage did.

i think combat damage in the former form can be seen as a spell with "combat damage deals 2 damage to this creature...", and it would work the same.

now, it's just dealing damage immediately. either in combat, or when a spell resolves.

willow said...

@Silly Freak, thanks a lot for the clarification, this is very interesting. would you have a link to the part of the comprehensive rules that mention this?

willow said...

ok, found a discussion about the subject. It isn't obvious, but it definitely seems you're right. Thanks, I think I might have a few updates to do to my engine :p
Here

Gregg said...

Was 'buried' never an official phrase in MTG? That's what we used to say when a card was removed from the game. To me 'exiled' doesn't have the same feel to it. But if it improves the game in the long run then I'm for it.

Forge said...

"Was 'buried' never an official phrase in MTG?"

The comprehensive rules is good for answering questions like this.

Bury (Obsolete)
Some older cards were printed with the term "bury," which meant to put a permanent into its owner's graveyard. In general, cards that were printed with the term "bury" now read, "Destroy [a permanent]. It can't be regenerated," or "Sacrifice [a permanent]."

Anonymous said...

Mana burn is the reason Hidetsugu's Second Rite doesn't kick ass.

Anonymous said...

whoa!!!! so much changes..i need to play again then..i don't want to be 'exiled'....