M10 Rules Changes Part 2 June 19, 2009Posted by Norm in Casual, Magic 2010.
Tags: M10 Rules Changes
M10 Rules Changes – The Rest of the Story
Later this week I hope to get in some games with the new combat rules. I’ve yet to play test and see the new rules at work. As for right now I’ll cover the rest of the changes and amendments announced last week.
GAME ZONE NAME CHANGES
From now on the “In Play” zone will be called the “Battlefield. This change was initiated due to confusion of rules that refer to a card being in play, put into play, or playing a card (more changes on that below). So all cards that are on the table and not in your graveyard, removed from the game or in your library are referred to as on the Battlefield. Rumors about this change have been floating around for some time, as M10 spoilers get out. At first I was put off by the new terminology. It sounds goofy and childish, not manly and magical. Personally I in favor of this change but wish they would have come up with a better term than battlefield. From a big picture perspective the name change is really needed for the reasons that are outlined by WotC. So I’m sure we’ll all get used to the name soon enough and it will become as second nature as Planeswalker loyalty counters.
“Removed from Play” will now be referred to as “Exile.” The Exile zone is a similar terminology change as Battlefield. This change was predicted very early, mainly because of Path to Exile whose flavor totally supports this sort of a change. There really isn’t much to say about this change other than I feel exactly the same about this term as I do with battlefield. Not the greatest but better than something like ether realm.
GAME TURN CHANGES
Excluding the combat turn changes there are two other changes related to turn structure. When the changes take place, the name “end-of-turn step” will become “end step.” To me this is a much needed change clarifying when your turn actually ends and the final step after second main phase. This change is such a no-brainer I’m surprised that this fix hasn’t been considered before. When I was learning how to play this did cause some confusion and I actually didn’t really know there was a step after second main phase where I could play spells and effects. This in my opinion is a good change for the game and will only help casual players.
This rule probably doesn’t have much effect on the casual table since we are doing it anyway. Currently, each player when taking a mulligan goes one at a time until they decide to keep a hand, then the next player goes, then the next. This procedure if followed correctly would take a long time if you have more than one person around the table and then you can easily see why no one follows this rule. The only strategic disadvantage during competitive play is when you are on the draw and you opponent mulls to five and you are holding an iffy hand. Your seven card hand becomes a lot better when your opponent starts with five cards on the play.
MANA POOLS AND MANA BURN
Mana Pools Emptying
First part of this change is that mana pools will now empty at the end of each phase and step. So no more floating mana during combat or at the beginning of your turn. There are a few cards that provided strategic advantage for this type of play but it was relatively infrequent. I really don’t have much else to say about this change. I think most players don’t run into this play and won’t feel the effect of the change.
From now on Mana Burn will deal x5 damage for each mana left over in your mana pool. What! Just kidding how crazy would that be. The real change makes Mana Burn a fond memory. To quote the rules change announcement, “Mana burn is eliminated as a game concept. Mana left unspent at the end of steps or phases will simply vanish, with no accompanying loss of life.”
Personally I’m totally fine with this rules change. From a casual perspective it is going to be a lot of fun to work on decks that generate huge amounts of mana in a turn and then let it hang. People have been saying from a competitive perspective there is the loss of strategically lowering your life total. Again this is only in specific situations and not in the current standard. When I was first learning the game I thought mana burn was a stupid concept since you are already hurting yourself by taping your resources. The Ravnica dual lands will become a little better as well as a few other lands, but I can’t think of anything that will become a lot better after this change.
To be perfectly honest as I review this change, I’m realizing, I didn’t understand the current rules. I always thought of token ownership the way the rules are changing. Which is, the owner of a token is the player under whose control it entered the battlefield.
As I read this rule I think I’m confused about ownership and control and I’m not going to worry about it. Maybe someone can clarify for me for the sake of conversation. If I play a Broodmother Dragon and put the token into play under my control. If someone takes my Broodmother Dragon. Do they gain ownership of the token even though I still control it? Well that is what I understand about this rule anyway.
Cast, Play, and Activate
This is the final terminology adjustment in this set of changes, which I think will take a little getting used to, but ultimately a good change for clarification and understanding. I’ll just copy the official language as it is pretty clear.
“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.”
So from now on you cast spells in your hand, play lands, and activate abilities. Cards that would come into play that were not cast, still come into play, but under new terminology they will enter the battlefield. Like I said I think it will take more than a few games to get used to the new terminology but once we do it will make playing the game a lot easier. On a side note I love silence, can’t wait for my play set.
DEATHTOUCH & LIFELINK
As we enter the home stretch of rules changes I’m going to say that of everything discussed in this post, these last two are the most complicated. In addition to the combat damage changes we are taking two rules and changing them in a major way. The goal is to allow them, especially deathtouch, to function the same as it has in the past and, in the case of lifelink, better than in the past.
Deathtouch will no longer be a trigger ability that goes onto the stack when a creature with deathtouch deals damage (and technically it is no longer a triggered ability, but static). I don’t think most people ever took the time to slow down the game to consider deathtouch on the stack, except when regenerating or preventing damage. I kind of like the change to deathtouch becoming static as, to me, the change just makes sense.
However, here is where the new rules for deathtouch get complicated. During combat deathtouch makes damage resolve differently than under the new system. When a creature with deathtouch deals damage to multiple blockers, that creature won’t use the new damage assignment but follow to old rules of allowing the attacker to assign damage. Honestly I don’t know why you can’t just assign damage like the current system at all times, but we don’t really have a choice. If any of these rules get reverted back over the next year or so I would think it will be how combat damage is assigned. I digress.
I kind of think this makes deathtouch a much stronger ability than before since you can once again control combat damage assignments and kill other creatures, duh. We’ll see if we see more decks taking advantage of this ability in the future.
As I mentioned above, lifelink has gotten a lot better during these changes. Probably the main reason for this change is because combat damage doesn’t use the stack. So what is the benefit? Under the new rules, when a creature deals damage and has lifelink the controller gains the life as damage is being dealt. Currently, if you are in a combat situation that would put lethal on the stack, even though you would have a saving amount of lifelink health on the stack you would die before gaining that life. Under the new rules you gain that life as damage is dealt. So while you might receive a lethal blow but have a blocker with enough lifelink to save you, you will come out on top surviving that combat step. I hope that is clear enough.
I almost forgot to mention that multiple instances of lifelink are no longer relevant. Meaning a creature with double lifelink (say a Knight of Meadowgrain with a Loxodon Warhammer doesn’t get +10 lifelink bonus each time it deals damage, only +5). So some might say we are loosing a bit with lifelink but gaining much more. Lifelink is also now a static ability resolving when damage dealt.
Well there you have it. All the M10 Rules Changes in detail. These are significant changes and will probably mark a new area in Magic. I hope most players aren’t put off by these changes. I haven’t heard from a lot of gamers on this but from what I’ve read around the web, the changes are being generally accepted.
I’m generally interested in what you have to say about the changes so please leave a comment. If you’ve gotten through these long posts awesome. I’ll have something short next.