Trolling

Fun fact: Charnel Troll has a template that hasn't been used before. (Well, technically on one un-card, but I'm not about to use that for precedent!) This has led to a question of whether the "otherwise" on the trigger means "if you don't" or "if you can't". This matters because the former is a trigger with a default action, while the latter is an ordinary trigger. If it's a default action, then missing the trigger means that the Troll will meet an untimely death when it's discovered. After

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Policy Changes for Guilds of Ravnica

I was all ready to do a Guild-themed announcement update, until I discovered that most of the guilds I identify with were in the next set. So there are no changes this time; see you with Ravnica Allegiance. Kidding! There's a few worthy guilds kicking around, another new Communication section, and lot of little cleanups. Onwards! Baby Got Takeback There's only one change that merits more than a line or two this time around. We've added a section on take-backs. Before anyone panics

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Policy Changes for M19

It's a small update this time around, so I'm going to use this space to talk about a few additional things at the bottom that aren't policy changes, but are useful guidance. In the meantime, updates! We've Been Here Before By far the biggest change in terms of text volume is a new Communication section in the Magic Tournament Rules dedicated to loops. They'd come up again because of Teferi, and I was talking to Magic Rules Manager Eli Shiffrin about how we could make them better. "It's

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Policy Changes for Dominaria

There's a whole lot of text changing the IPG and MTR this time, but there's only one significant functional update. A lot of the change is removing the gendered pronouns. Yay! Thanks, Chicago Manual of Style! What We Talk About When We Talk About Magic In keeping with the theme of Dominaria, let's talk about some history! The communication rules have been a section that we've historically avoided messing with. It took a lot of work between 2007 and 2009 (or so) to get them just right,

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Policy Changes for Rivals of Ixalan

I know, I know. We're all in mourning. It'll be tough to get through a policy update, but we can power through. It's a small update, so if we all work together, it won't be too bad. But enough about the end of Unstable drafting. What does Rivals of Ixalan bring to the table? To the City! Players are not objects. For most people, this is a pretty weird statement, but if you're a judge, this means that, until today, statuses that a player had were not explicitly defined as free information.

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The Reflex

I learned something new yesterday, and I wanted to share it with folks, since evidence suggests you'll all get to learn it too! (Note: this is for judges. It's irrelevantly technical for everyone else). There's also an IPG update to go with it, but it won't have much impact. The reflexive trigger change was one of the easier ones to word in the last update. We have a term that encompasses them, I went to the Comp Rules to make sure I understood the exact formulation of the "when you do," and wrote

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Policy Changes for Ixalan

Avast me hearties! I'll bet you were all expecting a Dinosaur-size update here. Think of all the jokes! Alas, it's more merfolk-sized; a solid set of changes, but not one to get judge-Timmies excited. Let’s drive pirate jokes into the ground, instead! Rrrrremembering "When you do" Triggers Rrrrrecent triggers in Amonkhet are of the form "You may do something. When you do, something happens". The most common of these is Exert. Ask the average person what's a trigger here, and you'll

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Desperate, But Not Serious

Triple warning: this piece has very little to do with judging. It is going to scoot all over the place in service of a central premise. Also, I'm not speaking on behalf of Wizards, just providing the perspective of someone involved in all levels of OP (and Commander). I have an ARAM record of 1880-1844. For the many of you to whom that sentence meant nothing, ARAM is a game mode in League of Legends. Unlike "normal" League, which is an intricately strategic game involving warding, roaming,

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Policy Changes for Hour of Devastation

After a few super-sized updates, I'm pleased to report that the Hour of Devastation tournament document update is... not all that devastating. All the changes are the sort of thing that would usually end up in the "Other Notes" section. If you're going to skip an update this year, here's the one. See you in Ixalan! Any beaches around here? What, you're still here? So, let's start by talking about something that's not an update. With the separation of Deck and Decklist penalties, a question

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How to Think About the New Combat Shortcut

People have been asking for more explanation on the new combat shortcut. There's not as much there as people think; for all the words, it's not doing too much. But, it is different from before, so people want to make sure that they understand those implications. Let's run through it! There's two mental models you can adopt that I find help to think about the new shortcut. They're technically different but lead you to the same place when you evaluate situations (yes, you can find corners where

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