This is a tuneup release. It has a few tweaks, a little streamlining, but is pretty raceworthy to begin with. And the crew is fantastic.
Before we start our engines, I want to touch upon something from the previous model that needs emphasizing, because I’m getting reports of people reading things into it that aren’t there and I need to put the brakes on. I’d prefer not to fix it in policy, since the policy is correct, so we’re going to try to reinforce what’s there right now:
The Deck/Decklist Infraction treats three components separately – the deck, the sideboard, and the decklist, and when it talks about one, it’s talking specifically about that one. If it wants to talk about multiple, it calls them out individually.
It’s easy to see where the confusion stems from. There used to be a line in there that said “For this infraction, treat the sideboard as part of the deck”. But, that went away and is no longer the case. So, when it says “Cards that are obviously not part of the deck are ignored when determining deck legality,” it doesn’t apply to the sideboard, only the deck. Cards in a different sleeve in the sideboard remain, as always, problematic. This makes sense – I can swap a sleeve out on a sideboard card without alarming my opponent. Clearly I can’t do that for the deck. So, there was no policy change around sideboards. The rules were simply written to be more specific.
Now back to the racetrack…
I’ll bet most judges looked at Fabricate and thought “Nice mechanic, pretty straightforward.” Nope, it’s a pileup.
Fabricate is the very first time a trigger has used the “If you don’t” default templating to do something nice for the player. Consensus for the best option is steering towards making servos, but that’s templated as the punishment. This is going to come up a ton over the next six months, and the outcome under current rules is weird. You have to immediately make servos?
So, we’ve made a token effort to fix this. Now, the opponent gets to choose between “you get the default” and “nothing”. Odds are they’ll choose “nothing” for Fabricate and “bad for you” for all the other things that previously used this template, and nobody will even realize we had to change lanes.
Speaking of cards that are all over the track, there’s everyone’s favorite tentacled monster. Controlling a player has gone from a niche thing (that usually won you the game) to something that happens on a regular basis. So, if I control your turn, who is responsible for your triggers? It made sense to make it the controller of the turn, and now there’s a line in the Missed Trigger policy to that effect.
If you’re less focused on Standard and Limited and prefer a more vintage ride, you’ll probably find the new Hidden Card Error tweak to your liking. People have been asking for this for a while, but we wanted to wait until everyone had settled down with the current rules before introducing a twist. That time has come!
If the player who committed HCE previously had knowledge of the affected card, it’s returned to the old location, not shuffled in. So, for example, if I scry 2, leave both on top, then resolve a “draw a card” effect as “draw 3”, I’ll reveal my hand. The opponent will pick 2 cards, one to be shuffled in (since I didn’t know anything about the third card down) and one to be put back on top (since I did know about the second one). This cuts off a minor cheating possibility where if my hand was bad and I knew the top card of my library was bad, I could “draw it” and get a card deeper.
Remember that this only applies to a card where the owner knew the identity. If both players knew it, you can fix the game state naturally!
Over in the MTR pit, we have a change that looks pretty mild for now, but will accelerate in updates to come. People were very confused by the existence of “sanctioned, competitive events”. Did that mean that this rule didn’t apply to Regular REL? I’d been telling folks to treat “competitive” as just an adjective, and not a term with any meaning, but as I dug deeper I discovered that it was a technical term inside Wizards.
Turns out that there’s a naming collision; “Competitive” is how they internally refer to events that award Planeswalker Points per round. Yes, that meant FNM could be a Competitive Regular Standard event. That’s not confusing at all.
Either the name of the Rules Enforcement Level or the event type needed to change. After some discussion, we shifted gears. Now, events are divided up into Casual and Rated, with Rated further divided into Premier and non-Premier. Which means you now have Rated Regular Standard. So much better! Eventually, we’ll have better separation on the rules for Rated and Casual, and this is the first lap in making that happen.
There’s a few other stock tweaks. The deck/decklist downgrades have a bit more guidance and are no longer optional. How sets work in HCE got a clearer example. Oh, and did I mention that players are limited to one pile shuffle per randomization? It’s a start!
Thanks as always to all the people who sent in suggestions, including Charlotte Sable, Toby Hazes, Charles Featherer and Filipe Fernandes. Feedback is always welcome, even if it’s just racing stripes.