Policy Changes for Kaladesh

The New Docs


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.

37 thoughts on “Policy Changes for Kaladesh

  1. Hi Toby!

    A little question about D/DLP first downgrade:
    “[…] If the missing card(s) are with the sideboard and it isn’t the first game, choose the ones to be shuffled into the deck at random from
    all sideboard cards.”
    If the missing card is with the sideboared but we are in first game, are we allowed to use this downgrade or should we issue a GL instead?
    And, if we can use the downgrade, how should we choose which card is the missing one?


    1. If it’s the first game, you restore to the deck they’re supposed to start with. You know what that one is.

      1. That could take quite some time in a big event like a GP (more if it’s limited). Are we still supposed to downgrade and fix?

  2. For those wanting to try to take advantage of the new pile counting rule ” Just because it may not be performed more than once per randomisation does not mean it can be performed once per randomisation”

  3. Why isn’t the policy “One pile shuffle per game” rather than one per randomization? If the point is counting. Does it need to happen more than once?

      1. What’s stopping you from counting the opponent’s deck? The only thing disallowed would be pile shuffling to do so. I just think that the current change/phrasing is confusing to smart-ass players, and that there’s no reason to allow *pile shuffling* more than once a game.

      2. Pile counting is, unfortunately, one of the more efficient ways of counting. I don’t think this is likely to turn out an issue, and if it is, we can address it.

      3. But while pile shuffling is counting, not all counting is pile shuffling, right? And if you’re just counting someone’s deck midgame you’re certainly not shuffling it or changing the order around. I don’t see how one pile shuffler per game precludes me from counting my opponent’s deck midgame.

  4. “Once per randomization” makes it sound like a player is allowed to do it once per randomization without being called for Slow Play. I would love the next update to be “once before each game”.

    1. I doesn’t say that. It merely puts a cap on how many times it can by done. Otherwise, the old version allowed infinite pile shuffles.

      1. Maybe the wording could be changed to reflect that? Something like, “Excessive pile shuffling, such as when the library doesn’t need counting, will be treated as slow play.” I’ve seen a lot of discussion on Facebook where people are arguing that you cannot give a slow play warning to a player who pile counts each time they shuffle. Also, if a player pile shuffles more than once, is giving them a slow play warning appropriate, or is this a “MTR violation, don’t do it again” sort of thing?

  5. “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?”

    There is either some text missing near these two sentences, or it’s me who is missing something. This seems to be describing the result of a scenario when the opponent is making decisions for you, but the scenario itself is not explained.

    1. After checking the Italian text, it seems to be describing the missed trigger scenario, which makes sense but it’s not clear to me from the English text. In other words, the missed trigger mention is missing :D.

  6. If they’ve already pile shuffled once at the start of a game or match and verified the count, can they pile again each time they take a mulligan?

  7. A question about the first hability of Chandra, Torch of Defiance. If my opponent has no cards in his library, the hability must be played???

    1. I do not understand this question. Exiling the top card of an empty library doesn’t do anything interesting, if that helps.

  8. Now that players controlling other players are responsible for their opponent’s triggers: what standard do we use to determine which missed triggers upgrade to a warning?

    1. Just pretend they’re the other player. With a healthy dose of skepticism for missing non-detrimental ones.

      (The actual player is likely to be there to help)

  9. Is the wording for missed delayed zone change triggers being looked at? Policy pretty clearly says that if I miss my Prized Amalgam trigger, it still happens, no matter what. I feel like this is not what we want policy to do. Perhaps wording it something like this would work:

    “If the triggered ability is a delayed triggered ability that changes the zone of one
    or more objects defined when the ability was created, and the zone it would be moved from is not the graveyard, resolve it.”

    I believe this policy exists to make sure exile/bounce at end of turn/combat, and flicker triggers can’t be missed. I don’t think it exists to make sure I remember to reanimate my zombies.

    1. It’s a fairly uncommon interaction that would require a really inelegant fix. That rule’s already complicated enough, and the fact that it comes back isn’t all that problematic, so I don’t see a lot of impetus here.

  10. “Excess cards are returned to the correct location. If that location is the library,
    they should be shuffled into the random portion unless the owner previously knew the identity of the card/cards illegally moved; that many cards, chosen by the opponent, are returned to the top of the library instead.”

    If more than one card has to go on top, which is their order? Random, opponent chooses, something else?

  11. Scenario: Anne, at the start of the game, uses a pile shuffle to count her deck. She gets a little distracted partway through when she returns her opponent’s dieroll, but keeps going, and comes up a card short. “Uh oh”, she thinks, and quickly re-piles to confirm the result – and this time it works out neatly to 60. “Whew, game on.” Now she’s in breach of the rules, for having pile-shuffled twice? What should she have done instead?

  12. Hello Toby. I am checking the MTR, the Appendix E, and it says tournaments with 9-16 players have 5 swiss rounds. But what about the recommended number of rounds for tournaments without playoffs? The old table (the one without the playoffs column) used to show the information in a more clear way.

    Is that an error or a change?

  13. Hi Toby! I noticed Energy is absent from the various information types in the tournament rules. I would assume it is free information just as life points are, but could you confirm this?

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