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 hear “the whole thing”. It’s not, of course, but saying “Exert this creature” is clearly communicating that you’re aware of the subsequent trigger. The rules have been updated to make that the case. (Errrrata: originally I called these Reflexive Triggers. Turns out that’s not technically true and I’m updating things to correct that.)
Rrrrrandom cards, such as Trueheart Twins or Vizier of the True have a trigger that looks the same, but isn’t. You can identify those because their trigger is in a separate paragraph. Those triggers are still missable; they might not even be on the card you’re exerting.
Rrrrreduced Outside Assistance Penalties
Rrrrrarely, a player will commit Outside Assistance, but it’s for information that they could get in between games (not matches!). Making you walk the plank for accidentally leaving sideboard notes on the table seems harsh; after the game, you’d have been able to read them! So, in those cases, it’s now downgradable to a Game Loss.
Rrrrremember that some information has game scope, but is not information that could be acquired between games. For example, soliciting or providing Outside Assistance about what cards a player sideboarded in is not downgradable, as that knowledge could apply beyond that game.
Rrrrreminding Your Opponent About Optional Choices
Rrrrrecently, there’s been some question about what we expect players to do when they play a spell or ability – most commonly Path to Exile, but Ghost Quarter comes up, too – and their opponent doesn’t do an optional part of the instruction. Since it’s optional, that’s theoretically a legal result, even if they didn’t realize that they had the option. Given the preponderance of textless and foreign cards, and communication rules that don’t require you to explain everything a card does (because that way lies madness), there was incentive for scurvy dogs to not bring up those parts of a card.
Rrrrrevised communication rules have added text to preempt this. Now, if a spell or ability you play gives an opponent a choice, you must get confirmation from them that they aren’t doing the optional thing. You still don’t have to remind them while they decide if they want to respond, but once it resolves and the time comes, no making assumptions or you’ll be hung from the yardarm for a Communication Policy Violation!
Rrrrreally, there’s no policy change here. But some good suggestions were made about how we might make the language clearer, especially for non-native English speakers. That seemed like a big win, so we got permission to tweak the wording a little bit. I only call it out here so that people don’t see that there are changes to the bribery rules text and freak out.
(OK, Toby, stop it with the r’s already)
* The layout used in filmed matches at PTs and GP Day Twos is extended to GP Day Ones as well. Assume you should always play lands in the back in video matches.
* The opening section of Game Loss philosophy has been deleted. It was out of date and occasionally led people to bad places, so we took it out.
* We put in new language detailing when someone might get a Game Loss due to an illegal deck. Now, it spells out the window explicitly.
* The build times in sealed deck events on the launch weekend of a set (including GPs!) have been extended by fifteen minutes. Now that piece of the event can be a bit laid-back.
* Don’t wait to issue a Game Loss penalty when an opponent is getting a Match Loss/Disqualification. It doesn’t come up enough to justify the exception. They still get the penalty, it just doesn’t do much. Lucky them!
Rrrrrapping Up (Can’t Rrrrresist)
Thanks to everyone for all the great suggestions. Extra grog to Florian Horn, Kevin Desprez, Richard Drijvers, Matteo Callegari, Ivan Petkovic, Zohar Finkel, Bobby Fortanely, and Jeff Morrow. Actually, Jeff didn’t make any suggestions this time, but it’s the last of these before he retires, so he gets one more shout-out.
Hope everyone had a great prerelease and I look forward to beating down with dinosaurs for the next few months!