In addition to their normal quarterly updates for banned and restricted updates, Wizards occasionally makes more sweeping rules changes that are unveiled during their core sets. The last such major rules update was during the release of the Magic 2010 core set. In that we saw changes such as the elimination of mana burn, removal of damage on the stack, and a bunch of terminology changes were introduced. In a game that is now in it’s 20th year of operation, Magic is no stranger to altering things over time if they feel it will make the game better. Their R&D group is of the philosophy that, so long as it is done infrequently, such changes are necessary in order to maintain the freshness of the game. In Magic 2014, they are making some more. These changes will take effect July 13th.
Relevant Rules Changes
- Indestructible is now keyworded. It is no longer a game state rule, but a keyworded ability. This brings it into line with how people think of indestructibility anyways, though we’ll have to get used to the phrases “gains indestructible” and “has indestructible”, which have an odd sound to them.
- They’re going to stop using “unblockable” on cards, opting instead for “can’t be blocked”. This is merely a template change to make all cards use the same terminology. It’s not actually a functional change.
- Playing lands now will be tied to a “land play” action. Normally this is the one land per turn, but this change alters how cards that allow for playing extra lands works. Previously, players technically had to specify whether they were invoking their normal land drop or using their “extra one” from cards like Exploration. Most players don’t since it is rarely relevant. In some rare cases, though, players could manipulate a loophole in these rules to generate more land drops than they were supposed to with such cards. This rules change makes it more intuitive on how playing extra land is supposed to work, closing that loophole.
- Sideboarding in Constructed is no longer limited to a 0 or 15 amount. You now can have up to 15 cards instead, and cards do not have to be swapped out on a one-for-one basis between games. So long as a player doesn’t go under 60 cards in their deck or over 15 in their sideboard, it allows tourney players more flexibility to be creative in their sideboards, and it eliminates accidental game losses for ending up with a 61 card deck (Oh God No!) and a 14 card Sideboard.
- The big change is, arguably, the Legend Rule / Planeswalker Uniqueness Rule change. Starting with M14, these rules will only affect permanents you control. Now, if you have out, say, Baron Sengir, an opponent can play theirs as well without losing it; they will no longer “legend kill” each other. However, you are still only allowed to have one copy of a Legend / Planeswalker type out. If you do play a second copy (or Clone one) onto your own battlefield, you will have the option of choosing which permanent dies to the state-based action.
Further detail of these and other changes will come up in the quarterly update. The full article on these rules announcements can be viewed here.