New Rules Changes Coming

Several rules changes are being implemented alongside the release of Magic 2014, with changes affecting paper Magic starting July 13, 2013, and Magic Online being updated on July 29.

The most significant changes are to "the Legend rule" and Planeswalker uniqueness:

  • Each player may control one copy of the same legendary permanent.
  • If a player would, at any time, control more than one legendary permanent of the same name, he or she chooses one to be placed into the graveyard as a state-based effect. This continues until one permanent with that name remains.
  • These same general rules apply to Planeswalkers as well, though keying off the Planeswalker subtype instead (Jace, Ajani, etc.).

What this means is that Clone effects no longer destroy opponent's legendary permanents or Planeswalkers. It also means that you have more control over how the permanents on your side of the battlefield are handled. For example, you can have a Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts enchanted by Pacifism. If you play a second copy of Teysa, you may choose to put the first copy (the one enchanted by Pacifism) into your graveyard. It also means you can have Jace Beleren in play, use one of it's loyalty abilities, play Jace, Architect of Thought, place the original Jace in the graveyard and immediately use one of the new Jace's loyalty abilities. Your legendary permanents or Planeswalkers are no longer affected by copies controlled by opponents.

The second change is to sideboards and Constructed formats:

  • Sideboards may now be <i>up to<i/> 15 cards, not just exactly.
  • After sideboarding, decks must be <i>at least</i> 60 cards, not precisely the number you started with. That is, sideboarding is no longer required to be one-to-one for cards.

What will allows is a much wider range of legal deck sizes:

Game 1Subsequent GamesLegality
60/1560/15Legal
60/1561/14Legal
60/1575/0Legal
75/060/15Legal
60/1063/7Legal
250/1560/205Illegal
60/1550/25Illegal

The major benefit to this change is that presenting a 61 card deck after sideboarding no longer results in a game loss at high level events. This change also brings Constructed sideboarding closer to how it works in Limited, which you can change your deck entirely, if desired. ([card]Lost in the Woods[/cards] is one example of how Limited is so different.)

The third change is much more subtle: Indestructible is now a keyword.

  • Permanents now lose this like any other ability, such as when Turn // Burn is applied. Previously they did not.
  • Cards like Boros Charm would apply their effect to permanents that entered the battlefield after the spell has resolve. Now, things that enter affect the ability is granted won't have it, like other ability-granting effects.

A related change is the clarification that unblockable will not be a keyword. There are several variants to the effect (Barrenton Cragtreads, Firefright Mage, Goblin War Drums, etc.) that make it impossible to align. Instead, the phrase "can't be blocked" will be used in lieu of "unblockable" to reduce confusion.

The final set of changes applies to how lands are played.

  • Players now have a number of "land plays" for their turn. Generally, this is one as per usual.
  • If players gain extra land plays through an effect (Oracle of Mul Daya), the can now play that number of lands.
  • If a player loses or gains land plays during the same turn,t he game consistently checks the total number of lands played that turn against the current number of legal land plays.

Rules Manager Matt Tabak shared several examples of how this works:

  • You start your main phase with one land play. You play a land. You then activate Djinn of Wishes, revealing a land. You have no unused land plays, so the revealed land can't be played.
  • You start your main phase with one land play. You activate Djinn of Wishes, revealing a land. You play that land. You then want to play another land (by taking your once-a-turn special action). However, you have no unused land plays, so you can't play another land this turn.
  • You start your precombat main phase while controlling Oracle of Mul Daya. You have two land plays. You play a land. Then Oracle of Mul Daya dies during combat, so you're back to one land play and it's been used. During your postcombat main phase, you can't play another land.
  • You start your precombat main phase while controlling Oracle of Mul Daya. You have two land plays. You play a land. Then the Oracle is returned to your hand, so you again have one land play, and it's been used. You recast Oracle of Mul Daya, and you have two land plays again, one of which you've used. You can now play a second land.

Most of the time, it's a simple question of asking how many lands you've played in a turn and figuring out how many you're allowed to play.

To read more details about these changes, check out Matt Tabak's article about them, as well as Magic Develper Sam Stoddard's dive into the legendary and Planeswalker uniqueness changes.