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The new rules of engagement

June 16, 2009

Unless you have lived under a stone for the past week or so, you should be aware of that some of the fundamentals of magic is going to change when M10 hits the store in a month. If you do have lived under a rock, click here and updated yourself. There has been a lot of buzz on the Internet on this topic already, but a couple of friends of mine bummed on me to write what I think on the subject. So, here we are:

First off, all the cosmetic changes is pretty much null for me. I don’t really care if they want to call it “battlefield” or “exiled”. That’s tomatoe/tomatoa to me. I like that what exile does with the wish-cycle thou’, it felt very strange flavour wise that you could for example Burning Wish for your Life from the Loam if it got hit by Extirpate or Cranial Extraction. But since (almost) all the wishes are only legal in the lost land of type 1 these days it won’t get a lot of attention.

I think the changes with mana arrangement is nor good or bad for the game. Sure, cards such as Pulse of the Forge loses a little of it’s touch without the option on mana burning and Mistbind Clique for example got slightly better since you can’t float the mana anymore to your draw step. But I mean, some cards gets better with this change, some cards get a little worse, right some folks might be a little down on this change but in 3-6 month most of them won’t care anymore. I like to see this change like changing the rules in golf so you can have 15 clubs in your bag instead of 14 or change the rules in (american) football that you need to go 11 yards instead of 10 to get a first-down. It might seem like a big change on paper, but in the end of the day it won’t make a lot of difference.

And finally we have the much debated combat step change. This is the big change in this rules revision that combat damage doesn’t longer use the stack. Over is the day with stacking damage with your Mogg Fanatic before sacrificing it to deal damage to another creature. My opinion here is like what I said on mana burn, in the end of the day there won’t be so much difference from how it works today. Some type of cards gets a little better and others worse. Instant speed removal probably got even better while bounce-effects and different sacrificing trix (such as Greater Good or Thopter Foundry) got worse. But I mean, whatever. I was writing some coverage for a tournament i Stockholm the other day and while I was watching the matches I had the M10 rules in mind. The new rules wouldn’t have made any difference in constructed and only 1 or 2 times for the limited games I watched.

 What I don’t understand is why they had to change how combat between more than 2 creatures works. Their new system make sense in some way, but so does the system we already have. Why change it? I don’t think it easier in any sense in the new way, it just takes away option. It happens regularly that I want to split up damage so I can play my Pyroclasm after combat to kill creature with a lot of thoughness or situations where I don’t want to kill my opponents Kitchen Finks on a double block. I don’t think change will be the end of the world or anything, this change just doesn’t make sense to me.

As a conclusion I want to say that if wizards are making changes to the game because they try to make more people playing magic and keeping the game thriving and exciting and vivid, I can’t be mad at them for trying. They don’t want to throw away this game, if it turns out that some rules might actually suck they will fix it eventually. Just have penitence. This was my two cents on the rules changes that comes along Magic 2010 and I will smell you later. Until next time…

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