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NightmareGeese

War of the Spark Changes: Rules text, template

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Hey guys! One of the members of Magic the Gathering in China posted in a japanese blog the future changes that comes with Wrath of the Spark. The entire post is in japanese, so I'm tried to translate the best I can do. There are interesting things in that.

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War of the Spark is the conclusion of a monumental story that starts in Oath of the Gatewatch, and the end comes with news, like news rules text, template and such. Let's take a look the most important changes. Next articles with be for the minor changes.
For obvioulsy reasons, I can't use cards of the WAR set , so for this post, I'm going to use most recent cards to give appropiate examples.


1. Ney Keyword: Fury
Some creatures are so excited to crush its opponents or have bad humour that have an uncontrollable thirst to battle. Fury is a new keyword that represents an existing ability. A creature with fury must attack if able.

This ability was in Magic since its born with cards like Juggernauth, so give it a keyword is the natural next step (it takes most than 25 years! So...slooow step). The big reason for keyworded the ability is for giving official rules to clarify some situations that people may don't know (like, if a creature with this ability have a cost associated with attack, its controller may choose not to pay it. iF the cost isn't paid, the creature can't attack at all, even if it has fury). Other reason is we wanted to use this ability more often, but not as much to become an evergreen ability. Let's say that the ability now become decidious: we can use it in every set, but that doesn't mean that this ability would appear in all sets onward. And now, the color pie would take this ability more serious: Now Fury is primary in Red (in form of creatures with fury and effects that grants fury permanently/temporary), secondary in Green (in form of creatures with fury), and terciary in Blue (only in form of effects that grants fury temporary). The ability is no longer in Black and White, even if some old white and black cards interact with it in the past.

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Example
ANGLER TURTLE
Old
Creatures your opponents control attack each combat if able.

New
Creatures your opponents control have fury. (They attack each combat if able.)
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In WAR, and maybe in the two or three next sets we would try to always put the reminder text of this ability for people to familiarizyte. Gradually, we would put that reminder text less until we don't needed to put at all (at that point, this new ability also would save space in card's text).

In most cases, "must attack if able" becoming a keyword doesn’t represent a functional change. There are two exceptions:
- Previously, if a permanent must attack if able by a resolving spell or ability (such as Imaginary Threats), and then that permanent lost its abilities, it would still must attack if able. This was because "must attack if able" wasn’t an ability; it was just something true about the permanent. Now, the permanent will gain the ability fury, and it will lose this ability along with its other abilities.
- Previously, if a group of permanents must attack if able by a resolving spell or ability, permanents that joined that group or entered the battlefield after that spell or ability resolved would also must attack if able. This was because the effect that cause them to attack if able wasn’t changing any of those permanents’ characteristics. Now, a permanent that enters the battlefield or comes under your control after the spell or ability resolves won’t have "must attack if able" as it wasn’t under your control at the appropriate time to gain it.


2. New Rules Term: Revive

The War of the Spark set introduces the wording shortcut "revive." The word "revive" on a Magic card simply means "put X creature card from X graveyard onto battlefield." The two phrases are interchangeable. Similarly, the word "revived" means "was put onto the battlefield from a graveyard."

The term "revive" is used only if a creature is moving from a graveyard to the battlefield. (The complete phrase "Put X card from a graveyard onto the battlefield" is used if the object is likely to have a different card type that isn't a monster.)

Many older cards will be updated in the Oracle card reference to use this new term. This is not a functional change.

Like dies, the word "revive" is too intuitive, but for safe reasons (and like the ability Fury), we would try to put a reminder text on cards that revive to clarify that word, only for some sets.

Unlikely dies, "revive" has some variations. Let's take a look:

EFFECT THAT PUT A CREATURE CARD FROM YOUR GRAVEYARD TO THE BATTLEFIELD UNDER YOUR CONTROL

(Don't target) Revive your creature card.
(Target) Revive your target creature card.

EFFECT THAT PUT A CREATURE CARD FROM AN OPPONENTS GRAVEYARD UNDER YOUR CONTROL

(Don't target) Revive one opponent's creature card under your control.
(Target) Revive target creature card from an opponent under your control.

EFFECT THAT PUT A CREATURE CARD FROM ANY GRAVEYARD UNDER YOUR CONTROL

(Don't target) Revive one creature card under your control.
(Target) Revive one target creature card under your control.

When an effect that revives says "your creature card", that means a creature card in your graveyard. When says "one creature card", it can be a creature card in any graveyard.

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Examples
ZOMBIFY
Old
Return target creature card from your graveyard to the battlefield.

New
Revive your target creature card.

MACABRE MOCKERY
Old
Put target creature card from an opponent's graveyard onto the battlefield under your control. It gets +2/+0 and gains haste until end of turn. Sacrifice it at the beginning of the next end step.

New
Revive target creature card from an opponent under your control. It gets +2/+0 and gains haste until end of turn. Sacrifice it at the beginning of the next end step.

ARCLIGHT PHOENIX
Old
Flying, haste
At the beginning of combat on your turn, if you've cast three or more instant and sorcery spells this turn, return Arclight Phoenix from your graveyard to the battlefield.

New
Flying, haste
At the beginning of combat on your turn, if you've cast three or more instant and sorcery spells this turn, revive Arclight Phoenix.

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3. "[Permanent card name]" to "This [permanent type]"

Abilities on a permanent that functions on the battlefied now refer to themselves as "this [permanent type]" rather than by using their card name.

Furthermore, abilities on a permanent that functions in zones other than the battlefied refer to themselves as "this card".

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Examples
CAPTURE SPHERE
Old
Flash
Enchant creature
When Capture Sphere enters the battlefield, tap enchanted creature.

New
Flash
Enchant creature
When this aura enters the battlefield, tap enchanted creature.

ANGEL OF GRACE
Old
When Angel of Grace enters the battlefield, until end of turn, damage that would reduce your life total to less than 1 reduces it to 1 instead.
{4}{W}{W}, Exile Angel of Grace from your graveyard: Your life total becomes 10.

New
When this creature enters the battlefield, until end of turn, damage that would reduce your life total to less than 1 reduces it to 1 instead.
{4}{W}{W}, Exile this card from your graveyard: Your life total becomes 10.

NULLHIDE FEROX
Old
Hexproof
You can't cast noncreature spells.
2: Nullhide Ferox loses all abilities until end of turn. Any player may activate this ability.
If a spell or ability an opponent controls causes you to discard Nullhide Ferox, put it onto the battlefield instead of putting it into your graveyard.

New
Hexproof
You can't cast noncreature spells.
2: This creature loses all abilities until end of turn. Any player may activate this ability.
If a spell or ability an opponent controls causes you to discard this card, put it onto the battlefield instead of putting it into your graveyard.

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This change remove the problem for card's text that are long only because the name of the card is long. Also, this change now let us put names a little bit larger on cards without the fear to increase the size of that card's text.

This change would not affect legendary permanents or planeswalkers. Instants and sorceries are also unaffected. Lightning Strike would not say "This sorcery deals 3 damage to any target." Those cards would still use their card names.

 

3. Cast certain card type

The phrase "Cast a X Spell" has been changed to only "Cast a X". In a Magic game, the only, and only thing that can be "cast" is a spell. You can't cast a token or your library (belive me, you can't). So, since all players already knows that and there is no confusion with that concept, it's no more necessary to remember to players that they are actually casting spells, so the word "spell" would be removed in phares that says "Cast a X Spell".

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Examples
DOVIN'S ACUITY
Old
Whenever you cast an instant spell during your main phase, you may return Dovin’s Acuity to its owner’s hand.

New
Whenever you cast an instant during your main phase, you may return this enchantment to its owner’s hand.

DANITHA CAPASHEN, PARAGON
Old
Aura and Equipment spells you cast cost 1 less to cast.

New
Auras and Equipments you cast cost 1 less to cast.
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This change would not affect abilities that don't care type of spells. Abilities that only say "cast a spell" (without specifyng what type of spell) would not be changed in any ways. Furthermore, abilities that preclude a type of spell would also not be changed. So, for example, an ability that says "Non-creatures spells you cast..." would not be changed.


4. Owner's

We are removing the word "owner's" from texts since we noticed this clarification is unnecesary. If a permanent return to the hand, always return to its owner's hand, even if the controller of that permanent when it left the battlefield was not its owner. When you gain control of a permanent, you don't really gain ownership of that permanent (this is not the 95s when the ante was still legal). Removing that word would save space in texts and remove redundancy. This also applies to cards returning to library.

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Examples
EXCLUSION MAGE
Old
When Exclusion Mage enters the battlefield, return target creature an opponent controls to its owner's hand.

New
When this creature enters the battlefield, return target creature an opponent controls to the hand.

SWIRLING TORRENT
Old
Put target creature on top of its owner's library.

New
Put target creature on top of the library.
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Some few cards care about the owner of a card, or only allowed to return a card to a specific player's hand/library. Those cards would not be affected by this change.

Uff! Those are interesting changes. To end this (huge) post, I would revel two minor changes. The complete minor changes will be revealed one week before the prerelease in the official page. So stay tuned.

1. Attacks/blocks and activate/trigger

We would replace some phrases:
a) "attack and/or block" --> "battle". 
B) "activated abilities can (or can't) be activated" --> "abilities can (or can't) be activated"
c) "triggered abilities can (or can't) trigger" --> "abilities can (or can't) trigger"

Those change are maded only to reduce the size of card's text.

Triggered abilities are not more considered activated when they trigger. So, the only thing that can be activated in Magic is an activated ability (this is not a functional change). So, an effect that prevents abilities to be activated (like Lawmage's binding) only prevent the activation of activated abilities (too redundant right?). That effect DON'T prevent a triggered ability to trigger.

LAWMAGES'S BINDING
Old
Enchanted creature can't attack or block, and its activated abilities can't be activated.

New
Enchanted creature can't battle and its abilities can't be activated.

End of the post.

Lasraik likes this

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I really like this initiative to reduce the amount of text on cards. There is such a limited amount of space in the text box and stuff like this just frees up space for more words, which means more complex cards can be printed. :)

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On 2/20/2019 at 3:44 PM, Affinity for MTG said:

I really like this initiative to reduce the amount of text on cards. There is such a limited amount of space in the text box and stuff like this just frees up space for more words, which means more complex cards can be printed. :)

I'm a fan of less text, too.  From the examples, there isn't a ton of text that was cut out, but I'm glad they are making the effort to make things simpler and more streamlined.

 

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