Summarizing the probably most relevant rules changes of M10

Written by derflippi on July 09, 2009




With the release of the new Core Set M10 next weekend (July 11th), the rules of the game change. These changes are enormous. The last time Magic the Gathering had such a huge change of its rules was during 6th Edition! The idea of this article is to explain the most relevant rules changes.


In my opinion, the most relevant changes are:
 - notation changes
 - mana burn
 - layers
 - combat


The notation changes don't really affect how the game works.

Before M10, you play a spell by putting it on the stack then determining targets and paying its cost. Now you cast it instead.
Before M10, you play an activated ability. Now you activate it.
The "in-play" zone is now called battlefield. This means permanents don't come into play. Now they enter the battlefield.
Also, the removed-from-the-game zone no longer exists. Now it's called Exile. This might be important if you're using wishes: You can find cards "you own from outside the game" only, as the Wishes read. You however won't be able to find an exiled card!


No more mana burn!
Mana pools still empty at the end of phases (and now steps, too). This means Upwelling is not useless. When your mana pool empties
at the end of a phase or step, you no longer lose 1 life for each unused mana. This rules change makes Sands of Time even worse, but
improves Braid of Fire


We have one more layer!
Color-changing effects gets its own layer.


Now comes the biggie.

Combat damage no longer uses the stack!
And that's not the only change of how  the combat works with M10 rules.
Let me quote extracts of the official announcement:

"As soon as damage is assigned in the combat damage step, it is dealt. There is no time to cast spells and activate abilities in between; the last time to do so prior to damage being dealt is during the declare blockers step."

“During the declare blockers step, if a creature is blocked by multiple creatures, the attacker immediately announces an order in which that attacking creature will be assigning damage to the blockers.”

Combat damage, for most of us, used the stack. Now it doesn't. What does this mean? Let me provide two examples:

Example 1:
I attack with my Mogg Fanatic, which is blocked by a Grizzly Bear. Now I have to decide whether I want to activate Mogg Fanatic's ability before damage or not. If I activate the ability before combat damage, it will not deal its combat damage in the combat damage step. If I decide against using it, I will not have the chance to do it after damage was assigned. Mogg Fanatic will receive 2 damage before I get priority to use it. Either way, I can't kill Grizzly Bear.

Example 2:
I attack with a 7/6 Scaled Wurm. It is blocked by a Grizzly Bear and a 4/5 Plated Wurm. Now I have to order the blockers.

case a)
I order #1 Plated Wurm, #2 Grizzly Bear. Now both players receive priority to cast spells or to activate abilities. My opponent plays a Giant Growth on his Plated Wurm. I don't have any plays. We both agree to move to the combat damage step. Damage is now assigned in the order the attacker ordered the blockers. This means I have to try assign lethal damage to the #1 blocker. I have to assign all 7 damage from my Scaled Wurm to Plated Wurm (7/8) and can't assign any damage to the Grizzly Bear. The defending player assigns his 7+2 damage to the Scaled Wurm. Now it resolves immediately, without either player gaining another priority window. Scaled Wurm dies and Plated Wurm survives with 7 damage (8 toughness).

case b)
I order #1 Grizzly Bear, #2 Plated Wurm. Now both players receive priority to cast spells or to activate abilities. My opponent plays Bandage on his Grizzly Bear. I don't have any plays. We both agree to move to the combat damage step. Damage is now assigned in the order the attacker ordered the blockers. This means I have to assign (at least) lethal damage to the Grizzly Bear (2), then can assign any remaining damage to the Plated Wurm (5). Now the damage resolves immediatly, without either player having another priority window. Scaled Wurm dies, Grizzly Bear receives one damage, Plated Wurm receives 5. Note that prevention effects (still) have no effect on how much "lethal" damage you have to assign.

Another change is that Deathtouch and Lifelink are now static abilities, which means you can't respond to those anymore.


I definitely didn't cover all rules changes of M10. Therefore, I suggest reading through the articles on

The Rules Change and You by Steve Sadin www.magicthegathering.com

July 2009 Update Bulletin by Mark L. Gottlieb www.magicthegathering.com

A Planeswalker's Primer for Magic 2010 on YouTube



Back to Magic: the Gathering Articles

Comments:
by sandoiche on 2009-07-09 23:29 CET

Also remembering you can split deathtouch damage between blockers instead of having to deal damage equal to their thoughness to hit the second, third, and so on blockers


by IvanDano on 2009-07-10 00:06 CET

can't forget the most important rule at the start of the game...

Mulligans are now simultaneous, the player who will go first chooses whether or not to mulligan his/her hand and states their choice to their opponent. In turn, the opponent or next person to go will choose to either mulligan or keep their hands. Then all players who choose to mulligan their hands will mulligan at the same time.

If the person(s) who mulliganed needs to do so again, the process repeats where a choice is made and until a hand is kept.

Once you decide you're not taking a mulligan, your starting hand is locked in. You can't jump back into the mulligan process later.


by Steveman on 2009-07-10 04:35 CET

RIP Mogg Fanatic
1999-2009


by IberianWolf on 2009-07-10 06:15 CET

RIP Frostling
2005-2009

haha


by on 2009-07-10 10:38 CET

seems that combat would be even more tricky than before


by LordLink on 2009-07-10 12:52 CET

Mogg Fanatic rotated anyway.

So do we still have a window to play with after first strike damage resolves? I haven't heard anyone bitching about how it seems to have gotten weaker now.


by Lynolf on 2009-07-10 17:43 CET

Yes LordLink, you can still play spells and abilities after first strike damage is dealt but before regular damage, just like before.


by two_eyes on 2009-07-11 20:24 CET

Excellent resource, Flippi. But something important got left out that I feel merits bringing up.

All effects that modify power and toughness are now grouped together in the layer after effects that set power and toughness to a particular number.

Under 10E rules, if your 2/2 Figure of Destiny gets Peppersmoked, you can let the Peppersmoke resolve and then activate its ability again. Under 10E rules, p/t setting effects and p/t modifying effects are applied in the same layer as long as the modifying effects do not come from a static ability (e.g. this trick works with Peppersmoke, but not with Night of Soul's Betrayal). Since they apply in the same layer, timestamp order allows overwrites.

Under M10 rules, it doesn't matter if your Figure is being Peppersmoked or Night of Soul's Betrayaled. Either way, it's going to get -1/-1.


by gypsy on 2009-07-16 03:51 CET

by two_eyes on 2009-07-11 16:24 EDT

Excellent resource, Flippi. But something important got left out that I feel merits bringing up.

All effects that modify power and toughness are now grouped together in the layer after effects that set power and toughness to a particular number.

Under 10E rules, if your 2/2 Figure of Destiny gets Peppersmoked, you can let the Peppersmoke resolve and then activate its ability again. Under 10E rules, p/t setting effects and p/t modifying effects are applied in the same layer as long as the modifying effects do not come from a static ability (e.g. this trick works with Peppersmoke, but not with Night of Soul's Betrayal). Since they apply in the same layer, timestamp order allows overwrites.

Under M10 rules, it doesn't matter if your Figure is being Peppersmoked or Night of Soul's Betrayaled. Either way, it's going to get -1/-1.


please link where you read this, because i do not think its true and cannot find any info


by two_eyes on 2009-07-18 07:31 CET

From the Magic 2010 Comprehensive Rulebook:

612.3b Layer 7b: Effects that set power and/or toughness to a specific number or value are applied.

612.3c Layer 7c: Effects that modify power and/or toughness (but donít set power and/or toughness
to a specific number or value) are applied.

Previously, Layer 6b was the "miscellaneous" layer and above it, in I think 6d, was "effects that modify power and toughness generated by a static ability". So both Peppersmoke and Figure of Destiny's abilities applied in 6b, so they'd resolve their differences by timestamp order. Now, since they apply in different layers, timestamp is irrelevant. 7c will apply after 7b every time.


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