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Rules | Game variants


This document has new and changed rules that are my suggestions for variant Magic: the Gathering rules. In some cases, I think that the existing rules are no good and so suggest changes. (As it turns out, some of my previous suggestions, not listed here, have already been made into official rules.)

These rules are not intended to support the Grand Melee variant or Conspiracy Draft variant, although all other variants should be supported. (Rule 905.4 still applies (even if the game is not a Conspiracy game, although conspiracies are not usually legal in Constructed anyways so it won't mean much), although 905.1 and 905.2 do not apply.)

It is intended that the readers of this document should already be familiar with the Comprehensive Rules.


"Agenda" of an object in the command zone means the name chosen secretly for its hidden agenda ability (if it has double agenda, then it has two agendas).

"Damageable" means a player, creature, or planeswalker. "Any target" has the same meaning and the same AST as "target damageable" (and overload treats them in the same way).

"Conventional basic land" means one of the five cards Plains, Island, Swamp, Forest, or Mountain. These five names, and the characteristics corresponding to them, are inherent features of the game rules, independently of what cards and what names may be legal in the specific game being played.

"Fizzles" means that a spell cannot resolve because it has one or more targets and all of them are now illegal.

(A currently unspecified word) means any object or player.

(A currently unspecified word) means, for an object, that object's controller, or its owner if it has no controller; for a player, it means that player.

"Ordinary banding ability" means a banding ability that is not a "bands with other" ability.

"Junkyard" means the face-up pile of Astrotorium cards put into the command zone by rule 718.6 (which rule 718.6a says is informally referred to as the "junkyard").

"Intrinsic" means an ability granted to an object by a rule due to that object's subtypes, types, and/or supertypes. (Currently, this applies to basic land subtypes (even if the object they belong to is not basic), and to planeswalkers. If the deploy creatures option is used, the ability granted by that option is also an intrinsic.) (This applies even if the subtype/type/supertype is granted by an ability, or by initial text or text changing effects or copy effects, but does not apply if the ability is granted directly to an object by an effect.)

"[X] cannot reach [Y]" means that X can block Y as though X does not have reach. (Like other "can block ... as though" effects (cf. Aetherflame Wall), this effect is mandatory. "Cannot reach" is meaningless unless Y has flying and X does not have flying.)

New subtypes

(Note for clarification: none of the planar types have commas or periods or quotation marks in their spelling.)

Keyword abilities

"Flash [cost]" is a variant of flash, and means that you can cast this object as though it had flash if you pay an additional [cost].

"Fuseback" allows to cast this card from your graveyard, in which case it gains fuse, but the casting must be fused. If it would leave the stack, it is exiled instead of going to any other zone.

"Mutate [quality]--[cost]" is a variant of mutate. Instead of targeting a non-Human creature, it can target any permanent that has the specified quality and the same owner as the spell. (It cannot target players, nor can it target objects in zones other than battlefield, regardless of the specified quality or of the owner of those objects.)

"Haunt [quality]" is a variant of haunt. It can haunt any object or player that has the specified quality rather than a creature.

"Harmless" is a keyword ability which affects the process of dealing damage with this object as the source. Rules 120.3a-e do not apply (i.e. it does not affect the permanent or player that the damage is dealt to; any additional rules made up custom or future that do so are also suppressed) (rule 120.3f still applies if it has lifelink), and rule 704.5h (the state-based action for deathtouch) does not apply to this damage. This does not prevent the damage from being dealt, even if it has no effect. Lethal damage, excess damage, and combat damage assignment, ignore the harmless keyword; they are computed in the same way whether or not it has this ability.

"Rangeling" is a characteristic-defining ability which means "This object is every land type in addition to its other types." (This rule makes Nearby Planet legal in Extended Pseudo-Vintage.)

"Unstoppable" is a static ability that functions while the object with this ability is in the stack. Objects in the stack that have this ability cannot fizzle due to having one or more targets all of which are illegal. If the effect cares about whether or not any targets have been selected, then they resolve as though no targets have been selected. (TODO: Should this name be changed?)

"Adaptation [cost]" is a static ability that functions while the object with this ability is in the stack. Before selecting modes, you may apply this ability any number of times. Each application of this ability adds the specified cost as an additional cost, and changes the text of the object by replacing all instances of a word of your choice from one category with another word of your choice from the same category. The valid categories are: creature types, basic land types, nonbasic land types, planeswalker types, and color words. (You may select the same category more than once.) (This effect changes the text before mode selection is done and before splicing; therefore, it might affect which targets can legally be selected, etc. If it moves from the stack to the battlefield, it continues to apply until it leaves the battlefield.)

A currently unnamed keyword ability prevents a player from playing this object unless that player controls a legendary creature or a legendary planeswalker. (Official legendary instant/sorcery cards (before they make such a rule themself, if they ever do) are errataed to have this ability; those cards are still legendary, too.)

A currently unnamed keyword ability with one parameter being text defining an ability, means that as this object enters the battlefield or is faced up, or gains this ability by merging, it loses this ability and gains the specified ability.

"Command requirement--[condition]" means that you cannot start the game with this card in your command zone or place this card into the command zone from outside of the game or place this card into the command zone as the game begins, unless your starting deck meets the specified condition; you must also meet the usual conditions for putting a card of that type into the command zone, in addition to this one. This applies even if the card is initially face-down. The rules for the condition are the same as the same rules for the condition of the companion keyword ability.

Superward is a variant of ward. "Superward [cost]" means "Whenever this permanent becomes the target of a spell or ability, counter that spell or ability unless the controller of that spell or ability pays [cost]."

"Space sculptor--[quality]" is a variant of space sculptor. Any effect which checks for or removes space sculptor ability also affects this variant. There are two differences from ordinary space sculptor ability. Firstly, instead of requiring players to give sector designations to creatures, it requires players to give sector designations to permanents with the specified quality (this otherwise works like the ordinary rules for space sculptor ability). Secondly, it applies as long as there is an object with such a variant space sculptor ability in the battlefield or if it is an object in the command zone whose abilities normally function in the command zone (e.g. emblems, face-up conspiracies, vanguards, etc). Regardless of what zone the object with space sculptor is in, only permanents have sector designations.

"Time sculptor" and "time sculptor--[quality]" are similar to space sculptor (although it is not space sculptor), but applies while this object is in the stack instead of in the battlefield (although sector designations still only apply to permanents). If the quality is specified, then it also applies in the command zone as well as in the stack (although still, only permanents can have sector designations).

"Last strike" and "triple strike" and "no strike" are static abilities affecting combat damage assignment; see the below section for details.

"Active strike" is a static ability which means "This creature has first strike during your turn."

"Covering" is a static ability which restricts the choice of damage assignment order. When a creature is added to a damage assignment order, if that creature has covering then the player making that choice cannot put it after creature without covering, and if that creature does not have covering then they cannot put it before any creature with covering, if it is possible to satisfy that condition. Once damage assignment order has been set, adding or removing covering ability will not change it even if it no longer meets these conditions.

"Spellmorph" is a variant of morph. It means that you can cast this card face up from the battlefield if it is in the battlefield face down under your control, subject to all usual rules about casting it including timing restrictions based on its type, etc (although it is not in your hand). The spellmorph cost is a required alternative cost to casting it this way.

"Aggressive" is a static ability. As the first combat phase of your turn ends, if you control one or more creatures with aggressive (non-creatures don't count), then you immediately get another combat phase, called the "aggressive combat phase". During the aggressive combat phase, creatures without aggressive cannot attack.

"Buyback" is changed slightly from official rules. Change the second part to "If the buyback cost was paid, put this spell into its owner's hand instead of into the battlefield or graveyard as it resolves."

"Piloting [number]" is a static ability which means this creature crews permanents as though its power is [number] more. It has no effect if this permanent is not a creature.

"Massive" is a static ability that applies while the object with this ability is resolving. After it finishes resolving, and is moved to another zone or ceases to exist (even if it can't move because it isn't in the stack), if the player who controlled this object as it was beginning to resolve is the active player and there are now no objects in the stack, end the turn. This happens immediately after it has been moved after finishing resolving and is not a triggered ability.

"Unpariah" is a static ability which affects combat damage. It means "Redirect combat damage that would be dealt to this permanent to be dealt to you instead." (Noncombat damage is not affected by this.)

"Antitoxic [number]" is a static ability which increases the number of poison counters you need to lose the game due to that state-based action.

Keyword actions

"Lose priority" as a part of a cost of a spell or ability means: You can pay such a cost only once if you are the next player who would receive priority during the current step of the turn, and only if the cost is part of the process of a spell or ability being played as the action you are taking by having priority so that completing that action would result in priority. If you have done this, then the only thing you can do when you have priority is to pass; doing this resets the "lose priority". (This prevents you from responding or playing such a spell or ability multiple times before it resolves, unless your opponent responds first in which case you may get another chance.) You cannot pay this cost more than once as a part of a single cost, nor can you do so if you already have the "lose priority" condition for some reason. This is also not allowed if there is some reason why you would not be allowed to pass priority due to some effect depending on playing that spell or ability.

To "encode" an object on a permanent means to exile that object encoded on that permanent, and the exiled object now has cipher if it does not already have that ability.

If "suspend" is used as a keyword action, it means to exile that object, and if it does not have suspend, it gains "suspend 0--unpayable cost". (This does not, by itself, cause it to be "suspended", although the effect that suspends it will usually also give it time counters, so that it will be suspended.)

"Flip a coin" represents one of two keyword actions. The process of flipping a coin (A) involves selecting "heads" or "tails" at random; the result is then whichever of these has been selected in this way. The processing of flipping a coin (B) involves choosing "heads" or "tails", and then flipping a coin (A); the result is then the result of the flipping a coin (A), together with "winning the flip" if the first choice matches the second, or "losing the flip" if they do not match. A player does not "flip a coin" unless the "flip a coin" keyword action is used. (Note: There is no relation between flipping coins and flipping objects; the same word "flip" is used in English but the AST does not match.)

The process of rolling a die consists of selecting one of that die's faces at random, which is then called the "natural result". For a "N-sided die", "N-sided dice", or "dN", the faces are the integers from 1 to N (inclusive). If a replacement effect replaces the random choice of the face to be selected as the natural result, then the value that it has been replaced by is then considered to be its natural result; this replacement effect is applied before rules 706.2-8 are applied. If multiple dice must be rolled together, then they are rolled one at a time. If no effect distinguishes or replaces any of them, then you may roll them simultaneously as a shortcut.

To "visit" an object will trigger its visit ability, if it has any (if it does not, then visiting that object has no effect, but it can still be visited). Only an object's controller can visit that object, but it does not matter what its type is, or whether or not it has any lights (an object with no controller cannot be visited). "Roll to visit your Attractions" means to roll a d6 and then visit each Attraction you control that has lights what that number lit. (This is not quite compatible with official rules, because of the intervening if clause which might matter if the lights somehow change before it resolves. Additionally, there seems to be a confusion in the official rules about whether or not the visited permanent has to be an Attraction; these unofficial rules make it clear. If it can be made more closely to official rules while still being clear, and not too badly designed or too different, then I should change this in such a way.)

"Conjure [name] into [zone]" allows a card with text from the database to come into existence from nowhere. See the rules below for conjuring.

"Rewind the game state" means to change the game state (including everything "outside the game") to exactly what it was at the specified time (which must be in the past, not the future); however, it may specify that some objects are in different zones than they were at that time. This is only legal in puzzles and in computer games, and all players remember what happened, but the game forgets everything that happened since that time. No triggered abilities or replacement effects can apply to this. If a player has already conceded, then that player immediately concedes again as soon as it is rewound, even if that player hasn't conceded yet by the time that it is rewound to.

To "ransom" an object means to exile that object, and that object is now "ransomed". A player can play {3} as a special action to return a ransomed object they own from exile to their hand (even if it was ransomed by a permanent that is no longer in the battlefield). (If the ransomed object moves to another zone, or is exiled again while in the exile zone, then it is no longer ransomed and this special action is no longer available for that object.)

"Assemble" and "reassemble" are defined below in the section about Contraptions.

To "crank" a permanent has no effect by itself, although it is always successful (unless something prevents it from being cranked). Normally, permanents are cranked by a turn-based action, and have abilities that trigger when they are cranked. A player cannot crank permanents that they do not control.

Rule changes

The rules for "discard" should say that only the owner of a card can discard that card, and only if that card is in that player's hand.

The ongoing supertype now suppresses all similar state-based actions that care when there are no triggered abilities of that object on the stack nor pending triggered abilities of that object; specifically, the state-based actions for phenomena, Sagas, dungeons, and schemes. (An ongoing dungeon can still leave the game if you try to venture into that dungeon while the bottommost room is the current one.)

The legendary supertype no longer has any inherent effect on instants/sorceries. Older cards are errataed to have a new (currently unnamed) keyword ability which prohibits them from being cast in certain circumstances; those cards are still legendary. (This rule is potentially incompatible.)

If for any reason, multiple conflicting continuous effects from static abilities of the same object have the same timestamp, and a timestamp order must be determined in order to apply those effects, then they are applied as though the relative timestamp order is from the first such ability (with the earliest timestamp) to the last one (with the latest timestamp), in the ordinary reading order. If this is caused by concatenating the ability text of several objects, then the order of concatenation must be determined at the time that the effect is applied (the relative order within the existing text of an existing object remains the same, without other timestamps in between that were not already there); if this is due to text being added to an existing object's text, then the text added afterward comes after the text that was already there.

Triggered abilities can have costs (although they normally do not have any costs). If they do, then the same process (601.2f-h) for applying the costs when casting a spell, will apply. If there is no legal way to play that ability in a way that the costs can be paid, then the ability is removed from the stack. If the only legal way to play the ability involves costs that include mana that you do not already have in your mana pool and/or characteristics of objects that are not known to all players, then playing the ability is optional; if it is not played, it is removed from the stack with no effect. If multiple triggered abilities with costs would be played, then they may be played in any order which is legal according to 603.3b; if paying the cost of one of them makes another one impossible then that is permitted and results in the later ones not being played.

If the process of playing a triggered ability results in any further abilities triggering (possibly due to what happened due to the payment of a cost, e.g. a death trigger due to sacrificing a permanent), then those further abilities are deferred until each player in APNAP order has played the current round of triggered abilities.

It is not possible to cast an object if any of the following conditions are met:

If, when beginning to cast an object, after trying to move it to the stack, it is not in the stack, then the casting is immediately aborted and nothing else happens; the object does not become cast, and it does not trigger anything that would be triggered when casting, and no modes or targets are selected. (Aborting a spell in this way does not cause the spell to move back to where it was before it was cast; it will remain where it is. For example, attempting to cast a suspended Attraction from the exile zone will move it to the junkyard and then the casting is immediately aborted and it will remain in the junkyard. However, if some effect (e.g. epic) prevents casting it, then it remains exiled.)

During the process of selecting modes or targets or divisions among targets, if a selection must be made but the object that it is being selected for is not in the stack, then the process of playing that object is aborted; no selections are made, and the rest of the process does not occur. (This is not the case for the rest of the process after selection of targets (and divisions if applicable); in those cases (when determining the cost, activating mana abilities, and paying the cost), it can continue even if it is not in the stack at that time. This is similar to rule 601.5, but is a bit different; rule 601.5 and 601.2e still apply, too.) (Aborting a spell in this way does not cause the spell to move back to where it was before it was cast; it will remain where it is.)

Whether or not an ability is a mana ability depends on the AST only, and not on its actual effect. All of the following conditions must be met to be a mana ability:

(The above rule about mana abilities is not intended to affect which abilities of already existing official cards are mana abilities.)

If an object has multiple types, all of the following rules apply to them:

Rules 704.6c-f apply to all games, not only to variant games (although they are usually not important except in variant games).

Any face-up scheme can be abandoned, even if it is not ongoing, and even if it is not a Archenemy game. The state-based action for non-ongoing schemes will abandon them.

Outside of variant games specifically using those rules (or allowing the applicable cards for some other reason), the ante zone, planar deck, scheme deck, etc are initially empty. The special action involving the planar die is only valid if you control a plane or phenomenon or have a non-empty planar deck (or both). The turn-based action setting schemes in motion applies to any player who has a non-empty scheme deck.

If any permanent would be faced up for any reason (not only the official reasons) and would be an instant, sorcery, command-only type, an object with undefined characteristics, or half of a melded permanent, instead it is revealed and remains face-down. This is also true if it would transform into an object that has any of those types, for any reason.

Activated and triggered abilities cannot enter the battlefield from the stack, regardless of their types (whether or not they have any), even if they are manifested.

An effect can disallow conceding, but such an effect only applies to subgames; a player can always concede the main game (even during the subgame) regardless of any effects that might disallow it, in which case they automatically concede the subgame too (even if it is disallowed).

Rules 508.1d (requirements/restrictions for attacking creatures) and 508.1e (assigning bands) should be exchanged. (This way, requirements/restrictions can care about which creatures are banded with which other creatures.) However, if the effect does not mention banding or declaration of bands, then declaration of bands is ignored when determining requirements/restrictions for that effect only.

If some rule or effect moves an object to "the hand", "the library", or "the graveyard", it means that zone belonging to the owner of that object. If multiple objects are being moved in this way, they might have different owners than each other and therefore each one moves to its owner's zone. If they are placed in a specific place in an order by choice or a random order, the usual rules are used to resolve this but they are done per each player. If multiple objects are "shuffled into the library", then each player who owned any of these objects shuffles their library; each such library is only shuffled once in this way regardless of how many objects are being moved in this way.

If an object would be an instant or sorcery when it enters the battlefield, instead it is revealed and remains in its current zone. (This is a slight variant of rule 304.4; the original rule fails to consider some situations.) Similarly, if an permanent's copiable values would be an instant or sorcery when it is faced up for any reason, instead it is revealed and remains face down.

Some effects that cause a player to get an emblem might specify characteristics other than its abilities; in this case, it will have those characteristics. (For example, if an effect says "you get a red emblem..." then the emblem will be red instead of colorless; damage it deals to a permanent with protection from red is prevented, its abilities cannot target permanents with protection from red, etc.)

If a player has multiple vanguard cards they own in the command zone as the game begins, then all of the hand modifiers and life modifiers are added together and applied to the corresponding base values (normally 7 and 20, respectively; if combining with a different variant, or another effect that changes them, then these numbers might be different). If either of them is negative, then the deck construction is not legal, if this was directly due to deck construction alone; however, if it is not due to deck construction alone and the total starting and maximum hand size is negative, then it is treated as zero instead.

Most of the text of a triggered ability or activated ability on the stack will be a spell ability; however, some abilities of objects might grant the corresponding ability objects other text which are abilities other than spell abilities (e.g. "this ability has split second", which causes the ability object in the stack to have split second (not "this ability has split second")).

A modal spell or ability where the modes describe characteristics or values which are handled by other text on the card, they are treated as that number of modes, each of which has the specified effect with the specified values. (For example, the first mode Outlaws' Merriment is treated as though it says "Create a red and white 3/1 Human Warrior creature token with trample and haste", and the first mode of Wild Shape is treated as "Target creature you control is a 1/3 Turtle with hexproof until end of turn".)

If a library is shuffled, all objects in that library become new objects (and any continuous effects that applied to them stop applying to them).

The meaning of splicing and adaptation are "locked in" before the effect of those keyword abilities apply; e.g. if a card has "adaptation--sacrifice a Shapeshifter", then you cannot use the adaptation ability to change itself so that you can sacrifice a non-Shapeshifter permanent to pay for the adaptation ability.

Splice can be used on objects which are not spells, but only if the specified quality specifically mentions a quality which is not applicable to spells (e.g. "splice onto triggered ability").

All steps of the process for casting a spell mostly (unless otherwise specified) applies to any object being played in the stack using that process, regardless of type, kind, etc. (Other rules and effects that modify this process still apply normally. However, note that this does not make all such objects into spells.)

Spell abilities apply during resolution of an object regardless of its type (although normally permanent spells do not have any spell abilities), before it normally moves to another zone.

Protection from a zone means it is protected from all objects in that zone.

Text-changing effects

Text-changing effects are AST-based.

For the purpose of effects which affect (or check for) words that refer to subtypes, the following rules are used:

State-based actions

The following new state-based actions apply:

Ongoing objects are treated by state-based actions as though they are the source of a triggered ability which has not left the stack (even if that is not true).

If multiple state-based actions do conflicting things to an object (whether directly or due to some action that does them), apply the following rules:

Some effects suppress some or all state-based actions for some or all objects and/or players. In this case, the following rules apply:

When state-based actions apply to objects and/or players, use the following rules to determine which ones each state-based action applies to:

  1. Find all objects and players that this state-based action would apply to due to its characteristics, counters, status, and (for a player) life total. During this first step, ignore characteristics and anything else about any other object and/or player (although static abilities of other objects that affect the object under consideration still apply, when determining whether or not it has the required characteristics for the purpose of this rule).

  2. Exclude from consideration any objects and/or players for which this state-based action is suppressed.

  3. Determine what, if any, effect this state-based action has on the objects and/or players that it applies to. For the purpose of making this determination, this state-based action may care which other objects and/or players are in this set, which is the set determined by the above rules. (It may also depend on things other than what belongs to this set; this is not affected by exclusion due to the above rules).

For example, if there are four permanents with the supertype world, and the world rule is suppressed for two of them, then the one out of the two that the world rule is not suppressed for which was a world permanent for the shortest time will die; the world rule won't cause both of them to die, even the one with the shortest time being a world permanent is one of the two that the world rule is suppressed.

Continuous effects may add additional state-based actions.

Incompatible rule changes

If a cost is reduced by any number of snow mana symbols, then, like colored and colorless mana (rules 118.7a-d), it is reduced by that many snow mana symbols, and if there are not enough, the rest reduces it by that much generic mana.

It no longer prohibited for creatures to be attached to objects/players. This removes the first sentence of rule 704.5p, the first sentence of rule 301.5c, and any other similar rules. An exception is made if that creature has a "reconfigure" ability; in that case, the official rules apply. A few older Equipment cards which temporarily change themself into creatures will be errataed to longer be Equipment during those times. (This errata does not apply if the only reason for this is due to keyword abilities other than reconfigure, e.g. if it has crew.)

Meld permanents and double-faced permanents are no longer prohibited from being faced down; they can be faced down normally. (You may represent this by putting the substitute card face down on top of it, or if a sleeve is used, expose the opaque back of the sleeve.)

"Bands with other [quality]" no longer requires that the creature having this ability also has [quality] in order to work; the rules that require this no longer require it. (Some cards might say "bands with" without the word "other"; this is merely an abbreviation and the AST and effect are the same as though it does say "other".)

The rule in the Unfinity Release Notes relating to name stickers in non-Un-games isn't very good, in my opinion. I will suggest to substitute the rule (in non-Un-games only): Name stickers can only go after parts of the name that are not stickers, although you can place them before other name stickers if desired. Names with stickers and those without never match each other; for a name to match, the name without stickers must be the same and the sequence of name stickers placed must be the same. (Effects that care about the spelling of name stickers still works.)

If there are no legal defending players when the declare attackers step would begin, then the declare attackers step is skipped. (This can happen if the player chosen as the defending player (or all opponents in the range of influence, if the attack multiple players option is being used) leaves the game during the begin combat step, or if there are no legal defending players in the range of influence, etc.)


Rule 800.4n does not apply; the ante zone is not an exception to rule 800.4a. However, any of those objects that existed before the game started can still be seen by any match/tournament rules which care about them, and will see their ownership as having been changed at the end of the game to the winner of that game (immediately before the game state and all objects and players in it cease to exist). (If the winner of that game is a team, then the owner of that object is now a team. How to handle this situation is beyond the scope of the game rules; such a situation can never occur during any game.) Similarly, abilities from phenomena also are not exempt from rule 800.4a (if that ability ceases to exist and there aren't any others, and the phenomenon is still face-up by that time, then the planar controller will planeswalk the next time state-based actions are checked).

The ante zone is shared across subgames. When beginning or ending a subgame, objects in the ante zone are now in the subgame's ante zone or main game's ante zone, and their one-shot properties will persist across subgames as long as that object does not move. However, continuous effects will not apply to them in a different game level, but any continous effects applied to them in the main game will continue to apply to them when the main game resumes unless those objects have moved out of the ante zone during the subgame, even if they went back in later (in which case they are considered to be new objects, like any other object that moves across zones) before the subgame ended. Beginning a subgame does not add additional cards into the ante zone (like is possible with the main game if you are "playing for ante"). Ending a subgame does not cause the owner of objects in the ante zone to change. (This rule avoids the conflict of the combination of subgames, teams, and ante. This rule has been suggested by a puzzle solution that requires a rule like this in order to work; however, the puzzle does not involve teams.)

A cost or effect may say to remove a card from your card pool. You can only remove cards you own from your card pool; objects other than cards, and cards you do not own, cannot be removed from your card pool. In this case, that card ceases to exist for the same duration that ownership changes would last. (Cards which do this may be banned in some formats.)

Combat damage step

The rules for multiple combat damage steps are changed a bit.

As the first combat damage step of a combat phase would begin, there may be up to three combat damage steps, called the "first strike step", "normal strike step", and "last strike step".

Determine which attacking/blocking creatures are "selected to assign combat damage" at each combat damage step. If no creatures are selected to assign combat damage for that step as that step would begin, then that step is skipped. Only attacking or blocking creatures selected to assign combat damage during that step will assign combat damage during that step.

In all cases, any criteria about which abilities it has is checked at the time that step would begin, not earlier; however, if it checks if it was selected, it checks if it was selected at that previous time, rather than if it would meet those criteria at the current time. Also, during each step, ignore any creature with "no strike"; it cannot be selected to assign combat damage regardless of what other abilities it might have.

For the purpose of the above rules, ignore whether or not it would actually be capable of assigning any combat damage. (For example, do not exclude selecting it to assign combat damage, and do not omit the combat damage step, merely because its power is zero, or because it is blocked but no creatures are blocking it.)

(Note that this does not quite match the rules for Unstable.)

One-shot properties

A "one-shot property" is a property of an object or player which is applied by one-shot effects and/or which exists independently of any continuous effects (although some of them may cause continuous effects). Some of them only apply in specific zones. These include (but are not necessarily limited to):

Some one-shot properties are "persistent properties"; these properties survive zone changes, so that the new object in the zone it moves to will enter that zone with the persistent properties changed; these will last until something changes them or the game ends. These include (but are not necessarily limited to):

Mana priority

If a player has a chance to activate mana abilities, during casting a spell or at any other time, but not when they have priority, then that is called a "mana step" and that player has "mana priority".

Mana steps can be nested; if one mana step ends, others that occur at the same time do not automatically also end. A player can only have mana priority for one mana step at a time.

Mana priority is not priority. State-based actions and special actions do not apply during mana priority. Players cannot pass mana priority to another player. Triggered abilities (other than triggered mana abilities) that trigger during this time will be pending, and played when a player would have actual priority.

A player who needs to pay a cost which includes mana will have a mana step at the appropriate times mentioned in the rules, even if that player already has enough mana in their mana pool to pay the cost, and can continue an existing mana step even after they already activated enough mana abilities to add enough mana into their mana pool to pay for the cost. If desired, they may also spend some of the mana for further mana abilities during this mana step, even if it is not in excess of the cost that this mana step needs to pay, as long as they will end the mana step with at least enough mana in their mana pool to pay for the cost.

(TODO: timing rules for mana steps and mana priority (including triggered mana abilities))

Players leaving the game

This section describes what happens when a player leaves the game and then ceases to exist (at least within the current game), and how conceding is handled, and how to handle such things during subgames as well as the main game. (These rules are most likely to be important in multiplayer games and subgames. In a two player main game without any changes that external match rules might care about, these rules can be ignored as a shortcut.)

If a player leaves the game, that player does not "cease to exist" (within the context of the game state) yet (and the game does not end yet) unless leaving the game is the direct result of a state-based action or turn-based action. Players who have left the game will cease to exist in any of the following circumstances:

Rule 800.4 (with the exception of 800.4n) do not apply to a player who has left the game until that player ceases to exist. The same is true of other similar rules (such as 901.8 and 901.10).

If a player has left the game but not yet ceased to exist, then the following rules apply to any such players:

The following additional rules apply to conceding:

If a non-static effect of a resolving spell or ability causes a player to lose the game by explicitly saying so (rather than by conceding, or by another player winning, etc), then rule 800.4 applies immediately and that player ceases to exist immediately (unless some effect is preventing the player from losing the game). This is true even if that player has already conceded but not yet ceased to exist.

(For some further discussion about this section, see the discussion at UNIX timestamp 1648900592 of the esoteric programming IRC logs.)

Names and namespaces

A name consists of a core name and a sequence of stickers.

A core name is either an implicit name or an explicit name or null.

An implicit name contains a sequence of subtypes (which is opaque).

An explicit name is a core name other than an implicit name; some explicit names are legal names (the names that are valid choices when you are required to choose a name). Each explicit name also belongs to a namespace (which is opaque, and is not accessible by any game effects (but may be relevant to match/tournament effects)).

Two names to match iff the core names match and the sequence of stickers match. Two implicit names match iff the sequences of subtypes match. Two explicit names match iff they are the same explicit name in the same namespace. Nulls always match other nulls (although the name will not match if the sequence of stickers does not match). An implicit name does not match an explicit name. Spelling is not relevant when determining whether or not two names match.

Two name stickers match iff they have the same sequence of letters (ignoring punctuation, capitalization, etc).

If combining multiple legal official and/or unofficial sets of cards in the same game, and they have cards with the same English name but different AST (excluding lights, if those cards have any), then the names are considered to be different names; they do not match. If a player is required to choose a name or otherwise announce a name, that player must specify which one is meant specifically.

A null name will always have stickers applied to it; this situation occurs when name stickers are applied to an object that does not have a name (see rule 123.6b). For the purpose of rule 123.6, a core name always consists of zero "words", while a name sticker always consists of exactly one "word" (this is not the same as official rules).

(Note that it is possible for a name to have stickers even if the object with that name does not have any name stickers, if something copies its name (although the stickers do not affect its copiable values).)


"Conjure [name] into [zone]" causes a card to come into existence into nowhere.

The card will have the full initial text corresponding to the specified entry in the database. The owner is the player who conjured it, and the controller is usually the same as the owner (if it is conjured into a zone where it would be appliable), but some effects might say otherwise.

If the database entry specifies multiple possible combinations of lights, then one of them is selected at random.

If the specified name is Cryptic Spires, then the owner of that card chooses which two colors will define its initial text before that card enters the game.

If the card is conjured into the stack, then its controller casts that card without paying its mana cost. If it cannot be cast, then nothing happens; the card does not enter the game.

If an instant or sorcery would be conjured into the battlefield, then nothing happens; the card does not enter the game.

If any conspiracy or nontraditional card would be conjured into any zone other than the command zone, then nothing happens; the card does not enter the game.

Conjuring a card into the command zone does not automatically make it your commander.

If the database entry is for a card that has multiple sets of characteristics with different names, then that card's full initial text will have all of those characteristics (even ones not corresponding to the specified name), but the following rules apply:

If the name corresponds to the name of a melded pair (not the name of one of the individual cards that make up that melded pair), then the following rules apply:

If a conspiracy with hidden agenda or double agenda is conjured into the command zone, then its owner reveals it, and then puts it face down into the command zone and chooses a name (or two names) secretly, as that conspiracy's agenda.

Conjured cards cease to exist as the main game ends (but not if a subgame ends). If they are in the ante zone, their ownership will be changed and then they will cease to exist.


A "assembly card" is a card with the special card back for Contraptions (which says, in part, "Start the game with a CRANK! counter on Sprocket 3.") (i.e. a assembly card is to a Contraption what a Astrotorium card is to a Attraction).

Your deck may include a supplementary "Contraption deck". In Limited, it may include zero or more assembly cards, with no other restrictions. In Constructed, it can include either zero cards, or fifteen or more cards, and no card can have the same name as any other card in that deck. This is a supplementary deck and does not count toward minimum or maximum deck sizes of the main deck.

At the beginning of the game, shuffle the Contraption deck and put it in a face-down pile in the command zone.

If a assembly card would go to any zone other than the battlefield, exile zone, or command zone, instead it goes to the command zone in a face-up pile called the "scrapyard". This replacment effect can apply more than once to the same event.

Every player has a sprocket designation, and each permanent optionally has a sprocket designation. A sprocket designation is a one-shot property, and its value can be 1, 2, or 3. A player's sprocket designation is initially 3. A permanent normally has no sprocket designation. Sprocket designations are not characteristics and are not copiable values.

As a state-based action, any Contraption without a sprocket designation dies.

A player or permanent can "assemble a Contraption". This means that player, or that permanent's controller, reveals the top card of their Contraption deck, and then puts it into the battlefield under their control, with a sprocket designation of their choice. (It is not a valid choice to not assign any sprocket designation; it must be assigned.)

A player can also reassemble a permanent. In this case, you gain control of that permanent and then give it a sprocket designation of your choice (overriding any previous sprocket designation it may have). (If it already has a sprocket designation, the new one can be the same or a different one.)

As a turn-based action during the upkeep step, you do the following steps if you control any permanents with a sprocket designation (all of these steps are skipped if you do not control any such permanents):

  1. Change your sprocket designation. If it was 1, it is now 2; if it was 2, it is now 3; if it was 3, it is now 1.

  2. Choose any number of permanents you control that have the same sprocket designation as you. (You cannot choose any permanent more than once during this step.)

  3. Crank the chosen permanents, in any order. (You cannot crank any permanent more than once in this way.)

Deck construction

In a Constructed game, you are limited to not more than forty-eight sticker sheets (regardless of how many are available).

In a Constructed game, you cannot have more than ten dungeons (although they do not count against your sideboard limit); they must be dungeons that are legal in the format being played, and you cannot have multiple same dungeons. In a Limited game, drafting a set or cube automatically gives each player all "omnipresent" dungeons in that set or cube (if not specified otherwise, assume that these include official cards only). If a draft (usually a cube) includes dungeon cards that are a part of the draft (possibly as a separate draft) then they can be drafted normally and included in your sideboard.

Sticker deck

A sticker deck is the collection of ten or more sticker sheets that you start a Constructed game with, or any number (other than one or two) of sticker sheets available to you in Limited (you do not have to include all of the ones that you open). At the beginning of the game, they are shuffled and placed in a face up (not face down) pile called the "sticker deck", and then the top three are activated. (If for some reason there are not enough, none of them are activated. Note that they should be temporarily turned face down while they are being shuffled for any reason.)

Sticker decks, sticker sheets, and stickers, are not objects nor zones, and are not in any zone. They cannot be targeted, have counters placed on them, have characteristics, etc. Stickers, sticker decks, and sticker sheets do have owners.

To activate a sticker sheet, move it out of the sticker deck, and it is now active. The only stickers that may be placed on an object are those belonging to an active sticker sheet. A sticker sheet remains active even if all of its stickers are currently on objects (although its stickers can no longer be placed on any object until those stickers are no longer on an object).

A sticker sheet is "busy" if at least one of its stickers is on an object.

To deactivate a sticker sheet, put it on the bottom of the sticker deck; it is no longer active. Only a sticker sheet that is not busy can be deactivated, although it need not be active in order to deactivate it.

If an effect refers to the "top" or "bottom" sticker sheets, it refers to the top/bottom sticker sheets of the sticker deck, even if the text does not explicitly mention the sticker deck.

Draft abilities

These are different than the official rules for draft abilities. These rules are meant for use in drafts where players take turns, and cannot be used in an ordinary booster draft. Even in drafts with taking turns, these rules are optional; they are not used unless agreed before starting (in a tournament, it is the tournament organizers who will decide and announce this).

Draft abilities are not abilities and do not exist during the game, but are part of the database entry for those cards.

A draft ability is introduced by the words "Drafted:", "Drafting:", "Before pick:", or "Instead of pick:".

During the draft there will be the players, and the cards. Some draft formats will have teams, in which case some players will be teammates of others, and those who are not, will be their opponents.

A card in a draft that has been picked now has an owner, which is the player who picked it.

A draft turn involves the active player picking a card, and becoming that card's owner. If a draft format involves picking a pile of cards, then that entire pile is one turn. Other draft formats will pick multiple cards one at a time by the same player in succession; in this case, that player gets multiple consecutive turns before another player gets a turn.

Some drafts may involve actions other than picking a card or pile of cards. In this case, those actions do not count as a draft turn for the purpose of these rules, so "before pick" and "instead of pick" draft abilities cannot be used in this case.

A card in a draft can have the status: exposed/hidden, tapped/untapped, excluded/included; the defaults are listed second in each case. A card that is exposed can be seen by all players, and its draft abilities can be used; if hidden, then its draft abilities do not work.

When a card is picked by a player, that player chooses whether or not to expose it. If that player is not allowed to see that card then they must choose to not expose it. If all players are allowed to see that card before it is picked, then they must choose to expose it. Otherwise, they have a free choice.

A draft turn consists of the following steps:

Draft abilities labeled "drafting" work like static abilities.

In draft abilities, "destroy" a card means to both exclude and hide that card.

In draft abilities, "exchange" a card with another card means exchanging the ownership of those cards (status is unchanged).

If an effect says to reveal a card, then all players can now see it, although it does not count as being exposed (if it is not already exposed).

After the draft is completed, any cards that are included can be used in the deck or sideboard; excluded cards cease to exist and are no longer available.

Some draft effects may "mark" cards. If a card is marked, then its initial text is changed for the rest of the match or tournament which involves these drafted cards. (You migh either write on the cards directly, or you might add a note inside the same sleeve with the cards, or use some kind of numeric designation which uniquely identifies that card and write the changes to the text on a separate paper.)

Some draft effects may require a card to be in your starting deck or command zone. In this case, this requirement lasts for the rest of the match or tournament which involves these drafted cards, unless something prohibits them from being included in this way. Such effects only apply if the card with such an effect is exposed.

A draft effect may tell you to make a note of something, or check something which is noted, and might specify a name; if it does not specify a name, then the name of the card with the text of this effect is used (this is the original name before any changes, and the AST is considered to be exactly as though the name is specified explicitly). Notes are ordered in the order that the notes are made. A note may be a single value (e.g. a color, number, etc), or a pair, triple, etc, or a list, or a set or multiset. Pairs, triples, lists, etc are ordered, a set or multiset is unordered. Usually you will be given a choice of the value to be noted, but sometimes it might restrict the possible choices (possibly to only one thing); in all cases, this is determined at the time that the effect making the note is played.

Notes may also be referred to by game effects; similar rules are used, but no new notes can be added. Notes last for the duration of the match or tournament that uses these drafted cards, and remain unchanged during this time. (Some game effects may also tell you to note something; these notes are unrelated to draft notes.)

A draft effect may cause a player to get a "consumable". Comsumables follow the rules:

Extended Pseudo-Vintage

The following cards are now legal in Extended Pseudo-Vintage (in some cases, they have errata, listed here):

The following cards from Mystery Booster Playtest Cards are also now legal in Extended Pseudo-Vintage (again, errata is possible, like above):

(Some of the above cards might become legal in Pseudo-Vintage in future too, and possibly even Vintage if WotC makes them so, but currently they aren't. Only the paper versions of the cards listed above which are listed on Scryfall are legal. If for some reason they later reprint them with a different meaning, those are considered different cards and does not affect the above, which means only the ones available as of December 26, 2022, or the earliest available one if they do not become available until later.)

If, for whatever reason, cards mentioned have names with the same English spelling as other cards whose entire Oracle text (including card frames (e.g. if it is a split card or not), all sets of characteristics, etc) differs in any way other than lights, then the name is considered to be a different name, even though the spelling is the same. (The card "Bind // Liberate" above is one example of this.)

The following cards are legal in both Pseudo-Vintage and Extended Pseudo-Vintage:

(Chaos Orb and Falling Star remain banned.)

Note that in all cases, as usual, reminder text is not rule text and does not apply.

Type abbreviations

(There is something wrong with the markdown formatting in this section, at this time.)

Types and supertypes (but not subtypes) may be abbreviated in the type line in case they do not all fit. The abbreviations are:

Abbreviations should be used in compact listings (where it is desirable to reduce the amount of text), and should be used for printing cards only if the types do not otherwise fit.

An alternative is to use the futureshifted icons for each type as an abbreviation, although this does not include all types/supertypes.


Some other cards receive other miscellaneous errata under these rules, not already mentioned above:

Updated on 11 Mar 2023 by zzo38