If you haven't read this article over at magicthegathering.com then you really need to do that now. Even if you don't care about the rules changes, read it for the Magic 2010 preview cards. Go ahead. I'll wait.
I'm not happy about some of these changes, but I understand and support them. Except for parts of change #5. I'll get to that in a bit.
Change #1 - Simultaneous Mulligans. This is good stuff. Not a huge change, but I approve.
Change #2a - In-play zone now referred to as the battlefield. Probably a good idea. It's just going to take some getting used to, and I know I'll be inadvertently saying things like "comes into play" (as opposed to "enters the battlefield") for quite some time. But then, that's true of all the terminology changes.
Change #2b - You cast spells again instead of playing them. The term "play" is now reserved only for playing lands and playing cards that might be either a spell or a land. Wizards is cleaning up the muddle surrounding "play" and that's good stuff. Now if they could only tackle counters...
Change #2c - RFG (removed-from-game) now referred to as exile. This is the one change that I'm really enthusiastic about. I taught several people Magic during Time Spiral block, and the removed-from-the-game aspect was really hard to explain. Exile is so much easier, and so much more flavorful. And I love that it's also a verb, just like bury used to be.
Change #2d - "At end of turn" changed to "At the beginning of the end step." This change should have been made a while ago. I'm kinda miffed that you can still pull Rootwalla shenanigans, but not terribly. At least they're easier to understand now.
Change #3a - Mana pools empty at the ends of both phases and steps now (as opposed to just phases). I was wrong about this one before and am glad the update has changed that. Here's when mana pools empty now:
First Main Phase
* Beginning of combat step
* Declare attackers step
* Declare blockers step
* Combat damage step
* End of combat step
(They might empty again for the end of the combat phase. I'm not sure about that one.)
Second Main Phase
Change #3b - No more manaburn. I can understand why they would get rid of it, but that doesn't mean I like the change. No longer will I be able to use mana to burn, as Valleymaker (or Bustling Port) let me do. I remember games where my opponents have manaburned themselves to avoid Hidetsugu's Second Rite. I remember games where I manaburned myself to manipulate convalescent care. I remember a deck Benny made that used manaburn in conjunction with Children of Korlis, Deathrender, and Enduring Renewal to gain infinite life. But that's all those are - memories. Goodbye, manaburn. You will be missed.
Change #4 - Tokens are now owned by the player under whose control they entered the battlefield. I didn't know there were unintuitive tricks in the old system, but there were and they're gone now. This is a good change.
Change #5 - Combat damage no longer uses the stack. This is the big one. I can't make a list of memories like I did with manaburn because the list would be too damn long. I'm so bewildered by the immensity of this change that I'm probably just going to accept it. All but one part. I despise the new way assigning chump-blocks works. Here's a situation:
I attack with a Hill Giant(3/3). You block with Llanowar Sentinel(2/3) and Windborn Muse(2/3). That's how I order them. Under the new system, I have to assign lethal damage to your Sentinel (and thus no damage to your Muse.) Damage is assigned and resolves, killing my Giant and your Sentinel. Muse takes no damage.
What if I had pyroclasm in my hand? I can't split the damage and then pyroclasm to take out both your creatures.
What if I had Mephidross Vampire in play and the extra +1/+1 counter would have won me the game or at the very least saved my Giant's life?
What if you had a Hissing Iguanar?
What if you had a Mortivore?
What if I knew you had an Avatar of Woe in hand and there were eight creatures in the graveyard already?
What if I wanted to play Avatar of Might and killing one of your creatures would leave you with an excess of only three?
What if your creatures were Zubera, or Sojourners, or one of the literally hundreds of creatures in Magic that care about being put into a graveyard from the battlefield?
What if I was already losing and just wanted to die in the most spectacular way possible?
The reason isn't important. What is important is that you can no longer split damage among blockers unless you are dealing lethal to all or all but one of them. And that pisses me off.
Change #6 - Deathtouch is now a static ability. There goes a card idea. It was a 1/1 and it had deathtouch three times. It was stupid, and I'm not too upset to see it go. The damage splitting is not a problem with deathtouch, but a problem with the new combat damage system.
Change #7 - Lifelink is now a static ability. Good. This was one of the most irritating things to the new players I taught. When they have a creature with lifelink, they expect it to actually gain them life before they die.
IMPORTANT ANCIENT BYZANTINE WISDOM ANNOUNCEMENT:
I do not intend to go back through the archives of this site and errata all the cards, but I am going to do that for all my cards in Magic Set Editor and would suggest that other ABW contributors (i.e. Nameless One and Shore Snapper) do the same. Starting next Monday, all ABW cards will be made in accordance with Magic 2010 rules. Even change #5.
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