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The comprehensive rules have changed many times throughout the years. Those changes tend to correspond with the release of a new set. While many of the changes are changes in wording or numbering, others fundamentally change gameplay. For example, with the release of Battle for Zendikar, the rules were updated so that after mulligans were taken, each player with fewer cards in hand than the starting value was allowed to scry 1. A full list of changes can be found at (starting with Rivals of Ixalan) and (up to Ixalan).


  • New keyword action: Double.
  • New keyword ability variants: Hexproof from [quality] and Equip [quality] creature.
  • New enchantment type: Saga.
  • New planeswalker type: Jaya.
  • New game term: Historic.
  • Chapter symbols were added that represent chapters as an ability of Sagas, similar to the level symbol from Rise of the Eldrazi.
  • The legendary supertype was expanded. Legendary sorcery spells can only be cast if the player controls a legendary creature or planeswalker.
  • The order of three or more colored mana symbols was standardized. Wedges have the shared enemy color in the center.
  • Cards that referenced their own name while being cast received errata to refer to "this spell" instead of repeating the card name.
  • The planeswalker redirection rule was removed. Most cards with "target player" or "target creature or player" that deal damage received errata to say "target player or planeswalker" or "any target" respectively. ("Any target" means "target creature, player or planeswalker", excluding other kinds of object.)
  • The template for pronouns changed from "he or she", "him or her", or "his or her" to singular "they", "them" and "their".
  • The template for "Add {mana} to your mana pool" shortened to "Add {mana}".[1]

Rivals of Ixalan[]


  • Unstable did not introduce any new black border rules. Instead, Mark Rosewater wrote an FAQ for the Unstable silver border rules changes, and many Unglued and Unhinged cards received Oracle text updates.[3]
  • Assemble was added to the glossary in the Comprehensive Rules, pointing to Mark Rosewater's silver border FAQ.[2]


Commander 2017[]

Hour of Devastation[]


  • New keyword abilities: Embalm and Aftermath.
  • New keyword action: Exert.
  • New creature type: Jackal.
  • New enchantment type: Cartouche.
  • The characteristics of split cards were changed. While not on the stack, the card's characteristics are a combination of both halves. A split card that's an instant on one half and a sorcery on the other is both an instant and a sorcery when not on a stack, and its converted mana cost is the sum of both halves.[7]
  • With Heart-Pierce Manticore, reflexive triggered abilities were introduced.[8]

Aether Revolt[]

Commander 2016[]


Conspiracy: Take the Crown[]

Eldritch Moon[]

Shadows over Innistrad[]

  • New keyword ability: Skulk.
  • New keyword action: Investigate.
  • New ability word: Delirium.
  • If an object gains an ability, the value of X within that ability is the value defined by that ability, or 0 if that ability doesn't define a value of X.
  • The converted mana cost of the back side of a double-faced card is the same as its front side. It used to be 0.
  • If a spell or ability instructs a player to transform a permanent, and the face that permanent would transform into is represented by an instant or sorcery card face, nothing happens.
  • If a spell or ability attempts to transform a permanent, but that permanent has transformed since the spell or ability was put on the stack, the permanent doesn't transform.
  • If a player is instructed to put a card that isn't a double-faced card onto the battlefield transformed, that card stays in its current zone.[13]

Oath of the Gatewatch[]

  • New keyword ability: Surge.
  • New keyword action: Support.
  • Added {C} (represented by the letter 'C') as a symbol for colorless mana. Older cards that read "Add {1} to your mana pool" or similar received errata to read "Add {C} to your mana pool". This is solely a templating change, not a functional one. {C} in a mana cost must be paid with colorless mana. Generic mana costs ({1}, {2}, {X}, etc.) can still be paid with any color of mana.
  • Effects that would add mana represented by a generic symbol ({1}, {2}, {X}, etc.) to a mana pool add that much colorless mana.
  • Removed special mulligan rule for Commander. Commander now uses normal mulligan rules for two-player or multiplayer games.
  • Mana of any color can be added to your mana pool in Commander. Previously, mana not in your commander's color identity was converted to colorless mana.[14]

Commander 2015[]

Battle for Zendikar[]

  • New keyword abilities: Awaken, Devoid, and Ingest.
  • New ability words: Rally and Convoke.
  • Vancouver mulligan — The long-standing Paris mulligan rule was augmented with the following: After all players have kept an opening hand, each player in turn order whose hand contains fewer cards than that player's starting hand size may look at the top card of his or her library. If a player does, that player may put that card on the bottom of his or her library. (This is equivalent to scry 1, but not described as such in the rules.)
  • Face-down cards in exile should be kept in separate piles based on when they were exiled and how they were exiled. If a player is instructed to choose an exiled card, the player may choose a specific face-down card only if the player is allowed to look at that card. Otherwise, he or she may choose a pile of face-down exiled cards, and then a card is chosen at random from within that pile. If choosing such a card is part of casting a spell or activating an ability, the chosen card isn't revealed until after that cost is fully paid.
  • If a player would scry 0, that player doesn't scry.[16]

Magic Origins[]

  • New ability word: Spell mastery.
  • New keyword abilities: Menace and Renown.
  • Choices for spells are made before legality is checked. For example, if you can't cast creature spells, you can still cast a spell with bestow as an Aura.
  • Permanents get a new timestamp when they turn face up, turn face down, or transform.
  • If you would shuffle cards into your library, but no cards are added to it (for example, due to a replacement effect), you still shuffle it.
  • The chaos symbol, {CHAOS}, is now represented by the word 'CHAOS' instead of 'C'.
  • If your commander would be exiled or go to your hand, library or graveyard, you may choose to have it go to the command zone instead. (Previously this was only the case for exile and graveyard.)[17]

Dragons of Tarkir[]

Fate Reforged[]

  • New ability word: Lieutenant.
  • New keyword actions: Bolster and Manifest.
  • New keyword ability: Dash.
  • New planeswalker type: Ugin.
  • If you are instructed to pay the mana cost of a card with {X} in its cost, X is 0 unless the card is a spell on the stack, in which case X is whatever was chosen for it.
  • Some permanents make you choose between multiple abilities. Each ability is associated with an anchor word. "[Anchor word] — [ability]" means "As long as [anchor word] was chosen as this permanent entered the battlefield, this permanent has [ability]."
  • Double-faced cards can now be cast face down. Face down is not the same as transformed; a face-down double-faced card has the characteristics defined by whatever caused it to be face down and cannot transform. When it is turned face up, its front face is showing. Double-faced cards on the battlefield can't be turned face down.[19]

Khans of Tarkir[]

Magic 2015[]

  • If searching a zone is replaced with searching a portion of that zone, any abilities that trigger on searching that zone still trigger.[21]


Journey into Nyx[]

Born of the Gods[]

  • New ability word: Inspired.
  • New keyword ability: Tribute.
  • New planeswalker type: Kiora.
  • New game value variant: Devotion to [color 1] and [color 2] is equal to the number of mana symbols among the mana costs of permanents that player controls that are [color 1], [color 2], or both colors. Hybrid symbols (e.g. {W/U}) are only counted once, even if they have both colors.
  • An Aura or Equipment that moves from one object or player to another becomes "unattached from" the first object or player, but never becomes "unattached".
  • Main-game counters on players are considered not to exist during a subgame. Subgame counters cease to exist at the end of the subgame.
  • Schemes are now set in motion one at a time.
  • Casting any commander from the command zone also requires an additional {2} for each time the casting player has cast that commander this game. Previously, this only applied to your own commander. This was changed because Daxos of Meletis could allow a player to cast a different player's commander from the command zone.[24]

Commander 2013[]

  • New keyword ability variant: Protection from [player] means protection from each object controlled by that player and each object owned by that player that is not controlled any player.[25]
  • New ability word: Tempting offer.


  • New keyword ability: Bestow.
  • New keyword action: Monstrosity.
  • New game value: Devotion to [color] is equal to the number of mana symbols of that color among the mana costs of permanents that player controls.
  • New planeswalker type: Xenagos.
  • "Equipped", "fortified", and "enchanted" are all now synonyms for "attached". Permanents with abilities that refer to the "equipped creature", "fortified land", and "enchanted [object or player]" simply refer to the the object or player the permanent is attached to, as long as the object or player is of the correct type. "For example, there was a weird combo with Myr Welder exiling Demonspine Whip and Transmogrifying Licid. The Welder could now become an Aura and attach to a creature."[26] Under the new rules, the Welder's ability gained from the Whip referring to "equipped creature" refers to the creature that it's enchanting as an Aura as a result of activating the ability that it gained from the Licid, despite it not being an Equipment.[26]

Magic 2014[]

  • New keyword ability: Indestructible. (Previously, indestructible was a quality of objects, not an ability; effects would say that an object "is indestructible" rather than "gains indestructible". For example, a creature enchanted with Indestructibility was still indestructible under the effect of Ovinize.)
  • Convoke is now an alternative method for paying mana costs. Previously, it reduced the casting cost. This prevents you from "over-convoking" or tapping more creatures than required.
  • Delve is now an alternative method for paying mana costs. Previously, it reduced the casting cost. This prevents you from "over-delving" or exiling more cards than required.
  • "Unblockable" was removed from the game's vocabulary. Cards now say "can't be blocked".
  • Sideboards for constructed play may now contain up to 15 cards. Players are no longer required to exchange cards one-for-one between their sideboard and main deck.
  • Expansion symbol is no longer a characteristic of cards. Cards that previously cared about this have received errata to say "cards originally printed in [set]", and the rules list the names of these cards.
  • You can no longer be required to cast a spell with a mandatory additional cost that includes actions involving cards with a stated quality in a hidden zone if able. For example, if a card says "as an additional cost to cast this card, reveal a creature from your hand", you can choose not to pay the cost, and you will not cast the spell.
  • If an effect would put a non-Aura card onto the battlefield attached to a creature, it enters unattached.
  • The procedure to determine whether a player can play a land was made more precise. Effects that say you may play one or more additional lands increase the number of lands you may play from the default 1, and the game checks this against the number of lands you've played so far this turn.
  • New planeswalker uniqueness rule: If a player controls two or more planeswalkers that share a planeswalker type, that player chooses one and puts the rest into their owners' graveyards. Previously, if more than one planeswalker with a given planeswalker type was on the battlefield, all of them were put into their owners' graveyards.
  • New legend rule: If a player controls two or more legendary permanents that share a name, that player chooses one and puts the rest into their owners' graveyards. Previously, if more than one permanent with a given name was on the battlefield, all of them were put into their owners' graveyards.
  • If an ability refers to the card exiled by an effect, but multiple cards were exiled (because the effect was copied, for example), it refers to all of those cards. If it checks the characteristics of the card, it sums that characteristic for all of them. If it would do something to the card, it does it to all of them.
  • If a effect causes a card to change zone "until" a future point, it immediately creates a second event to move the card back. If the specified event has already occurred when the initial one-shot effect would cause the object to change zones, the object doesn't move.[27]

Dragon's Maze[]

  • New keyword ability: Fuse.
  • New planeswalker type: Ral.
  • When instructed to "name a card", you may only name one half of a split card. Previously you were required to name both halves.
  • Abilities that trigger when a card "attacks and isn't blocked" trigger when blockers are declared (even if the declaration is "no blockers").
  • If an effect replaced searching a zone with searching a portion of a zone, that is still considered searching that zone.
  • A creature that gains more than one +1/+1 counter due to evolve still only "evolves" once.[28]


  • New ability words: Battalion and Bloodrush.
  • New keyword abilities: Cipher, Evolve, and Extort.
  • If an ability refers to an undefined choice, that part of the ability won't do anything.
  • If spending some mana is restricted based on an undefined choice, that mana can't be spent.
  • If a replacement effect that modifies how a permanent enters the battlefield requires a choice, that choice is made before the permanent changes zones.
  • If a spell states that it may be cast only "after [a player's] upkeep step", and the turn has multiple upkeep steps, that spell may be cast any time after the first upkeep step ends.
  • If a continuous effect has parts that modify the characteristics of cards and parts that affect cards without modifying their characteristics, the set of cards affected is determined separately for each part of the effect.
  • If a player leaves the game, abilities from phenomena that they control stay on the stack, and are now controlled by the new planar controller.[29]

Return to Ravnica[]

  • New planeswalker type: Vraska.
  • New keyword abilities: Overload, Scavenge, and Unleash.
  • New keyword actions: Detain and Populate.
  • If a player would search a zone for cards of an undefined quality, that player may search but can't find any cards.
  • If an ability triggers when an object "transforms into" an object with a specific name, it only triggers if that object had a different name, transforms, and now has the specified name.[30]

Magic 2013[]

  • The same object can't be chosen to change zones more than once when applying replacement effects that modify how a single permanent enters the battlefield.[31]

Planechase 2012[]

  • New card type: Phenomenon.
  • Each phenomenon card has a triggered ability that triggers when you encounter it. "When you encounter [this phenomenon]" means "When you move this card off a planar deck and turn it face up".
  • If a phenomenon card is face up in the command zone, and it isn't the source of a triggered ability that has triggered but not yet left the stack, the planar controller planeswalks the next time a player would receive priority.
  • No more than two cards in a planar deck can be phenomenon cards. If there is a shared planar deck, it can't contain more phenomenon cards than twice the number of players in the game.[32]


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