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Shadowmoor Rules Primer

As promised in the previous post, we have for you the Shadowmoor Rules Primer from Wizards, just in time for this weekend's Prerelease event. The more comprehensive Shadowmoor Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document will be posted on Magic: The Gathering on Monday, April 21, 2008. At this time the Shadowmoor cards will appear in the Gatherer database and the Oracle card reference as well.

Here are some of the highlights from the rules primer.
Returning Mechanic: Hybrid
Hybrid mana symbols represent a cost that can be paid with either of two colors.
Example - Wasp Lancer
If a cost includes more than one hybrid mana symbol, you can choose a different color to pay for each symbol.
If an effect then reduces the cost to play that spell by one or more colored mana, it applies to that spell only if you've chosen a method of paying for it that includes those colors.

New Mechanic: Monocolored Hybrid
Monocolored hybrid mana symbols represent a cost that can be paid in either of two ways.
Example - Beseech the Queen
For example, {2/B} can be paid with either {B} or with two mana of any type.
It is not colorless. For example, Beseech the Queen above is black, even if you spend six red mana to play it.
A card with monocolored hybrid mana symbols in its mana cost has a converted mana cost equal to the highest possible cost it could be played for. Its converted mana cost never changes. For example, Beseech the Queen above has a converted mana cost of 6, even if you spend {B}{B}{B} to play it.

Theme: Color Matters
Many Shadowmoor cards have two separate abilities while they're in play that each check for a certain color. If a card matches both colors, both of those abilities will "work."
Example - Wilt-Leaf Liege
The abilities are separate and cumulative. If another creature you control is both of the listed colors, it will get a total of +2/+2.

Cycles -

Auras Cycle
Each member of a cycle of Auras checks the enchanted creature's colors.
Example - Shield of the Oversoul
If the enchanted creature is both of the listed colors, it will get both bonuses.

Wisps cycle
An effect that changes a permanent's colors overwrites all its old colors unless it specifically says "in addition to its other colors."
Example - Cerulean Wisps (card not spoiled yet)
Cerulean Wisps - {U}- Instant
Target creature becomes blue until end of turn. Untap that creature.
Draw a card.
Changing a permanent's color won't change its text. If you turn Wilt-Leaf Liege blue, it will still affect green creatures and white creatures.

Theme: -1/-1 Counters
The Shadowmoor set contains many cards that deal with -1/-1 counters.
When a creature has a -1/-1 counter placed on it to reduce its toughness to 0 or less, it is directed to the graveyard.
A creature with -1/-1 counters on it may have 0 or less power. If so, it deals no damage in combat.
abilities, such as persist, care whether a creature had -1/-1 counters on it as it left play. If a creature with +1/+1 counters on it receives enough -1/-1 counters to cause it to be destroyed by lethal damage or put into its owner's graveyard for having 0 or less toughness, the game will check its existence just before it leaves play. It still had all those counters on it at that time.

New Symbol: The Untap Symbol
The untap symbol is the analog of the tap symbol. Represented as {Q} in rules documents, it looks like a white J-shaped arrow (with the arrowhead pointing up) on a black circle.
Example - Merrow Wavebreakers
The untap symbol appears only in the costs of activated abilities. It means "Untap this permanent."
If the permanent is already untapped, you can't play its {Q} ability. That's because you can't pay the "Untap this permanent" cost.
The "summoning sickness" rule applies to {Q} - Ignore this rule if the creature also has haste.

Keyword Ability: Conspire
Conspire is an ability that appears on instant and sorcery cards. It lets your creatures team up to create one extra copy of a spell.
Example - Burn Trail
If you choose to pay a conspire cost of a multicolored spell, the two creatures you tap don't need to share a color with each other. Each one just needs to share a color with the spell that has conspire.
You may pay a spell's conspire cost only once. (If a spell has multiple instances of conspire, you may pay each conspire cost only once.)
A copy created with conspire will have a conspire ability itself. However, since that copy wasn't played, its conspire ability won't trigger. You won't get another copy.
The copy you create with conspire is separate from the original spell. If either one of them is countered, the other remains on the stack.

Keyword Ability: Persist
Persist is an ability that can bring a creature back from the dead.
Example - Murderous Redcap
All the Shadowmoor cards with persist are creatures. If one of them somehow stops being a creature while it's in play, persist will still work.
Persist triggers when the permanent is put into a graveyard. Its last known information is used to determine whether it had any -1/-1 counters on it before it left play.
If a token has persist, the ability will trigger when the token is put into a graveyard from play. However, the token can't return to play because it will have ceased to exist.
When a permanent with persist is put into a graveyard and then comes back into play, it becomes a new object and has "summoning sickness."
If a creature with persist and some +1/+1 counters on it receives enough -1/-1 counters to cause it to be destroyed by lethal damage or put into its owner's graveyard for having 0 or less toughness, persist won't trigger, and the card won't return to play. That's because persist checks the creature's existence just before it leaves play, and it still has all those counters on it at that point.

New Keyword Ability: Wither
Wither is an ability that changes the nature of damage dealt to creatures.
Example - Kulrath Knight
Kulrath Knight - (Card not spoiled yet)
{3}{B/R}{B/R} - Creature -- Elemental Knight - 3/3 - Flying
Wither (This deals damage to creatures in the form of -1/-1 counters.)
Creatures your opponents control with counters on them can't attack or block.
Wither's effect applies to any damage, not just combat damage.
The -1/-1 counters remain on the creature indefinitely. They won't be removed if the creature regenerates or the turn ends.
Since damage from a source with wither is real damage, it follows all the other rules for damage. It can be prevented or redirected. When it's dealt, it will cause lifelink and other similar abilities to trigger.

Cycle: "Hybrid Enhanced" Spells
Some hybrid spells in the Shadowmoor set determine their effects based on whether mana of certain colors was used to pay their costs.
Example - Torrent of Souls (Card not spoiled yet)
{4}{B/R} - Sorcery
Return up to one target creature card from your graveyard to play if {B} was spent to play Torrent of Souls. Creatures target player controls get +2/+0 and gain haste until end of turn if {R} was spent to play Torrent of Souls. (Do both if {B}{R} was spent.)
The spell cares about what mana was spent to pay its total cost, not just what mana was spent to pay the hybrid part of its cost. For example, if you spend four black mana and one red mana to play Torrent of Souls, it will have both of its effects.
When you play the spell, you choose its targets before you pay for it. In the case of Torrent of Souls, you may target a creature card or not (regardless of whether you plan to spend {B}), and you must target a player (regardless of whether you plan to spend {R}).
The spell checks on resolution to see if any mana of the stated colors was spent to pay its cost. If so, it doesn't matter how much mana of that color was spent.

REMEMBER . . . When in doubt, call over a Floor Judge.

If you are heading out to the Prerelease, the best of luck and have fun!

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