Some among you may have noticed that the January 2012 version of the IPG has been removed from the rules section of our website. The changes to that document have been met with a lot of scrutiny and confusion over the last few days, and rightly so.
While we work on a new version of that document, the October 2011 version will remain in effect. We hope to have the new version up before January 1, but working around the holidays can sometimes be chanllenging, so don’t be too surprised if it’s a bit later than that.
Let me emphasize some of the philosophies behind the tournament rules: 1) Tournament play should welcome new players, protect the honest, guard against abuse, and foster competition. 2) Different levels of play will have different levels of enforcement, but the game doesn’t change. The deck you bring to the kitchen table works the same way it does under the bright lights of the Pro Tour.
To that end:
1. Players will not be responsible for pointing out triggered abilities they don’t control. This change was met with near-universal praise. At competitive events, the player must assume responsibility for his or her own cards.
2. If an optional triggered ability is missed, it is missed. No player is penalized, and the ability is essentially “lost.” You can identify an optional triggered ability in two ways: it says “may” or it asks for a numeical choice (including number of targets), and 0 is a valid choice. The controller is simply assumed to have declined the ability or chosen 0, as appropriate.
3. Number of cards whose functionality is changing: 0. None. Zip. Zilch.
4. Number of cards that will play differently depending on what level of event you’re at: 0. The empty set. The big goose egg.
There will be additional information made available in time detailing what exactly the Missed Trigger infraction entails, who gets penalized for what and when, and what players and judges can expect. Until then, I’ll leave you with some principles of the changes:
1. If you forget a trigger that benefits you, you’re unlikely to be penalized for it ouside of missing out on the effect. There’s also little reason to alert a judge at that point. (e.g. Your opponent forgets to put a counter on his Shrine of Burning Rage. Just let it go. He’s not getting a warning or the counter.)
2. If you forget a trigger that is to your detriment, you’re likely to be penalized with a warning. Pay attention to your own stuff.
3. You will always have a window to point out that an opponent has forgotten a triggered ability and have the effect resolve. If he controls Honden of Whatever the White One Was Called, and you really want him to gain the 2 life, you’ll be able to have that happen.
Also, keep in mind that under the current and future sets of rules, purposefully forgetting a mandatory triggered ability in order to gain an advantage is Cheating. Capital C there.
There are a lot of weird situations (e.g. Howling Mine, Curses, etc.) that can come up, and we hope the new IPG will cover them all. Minor gaps may exist, and we’ll address them as we go along. (Really, I mean minor gaps, not glaring holes like last time.)
And one more thing – about the version of the IPG we posted on Monday. Nuke it. Flame it. Destroy it. – It hurts me to know it’s out there. Later.