Common Kaladesh Rules Interactions That You Need To Be Aware Of
by Thomas Ralph, Level 3 Judge & Mark McGovern, Level 2 Judge
This article focuses on some of the rules interactions we think are likely to arise with the cards coming in Kaladesh on Friday.
First, though, we need to go back to the dim and distant past, when thinking was not quite as advanced on Magic and tournament rules. Consider Adam, who’s ahead 10-4 on life totals and has a Gray Ogre out, and Nick, who’s playing control and hoping to topdeck his way out of a pretty sticky situation, all the while keeping Adam’s Ogre at bay with his Icy Manipulator. Adam declares an attack.
Adam: “Go to attacks”
Nick: “Before you do that, I’ll tap your Gray Ogre with my Icy Manipulator.”
Adam: “Sure. Since you’ve done that in my main phase, I cast Ball Lightning, swing, GG?”
This situation was possible because Adam was able to make it ambiguous whether the game had reached his combat phase or was still in his first main phase. Nick probably didn’t intend to activate Icy Manipulator in Adam’s main phase, but was confused into doing so.
Quite a while ago, therefore, the Magic Tournament Rules were changed to introduce the Communication Policy. (Yes, it sat in the Penalty Guidelines for a little while. Shush.) Section 4.2 of this policy contains the default shortcuts applied to the game, and the second of those defaults is what we’re interested in.
“A statement such as ‘I’m ready for combat’ or ‘Declare attackers?’ offers to keep passing priority until an opponent has priority in the beginning of combat step. Opponents are assumed to be acting then unless they specify otherwise.”
This means that Nick, in the above example, would have tapped Adam’s Gray Ogre down in the beginning of combat step, and Adam wouldn’t have been able to declare any attacks. Of course in practice, Adam might have cast the Ball Lightning and it would have got tapped, allowing him to get in with the Gray Ogre and bring Nick down to 2.
It also means that if Adam says “combat?” and Nick replies “OK”, Adam is in the declare attackers step, and needs to declare his attackers there and then, without activating any abilities first.
What has this got to do with Kaladesh?
Well, it’s easy to imagine the following:
Adam: “Go to attacks”
Adam: “Crew my Skysovereign, Consul Flagship and attack”
The judge will be bound to rule that Adam had advanced the game to his declare attackers step with an uncrewed Skysovereign and therefore could not attack with it.
It’s important to note at this juncture that any form of words whatsoever which indicates progressing to combat is caught under the above shortcut rule and means you’re going to pass priority in the beginning of combat step. This includes “go to beginning of combat”, “I pass priority in first main phase”, “do you have anything to do in my first main phase”, and so on. Much easier is simply to crew in your first main phase.
If you really do want to crew in your beginning of combat step, you can say “beginning of combat, crew my Vehicle” and point to it. Also, if your opponent has mana floating and you want them to use it or lose it – perhaps you’re afraid they have a Skywhaler’s Shot – you can ask “do you want to use your mana before we go to beginning of combat”. Those are both fine. Trying to advance the game slowly because you want to be all mysterious and do everything at the last possible moment is not.
Yes, this means you can’t play around Cryptic Command. Unfortunately, that is a minor side effect of the rule.
If you’d like to know more about this particular set of interactions, I suggest reading this blog by Kevin Desprez.
So that takes us through one of the most contentious aspects of Vehicular rules. Here are some more.
Other vehicular rules
- As already mentioned above, you need to crew a Vehicle you want to attack with before going to declare attackers. For blocking, you can wait until attackers are declared before crewing.
- You cannot both block with a creature and use it to crew a Vehicle that is also blocking.
- It is technically not permitted to declare a blocker, crew a Vehicle (using a creature that is not going to block), and block with the vehicle – you are supposed to do all your crewing and then declare your blockers. However, as long as you do it in one continuous sequence of events and the outcome could have been achieved legally by doing it in the right order, it will generally be allowed – this is called out-of-order sequencing.
- Vehicles do not, as a rule, have haste, and so a Vehicle cannot attack on the turn it enters the battlefield. However, a creature that has just entered the battlefield can be used to crew a Vehicle – as the crew ability does not contain the “tap” symbol.
- The crew number represents the total power of creatures required to crew a vehicle, and not the total number of creatures. You can tap a zero-power creature to crew something, but it won’t contribute.
- You need to choose a target for Herald of the Fair when it enters the battlefield, and the target needs to be a creature at that point in time. If you cast Herald of the Fair whilst you control a Renegade Freighter and no other creatures, you cannot pump Renegade Freighter, even if you respond to Herald of the Fair’s trigger by crewing the Freighter.
To round off, let’s take five bite-sized tips that might make a difference to your next Kaladesh match.
- Fragmentize is a sorcery. You cannot cast it during combat.
- Fairgrounds Warden, like most of the recent “exile something whilst this it out” cards, has a single effect. Returning the exiled creature to the battlefield when Fairgrounds Warden dies does not go on the stack. The creature will return under its owner’s control.
With Marionette Master, you can only choose all +1/+1 counters or all Servos. You can’t take two Servos and one +1/+1 counter. Similar principle applies for fabricate 2 abilities.
- When Thriving Rhino attacks, you can only put one +1/+1 counter on it. Even if you have four or more energy counters, you can only convert two of them each time it attacks.
- With Cataclysmic Gearhulk, you need to choose Cataclysmic Gearhulk itself if you want to keep it – you can choose it in either the artifact or the creature slot (or both if you really want). The active player chooses first. You must choose a permanent of each type if you control one; you can’t sacrifice them all. Lands, including artifact lands and creature lands, are completely ignored – they won’t be sacrificed and you cannot choose them to keep.
If you have any other rules questions, please feel free to join us at mtgUK Rules & Judge Questions
Community Question: Did we miss anything out? Do you have a Kaladesh rules questions that you need answers to? Please let us know in the comments!
Thanks for reading,
Thomas Ralph & Mark McGovern