Rulings from the Design Team: Interpreting Cards in Multiplayer Play

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Thomas R Wylie

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Jan 10, 1995, 3:05:44 AM1/10/95
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While Wizards of the Coast is not releasing any rules for multiplayer play, we
recognize that several multiplayer variants exist, and it is unclear how to
interpret certain cards in such a context, notably those cards which say
"opponent". To help solve disputes, we are releasing the following set of
rulings on how to interpret certain cards in multiplayer play; these rulings
also extend to normal two-player play. Future printings of these cards will
be rewritten to accomodate multiplayer play, most likely using the rulings
below. While we don't want to issue strong rulings on team play at this point,
we recommend that "opponent" never include one's teammates.


These effects apply to "target opponent". If a continuous ability, choose
that opponent when the permanent is played. You may not choose another
opponent later, so if that opponent leaves the game, the permanent becomes
useless, and changing control of the permanent will not change who it targets.
If an activated abilty, choose an opponent each time the permanent is
activated. If a spell, choose the target as normal.
Arena
Black Vise
Citanul Druid
Cuombajj Witches
Cursed Rack
Demonic Attorney
Dwarven Catapult
Eternal Flame
Festival
Gaea's Avenger
Glasses of Urza
Invoke Prejudice
Jihad
Lifeblood
Lifetap
Mirror Universe
Nebuchadnezzar
Nova Pentacle
Powerleech
Preacher
Psychic Allergy
Rack, The
Rag Man
Rainbow Vale
Siren's Call
Tempest Efreet
Underworld Dreams

These effects apply to "target player". Follow the same rules as for "target
opponent" cards as to when the target is chosen.
Ancestral Recall
Disrupting Scepter
Drain Power
Kismet
Jovial Evil
Mana Short
Mind Twist
Storm Seeker
Word of Command

These effects apply to all players.
Balance
Eureka
Mana Flare
Pestilence
Timetwister
Wheel of Fortune

These effects should be read as saying "any opponent".
Bronze Tablet
Farrel's Mantle
Fellwar Stone
Hyperion Blacksmith
Land Equilibrium
Land Tax
NafŐs Asp
Psychic Purge
Relic Bind (this ruling applies to the errata)
Whirling Dervish
Witch Hunter

Choose a different opponent each time the effect applies.
Clergy of the Holy Nimbus
Demonic Hordes
Ernham Djinn
Rogahh of Kher Keep

These cards require a coin toss. Target an opponent each time the coin is
flipped.
Bottle of Suleiman
Goblin Artisans
Goblin Kites
Mijae Djinn
Orcish Captain
Ydwen Efreet

The following cards should say "defending player" instead of "opponent":
Dandan
Delif's Cone
Delif's Cube
Farrel's Zealot
Giant Shark
Goblin Rock Sled
Goblin War Drums
Island Fish Jasconius
Merchant Ship
Orgg
Pirate Ship
Sea Serpent
Vodalian Knights
Water Wurm

Special Cases
Aladdin: Targets an artifact not controlled by you.
Ghazban Ogre: Add "If you are tied for highest life total, Ghazban Ogre does
not change controller. If other players are tied for highest life total and
you or not, choose randomly which player gets control of Ghazban Ogre."
Nettling Imp: Targets a creature not controlled by you. Forces that player
to attack and may only be used during that player's turn. It does not target
that player.
Remove Enchantments: Read the second sentence as "If cast while an opponent is
attacking you..."
Scarwood Bandits: Can take control of any artifact not controlled by you.
The controller of that artifact would be the one to pay to counter the effect.
Sharazad: Whoever wins the subgame loses no life. Each other player loses
half of his or her life. If a draw, everyone loses life.
Sorrow's Path: Only usable if you are not the defending player.
Wall of Dust: Read "your opponent" as "their controller".

David E Gildemeister

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Jan 10, 1995, 4:21:56 AM1/10/95
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Yes, but the big question is--*when is the Black Vise targetted*? At casting
time, or once it enters play? And is its ability continuous or "activated"
each upkeep?

Dave G.

Syielvasj Shratdeshm

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Jan 10, 1995, 5:23:31 AM1/10/95
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In article <3etf4o$9...@darkstar.UCSC.EDU>, aa...@cats.ucsc.edu (Thomas R Wylie) writes:
>... To help solve disputes, we are releasing the following set of

>rulings on how to interpret certain cards in multiplayer play; these rulings
>also extend to normal two-player play. Future printings of these cards will
>be rewritten to accomodate multiplayer play, most likely using the rulings
>below. While we don't want to issue strong rulings on team play at this point,
>we recommend that "opponent" never include one's teammates.

Just what many of us have been waiting for; of course, there are going
to be a few gripes. If these rulings affect how cards will be worded in
future printings, I'd like them to be discussed now.

>These effects apply to "target opponent". If a continuous ability, choose
>that opponent when the permanent is played. You may not choose another
>opponent later, so if that opponent leaves the game, the permanent becomes
>useless, and changing control of the permanent will not change who it targets.

I have trouble swallowing this. Until now, I've been able to steal an
opponent's Black Vise to escape its damage and turn it upon its caster.
The Vise and both Racks seem much more wicked with this defensive option
taken away. I can accept Jihad and Psychic Allergy targetting an opponent;
it's reasonable for the other enchantments in the group to be there as well.

>If an activated abilty, choose an opponent each time the permanent is
>activated. If a spell, choose the target as normal.

I have no problems with this. I did note, however, that this usage
of "spell" implies that permanents with continuous effects target a player
only when they have been successfully played, not while they are still
spells. This affects counterspell decisions in free-for-alls, as well
as the effect of the Reflecting Mirror in a duel.

[first of many lists excised for brevity]

>These effects apply to "target player". Follow the same rules as for "target

>opponent" cards as to when the target is chosen...

My gripes here are less important, since they only affect multi-player
games, but it does seem odd that you can now Word of Command an ally, but
not use Glasses of Urza to look at his/her hand.

>These effects apply to all players...

My group has always treated cards that affect both players as affecting
all players in a multi-player game. I would still like to see the proposed
new wording for Balance.

>These effects should be read as saying "any opponent"...

A few of these don't seem to belong in this category. Nafs Asp says
"your opponent" twice; it is reasonable to interpret the "If..." case as
"any opponent", but not the "...must spend 1..." case. I also wonder why
Farrel's Mantle is here, while Farrel's Zealot is listed under "defending
player".

>Choose a different opponent each time the effect applies...

This statement is vague. Clarify?

>These cards require a coin toss. Target an opponent each time the coin is

>flipped...

I can't object to this.

>The following cards should say "defending player" instead of "opponent":

I really don't see how Water Wurm belongs here. All of the other cards
have text that is only checked when a creature attacks.

What bothers me most is the loss of defense againt the Vise and the
silliness with the Water Wurm. I'd like to see a few clarifications as
well, notably on the reflectability of Jihad and the "Choose a different
opponent..." sentence. Despite this, and a few instances where apparently
parallel cards fall in different categories, I'd like to applaud the release
of these rulings. It's nice to see the Design Team acknowledge that many
people prefer to play multi-player games, and to have something official to
settle disputes when we do. I hope that this is just the beginning, and
that this discussion will lead to more consistent multi-player rulings in
the future.

Syielvasj

Lutz Hofmann

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Jan 11, 1995, 7:09:18 AM1/11/95
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In article <3etf4o$9...@darkstar.ucsc.edu>,

Thomas R Wylie <aa...@cats.ucsc.edu> wrote:
>Future printings of these cards will
>be rewritten to accomodate multiplayer play, most likely using the rulings
>below.

>While we don't want to issue strong rulings on team play at this point,
>we recommend that "opponent" never include one's teammates.

>These effects apply to "target opponent".

>If a continuous ability, choose
>that opponent when the permanent is played. You may not choose another
>opponent later, so if that opponent leaves the game, the permanent becomes
>useless, and changing control of the permanent will not change who it targets.

This needs discussion. I quote below all cards with a continous ability, which
would be affected by this rule.

>If an activated abilty, choose an opponent each time the permanent is
>activated. If a spell, choose the target as normal.

This is good.

> Black Vise
> Citanul Druid
> Cursed Rack
> Gaea's Avenger


> Invoke Prejudice
> Jihad
> Lifeblood
> Lifetap

> Powerleech
> Psychic Allergy
> Rack, The
> Underworld Dreams

>These effects apply to "target player". Follow the same rules as for "target
>opponent" cards as to when the target is chosen.

All cards use the word opponent. WotC is free to word future cards differently
as they already did for Fungusaur. But old printings should function according
to their old wording. Therefore all these cards should go in the category
above.

> Ancestral Recall
There may be case for AR to remain here in regard to team-play, as AR
may be targeted on its caster. An expansion to all opponents as eligible
targets could draw all teammates with it.

> Kismet
Kismet would suffer under the continous effect rules above.

>These effects apply to all players.

These cards seem to be in the right list except as noted below.

> Timetwister
Could remain here for reasons of team-play, otherwise it should only
refer to any or each _opponent_. q.v. 'Ancestral Recall'
Timetwister always affects its caster.

> Wheel of Fortune
Already talks about all players, and does not need a multiplayer-ruling.

>These effects should be read as saying "any opponent".

All cards seem to be in the right category. Some cards need special
mention.

> Farrel's Mantle
text:' ... deals no damage to opponent this turn.'
This is the only reference to opponent on this card. IMHO this opponent can
only be the defending opponent. FM should go into the 'defending opponent'
category below. There should be risk in this ability in team-play.

> Land Tax
does not need to be on the list. Land Tax already says 'an opponent'
(singular), leaving open the player as any does. Both wording work the same.

> Naf's Asp
2nd reference should be to the the same opponent as in the damaging part.
> Psychic Purge
3rd reference should be to the the same opponent as in the forcing part.

>Choose a different opponent each time the effect applies.

Why must one choose each time a different opponent. Nothing on the
cards (unsurprisingly) supports this. As cards are played according to their
wording WotC would need to reprint these in further editions with a wording
to this effect. And the existing ones would play differently in multiplayer
than the new ones. Until such time these cards should be in the pre-
ceding category 'any one opponent' or in 'target opponent'.
Interesting sideeffect: Would they fall under the 'continous effect'
ruling there?

I can hear many questions:'I duels I only have one opponent, i cannot
choose a different one. What should i do?' :)

>These cards require a coin toss. Target an opponent each time the coin is
>flipped.

No problem here. This is similar to the above category as the effect is
ever the same 'coin toss + another'. But the requirement to choose a different
opponent each time is dropped.

>The following cards should say "defending player" instead of "opponent":

All but one look ok.

> Water Wurm
I prefer 'attacking opponent' or 'any opponent'. The Water Wurm got
its bonus for the existance of an opponent with an island. Therefore
it should not be restricted to be effective in an attack. 'any opponent'
seems the way to go.


After examining all cards above i propose to handle the continous effects
in the 'target opponent' category as follows:

Choose an opponent each time the effect applies.

This lets us get rid of choosing a target at playing time of the
permanent. There is the distinct advantage, that no impact on two-player-rules
would be generated. Furthermore it allows to uphold: 'cards talk to their
controllers', i.e. opponents mentioned on the card are their controller's
opponents. No additional rule for change of control is needed as the
opponents for a controller are known.

This puts the continous-effects-cards together with the 'choosing a different
opponent' and the 'coin-toss' cards in the same category. And this is not that
different from the activated effects in the 'target opponent' category.

an example:
Lifetap: Anytime any opponent taps a forest the controller gets a lifepoint.
Gaea's Avenger: Counts up the artifacts any opponent controls.
Citanul Druid: Anytime any opponent casts an artifact, it gets a counter.
All cards would all work similarto a lucky charm.

For Black Vise, The Rack and Cursed Rack work the same as Demonic Hordes,
Ernham Djinn and Rogahh of Kher Keep as they are effects bound to a phase
(upkeep. discard) of any opponent.

Summary:
New categories (members as detailed above)
- Choose an opponent each time the effect applies.
- any opponent
- all players
- defending player
- target opponent (permanent special abilities and Eternal Flame, Dwarven
Catapult)
- target player (just for Ancestral Recall)

Two-player play should not be changed.
Cards should talk to their controllers.
Cards are played according to their text.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=


>Special Cases
>Aladdin: Targets an artifact not controlled by you.

>Nettling Imp: Targets a creature not controlled by you.

>Scarwood Bandits: Can take control of any artifact not controlled by you.

All three should refer to any opponent as the card says opponent. (future
printings)

>Sharazad: Whoever wins the subgame loses no life. Each other player loses
>half of his or her life. If a draw, everyone loses life.

This should depend on the win-conditions of the particular multiplayer-game.
We _do_ play multiplayers until the first player dies. These are most often
three-player games.

Yours Sincerely Lutz Hofmann
l...@cs.tu-berlin.de
--
Happiness? - - - Roger Taylor

jeff wilder

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Jan 11, 1995, 1:17:16 PM1/11/95
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What about Winter Orb?
--
=============================================================================
| Jeff W. Wilder | Look, I'm sorry, | Anybody that hates kids and dogs |
| wil...@mik.uky.edu | but you're wrong. | can't be all bad. -- W.C. Fields |
=============================================================================

Kyle Nishioka

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Jan 12, 1995, 12:04:40 PM1/12/95
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Thomas R Wylie (aa...@cats.ucsc.edu) wrote:

: M. Costalas <doi...@er7.rutgers.edu> wrote:
: >Am I reading this correctly? If so, then if a black vise is targeted at me
: >and I steal that artifact, I can't redirect it? Is it still affecting ME?

: Yes, exactly.


: Tom Wylie rec.games.trading-cards.* Network Representative for
: aa...@cats.ucsc.edu Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

Won't that make a contradiction since you cannot be your own opponent
(you know, the reason you may not attack yourself).

--
Kyle
nk...@uhunix3.uhcc.hawaii.edu

#include <std_disclaimer.h>

Frederick Scott

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Jan 12, 1995, 12:43:53 PM1/12/95
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dan...@leland.Stanford.EDU (Mr. Self Destruct) writes:

>My only concern is the change in ruling on Black Vice, Rack, etc. Under
>the multi-player ruling, a Steal Artifact would make no difference on a Black
>Vice, even though it seems obvious (in a duel) who should be affected by it.
>Is the only-one-target-player-ever ruling the official ruling for sanctioned
>tournaments?

It sounds like it.

>I believe this pretty much eliminates the usability of Steal Artifact.

I've never notice Steal Artifacts to have been a very popular card for
sanctioned tournaments anyway - it costs too much mana. But I think you're
overstating the situatation. The vast majority of artifacts are still
quite vulnerable to it.

Fred

Michael G Schmahl

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Jan 12, 1995, 1:41:04 PM1/12/95
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Sam Pullara (ave...@tern.acns.nwu.edu) wrote:
: I really wish you would stop saying "target when played" when you mean
: "target when cast". A card isn't in play till it is on the table but you
: have to name a target when you cast it (to see if it will be counterspelled
: etc.) according to these new rules.

"Play" and "cast" are almost synonymous. There are other ways,
though, of playing a card besides casting it. Such as bringing it
directly out of the graveyard (I don't think this is currently
possible for Artifacts, yet), or playing during Eureka. "Target
when played" I think is exactly what he means. "Target when played"
doesn't imply that it targets when it enters play, but rather when
played out of the hand.

--
I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.
AGLA | Michael Schmahl (fx...@acf-lab.alaska.edu)
M:tG | Math / CS / Theater / Philosophy

Rich Shipley

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Jan 12, 1995, 2:04:49 PM1/12/95
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Thomas R Wylie (aa...@cats.ucsc.edu) wrote:

: M. Costalas <doi...@er7.rutgers.edu> wrote:
: >Am I reading this correctly? If so, then if a black vise is targeted at me
: >and I steal that artifact, I can't redirect it? Is it still affecting ME?

: Yes, exactly.

This is pretty horrible. Any other permanent would have its text
re-interpreted when it changes controllers. Why not just require the
opponant to be re-chosen when one of these changes controllers in a
multi-player game so that these rulings don't affect normal duels?

I really appreciate WotC trying to come up with standard multi-player
rules, but they shouldn't change the basic game. I don't think we need
"targetted" artifacts, just make a special case for multi-player games.

Rich

Joseph W. DeVincentis

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Jan 12, 1995, 3:07:18 PM1/12/95
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In article <wilder.7...@mik.uky.edu>,
jeff wilder <wil...@mik.uky.edu> wrote:
>What about Winter Orb?

What about it? It's been ruled for a long time now that "A player" on
Winter Orb means "Each player, on his or her turn." You could put it on
the "affects all players" list. You could put a lot of other stuff
there, too, like Earthquake, Hurricane, etc. that WotC did not include.

Sam Pullara

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Jan 12, 1995, 5:52:11 PM1/12/95
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: I really wish you would stop saying "target when played" when you mean
: "target when cast". A card isn't in play till it is on the table but you
: have to name a target when you cast it (to see if it will be counterspelled
: etc.) according to these new rules.

"Play" and "cast" are almost synonymous. There are other ways,
though, of playing a card besides casting it. Such as bringing it
directly out of the graveyard (I don't think this is currently
possible for Artifacts, yet), or playing during Eureka. "Target
when played" I think is exactly what he means. "Target when played"
doesn't imply that it targets when it enters play, but rather when
played out of the hand.

What if I transmute artifact a black vise into play?

--
I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.
AGLA | Michael Schmahl (fx...@acf-lab.alaska.edu)
M:tG | Math / CS / Theater / Philosophy

--
Samuel J. Pullara | High Energy Particle Physics /
Northwestern University | Astrophysics Graduate Student
ave...@merle.acns.nwu.edu | "Everything I say is completely
Finger for PGP public key | hypothetical, hypothetically."

A visitor to Adam Cerling's WWW project

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Jan 12, 1995, 11:18:33 PM1/12/95
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aa...@cats.ucsc.edu (Thomas R Wylie) wrote:
..
> Actually, we consider it acceptable behavior that, for example, you can
> Reflect a Black Vise back at the caster.
..

> Tom Wylie rec.games.trading-cards.* Network Representative for
> aa...@cats.ucsc.edu Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

I don't like this either. Basically, you end up controlling a
permanent that does nothing but harm you. *You* will be trying to
destroy it, and your *opponent* will be trying to keep it in play.
It might as well be in his or her territory.

Fortunately for me, I never see a Reflecting Mirror. Neither do I see
an alternative better than the established "targeting" rules, though.
But answer me one question... why would it not be an acceptable
alternative to have a target chosen for such cards whenever they come
into a player's control? It would redeem the use of Steal Artifact.

Adam Cerling

Daniel J Barkalow

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Jan 12, 1995, 11:31:58 PM1/12/95
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d...@panacea.phys.utk.edu (David DeLaney) writes:

>The Rulings post said specifically such stuff was targetted upon entering play;
>this, at least, rules out the use of Reflecting Mirror on *any* of it (and thus
>we get a wholesale change that stems from a change not kept in the final
>version at all). The Black Vise's effect has long been ruled to be an upkeep
>effect, not a continuous one; unfortunately, they only gave rules for picking
>"opponent" for continuous abilities, activated abilities, and spells.

>Even now, saying "Oops, we forgot - for things that give upkeep effects on
>an opponent, choose an opponent to affect on each of *controller's* upkeeps"
>would place the Single Most Used Way to play Vise in multiplayer games firmly
>into WotC Recommendations, and would affect (let me see):

>Black Vise
>Cursed Rack
>The Rack
>Psychic Allergy

>(wow, *four cards* total). Of the others on that "opponent" list, clearly
>Citanul Druid, Gaea's Avenger, Invoke Prejudice, Jihad, Lifeblood, Lifetap,
>Powerleech, and Underworld Dreams fall under "continuous/pick one opponent
>when brought into play",
> Arena, Cuombajj Witches, Glasses of Urza, Mirror
>Universe, Nebuchadnezzar, Nova Pentacle, Preacher, Rag Man, Rainbow Vale,
>and Tempest Efreet fall under "activated ability/pick an opponent each time
>you use it",
> and Demonic Attorney, Dwarven Catapult, Eternal Flame, Festival,
>and Siren's Call fall under "spell/target as normal".

>For the "target player" list, none fall under "upkeep effects", and the rest
>either apply to all players or don't otherwise matter. The only surprise is
>that Kismet picks only one opponent to curse.

>So not counting upkeep effects, the only cards affected by the "stealing it
>doesn't change opponent" would be Citanul Druid and Gaea's Avenger (since
>enchantments can't be stolen). A far shorter list than I feared. Would you
>guys (Tom/Design Team) like to consider including the "change during
>controller's upkeep" option for the four upkeep-effect-giving things (3
>artifacts and one enchantment), and consider also including an "if 'opponent'
>gains control of the permanent, a new 'opponent' is immediately chosen" rule?

How about the idea that opponent cannot be the controller; only if the
target becomes the controller can it change. So if I steal his Rack
targeted at you, I can't target it at him, because you are still a valid
target. On the other hand, if I steal his Rack targeted at me, I get to
pick who will be the new target, because I can't be the target.

>I'd also like to know where the "choose a *different* opponent each time"
>list comes from; is that just "different from the last choice", or is it
>"different from each previous choice for this permanent", and if the latter,
>if one runs out of opponents can one not use the ability any more or does
>one start again with a fresh slate?

I think this should be an opponent who might not be the same one, i.e.
different as in the non-picky sense of not necessarily the same.
-Daniel
*This .sig left intentionally blank*

John R Davis

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Jan 12, 1995, 7:22:35 AM1/12/95
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In article <3f1b83$7...@darkstar.ucsc.edu>,

Thomas R Wylie <aa...@cats.ucsc.edu> wrote:
>
>M. Costalas <doi...@er7.rutgers.edu> wrote:
>>Am I reading this correctly? If so, then if a black vise is targeted at me
>>and I steal that artifact, I can't redirect it? Is it still affecting ME?
>
>Yes, exactly.
>
>
>Tom Wylie rec.games.trading-cards.* Network Representative for
>aa...@cats.ucsc.edu Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
>

Oh dear. Storm warning - this is going to be unpopular. I quote from
the original (Tow Wylie) posting: "To help solve disputes, we are


releasing the following set of rulings on how to interpret certain
cards in multiplayer play; these rulings also extend to normal

two-player play." So, in a two-player game, even if I still steal my
opponent's black vise, it still affects me? This is going to be really
hard to justify to players who don't follow the net...

-jrd
--
Internal: John Davis - Software Engineer - T4W HAL02 - Ext. 3618
External: J.R....@bnr.co.uk - +44 (0)279 403618

Russ Allbery

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Jan 13, 1995, 7:17:37 AM1/13/95
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Frederick Scott <fre...@netcom.com> writes:
>
>Hmmm - you must be reading something in these rulings I'm not seeing. When
>the (January) Reflecting Mirror thread started, I specifically asked Tom
>whether or not you could reflect an Underworld Dreams and his reply was
>in the affirmative. Some general enchantments, like Underworld Dreams and
>Invoke Prejudice are in the same list with Black Vice, The Rack and so forth.

I don't agree with that ruling either. Underworld Dreams as a spell does
not target anything. Underworld Dreams as a permanent targets when your
opponent draws a card; at least, I would consider that to be a much better
way of interpreting it, and much more obvious from the text than having it
target the opponent continuously. Underworld Dreams and Black Vise don't
*do* anything continuously; Underworld Dreams is triggered, and Black Vise
activates during your opponent's upkeep.

I could buy a ruling that said that the target became fixed when it entered
play, and that anything that caused it to change controllers would mean the
target changed. It still would be an annoyance in the targetting rulings,
but it would at least be logical. But they should target as *permanents*,
not as spells.

The whole idea of the fixation on opponent being a targetted effect is just
ridiculous to me. As I said, the logic behind "opponent" on the Vise
meaning that it is targetted as a spell seems to imply that such cards as
the Sea Serpent are also targetted, at least when the check occurs (and
since the Vise is targetted constantly even when it isn't doing anything,
that would imply that the Sea Serpent may be the same). That makes no sense
at all to me. The ruling implies that resolving the word "opponent" on Vise
is a targetted effect.

--
Russ Allbery (r...@cs.stanford.edu) http://www-leland.stanford.edu/~rra/

Dennis F. Hefferman

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Jan 13, 1995, 2:03:49 PM1/13/95
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In <3f2spj$m...@darkstar.UCSC.EDU> aa...@cats.ucsc.edu (Thomas R Wylie) writes:

|Actually, we consider it acceptable behavior that, for example, you can
|Reflect a Black Vise back at the caster.

Nobody I game with does, and very few of the people posting on the
topic here seem to.

This one gets filed with the Clockwork ruling.


--
Dennis Francis Heffernan IRC: FuzyLogic heff...@pegasus.montclair.edu
Montclair State University #include <disclaim.h> Computer Science/Philosophy
"They feed you on the guilt to keep you humble, keep you low/Some man and myth
they made up a thousand years ago." -- "Silent Legacy", Melissa Etheridge

SnowDog

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Jan 13, 1995, 3:23:52 PM1/13/95
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In rec.games.trading-cards.magic.misc, Thomas R Wylie once scribbled:
[about black vise]
][ Yes, well, we basically decided it would be too complex to write it up
][ as changing target periodically should it be reprinted, so just
][ "standardized" it to target when played. Same for the racks.
Hrm. I don't have any cards in front of me, but perhaps changing steal
artificat to treat the stolen artifact as if just cast might "fix"
this...I'm trying to think of any times you wouldn't want this to
happen, but I can't off the top of my head...but that isn't saying much :)

--
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David DeLaney

unread,
Jan 14, 1995, 12:02:35 AM1/14/95
to
aa...@cats.ucsc.edu (Thomas R Wylie) writes:
>David DeLaney <d...@panacea.phys.utk.edu> wrote:
>>If you're gonna have spells-that-make-permanents targetting players at
>>casting time, you're gonna have Reflecting Mirror usable on them, and that
>>is Not Acceptable Behavior...

>
>Actually, we consider it acceptable behavior that, for example, you can
>Reflect a Black Vise back at the caster.

Black Vise says "opponent". Always has. A player *cannot* be their own
opponent, because (among other things) then the ruling "Your creatures may
only attack opponent, not you" no longer makes any sense whatsoever. Stuff
that says "opponent" cannot affect the person controlling it; there's even a
ruling about this re: Specter damage from you yourself, overruling the old
(last February) "if redirected opponent must discard" ruling.
I'd be willing to consider that a Vise might be redirectable somehow to a
different opponent; this is the current "most standard method" in multiplayer
games (the other standard is "it affects everyone else; kill its controller
quickly"). I cannot accept that it can affect the person currently controlling
it in *any* way, shape, or form. Not until the "Reversal of Fortune: Interrupt.
Cost U. Target permanent or spell being cast has the words 'opponent' and
'you', and the words 'opponent's' and 'your', interchanged wherever any of them
may appear in the text" spell gets issued.

And this proposed rulingl has more serious flaws than you think:

Up until now, there have only been two types of spells which create permanents
that *target* something: Enchant <foo> spells target the <foo> that the
permanent is going to be placed on, and "Copy an X" spells target the original
X (and even then they only half-target it). *Every other type of permanent
spell* simply puts a permanent into play *on the side of the caster*; he cannot
choose to put it anywhere other than in his territory, and thus this cannot
be targetted. (A hypothetical permanent placed by itself in an opponent's
territory would target that opponent; there aren't any yet.)
It is also long-established that spells making permanents *do not have the
text apply until the permanent enters play* (unless something needs to be
decided during the casting of the spell: Kobolds, for example, need to be red
as spells, and "Copy an X" spells need to target the X). Thus a Black Knight's
protection does *not* kick in until the Knight is in play, an Ivory Guardians
spell can be Thoughtlaced and then Red Elemental Blasted even though the
Guardians-to-be would have Protection from Red upon becoming a creature,
etc. If you're going to start saying "Okay: *These* items have texts that
take effect during the casting, even though they don't say so on the card",
you're gonna have to start explaining why *every* text doesn't take effect
during casting, and you're going to lose even more credibility.

The answer is simple: Spells that make a permanent whose text needs you
to choose an opponent target the opponent *when the text takes effect* -
that is to say, when the permanent appears in play. The spell itself only
makes a permanent, and doesn't target anything, as there are no questions
of *where* the permanent will be made, or *which* permanent will be made;
if the text on the permanent needs to choose a target, it doesn't do so
*before the text takes effect*, but only as the text takes effect.
Thus, *as the Ruling's text itself says*, you would only decide the
"target opponent", "target player", etc., at the very soonest *when the
permanent came into play*; there's no need to decide it earlier, and trying
to do so not only produces counter-intuitive *and* counter-to-play-intent
results, it conflicts with a good deal of the already-established structure
of the rulings and rules.

Please note that, as usual, I'm not mad at you personally, Tom; I'm directing
this through you at the Design Team and their incredible loss of touch with
the actual game environment. Even now, saying "oh, okay, we'll stand by
what we wrote: the stuff targets when it comes into play" would help
Immensely. (And the companion ruling that "any permanent which specifically
says that 'opponent' is affected cannot ever affect the current controller of
the permanent; if it would do so, controller instead picks an opponent of
theirs to be affected" is also Necessary.)

To reiterate: Black Vise, The Rack, and Cursed Rack cannot be Reflected at the
controller, positively absolutely, and should not be Reflectable at all,
since the *only* possible result of that ruling is that you'll either be
massively ignored *or* that people will start trying to use Reflecting Mirror
on all other upkeep costs and effects. Stuff that makes a permanent whose
text needs to pick a player in multiplayer games should do so when the
permanent comes into play if the effect is continuous, when the ability
is used if it's an activated ability, and during the controller's upkeep
if it's an upkeep effect.

Dave
--
\/David DeLaney d...@panacea.phys.utk.edu "It's not the pot that grows the flower
It's not the clock that slows the hour The definition's plain for anyone to see
Love is all it takes to make a family" - R&P. Disclaimer: IMHO; VRbeableWIKTHLC
http://enigma.phys.utk.edu/~dbd/ - net.legends FAQ / CanterSiegelKibozeBait!!

Cpaths

unread,
Jan 15, 1995, 10:29:56 PM1/15/95
to
EMAIL game between toby robison, p01...@psilink.com
and pha...@west.darkside.com (Phantom of the InterN)
begun about Jan 2, 1995.

In the fifth turn, things look very bright for the phantom, whose deck
opened very quickly even though he did not go first. The black vise has
caught me with a full hand. In the fifth turn I'm attempting to
summon a seasinger to stop the onslaught:

TURN 1:
Toby plays a sand silo.

TURN 2:
Phantom plays 1 Island
Tap the Island and play a Sol Ring (T:2 Colorless Mana)
Tap the Sol Ring and play a Black Vise
Takes 1 damage from mana burn.
Life: 20 (toby) to 19 (phantom)

TURN 3:
Toby loses 3 life points to the black vise.
Place one mana counter on the sand silo, which remains tapped.
Play an inland sea.
Done. (life: toby 17, phantom 19)

TURN 4:
Phantom plays an Island (gasp).
Taps two islands and a Sol Ring and play a Phantom Monster (I really
like being able to do that).
Done. (life: toby 17, phantom 19)

TURN 5:
Toby untaps the sand silo,
takes 3 more damage from the vise and attempts to play a swamp
and summon seasinger (tapping all three lands including the sand silo counter).

AT THE BEGINNING OF THE FIFTH TURN, AFTER THE UNTAP PHASE:

In toby's hand: 7 cards
In phantom's hand: 4 cards

ON THE TABLE:

TOBY (17 life)
sand silo with one counter
inland sea


PHANTOM (19 life)
island (T)
island (T)
sol ring (T)
black vice
phantom monster

- toby robison Critical Paths, Inc. p01...@psilink.com

Thomas R Wylie

unread,
Jan 16, 1995, 9:59:50 PM1/16/95
to

The question of whether those people not on the net will believe those of
us who are is not a factor when making ruling decisions.

The question of how quickly tournament judges are made aware of rulings
is not a factor when making ruling decisions.

Basically the design team is just concerned with what the proper solution to
a problem should be. The dissemination of information will take care
of itself. We are workingon speeding up the process, but such concerns
don't have any bearing on the rulings themselves.

Thomas R Wylie

unread,
Jan 16, 1995, 10:38:23 PM1/16/95
to

At this point we would like to remove bandaids from the rules system,
not add them. Sticking in a "changing controller changes the target
by default" rule would be bandaid enough; tacking a "... but only
if it's an upkeep effect that was targetted" would be even worse.
While this particular bandaid might fix these four cards, it would
break others, or at least some hypothetical cards: Suppose there was
an interrupt which changed the controler of a sorcery. I cast Drain
Life at you; you want to use this hypothetical interrupt so you will
gain the life from the effect. Would you want to be forced to change
the target of the Drain Life just because someone wanted that bandaid
stuck onto the rules for the benefit of Black Vise?

And enlarging the bandaid with "but you could just target the old target"
doesn't make it any better.

Garry Handelman

unread,
Jan 16, 1995, 10:50:48 PM1/16/95
to
: Basically the design team is just concerned with what the proper solution to

: a problem should be. The dissemination of information will take care
: of itself. We are workingon speeding up the process, but such concerns
: don't have any bearing on the rulings themselves.


: Tom Wylie rec.games.trading-cards.* Network Representative for
: aa...@cats.ucsc.edu Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

Could you please clarify how, exactly, the Design Team descides
what is "proper"?
-Ghandel@Uclink

Aaron Mandelbaum

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 1:07:20 AM1/17/95
to
In article <3ffe3f$f...@darkstar.UCSC.EDU> aa...@cats.ucsc.edu (Thomas R Wylie) writes:

>At this point we would like to remove bandaids from the rules system,
>not add them. Sticking in a "changing controller changes the target
>by default" rule would be bandaid enough; tacking a "... but only
>if it's an upkeep effect that was targetted" would be even worse.

So don't do that.

>And enlarging the bandaid with "but you could just target the old target"
>doesn't make it any better.

I'd see it more as shrinking the bandaid to 'you may retarget effects if you
become the controller', that's already mostly the case. Such as (for
instance) Fork. *Technically* that's not what it does, but that's certainly
what it looks like, and how most people think of it.

A ruling like that would look like common sense, not a kludge. Effectively,
you're having to put a bandaid on saying 'you may NOT retarget effects when
you gain control of a permanent'.

>Tom Wylie rec.games.trading-cards.* Network Representative for
>aa...@cats.ucsc.edu Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

--
Aaron Mandelbaum

Stetler

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 1:37:21 AM1/17/95
to
In article <3ffbr6$e...@darkstar.UCSC.EDU> aa...@cats.ucsc.edu (Thomas R Wylie) writes:
>
>The question of whether those people not on the net will believe those of
>us who are is not a factor when making ruling decisions.
>
>The question of how quickly tournament judges are made aware of rulings
>is not a factor when making ruling decisions.
>
>Basically the design team is just concerned with what the proper solution to
>a problem should be. The dissemination of information will take care
>of itself. We are workingon speeding up the process, but such concerns
>don't have any bearing on the rulings themselves.
>

This last paragraph probably points out the biggest issue of contention
with the new rulings. WotC is apparently taking the stance that various
cards have problems in multiplayer games. And they also seem to be taking
the stance that they have the best solutions to those problems are. But
multiplayer games is not something new for many players; sound, balanced
rules for multiplayer games and how certain cards are handled in such
games have been in use and have been continually perfected by players
since the Alpha edition was still available. On the other hand, WotC
until recently was stating they have no official rules, and as recently
as The Dark expansion were printing cards ambiguously referring to
"opponent" when experienced multiplayer game players know such wording
is ambiguous and confusing, and have already come up with solutions for.

Summed up, WotC is a relative newcomer to the concept of multiplayer
MTG - they have designed the basic two player game and defined its rules,
but multiplayer games is something hundreds if not thousands of players
worldwide have been putting thought into since the game was first
published, while WotC officially regarded the concept as an interesting
option. Objection to these new rulings by players on the net cannot
simply be dismissed as the complaints of people unhappy with change.
Several of these official rules have already been independantly conceived
and tested by others months ago and found problematic. Multiplayer games
is an issue that WotC could have utilized Usenet as a vast resource
of knowledge from *experienced* play testers on the subject. Instead they
have issued a set of rulings they insist are "the best way" and told
us to live with it. It should come as little suprise there would be
arguement over the rulings, it is somewhat surprising that WotC
either did not expect such or doesn't seem to consider such arguement
as valid or important enough for consideration.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
- Robert Stetler, k...@netcom.com "Listen to KGB Radio Moskow, where we -
- play all the top 40 hits whether you like them or not" -
------------------------------------------------------------------------
- "I remember there was a time - "I had this weird dream. -
- When dead and buried meant just that - Electric eels were biting -
- Underneath the cold dark ground - my butt !" - Heifer, -
- Things stay put !" - Oingo Boingo, - Rocko's Modern -
- Dead or Alive - Life -
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yusuf Budeiri

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 8:48:52 AM1/17/95
to

In article <wilder.7...@mik.uky.edu>,
wil...@mik.uky.edu (jeff wilder) writes:

>What about Winter Orb?

I believe the Winter Orb affects _all_ the players, including yourself.
Makes the game more interesting, particularly if noone has any alternative
mana sources.

> Od <

har...@ulogic.com

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 3:05:51 PM1/17/95
to

To us, "oppnonent" in the multiplayer games always meant "all players
other than the controller" Note, however, that we always play melee
and not teams. I'd be willing to accept "all players other than
allies of the controller".

"Target Player" means one player.


If there were such a thing as "target opponent", then it would mean
"one player, not an ally".

Black Vise has (to us) affected ALL players other than the controller.
(Note: controller != caster, since Steal Artifact can be used).


Does anybody else think this makes more sense than the WotC posting?

-rmh

David DeLaney

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 3:28:19 PM1/17/95
to
aa...@cats.ucsc.edu (Thomas R Wylie) writes:
>There is no reason why targetted artifacts can't exist. the simple fact
>that there's haven't been any up until now is not an argument for saying
>they shouldn't be able to exist at all.

Agreed.

>It is possible that the Reflecting
>Mirror ruling will be reversed.

Hope so - but it's not Top Essential Priority to me anymore; as I said in a
longer post, there's a more basic metarule that seems to me to be applicable,
which is (or should be) "effects that say 'opponent' specifically should not be
able to affect any current controller of a permanent which makes them".

>It is less possible that the ruling on what
>happens when Black Vise is stolen will change, but it won't be changed to
>"you get to retarget the Vise".

It *better* change in *some* respect, especially in the case when the target of
the Vise steals it; this falls, or would fall, under the above metarule. I
could live with "A Vise targetting its current controller doesn't do
anything"; I can't accept "A Vise targetting its current controller treats
him as an 'opponent'".

>The ruling that the Vise is targetted at all will not be reversed.

That's not what I was on about - I was unhappy about *when* in the casting
process they decided it would be targetted, is all.

Michael O'Brien

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 4:09:50 PM1/17/95
to
In article <onetouchD...@netcom.com> har...@ulogic.com writes:
>Black Vise has (to us) affected ALL players other than the controller.
>(Note: controller != caster, since Steal Artifact can be used).
>
>Does anybody else think this makes more sense than the WotC posting?

I think your way makes more sense in a three player game.

However, with five or more players, it would make Black Vise the most
powerful card in the game.

Maybe they should go your way and restrict Black Vise. I don't understand
why Ivory Tower is restricted and Black Vise isn't.

Mike


Frederick Scott

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 4:49:45 PM1/17/95
to
har...@ulogic.com writes:

>If there were such a thing as "target opponent", then it would mean
>"one player, not an ally".
>
>Black Vise has (to us) affected ALL players other than the controller.
>(Note: controller != caster, since Steal Artifact can be used).
>
>
>Does anybody else think this makes more sense than the WotC posting?

I think you can make the argument that it makes more semantic sense given
the card text but even if one agrees with that, it's not important. Lots
of cards work differently than one might expect just reading card text.
Like it or not, there have to be metarules and occasionally they'll contravene
the sense of card text for some reason or another.

In this case, I'd hate to see your way of playing the BV since it would
multiply its power in multiplayer play by number of opponents. Certain
other cards also do that (Syphon Soul is the obvious one) but the Black
Vise was already a fairly powerful card in its own right.

Fred

Frederick Scott

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 4:59:45 PM1/17/95
to
mob...@netcom.com (Michael O'Brien) writes:

>Maybe they should go your way and restrict Black Vise. I don't understand
>why Ivory Tower is restricted and Black Vise isn't.

Convocation rules were cretated for Convocation tournaments. Tournaments
have time constraints. Therefore, certain of the cards on the restricted and
banned lists are there because they make games last too long (and/or
encourage the construction of decks that make games last too long), not
because they're considered too much of an advantage. If you're wondering
about Ivory Tower, didn't you ever wonder why Shazarad and Divine Intervention
were banned?

Paul Andrew King had one suggestion I like. He mentioned once that he'd
proposed that the Convocation issue _two_ restricted lists, to distuinguish
between the two sorts of cards. (And likewise, two banned list...) That way,
you could take a deck that violates the "restricted because it takes too long"
restrictions to informal play and not feel like you're pulling a fast one (or
rather a _slow_ one :) ) on your opponent.

Fred

Trevor Barrie

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 11:30:56 AM1/17/95
to
fxmgs@camelot (Michael G Schmahl) writes:

>Yes, but the new target should be valid for Wanderlust. Here's
>another point. Reflecting Mirror (IMO) should only be able to
>retarget the Vise (and other "target opponent" effects" to another
>opponent of the caster. If Wanderlust were (for example) were cast
>upon my Clockwork Beast, should I be able to use the interrupt
>"Magnet: change the target of one enchantment from one artifact to
>another" to retarget the Wanderlust to a Sol Ring? Or a Green-Warded
>Obsianus Golem?

If that's all it said, then yes, I would say you should be able to. Unlike, of
course, Enchant Alteration, which specifically states that the new target must
be a valid target. Your hypothetical spell, like Reflecting Mirror, makes no
so provision, so it can be retargetted to an invalid target.

Of course, doing so will cause the Enchantment to be discarded as soon as it
hits play, because it's not on a valid target. Similarly, it seems to me that
the Black Vise should become inert when it's pointed at its' controller.


Jim Thevenot

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 9:07:14 PM1/17/95
to
In article <3f1b83$7...@darkstar.UCSC.EDU>,

Thomas R Wylie <aa...@cats.ucsc.edu> wrote:
>
>M. Costalas <doi...@er7.rutgers.edu> wrote:
>>Am I reading this correctly? If so, then if a black vise is targeted at me
>>and I steal that artifact, I can't redirect it? Is it still affecting ME?
>
>Yes, exactly.
>
This is completely absurd.

>
>Tom Wylie rec.games.trading-cards.* Network Representative for
>aa...@cats.ucsc.edu Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
>
Jim T.

Michael G Schmahl

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 10:16:33 PM1/17/95
to
Thomas R Wylie (aa...@cats.ucsc.edu) wrote:

: >On a more general note, do you really think it makes any sense at all to
: >allow an artifact to be reflected? Can you justify it?

: Do think someone shouldn't be able to change the target of an enchantment
: as it is being cast? For example, that I shouldn't be able to change the
: target of a Wanderlust as it's being cast? Granted there's no card that

Yes, but the new target should be valid for Wanderlust. Here's
another point. Reflecting Mirror (IMO) should only be able to
retarget the Vise (and other "target opponent" effects" to another
opponent of the caster. If Wanderlust were (for example) were cast
upon my Clockwork Beast, should I be able to use the interrupt
"Magnet: change the target of one enchantment from one artifact to
another" to retarget the Wanderlust to a Sol Ring? Or a Green-Warded
Obsianus Golem?

By the same token, I should not be able to reflect a Black Vise
(which arguably targets an opponent [card text]) to a non-opponent
player.

--
Insert witty saying here.

Andrew Stefanski

unread,
Jan 18, 1995, 1:01:47 AM1/18/95
to
On Tue, 17 Jan 1995, Michael O'Brien wrote:

> In article <onetouchD...@netcom.com> har...@ulogic.com writes:
> >Black Vise has (to us) affected ALL players other than the controller.
> >(Note: controller != caster, since Steal Artifact can be used).
>

> However, with five or more players, it would make Black Vise the most
> powerful card in the game.

True, except that playing it in a game like that is sure death
for the caster. You may hurt others, but getting totally wasted by
everyone else probably isn't worth it in a free-for-all.


-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Andrew Stefanski | / Help, I'm a Pentium, \
stef...@evansville.edu | < and I can't divide! >
Computer Science | \ "Bug Soup!" -- AvP /
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Hall Moore

unread,
Jan 18, 1995, 1:47:01 AM1/18/95
to
In article <onetouchD...@netcom.com>, <har...@ulogic.com> wrote:
>
>
>To us, "oppnonent" in the multiplayer games always meant "all players
>other than the controller" Note, however, that we always play melee
>and not teams. I'd be willing to accept "all players other than
>allies of the controller".

We have always applied the latter interpretation to all continuous
"opponent" effects. Sorceries and effects with an activation cost that
said "opponent" get interpreted as "Target player".

>"Target Player" means one player.

Aggreed

>Black Vise has (to us) affected ALL players other than the controller.
>(Note: controller != caster, since Steal Artifact can be used).

We ruled that it affects all players not allied, due to the continuous
effect ruling above.

>Does anybody else think this makes more sense than the WotC posting?

I think this makes a lot more sense, especially as stealing a Vise in a
multi player game currently has no effect. Many people in this thread
seem to think this makes the Vise too powerful in a multi player game.
I'd aggree that it does become powerful, but this is not without its
drawbacks. Just try dropping a Vise on your first turn in a 7 player
melee and see how long you last. Having a Vise the way we play makes you
very unpopular and you'd better be ready to defend yourself. Personally,
I find it counterintuative that the Vise is targeted at all, but WotC
seems decided on that point.

Just my $0.02

--
* For purposes of complying with the New Jersey Right to Know Act, contents
of this post partially unknown.
GS d-- H++ s++:-- g+ p? au>>* a- w+ v+(*) c++++ UA+ N+++ K W-- M++ -po+ t+(--)
jx R+ G++ tv++ b++ D+ B-- e++>++++(*) u---* h-(*) f r* n---(----) y? v. 2.1

Trevor Barrie

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 5:57:42 PM1/17/95
to
har...@ulogic.com writes:

>My vote: "opponent" refers to "every player except the controller"
>in the case of continuous effects. For Sorceries (such as Drain
>Life" it should be read as "target opponent", and one opponent is
>selected.

>Fellwar Stone and Black Vise should be treated in the same manner,
>either way.

So you want to limit Fellwar's Stone to only providing mana that
_every_ player's land can produce? What about Sea Serpent? It can
only attack if every opponent has islands? Both of these strike me
as being considerably more counter-intuitive than a Reflectable Vise.

The way I see it, the only way this could be done was to issue a list
of "these cards work like this, these cards work like that". We now
have such a list that, for the most part, seems to work perfectly well.
What's the problem?


HOLT A

unread,
Jan 18, 1995, 4:20:19 AM1/18/95
to
aa...@cats.ucsc.edu (Thomas R Wylie) writes:


>The question of whether those people not on the net will believe those of
>us who are is not a factor when making ruling decisions.

It should not be an over-riding factor, but the principle that
rulings should be within the range of common-sense should be a major factor.

>The question of how quickly tournament judges are made aware of rulings
>is not a factor when making ruling decisions.

Fair enough.

>Basically the design team is just concerned with what the proper solution to
>a problem should be.

Yes, the problem is that they seem to be deciding "proper" on the basis
of legalistic semantic examination of existing wording when they should
be working on the basis of "what makes the best balanced and playable
game". There seems to be a feeling that we will change the way the game
plays to match the wording of the (second edition) rules rather than
accepting that those rules may not lead to the best version of the game.

To give a couple of examples from "mainstream" games, the rules of
Monopoly have been revised several times since first publication - most
of the revisions _changing_ the game with the intent of improving it.
Risk has had at least three sets of rules with major differences.

I will also put forward the rather heretical view that a game designer
can sometimes be too close to his creation to be the best person to
maintain it.

When you have masses of messages on the net suggesting that a change is
_wrong_, and AFAICT none seriously supporting it you should rethink.


> The dissemination of information will take care
>of itself. We are workingon speeding up the process, but such concerns
>don't have any bearing on the rulings themselves.

Agreed!

Andy

har...@ulogic.com

unread,
Jan 18, 1995, 1:06:42 PM1/18/95
to
In article <fred_sD2...@netcom.com>,

Frederick Scott <fre...@netcom.com> wrote:
>har...@ulogic.com writes:
>
>>If there were such a thing as "target opponent", then it would mean
>>"one player, not an ally".
>>
>>Black Vise has (to us) affected ALL players other than the controller.
>>(Note: controller != caster, since Steal Artifact can be used).
>>
>>
>>Does anybody else think this makes more sense than the WotC posting?
>
>I think you can make the argument that it makes more semantic sense given
>the card text but even if one agrees with that, it's not important. Lots
>of cards work differently than one might expect just reading card text.
>Like it or not, there have to be metarules and occasionally they'll contravene
>the sense of card text for some reason or another.

Sure there have to be metarules ... but why do you presume they must
be as obtuse as possible? To me "opponent" being the "other guy" re.
the current controller makes more sense than re. the original caster.

Artifacts such as the black vise are not targetted, they are continuous
effects that affect something ... in this case the "opponent", each
upkeep. WotC has said basically "ok, in order to accomodate this to
multiplayer play we have to make it targetted" and this has serious
repercussions back to two-player games.

>In this case, I'd hate to see your way of playing the BV since it would
>multiply its power in multiplayer play by number of opponents. Certain
>other cards also do that (Syphon Soul is the obvious one) but the Black
>Vise was already a fairly powerful card in its own right.

I just see no reason to shake thing up so damned much. And, as somebody
else has said: even if the BV becomes incredibly powerful in a large
multiplayer game, I don't think it would survive very long as there are
that many more hands available for a Disenchant or Shatter to come from.
Not to mention the "let's all get him!" effect even after the vicious
thing has been taken care of. Seems to me that it would be self-limiting.

And it's not just the BV, it's _all_ continuous artifacts, how
about Winter Orb? (I'm sure there are others).

Or how about Enchantments? Does "Mana Barbs" now also have to
be targetted to one opponent? Used to be that Enchantments were
general effects, and that's how continuous effect artifacts have
been, and should be.

Now an enchantment like "Drain Life" is inherantly one-ended, and a
"target opponent" (pick one) seems much more appropriate. But changing
a fundamental aspect of the game such as "ok, all artifacts now have
to have a target declared when cast" is just too extreme to be
justifiable, imho.

-rmh

har...@ulogic.com

unread,
Jan 18, 1995, 1:15:41 PM1/18/95
to
In article <3fjg9n$2...@rigel.infinet.com>,
John Palmer <jpa...@infinet.com> wrote:
>Devin Ben-Hur (dra...@qiclab.scn.rain.com) wrote:
>: In article <3f6ngo$q...@bigboote.wpi.edu>,
>: >this...I'm trying to think of any times you wouldn't want this to

>: >happen, but I can't off the top of my head...but that isn't saying much :)
>
>: No, not an acceptable solution. Artifacts can have enchantments and
>: counters played on them. They may be tapped. If Steal artifact said,
>: treat as just cast, the enchantments would fall off, they would untap,
>: and they would lose or reset their counters. All new and not desireable
>
>
> That's why I suggested that stolen artifacts should retarget. Stealing
>a black vice should at least allow you to turn it off and then turn it back
>on.

If you dropped the idea of it being targetted at all, none of this
would be an issue.

It is a Continuous Artifact. It's effect is continuous, and "opponent"
is resolved in reference to the current controller, not the caster.

There, isn't that much easier?

-rmh

har...@ulogic.com

unread,
Jan 18, 1995, 1:27:31 PM1/18/95
to

Well said!

Imho, the "design team" has been making more questionable rulings
in the recent months than before. I think it's time for a major
design team review, to see if these people are really thinking about
their decisions, or just taking the first thing that comes to them...

-rmh

Rich Shipley

unread,
Jan 18, 1995, 1:37:37 PM1/18/95
to
Frederick Scott (fre...@netcom.com) wrote:
: sb...@city.ac.uk (HOLT A) writes:
: >There seems to be a feeling that we will change the way the game
: >plays to match the wording of the (second edition) rules rather than
: >accepting that those rules may not lead to the best version of the game.

: I don't know. I still think a lot of people are yelping around here
: because it's not the multiplayer game they _currently_ play. Like a lot
: of other things, "different" can be annoying to have to accept but if you
: give it a chance, eventually you might find you like it.

I've played multi-player a few ways (including choosing an opponent to
affect), and like the fact that WotC is attempting to make some
standard multiplayer rules. I just don't think they should change the
two-player game when they do it.

: The kinds of complaints we're looking at now aren't really worth listening
: to because they're coming from people who haven't really tried the game
: the WotC design team has proposed. If they stick to their guns, people
: will try it - and THAT'S when they should start worrying about "support
: from the masses" or lack thereof.

I've played just like this except for the part about opponent-affecting
artifacts being able to affect the controller. Other permanents assume
the perspective of the controller ("opponent has islands in play", etc.)
why are these permanents different? I think a reasonable change would be to
have the artifact have no affect when the controller is the target.

I guess they will change the wording of the cards in the next version. I
think its important to show that many people don't like this aspect of
the ruling and lobby for change before it is set in stone (or printing
plates).

Rich

har...@ulogic.com

unread,
Jan 18, 1995, 1:43:23 PM1/18/95
to
In article <3f082p$1...@darkstar.ucsc.edu>,

Thomas R Wylie <aa...@cats.ucsc.edu> wrote:
>
>Fellwar Stone looks at all lands controlled by all opponents and can
>generate any appropriate type of mana. You don't "point" it at anyone.

I don't have my Fellwar Stone with me right now, but doesn't it just
say "opponent"? Isn't "opponent" now a target selected when an artifact
is cast and unchangable? If not, then what's all this fuss about the Black
Vise?

We net a way to consistantly interpret the text on the cards in the
context of a multiplayer game, not a list of "this card is done this
way but that card is done that way".

My vote: "opponent" refers to "every player except the controller"
in the case of continuous effects. For Sorceries (such as Drain
Life" it should be read as "target opponent", and one opponent is
selected.

Fellwar Stone and Black Vise should be treated in the same manner,
either way.

-rmh

har...@ulogic.com

unread,
Jan 18, 1995, 1:55:21 PM1/18/95
to
Shoot! I forgot about that! The PPG _does_ say how to interpret
"opponent" in the context of a multiplayer game! WotC should now
deal w/ the conflicts raised by this simple and widespread WotC
rule, rather than coming up w/ a couple of K of new rules...

-rmh

noone

unread,
Jan 18, 1995, 6:35:01 PM1/18/95
to
In article <fred_sD2...@netcom.com>,
Frederick Scott <fre...@netcom.com> wrote:
>har...@ulogic.com writes:
>
>>In article <fred_sD2...@netcom.com>,
>>Frederick Scott <fre...@netcom.com> wrote:
>>>har...@ulogic.com writes:
>>>
>>Sure there have to be metarules ... but why do you presume they must
>>be as obtuse as possible? To me "opponent" being the "other guy" re.
>>the current controller makes more sense than re. the original caster.
>
>Yes, I can see your point. In fact, I feel the same way about some of the
>timing rules. But the answer is that they seemed to feel the need to do it
>the way they have in order to make the multiplayer games and the duel game
>as similar as possible. It was a tradeoff and a bit of simplicity fell
>victim to it.

Again we have a slight difference of opinion. Why does the goal
of "making the multiplayer game and the duel game as similar as
possible" involve changing the rules of the duel game? Can't the
multiplayer adaptation be made w/o "backflow"? This idea of the BV
being targetted now _does_ affect the duel games: Steal Artifact used
to be a useful card against BV, now it isn't. Again I say: interpret
"opponent" in the context of the current controller and none of this
is an issue. Making up a rule that now continuous artifiacts are really
targetted items just louses things up. So far I have seen no real
justification for this _fundamental_ change.


>Since Winter Orb and Mana Barbs say they affect all players, they should.

You're right ... I don't have my cards at work. I thought they were
"opponent" cards...

>And keeping the "all players" usage of the duel game in the multiplayer
>game maintains their personality nicely. The challenge of such cards is
>to design your own deck well enough to get sufficient advantage from them
>to make them useful to play - even though they affect you as well as your
>opponents. This doesn't change in multiplyer play so there's no reason to
>alter how they work.

I throw this entire argument back at you re. my definition of "opponent"
in the multiplayer context: the challenge of such cards is to design your
deck well enough to get sufficient advantage from them when their mere
presense is likely to get everybody on the table ganging up on you...

>Permanents like Black Vice and Underworld Dreams DO have targets in duel
>play and they always have.

Well ... no. Some Sorceries, Enchantments, and Activated Effects
have targets. Artifacts, like Creatures, do not. They just are.
Continuous artifacts just sit in the corner and generate a "field
of effect", kinda like a smoker in a restaraunt: he isn't targetting
you with his smoke, but it still bothers you and doesn't seem to
bother him very much...

In addition, changing this to make them targetted has _major_
repercussions, that I do not think have been clearly thought
out. The negation of "Steal Artifact" is one of them. There
may be others (although that first one is big enough).

Hacking in patches on top of patches ("ok, it gets retargetted
every time it switches sides") just makes things more complex.

There is well known a design goal: KISS - Keep it Simple, Stupid.
Well ... it may be a bit too late for that as far as MtG goes,
but how about: Keep It As Simple As Possible? Don't go making
fundamental changes when there is a simpler possibility around.
What is simpler than "'opponent' is everyone other than the
controller of the card"? This interpretation has worked well
for me, and apparently a few other people that have posted
replies. Aside from cutting down the number of rules, patches and
exceptions that WotC comes up with, what's wrong with it?

-rmh


Frederick Scott

unread,
Jan 18, 1995, 8:16:01 PM1/18/95
to
onet...@netcom.com (noone) writes:

>In article <fred_sD2...@netcom.com>,
>Frederick Scott <fre...@netcom.com> wrote:
>>har...@ulogic.com writes:
>>
>>>In article <fred_sD2...@netcom.com>,
>>>Frederick Scott <fre...@netcom.com> wrote:
>>>>har...@ulogic.com writes:
>>>>
>>>Sure there have to be metarules ... but why do you presume they must
>>>be as obtuse as possible? To me "opponent" being the "other guy" re.
>>>the current controller makes more sense than re. the original caster.
>>
>>Yes, I can see your point. In fact, I feel the same way about some of the
>>timing rules. But the answer is that they seemed to feel the need to do it
>>the way they have in order to make the multiplayer games and the duel game
>>as similar as possible. It was a tradeoff and a bit of simplicity fell
>>victim to it.
>
>Again we have a slight difference of opinion. Why does the goal
>of "making the multiplayer game and the duel game as similar as
>possible" involve changing the rules of the duel game? Can't the
>multiplayer adaptation be made w/o "backflow"?

In a word - no - not completely.

>This idea of the BV
>being targetted now _does_ affect the duel games: Steal Artifact used
>to be a useful card against BV, now it isn't. Again I say: interpret
>"opponent" in the context of the current controller and none of this
>is an issue.

But what happens when a Black Vise is stolen in a multiplayer game?
None of the solutions I've heard proposed don't completely change the
character of the Black Vise when you move from a duel game to multiplayer.
The trouble is the the formerly trivial targetting of the Vise becomes
far more crucial and profound in a multiplayer game because there is
suddenly a choice of targets. WotC's is the only solution I've heard of
yet that maintains the inherent limitation of the Vise (once its target
whittles his hand down it becomes essentially useless) in the multiplayer
game.

>Making up a rule that now continuous artifiacts are really
>targetted items just louses things up.

Well, it _changes_ things. I don't share your view that it's necessarily a
bad change and in any event, it's not big change. If it drastically
affected the game, I'd probably agree with you but it's just not.

>So far I have seen no real justification for this _fundamental_ change.

Well, term it "fundamental" if you like, it's still not a biggie, IMHO.

>>And keeping the "all players" usage of the duel game in the multiplayer
>>game maintains their personality nicely. The challenge of such cards is
>>to design your own deck well enough to get sufficient advantage from them
>>to make them useful to play - even though they affect you as well as your
>>opponents. This doesn't change in multiplyer play so there's no reason to
>>alter how they work.
>
>I throw this entire argument back at you re. my definition of "opponent"
>in the multiplayer context: the challenge of such cards is to design your
>deck well enough to get sufficient advantage from them when their mere
>presense is likely to get everybody on the table ganging up on you...

I don't get your point, here. If you mean that it's OK to let the power of
the Vise (or any other card) get pumped up by your proposed version of the
interpretation of "opponent" because in multiplayer play, alliances are
possible so any over-powerful card is not the play-balance problem it would
be duel play, I disagree. That's a cop-out. It still becomes a completely
different card in multiplayer play and that's not a good thing. When I
sit down to an MP game, I would like to play something that's a least vaguely
similar to duel play. At least, the cards should do more or less the same
thing.

>>Permanents like Black Vise and Underworld Dreams DO have targets in duel


>>play and they always have.
>
>Well ... no. Some Sorceries, Enchantments, and Activated Effects
>have targets. Artifacts, like Creatures, do not.

Sure they do. If I lay down a Black Vise and you're my opponent, then
you're it's target. It was that way and it will continue to be that way.
Make up terminology like "field of effect" all you want, but it's still
targetting you, not me. (This, by the way, is where your "smoker" analogy
fails. A smoker breathes his own smoke.) There's just no targetting
_decision_ to make in duel play since there's only one choice.

>They just are.
>Continuous artifacts just sit in the corner and generate a "field
>of effect", kinda like a smoker in a restaraunt: he isn't targetting
>you with his smoke, but it still bothers you and doesn't seem to
>bother him very much...
>
>In addition, changing this to make them targetted has _major_
>repercussions, that I do not think have been clearly thought
>out. The negation of "Steal Artifact" is one of them. There
>may be others (although that first one is big enough).

Obviously we're not going to agree on this. If I could ever even
_remember_ when I got my last artifact stolen, I might begin to see
your point. I used to stick an Aladdin in my tournment deck, oh, some
6 months ago but he was too pricey, mana-wise, to ever save me from
things like the Black Vise. So I got rid of him and just stick things
like Crumble, Shatter, and Disenchant in the deck to handle artifacts.

Anyway, there's the rub. What you insist is a fundamental change is a
blip on the ocean to me. I don't suppose we're going to approach any
sort of consensus on this under the circumstance.

>What is simpler than "'opponent' is everyone other than the
>controller of the card"? This interpretation has worked well
>for me, and apparently a few other people that have posted
>replies. Aside from cutting down the number of rules, patches and
>exceptions that WotC comes up with, what's wrong with it?

I've answered this - it makes things like Vises much more powerful than they
should be in the multiplayer game.

Fred

Thomas R Wylie

unread,
Jan 18, 1995, 9:36:23 PM1/18/95
to

David DeLaney <d...@panacea.phys.utk.edu> wrote:
>The only time
>a permanent-spell should target a *player* is if it has to choose a player
>for some reason, and the only real reason for it to have to do so is if it
>would have to decide in which territory to be placed.

That strikes me as a needless restriction on the sorts of effects
which could target players.

> Yes, Black Vise says it affects opponent; that's card text...

And we are saying that the card texts should be read differently given
that we are giving multiplayer rulings on them.

>have to kick in (and *shouldn't*, according to previous interpretations of
>how card text works) until the Vise itself actually appears. The Design Team
>has, currently, decided that this is not the case, and hasn't explained very
>well *why* they're saying this; thus my objections.

Take the Black Vise (rapidly becoming the "classic" example on this
topic...). In the two-player game originally envisioned, ti's simple
enough: you plunk it down, and it damages your opponent. There's no
particular reason someone would play it on themselves, and the conception
doesn't really allow for it, so it says "opponent" rather than "target
player". All fine and dandy.

Now people start playing Magic in multiplayer mode. Given that the game
was not designed for this, things start to break down a little bit.
One example of this is Black Vise. What the heck does "opponent" mean
in a multiplayer game? Does it mean everyone but you? Just one person?
If it does mean just one person, what happens if that person leaves the
game, or if they empty their hand while there's a nice juicy hand I could
be squeezing sitting on their left? Because expanding Magic to multiplayer
play brings up various nasty tangles, WotC basically left these questions
alone, and merely offered suggestions here and there.

Recently, we decided it was time to start supporting multiplayer play
a little bit better. While me might not worry too much about the rules,
whhe should at least gear the cards towards that mode of play. Unfortunately,
there are all these cards alrready in print which are pretty much broken
in multiplayer play. Do we leave those alone? Do we issue errata?
It was decided that it would be better to simply retrofit all existing
cards with a series of rulings, and then plan on rewriting the cards
accordingly if/when we reprint them. This is why some of the rulings don't
quite match what is on the cards: rather than issuing the ruling one way
now and changing the ruling when we went to reprint the cards, we simply
issued what we consider to be the ideal ruling right now.

Furthermore, because we are effectively changing what's on the cards,
the changes backtrack to twoplayer play. "If a two-player game, opponent
takes damage each upkeep. If a multi-player game, target opponent takes
damage each upkeep" would just be ridiculous. Again, this is a question
of "do we wait until the new printing to change how it works, or just
change/set how it works right now?" comes up, and our preferred answer
is to simply change the card now and get it over with.

Now the question becomes what each ruling should be. In general, we
assumed each "opponent" effect would say "target player" or "any opponent",
as appropriate, unless there was a game balance or card conept reason for
it to say "target opponent" instead. Black Vise is (in our opinion) way
too overpowered if it reads "any opponent", and it has a conceptual reason
to not be able to affect the caster, so we decided it should say
"target opponent", and thus the ruling. While we could get into messy
things about being able to retarget the Vise periodically, the bottom line
there is that it makes a simple card way too complex, so we simply say
you pick the target and that's it.

There were a couple of side rulings on this which were maybe ill-
considered at first, for example the fact that stealing the Vise accomplishes
absolutely nothing (and so on for similar cards). It may be that stealing
it causes the effect to shut down until the target becomes an opponent of
the Vise again. It's even vaguely possible that it would cause the effect
entirely. (The basic question here is whether the Vise ruling should synch
with the Wretched/Aladdin ruling, and if so, how much.) It definitely should
not retarget; again, that would require a complex rule on what should be
a simple card.

>Sorry. Yes, this is My Opinion; I put it forcefully because I can see no
>reasons what-so-ever for having these three cards in particular be Reflectable

Given that the Vise and the racks target a player, there is no reason why
you can't Reflect them back to the caster. The Reflecting Mirror doesn't
say it requires the new target to be "valid", it just resets the target
to a different player. Therefore you can reset the target to any player you
want. The rule on Enchantment Alteration is a specific rule about EA, not a
general rule about cards which retarget things.

Thomas R Wylie

unread,
Jan 18, 1995, 9:44:21 PM1/18/95
to

<har...@ulogic.com> wrote:
>And it's not just the BV, it's _all_ continuous artifacts, how
>about Winter Orb? (I'm sure there are others).

The rulings were intended to fix cards which are broken, or have no
clear reading, when used in multiplayer play. "a player" means that
the card affects any given player, and nothing about multiplayer
play changes this.

>Or how about Enchantments? Does "Mana Barbs" now also have to

>be targetted to one opponent?...

Manabarbs just says it triggers on lands being tapped for mana.
Again, the reading is quite clear in multiplayer play.

>Now an enchantment like "Drain Life" is inherantly one-ended, and a

>"target opponent" (pick one) seems much more appropriate....

Again, Drain Life has a clear interpretation in multiplayer play:
it still affects "a target". If we had wanted to prohibit Drain Life
from targetting its caster, we could have easily said so long ago;
that is not a consideration new to multiplayer play.

Thomas R Wylie

unread,
Jan 18, 1995, 9:50:59 PM1/18/95
to

noone <onet...@netcom.com> wrote:
>Again I say: interpret
>"opponent" in the context of the current controller and none of this
>is an issue.

That would be much easier of the Black Vise was an artifact which did
something during its controller's upkeep, rather than during someone
else's upkeep. If we tried to invert it in this manner, we might
very well go to microtext trying to get the card right. And it would
be a rather drastic change to make without introducing a "new" card
to take the place of the Vise.

>Making up a rule that now continuous artifiacts are really

>targetted items just louses things up...

The rulings were not about continuous artifacts in general. They were
about how most opponent cards should be handled assuming multiplayer
play, and this happened to include some continuous artifacts.

>Continuous artifacts just sit in the corner and generate a "field
>of effect", kinda like a smoker in a restaraunt: he isn't targetting
>you with his smoke, but it still bothers you and doesn't seem to
>bother him very much...

This, by the way, is definitely not true, since the Black Vise was a
Continuous Artifact, and its effects are very clearly directed at
a certain player rather than being a "field of effect". The only thing
being Continuous really means is that the effect isn't paid for.

>There is well known a design goal: KISS - Keep it Simple, Stupid.
>Well ... it may be a bit too late for that as far as MtG goes,
>but how about: Keep It As Simple As Possible? Don't go making
>fundamental changes when there is a simpler possibility around.

We don't want to break cards simply for the sake of simplicity.
Saying that Black Vise was a broadcast effect would, in our opinion,
break it.

Thomas R Wylie

unread,
Jan 18, 1995, 10:00:48 PM1/18/95
to

Stetler <k...@netcom.com> wrote:
>sound, balanced
>rules for multiplayer games and how certain cards are handled in such
>games have been in use and have been continually perfected by players
>since the Alpha edition was still available.

People have been playing with rules that they like for quite a while,
true. This does not mean that we consider those rules to be the
most balanced.

> Summed up, WotC is a relative newcomer to the concept of multiplayer MTG

We are not newcomers to the concept of multiplayer MTG. We have simply
chosen not to comment on it, particularly. We have also been wincing
at several popular decisions on how to handle certain cards, such as
making Black Vise an "any opponent" card.

>Objection to these new rulings by players on the net cannot
>simply be dismissed as the complaints of people unhappy with change.
>Several of these official rules have already been independantly conceived

>and tested by others months ago and found problematic...

Such as? For example, some people consider it "problematic" that given
the rulings, a Black Vise doesn't do anything if its target gets killed off.
This isn't particularly "problematic"; people simply don't like their
cards being useless. A Black Vise hanging around doing nothing really
isn't any more problematic than an Oubliette hanging around doing nothing
because it targetted a token creature. It might look strange, but I
wouldn't call it "problematic".

>is an issue that WotC could have utilized Usenet as a vast resource
>of knowledge from *experienced* play testers on the subject. Instead they
>have issued a set of rulings they insist are "the best way" and told
>us to live with it. It should come as little suprise there would be
>arguement over the rulings, it is somewhat surprising that WotC
>either did not expect such or doesn't seem to consider such arguement
>as valid or important enough for consideration.

It is not surprising at all that there were objections to the rulings.
But there is no particular reason we should have taken a poll on what
the rulings should have been, especially since we've had several people
watching the net for months (e.g. myself) who have seen the traffic
on the subject. If people point out problems in the rulings then we'll
reexamine them, but for example we were well aware that some people
wouldn't like the Black Vise ruling. That doesn't change the fact that
we think the ruling which appeared to be more popular was imbalanced,
and it doesn't mean that we should have ruled the other way simply
because lots of people played that way.

Thomas R Wylie

unread,
Jan 18, 1995, 10:06:18 PM1/18/95
to

HOLT A <sb...@city.ac.uk> wrote:
>Yes, the problem is that they seem to be deciding "proper" on the basis
>of legalistic semantic examination of existing wording when they should
>be working on the basis of "what makes the best balanced and playable...

That is what happened, actually. We tried to make "opponent" effects
be target player, but made them "target opponent" if there were game
balance or conceptual reasons for doing so.

>There seems to be a feeling that we will change the way the game
>plays to match the wording of the (second edition) rules rather than
>accepting that those rules may not lead to the best version of the game.

We are assuming that people will follow the updates of the rules, yes.
We are not going to support several versions of the rules, which
contain contradictory rules, all at once. In this case, we are
anticipating the next printings of the cards, rather than ruling one way
now and then reversing those rulings when we update the cards.

>When you have masses of messages on the net suggesting that a change is
>_wrong_, and AFAICT none seriously supporting it you should rethink.

As far as that goes, it has been repeatedly demonstrated that the people
who agree with rulings or decisions never come out of the woodwork to
support the rulings or decisions, but rather let WotC and anyone else
who feels like it respond to the objections. The lack of response not
a reliable indication of how popular a given ruling or decision is.

Thomas R Wylie

unread,
Jan 18, 1995, 10:12:00 PM1/18/95
to

<har...@ulogic.com> wrote:
>I don't have my Fellwar Stone with me right now, but doesn't it just
>say "opponent"? Isn't "opponent" now a target selected when an artifact
>is cast and unchangable?...

Depends on the artifact (or other kind of permanent). We tried to make
cards be "any opponent" or "target player" unless there was a game balance
or conceptual reason to say otherwise. Fellwar Stone doesn't really qualify
on either count, so should be read as "any opponent", the default.

>We net a way to consistantly interpret the text on the cards in the
>context of a multiplayer game, not a list of "this card is done this
>way but that card is done that way".

Well, there isn't going to be an entirely reliable way to guess that,
unfortunately. It would be nice if there was, but deciding whether
a given effect is imbalancing written one way as opposed to another is
rarely a scientific task, and factoring in card concept is even less so.
Since the public can't read the design team's mind, some of the rulings
are going to seem a little inconsistent.

Frederick Scott

unread,
Jan 18, 1995, 10:27:25 PM1/18/95
to
aa...@cats.ucsc.edu (Thomas R Wylie) writes:

>
>Frederick Scott <fre...@netcom.com> wrote:
>>Paul Andrew King had one suggestion I like. He mentioned once that he'd
>>proposed that the Convocation issue _two_ restricted lists, to distuinguish
>>between the two sorts of cards. (And likewise, two banned list...) That way,
>>you could take a deck that violates the "restricted because it takes too long"
>>restrictions to informal play and not feel like you're pulling a fast one (or
>>rather a _slow_ one :) ) on your opponent.
>

>Except that the Convocation rules are intended for tournament play, and
>just for tournament play. It is assumed that sanctioned tournaments, at
>least, have a time constraints. Nothing says that the rules have to be
>adopted in private play, or that they have to be adopted exactly. If you
>want to unban Shahrazad and unrestrict Ivory Tower in private play (since
>the primary reason for their restriction doesn't really apply), then
>by all means, go for it.

Of course, that's always possibility. Unforunately, it's difficult to merge
expectations with opponents you causually meet during open play sessions at
various sites. The default way of doing this has been - for some time - to
follow the only set of deck construction rules (aside from the original ones,
which are demonstratably unbalanced) that has any semblance of legitimacy:
Convocation rules. I can see why the Convocation might not care to take
responsibility for filling this need for such a set of rules, but the need
exists none the less. I hope some day they have a change of heart about this
issue.

Fred

Stetler

unread,
Jan 19, 1995, 1:21:24 AM1/19/95
to
In article <3fkkl0$d...@darkstar.UCSC.EDU> aa...@cats.ucsc.edu (Thomas R Wylie) writes:
>
>> Summed up, WotC is a relative newcomer to the concept of multiplayer MTG
>
>We are not newcomers to the concept of multiplayer MTG. We have simply
>chosen not to comment on it, particularly. We have also been wincing
>at several popular decisions on how to handle certain cards, such as
>making Black Vise an "any opponent" card.
>

The group I game with has been playing multiplayer MTG almost
exclusively every weekend for over a year (I know, we should probably
get a life), and our multiplayer MTG group is fairly new compared
to what I've heard from others I've talked to. I stand by my statement -
WotC is a newcomer to this issue, saying "they've heard of it and
thought about it" hardly qualifies as a voice of experience.

>>Objection to these new rulings by players on the net cannot
>>simply be dismissed as the complaints of people unhappy with change.
>>Several of these official rules have already been independantly conceived
>>and tested by others months ago and found problematic...
>
>Such as? For example, some people consider it "problematic" that given
>the rulings, a Black Vise doesn't do anything if its target gets killed off.
>This isn't particularly "problematic"; people simply don't like their
>cards being useless. A Black Vise hanging around doing nothing really
>isn't any more problematic than an Oubliette hanging around doing nothing
>because it targetted a token creature. It might look strange, but I
>wouldn't call it "problematic".
>

Such as...the situation with Steal Artifact and set targetted artifacts.
Our group tried that approach back in July and hit the same snag - we
couldn't resolve the issue without changing the way the rules effect
two player game play, something we refused to do just to fix something that
wasn't broke. There were other *problems* with the rulings, I'd have to
review the list again and think it over to point them out.

I see the above as another example of attempting to pass off contention
over the rulings as simply complaints about changes in playing style. I
would hardly regard a set of rulings that changes the dynamics of the
existing 2 player game simply "strange". Please don't dismiss objections as
simply grumblings of the masses, asside from sounding elitist and insulting
it ignores the idea that there are valid concerns being expressed.

>It is not surprising at all that there were objections to the rulings.
>But there is no particular reason we should have taken a poll on what
>the rulings should have been, especially since we've had several people
>watching the net for months (e.g. myself) who have seen the traffic
>on the subject. If people point out problems in the rulings then we'll
>reexamine them, but for example we were well aware that some people
>wouldn't like the Black Vise ruling. That doesn't change the fact that
>we think the ruling which appeared to be more popular was imbalanced,
>and it doesn't mean that we should have ruled the other way simply
>because lots of people played that way.

There is no requirement to "take a poll", but as for a particular
reason there is a good one - experience. Usenet is the largest easily
accessible group of playtesters WotC could possibly find, and its free.
Much of the ground WotC is treading with the new multiplayer game
rules has been walked over already by many of us - we've seen the
problems and the benefits of the proposed rules. Look at what people
on the net have disagreed with (there really isn't much), and what
they've agreed with (quite a bit - for a reason, many of us have
tried it already, and it worked). No one says WotC has to utilize
this resource, just that it might be beneficial to do so.

Since the subject of the Black Vise and its play balance under
different methods of usage keeps coming up, I'll use it to point
what in my opinion (and all associated disclaimers that go with that
word) seemed to be a general problem with the rulings. That problem
being WotC seems to be applying a two player mentality to the rules
of a multiplayer game. Two player games are games of striving to
get the upper hand, they tend to be fairly straight forward,
brutal, and quick. Surprises happen, but generally you know who
your enemy is and know a fair degree of what they are capable of.
Multiplayer games are games of sleath and diplomacy. The focus
is gaining the upper hand without looking like you are getting the
upper hand, of nailing other players just enough to keep them under
control without looking like a threat when you do it. What you
are capable of is not only often held back waiting for the perfect
moment, its often held back waiting for the perfect target. Or set
up in pieces, to hide your strategy (a tactic that occurs in two
player games but is taken to an extreme in multiplayer games). Or
simply held back because the retribution costs could be too high.
Because if the other players decide you're dangerous its unlikely your
deck can survive a combined assault no matter how good it is.
Multiplayer MTG often has more in common with Illuminati than it does
with two player MTG.

Consider the Black Vise example, in which WotC decided such spells and
effects that would have a detrimental effect on all or several players
were considered "imbalanced" (perhaps because the effect seems out of
proportion to the spells casting cost, availability, or lack of side
effects). Experienced multiplayer MTG gamers will point out that
playing a Black Vise that effects all other players does not result
in an easy victory, it usually results in its caster's lifespan in the
game being measured in minutes. Our group has had a Black Vise thrown
out on the first turn, sometimes multiples, sometimes with an
Underworld Dreams, all affecting every player except their caster.
The result has always been a concerted effort to remove those
obscenities and the player that cast them. After several *hundred*
multiplayer games I've yet to see an instance where those efforts
failed. I feel that this example demonstrates that the dynamics
of a multiplayer game should be considered carefully before ruling
a card's use as imbalanced, and certainly before changing the two
player game rules to match.

I intend to post the multiplayer rules our group uses to the net soon,
perhaps there will be some interest in them as an "alternative" to WotC's
official rules. Better yet, they may get some comments and additions from
others, I'm always open to new ideas. To use the same viewpoint of
people who have stated we should give the WotC rulings a chance, I say
give the same consideration to our efforts. I feel confident it will
be worth the effort.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
- Robert Stetler, k...@netcom.com "Listen to KGB Radio Moskow, where we -
- play all the top 40 hits whether you like them or not" -
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Walter Goodwin

unread,
Jan 19, 1995, 3:39:56 AM1/19/95
to
In article <3fkj77$d...@darkstar.UCSC.EDU> aa...@cats.ucsc.edu (Thomas R Wylie) writes:

>Given that the Vise and the racks target a player, there is no reason why
>you can't Reflect them back to the caster. The Reflecting Mirror doesn't
>say it requires the new target to be "valid", it just resets the target
>to a different player. Therefore you can reset the target to any player you
>want. The rule on Enchantment Alteration is a specific rule about EA, not a
>general rule about cards which retarget things.


>Tom Wylie rec.games.trading-cards.* Network Representative for
>aa...@cats.ucsc.edu Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

This is extremely confusing. Having a legal target is one of the
basic rules of the game. And now we have a card that breaks that rule.
I can accept the targetted when cast/target never changes bit, but
letting something pick invalid targets is too much. If enchantment
alteration didn't have the bit about picking a valid target, does anyone
think that it would be ruled that it can move a tacklemaggot onto a
white knight? I don't think so.

Jason Goodwin

Rich Shipley

unread,
Jan 19, 1995, 9:16:11 AM1/19/95
to
Thomas R Wylie (aa...@cats.ucsc.edu) wrote:
: There were a couple of side rulings on this which were maybe ill-

: considered at first, for example the fact that stealing the Vise accomplishes
: absolutely nothing (and so on for similar cards). It may be that stealing
: it causes the effect to shut down until the target becomes an opponent of
: the Vise again. It's even vaguely possible that it would cause the effect
: entirely. (The basic question here is whether the Vise ruling should synch
: with the Wretched/Aladdin ruling, and if so, how much.) It definitely should
: not retarget; again, that would require a complex rule on what should be
: a simple card.

Thanks for this Tom. I'm glad this is being considered.

Rich

James Buster

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Jan 19, 1995, 5:39:33 PM1/19/95
to
In article <3fkj77$d...@darkstar.ucsc.edu>,

Thomas R Wylie <aa...@cats.ucsc.edu> wrote:
>Furthermore, because we are effectively changing what's on the cards,
>the changes backtrack to twoplayer play. "If a two-player game, opponent
>takes damage each upkeep. If a multi-player game, target opponent takes
>damage each upkeep" would just be ridiculous.

Sure, but the phrase "affects target player, target player may be changed
during controller's upkeep" is simple, obvious, works the same
in two- and multi-player games, and has the advantage that you don't have
to come up with strained rulings to cover every contingency. So what if you
can target yourself, no sane player will do so. For permanents like
Disrupting Scepter, where you might not want people destroying their own
hands to avoid a Black Vice's damage, just say "target player other than
you". For permanents that are intended to affect multiple players,
like "all oponents" you can say something like "choose a set of players in
play. X will happen to each named player." Assume that players are sane
and will do the right thing in choosing targets. If a player leaves the game,
ignore the effect.

>While we could get into messy things about being able to retarget the Vise
>periodically, the bottom line there is that it makes a simple card way too
>complex, so we simply say you pick the target and that's it.

When did "retarget during upkeep" become complex?
--
James Buster
bit...@netcom.com

Andrew Stefanski

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Jan 19, 1995, 5:58:27 PM1/19/95
to
On Thu, 19 Jan 1995, Frederick Scott wrote:

> Once its target (or targetS, as your version of the rules essentially
> creates) whittles his (or their) hand(s) down, it becomes essentially useless.
> That's an extremely important implication of the card, and I believe this
> weakness is the tradeoff for the card being very cheap to cast. Actually,
> your version of the opponent ruling doesn't really violate this, per se,
> (after all, the list of "all opponents" remains the same...) but it just
> makes it way too powerful for a one-mana artifact by making it act on all
> the players in the game save one.

I would think that having it affect all the players in the game
besides you is balanced off by the fact that you are highly likely to be
killed after playing the card.

Every time we've used a Vice/Rack/etc in a multiplayer game,
we've played that it affects everyone but the caster. Nobody has ever
thought it was too powerful.

> The main reason I wrote what you quoted above was in response to the
> retarget-each-upkeep and retarget-on-change-of-possession proposals.
> Retargetting the thing essentially allows a player to conveniently choose the
> juiciest new target after it has already done its work on the orginal target,
> forcing him to whittle his hand size down possibly against his will. The
> tradeoff for the single point of mana casting cost should be that its opponent
> stays the same throughout its life. For multiplayer purposes, it's quite
> enough that the caster has his choice of targets at casting time and can
> choose the opponent likely to be most uncomfortable with limiting his hand
> size to four (e.g., a player using Counterspells).

I agree that re-targetting the Vice every turn offers too much.
If you want to make it target one person, at least do away with the idea
that if you steal a Vice affecting you, that the card does not follow
what it says it does, and it still affects you. Let the new owner
retarget it.

It keeps two-player games working correctly, and leaves a
weakness in the vice. It seems to coincide with the idea of a weakness
for a one casting cost artifact.

> Come on, that's really rather dense to deny that there's a multiplication of
> the Vises power by number of opponents in a multiplayer game by your proposed
> ruling. It would simultaneously act on however many there are instead of
> one. If I wanted to throw a Lighting Bolt and expect it to act on all of my
> opponents and tried to argue to you that that's correspondingly equal in
> power to the two player game, would you let me get away with it? I think not.

It increases in overall power, yes. If you only look at the two
people that it is currently affecting (the controller and the current
player), then it hasn't.

> Most cards are basically all right in the MP environment. Changed or not
> changed, more powerful or less powerful, all in all most of them play
> just fine. But cards like the Vise and Underworld Dreams and the like
> just gain too much to ignore if you permit them to act directly on everybody
> else instead of just one opponent. In the latter case, they're quite
> comparable to a direct damage spell or a tapping creature or artifact
> effect that can (normally) be used only one per turn. This keeps the
> focus from changing in the game to these types of cards.

Almost ALL the cards in the game are inherently weaker in a
multiplayer game. Any creature is weaker, since you only get one attack
compared to many defenses. If we are going to change these cards for the
multiplayer game, why not change all of them to try and conserve this
two-player feel that it appears they are trying to keep.

Is it wrong to allow some cards to become stronger with more
players unless the card practically states they do? And I don't think
the cards gain too much since they almost always guarantee that caster
will be killed.

> Why is simplicity the best way to accomplish this? Simplicity is in no
> way equivalent to consistency between the two games. And, as I've pointed
> out, simplicity damages this end by ignoring abrupt changes in the power
> of certain cards in the MP game over the duel game. Your conclusion does
> not follow your premise, here.

The abrupt power changes do not only occur with a select group of
cards. Almost EVERY card has quite the difference in the entirely
different realm of multiplayer magic.