The rules of TL are different from that of normal MTG games in a variety of ways. Even the card layouts differ greatly. Consider Battlegrowth:
The typical instant or sorcery you play will be like this. Note several important differences that distinguish TL cards from traditional MTG cards.
1) Mana costs are moved to the left side of the card, with numbers replacing the repetitive use of similar cost icons.
2) Everything here is quite intuitive for MTG players, except for the sign at the top right, which indicates a card's permanence. A card with permanence 0 is buried (tapped and flipped face-down) after its effect takes hold. By contrast, cards with positive permanence are considered permanents; by default, these stay in play indefinitely.
Simple enough. Now let's look at a permanent:
This card has a permanence of 1, which means a copy of it stays on the field (as opposed to a card with 0, in which case the card doesn't stay on the field). Sometimes you have the opportunity to play group cards. These are cards that represent a group of permanents put together, in which case you're effectively putting multiple copies into play. In this case, the whole is a unit comprised of one or more members.
There's a lot more to a permanent. Each permanent has a statistics diamond at the top left that shows:
- Black: Speed
- Red: Power
- White: Armor
- Blue: Agility
- Green: Life
In rules text this set of statistics may be written as 1/1/1/2/1, in that order.
Each card also has a radar chart that shows these five statistics in the background.
Statistics and CombatEdit
Speed is the number of times a unit may tap each turn (its tapping quota).
- When a card taps, you untap it at the end of the combat step if the card hasn't met its tapping quota yet this turn.
- Since you tap to attack, block, or to use an ability, a card with speed 2 may attack twice while a card with speed 1 may attack only once.
Power is the amount of damage that each member deals when it attacks.
- A unit may tap to attack (see speed). If there are multiple members in the unit, they are considered to be attacking together.
- Each attacking member deals its damage (which is equal to its power). Remember, the number of members in a unit is the card's permanence. So as the unit loses permanence, its ability to deal damage decreases.
- Attacks are assumed to be melee unless otherwise stated.
Armor is the amount of damage that each member can prevent from each source of damage directed at it.
- A unit may tap to block (see speed). Only melee attacks may be blocked.
- A unit takes damage from sources that attack it. When a unit blocks, blocked sources of damage attack it instead.
Agility is the ability of a unit to prevent or cause damage, based on the following rule: An attacker can't attack a defender with a higher agility, and a defender can't block an attacker with a higher agility.
Life is the damage each member can take before it is destroyed.
- Whenever a member takes 1 damage, its life falls by 1.
- When a unit loses a member, its permanence falls by 1, essentially saying there's one fewer copy of the card.
- When a unit has 0 permanence, it is buried (tapped and flipped face-down).
In order of increasing forward-looking nature or permanence:
- Passive (aka Static) Abilities
- Triggered Abilities
- Active Abilities
- Mana Abilities
- Creations (these are Permanents)
- "Enchant Aura" - Enchantments that are enchanted onto anything in particular, but to the overall game.
- "Enchant Object" - Enchantments that are enchanted onto a particular object.
- "Artifacts" - Some major subtypes: Trinket, Instrument, Equipment, Vessel, Wall, Structure
- "Creatures" - Some major subtypes: Beast, Bird, Human, Homunculus, Golem, Undead, Planeswalker
- Players are planeswalker creatures as well, but they aren't cards.
- Players refers to all humans playing the game, which is a subset of all planeswalkers.
- "Entities" - Some major subtypes: Spirit, Kami, Essence, Elemental
- Lands (these are Permanents)
Phases and steps in a turnEdit
- All players and planeswalkers take turns simultaneously instead of alternating turns.
- Game begins with each player having 4 cards in their draw zone.
- Pre (upkeep) phase
- Beginning of pre phase
- Each player adds all cards from their draw zone to their hand, then returns cards in excess of their max hand size (7) to their library.
- Each player may draw up to 4 cards.
- When you draw a card, it goes into your draw zone, NOT your hand.
- There are no restrictions on the size of your library or your draw zone.
- There are no restrictions on how many copies of any card can be in your library.
- You choose which cards you want to draw from your library (open-book).
- Only you may see your draw cards and the draw cards of any planeswalkers you control.
- Each player may play a land.
- Each player untaps permanents under that player's control.
- End of pre phase
- Play (main) phase
- Beginning of play phase
- A series of steps
- On any given step, all players may choose to undertake no more than 1 action.
- Actions are using a spell, using an ability, or declaring any number of attackers.
- Both when declaring attackers and when declaring blockers, the chosen permanents become tapped.
- Attacking player chooses what to attack with. Defending player chooses which blockers attacking permanents attack.
- Declaring blockers, and merely tapping or untapping, aren't considered actions by themselves.
- On any given step, a player may declare attackers and tap them multiple times, but can't attack with permanents that are already tapped.
- Spells resolve as if spells that had been played simultaneously hadn't happened yet.
- After each step, there is another step in which players have a chance to respond to it with instants and most abilities (ie. playing onto the stack).
- As long as someone takes an action each step, there's another step available. The play phase ends when no one has any actions left to take.
- End of play phase
- Post (cleanup) phase
- Beginning of post phase
- Excess mana is emptied.
- End of post phase
- There are now 5 areas in the game:
- Draw area
- In play (phased in)
- Removed from play (phased out)
- Discard area
- Destroyed permanents and spent spells are "buried" (tapped and face-down, but still in play).
- There is no longer a graveyard area.
- New and revised keywords.
- Excess mana doesn't cause mana burn.
- All cards will have to be re-costed and rebalanced. Only cards made for the TL format can be played in TL games.