Pro Tour Magic Origins will be more than a chance to see the greatest in the game battle with the newest. New rules and policies will be going to effect, and they reach across everything from those playing on camera and watching at home to, eventually, everyone that sits down to play Magic.
The biggest change coming is how the mulligan rule works. The new rules read as follows:
It really boils down to this: If a player mulligans, and after they decide to keep a new hand, they resolve a scry 1 before the game begins.
Anecdotally, this rule changes was suggested by Pro Tour Hall of Fame player Patrick Chapin:
Immediate praise for the rules change is high, though a staggered rollout beginning only at the Pro Tour will create confusion as begs the question: Why the delay in implementation across all events? Unlike other recent major rules changes, such as "damage on the stack" going away as of the Magic 2010 Prerelease, limiting this to the Pro Tour implies a few things:
- The change was decided recently, too soon for Magic Online to implement it with the Magic Origins release.
- The change is experimental, and player feedback from viewers and the Pro Tour will decide if the rollout will continue or the rule will be reverted.
- The change isn't final, and deeper scry may be tested later to generate the "interactive games" Wizards is seeking.
Whatever the issues holding it back, the Pro Tour will be our first glimpse into a new future for Magic.
Beginning at Pro Tour Magic Origins, and only at Pro Tours, the World Championship, and World Magic Cup, head judges will have discretion to use video from a feature match while investigating rules infractions in feature matches.
Interestingly, the announcement stated that a "judge stationed to watch the broadcast" would be the one to stop a match. This indicates a dedicated judge for matches, something that was rolled back when table judges were removed from feature matches. How this judge will be different from the table judges of old isn't clear, but enforcing the rules at the game's highest levels seems to be the goal.
However, what isn't clear is whether this solves situations like "the Chapin issue" that would cause a ruling off-camera to result in one penalty while the same situation on-camera finds another. Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir seems the most relevant in recent memory driving this change:
Lands in Back
Finally, and likewise starting with Pro Tour Magic Origins but carrying over for all Grand Prix, World Championships, and the World Magic Cup, players participating in video feature matches will be required to position cards in specific ways:
This has been affectionally called "the anti-Sullivan rule" by players given Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir Top 8 player Adrian's Sullivan's preferences for playing:
Ostensibly for the convenience of viewers at home trying to follow along with games, it will also standardize what broadcasters can expect to see in matches. Aiding those covering events in the booth should also drive better information and discussions as well, driving a better overall broadcast.
While these placements won't be enforced anywhere off camera, the penalty for failing to adhere to the rule isn't clear. It won't be long before a player decides to exercise "civil disobedience" in a feature match.
The general reaction across the community for all of these changes is mostly positive, though with any change there are concerns too:
New mulligan rule is NICE. http://t.co/ROlkMzwa3D— Eric Klug (@klug_alters) June 29, 2015
Everyone seems to think the card orientation rule will sadden Adrian. He already said he'd have no prob switching if rules required it.— Patrick Chapin (@thepchapin) June 29, 2015
Can't wait to try new Scry rule at the PT. Unconvinced about it improving certain decks as much as Tweeps are saying it will.— Kar Yung Tom (@kytmagic) June 29, 2015
On the play with the new mulligan rule=more Delver flips. I like the sound of this!— Cardboard Crack (@Cardboard_Crack) June 29, 2015
New mulligan rule seems great but I'm not a fan of beta testing new rules at the most important tournament.— Sam Pardee (@Smdster) June 29, 2015
Where do you sit with the rules changes? Are you excited to watch from home and test out how mulligans might feel soon? Pro Tour Magic Origins begins July 31!