August, 2021 Rules Update and Clarification: Dungeons and Digital Cards
Dungeons and Venturing
We have updated the Pauper EDH comprehensive rules to work with the venture into the dungeon mechanic and dungeon cards from the Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set. When the set was being spoiled, there was some talk about the dungeon cards acting as markers, similar to monarch or emblems. However, the actual rules text for dungeons says differently:
> 701.46a If a player is instructed to venture into the dungeon while they don’t own a dungeon card in the command zone, they choose a dungeon card they own from outside the game and put it into the command zone…
One of the key differences that separates dungeons from monarch and emblems is that dungeons are actual cards with a card type, whereas monarch and emblems are not. This distinction meant that dungeons didn’t work with our rules for cards outside the game. Our previous rules text for cards outside the game read:
> 906.11. Players are assumed to own no cards outside of the game, for the purposes of effects that refer to them…
This wording started showing its age when the companion mechanic was printed, but didn’t make any practical difference to our format since all of the companion cards were printed at rare or mythic. However, because dungeons are legal and functional in all other formats, and venture into the dungeon cards have been printed at common and uncommon, we have edited our rules to work with them. The above rule has been replaced the following:
> 906.11. Parts of abilities which bring other traditional card(s) you own from outside the game into the game do not function in Pauper EDH (see rule 108.2a.).
> Example: The learn mechanic (as on First Day of Class) can successfully discard and draw, but trying to bring a lesson into the game from outside the game doesn’t function in Pauper EDH because lessons are traditional cards.
> Example: The venture into the dungeon mechanic (as on Ranger’s Hawk) functions in Pauper EDH because Dungeons are nontraditional cards (see rule 309.1.).
This wording mimics the current Commander rules wording, bringing us back in line with our parent format. The new wording also makes our rules work with any future companion card that might be printed at uncommon, while keeping wish effects non-functional.
If the wording about “traditional” cards confuses you, you’re not alone, and you’ll be glad to know that there are some definitions in the MtG comprehensive rules that help clarify what that means. The two rules referenced in our rewording are quoted below.
> 108.2a Most Magic games use only traditional Magic cards, which measure approximately 2.5 inches (6.3 cm) by 3.5 inches (8.8 cm). Traditional Magic cards are included in players’ decks. Certain formats also use nontraditional Magic cards. Nontraditional Magic cards are not included in players’ decks. They may be used in supplementary decks. Additionally, they may be oversized, have different card backs, or both.
> 309.1. Dungeon is a card type seen only on nontraditional Magic cards.
With the release of Jumpstart: Historic Horizons (J21), many players have asked whether cards or printings only available in Magic: The Gathering Arena will be legal in Pauper EDH. This discussion largely breaks down into two categories: new cards and digital printings of old cards with new rarities. Thankfully, both are already covered by our existing rules.
Brand new cards in Historic Horizons will only be available digitally and have no physical printings available. According to our current rules (see rules text below) these are illegal in Pauper EDH. We have no plan or intention to change this. As always, though, Rule 0 applies. If you want to play one of the few digital cards that can function in paper and your play group is OK with it, you can make proxies of the digital card to put in your paper deck. The only new cards relevant to PDH in Historic Horizons that could possibly work in paper are Sarkhan’s Scorn and Skyshroud Ambush.
> 906.5f A card can be included in a Pauper EDH deck only if it has ever been printed in a physical Magic set or product as a black-bordered card with regular dimensions.
> Example: Shrine Keeper is a card which only exists in Magic: The Gathering Arena. It is not legal in Pauper EDH.
> Example: Aswan Jaguar is a card which only has an oversized physical printing. It is not legal in Pauper EDH.
For new printings with different rarities (upshifts and downshifts), our existing rules treat Arena releases the same as Magic: The Gathering Online (MTGO) releases (see rules text below). That means that if a card was previously printed at uncommon in paper, then was released as a common in Historic Horizons, then that card is legal to use in Pauper EDH. Older examples of this kind of digital downshifting on MTGO include cards like Chainer’s Edict, Battle Screech, and Circle of Flame. While no new rarity shifts were released for paper cards in Historic Horizons, this was still a good opportunity to discuss the topic of digital vs paper rarity.
> 906.12. A card is of a certain rarity if it has that rarity in any Magic set or product, including Magic: The Gathering Online and Magic: The Gathering Arena. This also includes promo cards.
> Example: Hada Freeblade is considered to be of common rarity because it is a common in Magic Online Promo set, so it can be included in the common part of a Pauper EDH deck.Hada Freeblade is also considered to be of uncommon rarity because it is an uncommon in Worldwake, so it can be designated as a commander of a Pauper EDH deck.
I know that all this makes for some dry reading, but this kind of bookkeeping helps make sure we’re all on the same page when discussing rules and legality in the future. There’s also a lot of collective community knowledge about these subjects, and it’s good to occasionally get it down in print and spell it out for easier sharing.
- Paul (Scarecrow1779)
@PDH Home Base