While we as the Elder/Playtest team do not like to do it very often, sometimes it becomes necessary to implement a rule or tweak a rule in the midst of a tournament season because the potential for negative play experience (NPE) is too great. This happened many years ago with the change that limited side battles to one per player per turn. Several other such instances have occurred over the years and we are announcing one today after much deliberation amongst our team and several other experienced players.
First some background on the cards this affects. During playtesting we went through many iterations of the black/gold Outsiders. We finally arrived at the final ability and really liked it except for one thing—the length of the ability did not allow room for putting the “(except Lost Souls)” clause on it. The need for this clause has affected many other cards over the years and it always limited us in terms of available space for the rest of the ability. We decided at the time that we wanted to expand the “Discarding Lost Souls” rule that states “Only cards that specifically say ‘discard a LS’ can target a LS that is in play” to include any special ability that could remove a LS from play. In effect, this would allow cards like Death of Unrighteous to continue working, but would prevent future cards with an ability similar to that of Shrine to Artemis from shuffling a LS without us needing to include the LS clause.
A couple months later we were finalizing the list of rule changes we wanted to implement and there were a few details with the LS targeting that we thought warranted further discussion. Not wanting to push out the release of the REG update (since RoJ was going to be tournament legal soon) we decided to forego the change to LS targeting and instead save that for the REG 5.0 release that would take place after Nationals 2017. However, we completely forgot about Outsiders…pretty much as a group we essentially had that rule change “in our heads” so to speak, and as a result, we never went back to figure out a way to keep Outsiders from being able to underdeck LS if that part of its ability was triggered.
Meanwhile, a discussion was begun on the boards regarding Noah. As it turns out, he had been played and ruled differently in various parts of the country. Some believed he could only exchange a blue card for two flood survivors while others argued he could exchange any targetable card for two flood survivors. In the end, it was decided that his wording does indeed allow him to exchange any card for two flood survivors, but that meant he could exchange a LS for two flood survivors. Combined with other LS manipulation, this had potential for NPE. Perhaps due to the fact that Flood Survivor decks were not really viable until Nationals (where people could finally obtain Noah’s Ark), the question of whether Noah could exchange LS for other Flood Survivors did not seem to come up until this tournament season.
As a result, we are in fact tweaking the LS targeting rule to include any instant ability. Ongoing abilities that target Lost Souls (such as protecting them from rescue or protecting them from evil cards) will not be affected. While this does make Noah and Outsiders less powerful, it does so in a way that reduces the potential for NPE without really changing the way most people—if not everyone—were using those cards. Here is a summary of the changes:
REG 4.1.2 > Types and Definitions > Instant Abilities:
“An instant ability can only target a Lost Soul in play if the special ability specifies that it is able to target a Lost Soul, or if it specifies that it targets all cards in a location that contains Lost Souls.”
**Editors note 2 – One other change was made to REG 4.1.2. We realized the rule which keeps a negate ability from negating itself was missing from the REG. That has been added under Negate > Special Conditions.
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