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Urza's Saga
 
New Features of Urza's Saga

Urza's Saga introduces the following new features to the Magic; game. These add new flexibility to your play and are explained on the cards themselves.

Cycling

Many spells are priceless under the right circumstances but deadweight in your hand the rest of the time. Cycling is a new ability that helps in these situations. If you're holding a card with cycling, then instead of playing it, you can pay the cycling cost and discard it to draw another card.

EXAMPLE: Rune of Protection: White is an enchantment that reads:
"
W: Prevent all damage to you from a white source. (Treat further damage from that source normally.)
Cycling
2 (You may pay 2 and discard this card from your hand to draw a card. Play this ability as an instant.)"

Cycling is played as an instant, so you can use it any time that instants are legal. You can even use cycling as a response to another instant. Remember, though, that you draw the replacement card as the batch containing the cycling ability resolves, so you can't play that card until the whole batch has resolved. You discard the card as part of paying the cycling cost, so it won't be in your hand during any responses.

Cycling is an ability, not a spell, so it can't be countered by spells or abilities that counter spells.

Echo

Echo is a new ability that spreads the cost of a permanent, usually a creature, over two turns. Spells with echo cost less to play than similar ones without it. However, during your next upkeep, you must pay the permanent's casting cost again or sacrifice it.

EXAMPLE: Pouncing Jaguar is a green 2/2 creature that costs only G, so you can play it on your first turn. However, since it has echo, you have to pay another G next turn during your upkeep or sacrifice Pouncing Jaguar.

The payment is required any time a permanent with echo comes under your control, not just when you play one from your hand.

EXAMPLE: You cast Control Magic on your opponent's Pouncing Jaguar. On your next upkeep, you must either pay G (which may be difficult if you're playing a pure blue deck!) or sacrifice the Pouncing Jaguar, just as if you had summoned it yourself.

Echo is an upkeep cost. If you have a permanent that requires an echo payment, you can't end your upkeep until you've either paid the cost or sacrificed the permanent. Also, if the permanent has any activated abilities, you can't play them until you've satisfied the echo payment.

New Enchantments

Urza's Saga includes two special types of enchantments, nicknamed "sleeping" and "growing."

"Sleeping" Enchantments

Sleeping enchantments start out as enchantments, but can "wake up" and turn into creatures. They get to "wake" only when an appropriate event triggers them.

EXAMPLE: Opal Gargoyle is a white enchantment that reads:
"When one of your opponents successfully casts a creature spell, if Opal Gargoyle is an enchantment, Opal Gargoyle becomes a 2/2 creature with flying that counts as a Gargoyle."

Once a sleeping enchantment has changed into a creature, it no longer counts as an enchantment. Most sleeping enchantments change once and stay that way, but a few have a second ability that can "put them back to sleep" by changing them into enchantments again.

If a spell or ability counters the enchantment's trigger condition (such as successfully casting a creature spell), the countered spell or ability doesn't resolve and will not wake the creature.

"Growing" Enchantments

Growing enchantments have a one-time ability that's under your control. These enchantments start out powerless but grow potentially stronger each turn they're in play.

EXAMPLE: Torch Song is a red enchantment that reads:
"During your upkeep, you may put a verse counter on Torch Song.
2R, Sacrifice Torch Song: Torch Song deals X damage to target creature or player, where X is the number of verse counters on Torch Song."

Adding the counter is an optional upkeep ability. If you forget to put a counter on the enchantment during your upkeep, you don't get to back up and add one later.

Remember that if you sacrifice a permanent with counters on it as the cost of an ability, the ability "looks at" the number of counters the permanent had before it left play. Thus, you can decide whether to add the counter before activating a growing enchantment's ability.

Rules Changes for Urza's Saga

In a continuing effort to simplify both the card text and play in general, the Urza's Saga designers have made some revisions to the rules. The two most significant changes are described in more detail below.

Effect Duration

If an effect doesn't say how long it lasts, its duration is "permanently." In other words, that condition will persist until another spell or ability changes the situation.

EXAMPLE: Enchantment Alteration is a blue instant that reads:
"Move target enchantment from one creature to another or from one land to another.
(The enchantment's new target must be legal.)" In previous editions of Magic, this would have added the word "permanently" to clarify the duration of the effect. Now that duration is understood unless the spell or ability explicitly states otherwise.

Trample

Trample's effect has changed to simplify its interactions with other cards. It is no longer a damage-redirection ability. Instead, when an attacking creature with trample deals combat damage, the player distributing that damage can simply assign some or all of it to the defending player. Assigning trample damage is subject to the following rules.

  • If the attacker is unblocked, it deals all its damage to the defending player.

  • If the attacker is blocked by one creature, it first deals damage to the blocker. If it deals lethal damage to that creature, any remaining damage may be divided as its controller chooses between the blocker and the defending player. Because this distribution happens before damage prevention, it's possible that some or all the damage on the blocking creature will later be prevented; this won't change the damage dealt to the defending player.

  • If the attacker is blocked by more than one creature, it first deals damage to the blocking creatures. If it deals lethal damage to all the blockers, any remaining damage may be divided as its controller chooses between them and the defending player. Again, this distribution happens before damage prevention.

Blocking creatures that cannot receive combat damage, such as a creature enchanted with Gaseous Form, are completely ignored for the purpose of assigning trample damage. If such a creature is the only blocker, then all the trample damage is dealt to the defending player.

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