Pondering Policy: Core Set 2020

Welcome to our next edition of Pondering Policy! Today we will be digging into one of the more impactful changes from the M20 policy update. There are several other policy changes, but this one is big enough for Storm players that it deserves its own article.

Player Communication (Magic Tournament Rules 4.1)

Rite of Flame
Lion's Eye Diamond
Dark Ritual

In this article series, we have previously discussed status information. This is information that must be "announced upon change and physically tracked" during games. Most players will quickly associate this with life totals, which is the most common type of status information. The policy adds an additional stipulation for competitive and professional Rules Enforcement Level (REL) tournaments. This includes Mythic Championship Qualifiers, Grand Prix, Star City Games Opens, and Mythic Championships. At these events, when tracking Status Information, "methods that can easily be accidentally changed (such as dice) may not be used." Players that frequent the Grand Prix circuit probably already knew that this rule existed.

Here's the fun part: unspent mana is now classified as Status Information.

That's right. Outside of regular REL, you are not allowed to use dice to track your floating mana. While this does not affect a lot of decks, it affects our community quite a bit. It seems like this could be a big pain for us. There are some important points to remember, though.

  • Pen and paper is ideal, much like for life totals. I recommend using capital letters like "U", "B", and "R" to represent your floating mana, and crossing them off when you spend them.
  • If your opponent is okay with it, you can simply do net changes to your floating mana. For example, you could simply add "BB" to an existing "B" to represent a Dark Ritual instead of crossing out a "B" and writing "BBB" next to it.
  • If you have tokens for your colored mana (such as the ones we sell), I personally recommend using glass beads. They cannot be easily altered by a gentle bump of the table, unlike dice, so they should meet the requirements of the Magic tournament rules.
  • The no-dice restriction is only for competitive and professional REL tournaments. Friday Night Magic, Grand Prix non-MCQ side events, and your regular weeknight Legacy tournament do not have this rule.

I do realize that this is an adjustment for us, and it's going to feel like a pain. We will get used to it and we will endure. I will ask you to not give anyone a hard time for enforcing the new rule. Come prepared to track your floating mana without using dice. I use my BoogieBoard, which I also use for life totals. It can get a bit awkward if my line dies out and I have to reset the board, but it has worked out well all the same. As with everything else, preparation and practice will pay off huge dividends.

Thank you for joining me on this edition of Pondering Policy! If you have suggestions for future articles or just want to talk rules and policy, find me on Facebook or shoot me an email. Until next time, Storm fair and Storm fun!


Daniel Lee

Daniel has been playing Magic: The Gathering since Invasion, and fell in love with the Storm mechanic the moment it was printed. He plays/has played Desire Storm in Extended, Solidarity and The EPIC Storm in Legacy, Gifts Storm in Modern, Paradoxical Storm in Vintage, and Ophidian Storm in Pauper. A certified Magic Judge since 2004, Daniel is an active Level 3 at USA MagicFests, particularly on the West Coast.