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Thursday, June 10, 2010

BREAKING: M11 Changes Deathtouch Slightly

New previews means more BREAKING NEWS!

Someone's got their hands on real M11 cards (way ahead of schedule, but they are authentic) and posted a few new Green cards.

Among them (and this is word-for-word, no shorthand notations or simplifications)...

Greater Basilisk
Creature - Basilisk
Deathtouch (Any amount of damage this deals to a creature is enough to destroy it.)

So you're wondering, "What does this mean for how Deathtouch works in combat? With the template change, there's no mention of being able to break the "creature queue" set up in M10."

Even though we don't have the official Deathtouch change rules summary, I'd hazard a guess to say there's little to no change.

The current template is way too long. I mean, read it:
Deathtouch (Creatures dealt damage by this creature are destroyed. You can divide this creature's combat damage among any of the creatures blocking or blocked by it.)

The current version explicitly states how you treat Deathtouch damage. Which is nice...if it's the only ability on the card.

On Vampire Nighthawk, that takes a total of 4 lines of text. AND they had to fit Flying and Lifelink (with reminder text on Lifelink) in the same text box. If it were shortened up a bit, it wouldn't look as cluttered and confusing for a creature that basically reads "Flying, deathtouch, lifelink".

Plus, reminder text doesn't catch every little nuance of the rules behind the reminder text. It should, however, give enough to guide you through most situations.

Under the current template, you still get 1 point of damage being able to destroy a creature. That's fine.

But unlike the current Deathtouch template that explicitly breaks the "creature queue" rule, this version is more subtle but does the same thing. Normally, a creature takes lethal damage when it takes damage greater than or equal to its toughness. Deathtouch seems to re-define "lethal damage" ("any amount of damage...is enough to destroy it."). As such, when you have to deal "lethal damage" to creatures in the queue in order to move on to the next creature in line, Deathtouch will say that just 1 damage will be enough and lets you move on.

Whether you'll get to jump around at will or not I don't know. Under the current template, if you have 5 creatures in the queue blocking a Deathtouch creature, that creature could assign its damage to the 4th and 5th creatures in line when it normally had to go straight through the first 3 to even have a chance of hitting that far back.

Either that, or the official rules will take back the ability to skip around in the creature queue and force you to go in order as long as you have enough Power to go through the "queue."

So wait until official word hits about how Deathtouch will work, but also keep in mind this shorter template will be around starting with M11 in July.

Reactions? Leave them in the comments here!

Until later,


  1. This would make Deathtouch + Trample a supercombo like everyone hoped it would have been with m10.

  2. Maybe that's an intended consequence? "Well, players' first thoughts were it worked like that, so maybe this tweak isn't SO bad since it would now work the way they THOUGHT it worked in M10."

    Or here's a crazy thought...now that the new template doesn't explicitly state anything about "combat damage", which is creature-specific, COULD this new template give way to other permanents/spells that can do damage AND have/get Deathtouch? Like maybe...

    Deathtouch Ping Enchantment
    If red sources you control did at least six damage to any creature, [this] gets Deathtouch until end of turn. (Any damage this deals to a creature is enough to destroy it.)
    TAP: [This] deals 1 damage to target creature. Activate this ability only if you control six or more basic mountains, and only as a sorcery.


    Crucible of the World
    [This] deals 1 damage to each creature. If [this] is the third red instant or sorcery spell you cast this turn, [this] has deathtouch.

    Well...R&D could do better cards (and probably templated better too), but you get the idea. Maybe Deathtouch won't be limited to just creatures now.

    ...Or it could be nothing changes except the template itself.

    Here's hoping it has further-reaching implications than just a template change!