8

I wrote this answer, and I feel like it would benefit (slightly - it's not exactly a crucial part of the answer) from knowing when rule 706.4 was introduced. I feel that if I can find out when a rule was introduced, I can more easily research why it was introduced, and then I can write a better answer.

In general, how can I determine when a comprehensive rule was introduced?

  • related: boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/6508/… – diego Mar 13 '15 at 19:22
  • @diego Looks like I got tunnel vision with my search terms. Thank you for finding that. – Rainbolt Mar 13 '15 at 19:27
  • I dunno, not 100% a duplicate; there are probably better ways than reading every rules update. There's the list murgatroid mentioned, or failing that you might rather binary search over past comprehensive rules. – Cascabel Mar 13 '15 at 21:35
  • 2007-05-01 had it as 503.4. That's the oldest I have. – ikegami Mar 14 '15 at 18:34
  • Voting to reopen after some discussion in chat. The other question wants all changes for a specific version. This question wants when a specific change occurred. Knowing the answer to the other question will eventually tell you the answer to this one, but maybe not in the most efficient manner possible. – Rainbolt May 15 '15 at 19:27
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Rule 706.4 was originally created as rule 503.4, and seems to have appeared between 1999 and 2001 - I haven't found any copies of rules between those two. (The renumbering happened in the July 11, 2009 rules update, which renumbered basically all the rules.)


If you have a really good idea when the rule you're looking for was introduced, Yawgatog's rules changes page (linked in murgatroid's answer) is great - for example, if you're looking for Bestow, just click on Theros and you'll see it among all the cleanly-presented diffs.

If you have a good keyword to search for, you can try this rules history forum thread, which summarizes past rule changes. For example, you can quickly find infect under Scars of Mirrodin. Unfortunately this page only goes up to 2012.

Failing those easy solutions, you can just binary search over past versions of the comprehensive rules, linked below. Note that you can also do some smarter things - for example, you can download them all (and clean them up), and look for the pair where the diff matches what you're looking for. (I did this by making a git repository with a commit for each version of the rules, then using pickaxe search.)

Past comprehensive rules

While Wizards only links to the most recent version of the rules, all the old rules are still being served. I managed to find what looks like most of them since 1999.

These links currently all work, and given how old they are, it seems likely that they'll keep working - but should they ever break, archive.org should have crawled all of them.

These are all plaintext, except some in 2014, because Wizards only linked to docx and pdf versions then.

1999-04-23
2001-07-23 2001-09-24
2002-02-20 2002-10-07
2003-03-15 2003-07-01 2003-10-01 2003-12-01
2004-02-01 2004-06-01 2004-10-01
2005-02-01 2005-08-01 2005-10-01
2006-02-01 2006-05-01 2006-07-15 2006-10-01
2007-02-01 2007-05-01 2007-07-13 2007-09-07 2007-10-01
2008-02-01 2008-05-01 2008-07-15 2008-10-01
2009-02-01 2009-05-01 2009-07-11 2009-09-04 2009-10-01
2010-02-01 2010-04-23 2010-06-18 2010-07-16 2010-10-01
2011-02-04 2011-04-01 2011-05-01 2011-06-17 2011-07-15 2011-09-30
2012-02-01 2012-05-01 2012-06-01 2012-07-01 2012-10-01
2013-02-01 2013-05-01 2013-07-13 2013-09-27 2013-11-01
2014-02-01 2014-05-01 (pdf docx) 2014-06-01 (pdf docx) 2014-07-18 (pdf docx) 2014-09-26
2015-01-23 2015-03-27 2015-07-17 2015-09-26
2016-01-16 2016-04-08


For rules older than this, I couldn't find anything in a similar format. It looks like 1999 was the first time Wizards actually published clean plaintext rules like this.

However, archive.org has a copy of the rules page as of April 1999. There are several links there, including the base Fifth Edition rules, in a frame-based view (kind of tough to use, but it works), as well as the updates for Mirage, Tempest, Urza's Saga, and Sixth Edition. With all of those taken together, you'd end up with the same rules as in the text-format rules from April 1999 linked above, but since they're split, you can see what was added in each step.

  • 2
    That git repo sounds useful, could you put it somewhere public? – LovesTha Feb 8 '16 at 4:36
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One option is to use Yawgatog's rules changes list, which shows every rule that was changed in each set. Rules that were added in that set show up on the right entirely in blue text. Since rules sometimes get renumbered, you should also pay attention to other rules changes under 706. This still involves checking each set, but it's a lot faster than searching whole comprehensive rules versions.

Note that this only goes back to the original Ravnica block, so you won't find rules older than that.

  • The behaviour codified by 706.4 been in force since far longer than Ravnica (whether or not 706.4 was present then or not, since 706.4 is just a "reminder rule"). If the behaviour was different in the past, it was surely before 6th. – ikegami Mar 14 '15 at 18:25
  • Re "but it's a lot faster than searching whole comprehensive rules versions", I disagree. Using Yawgatog's list is slow since it requires a linear search (up to 44 docs need to be read; 44 in this case, since the rule predates RAV), while you can employ a binary search to search the CRs (up to ceil(log2(44))=6 docs need to be read). – ikegami Mar 14 '15 at 18:35

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