10

This bugs me.

Rishkar, Peema Renegade's Enter the Battlefield ability:

When Rishkar, Peema Renegade enters the battlefield, put a +1/+1 counter on each of up to two target creatures.

Lead by Example spell text:

Support 2. (Put a +1/+1 counter on each of up to two target creatures.)

Another creature with support: Saddleback Lagac

When Saddleback Lagac enters the battlefield, support 2. (Put a +1/+1 counter on each of up to two other target creatures.)

So, why isn't the text for Rishkar, Peema Renegade:

When Rishkar, Peema Renegade enters the battlefield, support 2. (Put a +1/+1 counter on each of up to two other target creatures.)

Huh?

18

Rishkar can put a counter on himself. You can't do that with support.

If that were not the case, there's another reason: most keyword mechanics only last for the single block in which they are introduced. For example, support was introduced in Oath of the Gatewatch. Once that block was printed, that's it for support. Future cards which have functionally identical mechanics will have the text of the mechanic written out, rather than using a keyword. An example is Gearseeker Serpent, which functionally has affinity for artifacts, but does not use the keyword.

The exceptions are evergreen mechanics, which can be used in any set. These are things like flying, deathtouch, and scry. Support is not evergreen, though.

I'm not sure exactly what reason Wizards uses to justify limiting keyword mechanics in this way, but I can think of one good possibility: when they use a keyword in a set, they want to make it common enough that people playing with those cards will internalize the keyword. That's the whole point of a keyword, after all; you see it often enough that you come to learn what it means and then you don't have to read the reminder text or the relevant rules. But putting a keyword on only one card doesn't save any mental effort compared to writing out the text of the mechanic, and it may even be more confusion than it's worth to newer players who would then have one more unfamiliar word to deal with on the card.

  • They don't want to reprint ability words because it makes the game to complicated for new / casual players to remember them all without serving any puprose (they don't change how the cards work and they don't work in the theme of the set, in fact they distract from it). Morbid and metalcraft are two of the few silently returned mechanics in the past few months aside from affinity and probably a few more. – Autar Feb 21 '17 at 8:47
  • @Autar Yep, that was basically the point of the second part of my answer. – David Z Feb 21 '17 at 8:49
8

You can see just from the text you quoted that Rishkar's ability is not functionally identical to Support 2. Its ability says

When Rishkar, Peema Renegade enters the battlefield, put a +1/+1 counter on each of up to two target creatures.

but the rule for Support (rule 701.33a) says

“Support N” on a permanent means “Put a +1/+1 counter on each of up to N other target creatures.” [...]

The difference is that Rishkar can put counters on himself.

  • 1
    Nothing to say Other than that. – Drunk Cynic Feb 21 '17 at 1:25
  • 2
    One more thing to say would be that Support is a block-specific keyword mechanic. Those are usually not re-used in other blocks. – Hackworth Feb 21 '17 at 1:27

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