Comprehensive Rules

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The Comprehensive Rules is designed to be the end-all, be-all documentation of Magic: The Gathering rules.

In the Comprehensive Rules, everything from banding to the layering of continuous effects is described and explained. As Wizards of the Coast warns, it is not for the faint of heart. While all the rules for Magic are in the Comprehensive Rules, it's not meant for everyday use; rather, it's reserved for specific cases during competitive games. In most ordinary situations, the basic rulebook is sufficient.

History[edit | edit source]

The Fourth Edition card set, released in mid-1995, marked the first attempt to formalize Magic rules into a coherent system.[1] Major overhauls were executed for Fifth Edition,[2] Classic Sixth Edition,[3] and Magic 2010.[4][5]

Referencing the rules[edit | edit source]

When making a reference to a specific rule, the clearest way to do it is as follows [CR <rule>]. As an example, if someone explains mana abilities and ends their explanation with [CR 605.1], then they make a reference to rule 605.1 which states:

From the Comprehensive Rules (Commander 2018 (August 10, 2018))

  • 605.1. Some activated abilities and some triggered abilities are mana abilities, which are subject to special rules. Only abilities that meet either of the following two sets of criteria are mana abilities, regardless of what other effects they may generate or what timing restrictions (such as “Activate this ability only any time you could cast an instant”) they may have.
    • 605.1a An activated ability is a mana ability if it meets all of the following criteria: it doesn’t have a target, it could add mana to a player’s mana pool when it resolves, and it’s not a loyalty ability. (See rule 606, “Loyalty Abilities.”)
    • 605.1b A triggered ability is a mana ability if it meets all of the following criteria: it doesn’t have a target, it triggers from the resolution of an activated mana ability (see rule 106.11a) or from mana being added to a player’s mana pool, and it could add mana to a player’s mana pool when it resolves.

The Comprehensive Rules are available from Wizards of the Coast in TXT, PDF, and DOCX formats, and are 226 pages long as of August 2017.

Rules are numbered, and many are divided into subrules. Subrules skip the lower-case letters "l" and "o", to avoid confusion with the numbers "1" and "0". So, for example, 704.5k is followed by 704.5m, then 704.5n and 704.5p.

Current version[edit | edit source]

From the Comprehensive Rules (Commander 2018 (August 10, 2018))

The Comprehensive Rules ends with a glossary of terms used in the document and on cards throughout the game.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Dan Gray. (June 01, 2009.) “Simple Rules are the Holy Grail of Magic”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Tom Wylie, Leaner and Meaner. The Duelist, "Murk Dwellers", October 1996, p. 51
  3. Bill Rose (January, 1999) Letter to the Magic Player Community
  4. Aaron Forsythe and Mark L. Gottlieb. (June 10, 2009.) “Magic 2010 Rules Changes”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Mark Rosewater. (August 05, 2013.) “Twenty Things That Were Going To Kill Magic”,, Wizards of the Coast.
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