Making "Indestructible" and "Unblockable" always abilities and not attributes.

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There is something that I've always hated about indestructible and unblockable. Not that they aren't keywords. I'm fine with that. It's the following interactions:

I control a  Blighted Agent. I attack with it and you Snakeform it.

Guess what? You can block it.

The same scenario, but now my Blighted Agent is enchanted with Cloak of Mists. You Snakeform it.

And guess what? You can't block it!

I control a Blockade Runner. I activate its ability once. You Snakeform it.

Guess what? You can't block.

I was going to do the same scenarios with indestructible, but figured that'd be too much. And you should know my point by now.

What I would like is to change any card that makes a creature indestructible or unblockable to read, "Enchanted (equipped, target, etc) gains, 'This is unblockable.'"

I think that makes everything work much better and within the rules. It allows indestructible to have the same use but always acts as an ability like flying.

It takes away the awkwardness involving Dauntless Escort's ability to work on creatures that enter the battlefield after you use it. It just... I feel it makes so much sense.

And, you say, "But it functionally changes a lot of cards!"

Well, yes. But that's assuming most player realize the difference between unblockable and flying and knowing which one is an ability and which one is an attribute.

Also, with Hexproof being keyworded gives a precedent to this change. (Not that it is going to happen, but that it can happen.) If Asceticism is changed to, "Creatures you control have hexproof." Interactions with humble and other ability losing cards changes. You creatures no longer have an attribute but an ability.

It's just something that I think would streamline the abilities and make Magic much more consistent. Thoughts?
Question: should Sinister Strength be reworded to say "enchanted creature gets +3/+1 and has 'this creature is black'"? Should Brainwash say "enchanted creature has "this creature can't attack unless its controller pays "?

Just wondering if you wish to apply this to everything, or just unblockability and indestructability.
I would say definitely not.

First, I feel like those abilities are almost never played incorectly. If you Humble my creature enchanted with Sinister Strength, I don't think you would ever think its color is anything other than black. I don't think that would ever be played wrong.

But I know tons of people (even good players) are not sure of the different between indestructible and flying.

But also, color change and power toughness altering stuff (to my knowledge) happen before abilties are gained or lost. So, even if those were worded the way I want indestructble to, nothing would be changed. I actually think putting color changes and P/T as abilities would make it more confusing because if you Humble a Transguild Courier, it's still all colors.
I don't like it.

"Enchanted creature is indestructible" or "Equipped creature is unblockable" are very elegant templates.  They don't need a knowledge of Magicese, since you just use the English definition of the word.  Changing it to "Enchanted creature has "This creature is indestructible."" would make it very clumsy, and people would wonder why they'd word it like that.

I don't find the Snakeform argument at all compelling.  Ability removal is a very corner case; there are less than 10 cards in all of Magic that remove all abilities from an object.  And there are many more cases where a ability removal has a different effect on an object that has a rules-changing ability compared to an object that's affected by a rules-change in some other way.  That is, Blighted Agent is to Cloak of Mists as Horde of Boggarts is to Goblin War Drums, as Nettle Sentinel is to Intruder Alarm, as Daggerclaw Imp is to Magistrate's Veto, etc.
I think I actually might be making an argument for that.

It just really bothers me that if I control a Runeclaw Bear that is enchanted with Cloak of Mists and Flight and you make it lose abilities, it still can't be blocked but loses flying.

I know it's a corner case. But I feel like this simple templating change would make those interactions much more clearer and easier to understand.

 
That is, Blighted Agent is to Cloak of Mists as Horde of Boggarts is to Goblin War Drums, as Nettle Sentinel is to Intruder Alarm, as Daggerclaw Imp is to Magistrate's Veto, etc.

I think the reason people are bothered by the interactions with unblockable and indestructible but not the cards you mentioned is because those two concepts are mechanically and flavourfully simple, and they feel like keyword abilities but they are not. Some people also mistake them for keywords because they are described by a single word rather than a phrase like "can't block". The difference between "enchanted creature has" and "enchanted creature is" is easily missed.
Not a fan actually. The fact that unblockability and Indestructible aren't keywords really only matters in templating.

It's like Tribal. Yes it's weird that Tribal's a card type instead of a supertype, but the difference has almost no impact on the game.
… and then, the squirrels came.

Here is the reason why we aren't the game designers, this kind of thing is an occaisional hurtle, which a player will learn from- but is not significant enoguh- even when it comes up to make aspects be abilities and vice versa


Wizards deemed to make "trollshroud" a keyword for JUST THIS REASON. Thing is though that this is what gives Indestructable and Unblockable special properties, which might add to complexity, but also to the depth of the game.  Hexproof is by nature akin to protection and in some sense, akin to Progenitus, but they are unable to utilize this in the manner of Phyrexian Crusader or Jareth, Leonine Titan whom use protection for some serious beats. This being said- Unblockable and Indestructable are too simple to get duality out of (as the only way to deal with Hexproof before being a keyword is to perform an exchange of non-target removal or creature body). Hexproof (like Protection, Shroud etc) bends the game around them- while Indestructable and Unblockable... they just kind of do what they say. I understand where you come from- in terms of game accessibility- but the conditional interaction also works and is an aspect of advanced play.

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Wizards have now created the hexproof keyword. Hexproof is an adjective just like indestructible and unblockable. There might now be a card that reads: "Creatures you control have hexproof." or "Enchanted creature has hexproof." That sounds just has odd as "Enchanted creature has unblockable." Wizards has shown that it is alright for a keyword to be an adjective. They even picked an adjective instead of a noun for a new keyword, when they could have picked any word they wanted.

Unblockable and indestructible should be keywords. As others have mentioned, it would have little effect on gameplay, but when it did come up, the interactions would be more consistent. If they were keywords, they would behave like most players and new players expect they should.

Hexproof isn't the first adjective keyword, nor the only recent one.  It doesn't set any sort of precedent and doesn't indicate any sort of change.
Why should "unblockable" behave differently than "can only be blocked by two or more creatures?"
Why should "unblockable" behave differently than "can only be blocked by two or more creatures?"



Because it's a clear, single word. That is to say, it feels like a keyword.
Player == Object Instant = Sorcery - Instant
Why should "unblockable" behave differently than "can only be blocked by two or more creatures?"



Because it's a clear, single word. That is to say, it feels like a keyword.



Honestly, I think the only true reason people want to see 'unblockable' and 'indestructible' as a keyword is because the confusion came about from a lack of reading and/or a lack of understanding different words.

I've never thought 'indestructible' was, in and of itself, an ability, even before I delved into becoming as well-versed in the actual rules as I have become. That's because I understood the word 'is' was stating a quality, not granting an ability, whereas 'has/have/gain(s)' were obviously giving something, so those must be granting abilities, and as such, 'indestructible' and 'unblockable' must not be abilities.

I'm all for streamlining the game to some degree, but not to the point where people don't have to actually think or actually read. If we get to that point, people start assuming things and not reading the cards even more than they already don't, and then we'd have more so-called "justification" for a further dumbing down of the game to match the expectation of people who don't want to think or read. 
MTG Rules Advisor Mirrodin_Loyalty.png

Spearbreaker Behemoth taught me a lot about "indestructible". When I first saw the card in an Intro Pack I thought it was stupidly overpowered, so that prompted me to do some research. I quickly found out that being indestructible wasnt as bad as it sounds (since there are lots of ways to get rid of the permanent that dont actually involve destroying it). The card also taught me the difference between "~ is indestructible" and "target creature is indestructible" when it comes to losing abilities etc.

~ Tim
I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)
Why should "unblockable" behave differently than "can only be blocked by two or more creatures?"




Well, part of me says that they shouldn't. But I also think that there is a huge difference between "unblockable" and "indestructible" than "can only be blocked by two or more creatures." They just seem like keywords, and them functioning so differently is just.... I don't know. I understand how they work perfectly.

But it seems that a simple (albiet large in scale) templating change could fix it. 

Now, I know giving "quotes" to creatures with spells and auras is rare, but it is definitely done: Bear Umbra, Verdant Embrace, and Endless Whispers. There are other cards, but most of them grant activated abilities to the specific creature. Now, maybe these cards don't work if the enchantment had the ability instead of giving it to the creature. I don't know.

However, it can be done, and I understand why peopel are opposed to it. It's just that I don't think there is a downside from making every single attribute an ability. 
Now, I know giving "quotes" to creatures with spells and auras is rare, but it is definitely done: Bear Umbra, Verdant Embrace, and Endless Whispers. There are other cards, but most of them grant activated abilities to the specific creature. Now, maybe these cards don't work if the enchantment had the ability instead of giving it to the creature. I don't know.



Each of the three cards you mention grants an ability that refers to "you" - meaning the creature's controller rather than the enchantment's controller. It could be templated so the enchantment does all the work rather than granting an ability to the creature, but it would (in my opinion) slightly reduce the grokkability of the effect - compare:



  • Enchanted creature has "Whenever this creature attacks, untap all lands you control."



and



  • Whenever enchanted creature attacks, its controller untaps all lands he or she controls.



The former has the key words of the trigger and the effect right next to each other - "attacks, untap" - while the latter sticks a player in the middle (with a reference back to the start of the ability to identify the player, to boot).

And when you look at Endless Whispers, imagine rewording that to make it obvious that the player losing a creature targets one of their opponents, rather than one of the enchantment's controller's opponents, to whom to give their freshly dead creature, while making it a triggered ability of the enchantment rather than the dying creature:



  • Whenever a creature is put into any graveyard, its controller chooses target player who is his or her opponent. The targeted player returns that creature from that graveyard to the battlefield under his or her control at the beginning of the next end step



compared to the current



  • Each creature has "When this creature is put into a graveyard, choose target opponent. That player returns this card from that graveyard to the battlefield under his or her control at the beginning of the next end step."




At present, quoted abilities seem to be used when the difference between the creature's controller and the aura's controller is significant, or when it grants a -activated ability - both situations where it's a cleaner way of conveying the core functionality of the ability or effect.


However, it can be done, and I understand why peopel are opposed to it. It's just that I don't think there is a downside from making every single attribute an ability.



"Every single attribute" would mean that removing all abilities would leave a card nameless, typeless, colourless, etc (except for those attributes granted by the effect responsible, and other effects with later timestamps). There's also a problem with recursion - rules text is an attribute, so cards would have to read "~ has "~ has "~has [...]"""

Even without the overly-literal interpretation, doing everything by granting abilities would make a lot of wordings a lot clunkier for relatively little gain. Compare:



  • Creatures can't be blocked by more than one creature.

  • All creatures have "This creature can't be blocked by more than one creature."



There are only a few cards that can remove abilities from things, so sweeping changes to the game to make them work are overkill - Gatherer finds 8 cards with the phrase "all abilities", 47 with the word "indestructible" and 102 with the word "unblockable", so any proposed solution should avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater...
M:tG Rules Advisor
FYI, if you searched for "all abilities", you missed Lignify.
There's also Titania's Song.  That says "loses its abilities" instead of "loses all abilities" (this inconsistency should be corrected).
How about dropping gains/has, then using only the word gets and quotations to indicate gaining an ability?

Enchanted creature gets +2/+2 and "flying".

Creatures you control get " , : Gain 3 life." until end of turn.

Equipped creature gets +1/+1, "protection from black, and trample".



If they later decide to make an attribute into a keyword, easy.

Target creature is "black".

Enchanted creature is "indestructible".
That's a "terrible" idea.
""
That's a "terrible" idea.


""


I "laughed". "Loud".

[c]Forest[/c] gives you Forest
I almost wrote "lol". But the other seemed funnier.

Glad it paid off.