The two "regenerate" verbs

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Would there be any problems if we modified the rules so that we only had one meaning of the verb "regenerate" rather than two?

I've recently been playing with a relatively new player; she's been playing a couple of years, and has a pretty good understanding of the rules, but she still finds regeneration confusing. Not for the "come back from the graveyard" confusion, although I do understand that's the most common confusion, but because of the issue of when it happens, and the way the word is used in two different ways. She understands the stack, but the two different meanings of "regenerate" and the times they apply during the turn are confusing her no end.

Searching this forum, I see this has come up once or twice before. 10 months ago, user 4227 proposed
 "Regenerate [object]" is already defined in the rules as "The next time [object] would be destroyed this turn, regenerate it." So why have two verbal meanings of 'regenerate'?

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The next time target creature would be destroyed this turn, regenerate it. If it regenerates this way, you gain control of it.

 
Are there any problems with this rephrasal? adeyke and Rush_Clasic supported it in that thread, Kedar and will_dice supported it in this thread, and I very much support it as well.

To be completely clear, I'm proposing that the wording of Cudgel Troll would change from  
    Green Mana: Regenerate Cudgel Troll. (The next time this creature would be destroyed this turn, it isn't. Instead tap it, remove all damage from it, and remove it from combat.) 
to
    Green Mana: The next time Cudgel Troll would be destroyed this turn, regenerate it. (It isn't destroyed. Instead tap it, remove all damage from it, and remove it from combat.) 

We'd remove 701.11a and the first half of 701.11b. It'd remove confusions such as 701.11c, as well as those of my friend I mention above. And I think it'd even help alleviate the common new-player confusion of regenerating something in a graveyard.

Plus it'd just make the rules more consistent. There really doesn't seem to be any reason to have the verb mean two things in two different contexts, and require 701.11c which basically says "When the game says "Regenerate Cudgel Troll", it doesn't actually mean to regenerate it". 701.11c seems to be a tacit admission that the word is used in an incredibly confusing way.

I appreciate it is a few more words to add. Regeneration is an ability used at common in expert-level sets, and it'd take up textbox space on those cards, although it wouldn't require any extra mind space. Nonetheless, the benefits I listed to the proposed change seem to be significant. What do people think?
I support the idea of removing the dual nature of "regenerate". Not sure how best to do it, but IMO it would be for the best.

I see lots of people (some online and some IRL) who think that putting a regeneration shield on something is a way of tapping it down.

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56287226 wrote:
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Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
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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
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To be honest, I'd prefer getting rid of regeneration entirely in favor of temporary indestructibility. But if it's going to stick around, this is at least a step in the right direction from a templating perspective.

The main problem is that it lengthens the text significantly and the transition may confuse people significantly.

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I think something simple like :

"G: Put a Regeneration Shield on this until EOT"

Then when the shield is used this turn, it is "regenerated" and is tapped, etc.

That way you can easily differentiate the two to newer players. 
I think something simple like :

"G: Put a Regeneration Shield on this until EOT"

Then when the shield is used this turn, it is "regenerated" and is tapped, etc.

That way you can easily differentiate the two to newer players. 



That still isn't better. The best way would be to take the example from Mossbridge Troll and re-template all one-shot regeneration shields to line up with that: "The next time ~ would be destroyed this turn, regenerate it."
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alextfish, good proposal. I think it can be shortened a little bit.

    Green Mana: The next time Cudgel Troll would be destroyed this turn, regenerate it. (It isn't destroyed. Instead tap it, remove all damage from it, and remove it from combat.)


Revision 1.

: The next time Cudgel Troll would be destroyed this turn, regenerate it. (It's not destroyed. Tap it, remove all damage from it, and remove it from combat.)

Revision 2.

: The next time Cudgel Troll would be destroyed this turn, regenerate it instead. (Tap it, remove all damage from it, and remove it from combat.)


Does anyone know why regenerating a creature has to remove it from combat? If that's no longer necessary (might it be a leftover from stacking combat damage?), the reminder text could drop its last sentence:

: The next time Cudgel Troll would be destroyed this turn, regenerate it instead. (Tap it and remove all damage from it.)
Does anyone know why regenerating a creature has to remove it from combat? If that's no longer necessary (might it be a leftover from stacking combat damage?), the reminder text could drop its last sentence

Double Strike immediatly comes to mind (e.g. a 2/2 Double Striker is blocked by a Runeclaw Bear with a regen shield on it, the Bear dies in the first strike step, is removed from combat and thus doesn't kill the 2/2 double striker and also won't be killed again in the normal combat step), though I can think of a few other reasons involving First Strike, non leathal combat damage and Shock/Doom Blade
Does anyone know why regenerating a creature has to remove it from combat?

Regeneration removes the creature from combat not because it "has to", but because that's the way it was designed. The ability is meant to save the creature, but incapacitate it for the rest of the turn, and removing it from combat is part of the incapacitation. ConcernedPlayer gave some good examples of when the removal from combat can be relevant.
I think boozerker's version is pretty nice (Revision 2). I think taking the destruction replacement effect out of the keywordaction and into the main text makes it clearer what it does. Also, it opens up some design space (I don't know if its good design space, but it's design space nonetheless).
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alextfish, good proposal. I think it can be shortened a little bit.

    Green Mana: The next time Cudgel Troll would be destroyed this turn, regenerate it. (It isn't destroyed. Instead tap it, remove all damage from it, and remove it from combat.)


Revision 1.

: The next time Cudgel Troll would be destroyed this turn, regenerate it. (It's not destroyed. Tap it, remove all damage from it, and remove it from combat.)

Revision 2.

: The next time Cudgel Troll would be destroyed this turn, regenerate it instead. (Tap it, remove all damage from it, and remove it from combat.)


Does anyone know why regenerating a creature has to remove it from combat? If that's no longer necessary (might it be a leftover from stacking combat damage?), the reminder text could drop its last sentence:

: The next time Cudgel Troll would be destroyed this turn, regenerate it instead. (Tap it and remove all damage from it.)



Those are decent, but they need to lose the word 'instead.' If you regenerate it 'instead' of destroying it, then it's never going to be destroyed, so the regeneration shield is never used up, and it stays in combat while surviving destruction. It also doesn't become tapped. The reason Mossbridge Troll is worded without 'instead' is because it works like this: It's about to be destroyed. But the replacement effect does something just before that destruction, setting up a regeneration shield. Since it doesn't say 'instead,' the game now proceeds to try destroying the Troll, but then the regeneration shield is used. This works because any replacement effect can only apply to any given event once, so the Troll's own replacement effect won't keep trying to reapply when the destruction event comes up. 
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Re: my last post...

I may be remembering exactly what the Troll's version does--it may be that 'regenerate' there is defined including an 'instead,' or it may be what I said. I don't have access to the rules right now so I can't confirm. Whether it's what I said there or is defined to mean 'instead tap it, remove damage marked on it, and remove it from combat,' either way 'instead' isn't necessary in the ability. 
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If you changed the template to include instead, you'd be changing the definition of regeneration to remove it replacing destruction. Regenerate would then means you tap it, remove the marked damage, and remove it from combat. All existing cards that regenerate things would have them regenerate instead of being destroyed, but theoretically they could regenerate instead of other things, or just whenever (that's the design space I was talking about earlier).
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@Kedar:

: The next time Cudgel Troll would be destroyed this turn, regenerate it. (Tap it, remove all damage from it, and remove it from combat.)


Does anyone know why regenerating a creature has to remove it from combat? If that's no longer necessary (might it be a leftover from stacking combat damage?), the reminder text could drop its last sentence

Double Strike immediatly comes to mind (e.g. a 2/2 Double Striker is blocked by a Runeclaw Bear with a regen shield on it, the Bear dies in the first strike step, is removed from combat and thus doesn't kill the 2/2 double striker and also won't be killed again in the normal combat step), though I can think of a few other reasons involving First Strike, non leathal combat damage and Shock/Doom Blade


Sounds like regeneration's doing more than the flavor asks of it. If a creature regenerates from damage by an attacking creature, then it should be vulnerable to new damage from that attacker's next strike (aka its double strike). If a creature has first strike advantage, it should occasionally lose that advantage to an opponent's regeneration strategy. I mean, if the opponent has a Pestilence and deals 2 damage to a Black Knight you then regenerate, it'd be odd if the pestilence couldn't damage it again.

They could probably drop the "remove from combat" bit.

As for mixing non leathal combat damage with Shock/Doom Blade, the regenerated creature still lives:

: The next time Cudgel Troll would be destroyed this turn, regenerate it. (Tap it and remove all damage from it.)


: The next time Cudgel Troll would be destroyed this turn, regenerate it instead. (Tap it, remove all damage from it, and remove it from combat.)



Those are decent, but they need to lose the word 'instead.' If you regenerate it 'instead' of destroying it, then it's never going to be destroyed, so the regeneration shield is never used up, and it stays in combat while surviving destruction. It also doesn't become tapped. The reason Mossbridge Troll is worded without 'instead' is because it works like this: It's about to be destroyed. But the replacement effect does something just before that destruction, setting up a regeneration shield. Since it doesn't say 'instead,' the game now proceeds to try destroying the Troll, but then the regeneration shield is used. This works because any replacement effect can only apply to any given event once, so the Troll's own replacement effect won't keep trying to reapply when the destruction event comes up. 


Kedar, that is the whole point. "Regenerate [Object]" right now means "wait for destruction, then replace with tapping and blah". The proposed change is that regenerate drops its inherent shield-meaning, so that "regenerate [Object]" means: "tap this, remove it from Combat, remove all Damage marked on it". All Cards that want to regenerate would then have to adopt the "The next time [Object] would be destroyed this turn, regenerate it instead.". So Welding Jar would read: "Sacrifice Welding Jar: The next time target Artifact would be destroyod this turn, regenerate it instead."
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Except that we already have a way of wording regeneration without the typical activated-ability fashion, and the ability doesn't include 'instead.' As such, if we retemplate activated abilities to match the static ability of the Troll, the word 'instead' is not needed, and thus keeps the wording down. What I said doesn't do anything to what you guys want to attain, it simply keeps with what the game's already done.

Cards can already adopt 'The next time X would be destroyed this turn, regenerate it.' Regeneration doesn't have to change what it means--it can still be an 'instead of destroyed' replacement.
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Re: dropping "remove from combat":

If the ability were being designed from scratch today, then, yes, it might well leave out the "remove from combat" (and the "tap" for that matter). We're not designing it as a new mechanic though, so one aim is to keep the mechanic having the same effect outside of corner cases.

Back in Alpha, regeneration worked rather differently once you got down to the nitty-gritty of the rules. Back then, when a creature with regeneration was destroyed, you got a chance to pay the regeneration cost to bring it back from the dead. If you missed that window, then it was dead and buried. It wasn't until 6th Edition that you got to pay for regeneration (and damage prevention) in advance (rather than having a "damage prevention step" during which only specific classes of spell or ability could be played) and "regenerate" got split into two verbs.

Back when regeneration was bringing things back from the dead, it made more sense that they dropped out of combat to recover - it still makes a certain amount of sense when you remember that combat isn't about creatures attacking creatures - it's about creatures attacking/defending planeswalkers - on the attack, once a blocking creature is disabled, you don't get distracted chasing it down; on defense, once you've repulsed an attack, you don't abandon your position to go chasing down the failed attacker...
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Back in Alpha, regeneration worked rather differently once you got down to the nitty-gritty of the rules. Back then, when a creature with regeneration was destroyed, you got a chance to pay the regeneration cost to bring it back from the dead.

I'm sorry, but that is not true. Regeneration has never brought something back from the dead.

Regeneration actually fitted fairly nicely into the flow of damaging effects at first.

Back then, you could only activate abilities that would regenerate a creature in the Damage Prevention Step that followed the dealing of damage. This step was processed before damaged creatures were destroyed, not after. It was a last-ditch "save it before it dies" effect.

The way Regeneration worked was a casualty of the 6th edition changes - it became far more complicated than it used to be.
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Did regeneration tap the creature back in Alpha? If the tap were dropped, it'd prevent the related confusion of whether a tapped attacking creature still deals damage, which might be their reason in the first place for adding in the combat removal. Also, it does look cleanest with just its damage removal:

: The next time Cudgel Troll would be destroyed this turn, regenerate it. (Remove all damage from it.)

But then again, I do remember an opponent dealing damage to Drudge Skeletons before combat in order to pull off an attack. The tap is regeneration's weakness helping to balance it, and removing that might give chump blockers an unfun advantage.

Did regeneration tap the creature back in Alpha?


It did.  From the rulebook:
Regeneration: Regeneration prevents a creature from going to the graveyard. This ability must be used at the moment the creature would normally be removed from play. Creatures that have already been discarded into the graveyard cannot be regenerated. Enchantments on a regenerated creature remain in play. When a creature is regenerated, it is always tapped. A creature that is sacrificed may not be regenerated.


Outside of Regeneration needing to be used beforehand (or in response to), and specifically removing marked damage, it hasn't changed much.

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Back in Alpha, regeneration worked rather differently once you got down to the nitty-gritty of the rules. Back then, when a creature with regeneration was destroyed, you got a chance to pay the regeneration cost to bring it back from the dead.

I'm sorry, but that is not true. Regeneration has never brought something back from the dead.


Okay, "doomed" rather than "dead" - "on the way to the graveyard" rather than "in the graveyard". Flavourwise, it's healing from lethal damage rather than (retroactively) preventing the damage from being done.

Probably the closest you could get to the original functionality under modern rules would be a madness-like effect:

"If this permanent would be destroyed, you may remove it from combat, tap it, and remove all damage marked on it instead.

"When you regenerate this permanent this way, you may pay [cost]. If you don't, destroy it."

But that would make it even more confusing than it already is.
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I totally agree that this double meaning, in fact virtually self-referential double meaning, is very bad. I didn't even think about it until I read this!

Saying something can't regenerate but you can still use a spell on it that says regenerate target creature is confusing at best. What "can't regenerate" means, is you can't perform the resulting destruction replacement event that regenerating a creature produces the next time it would be destroyed... that is garbage.

I would personally go with:

New, singular definition:

Regenerate: To regenerate a permanent, tap it, remove all damage marked on it and remove it from combat if it's an attacking or blocking creature.

Then abilities could be written, using the familiar word at the start for those used to the previous format:

: Regenerate Cudgel Troll instead, the next time it would be destroyed this turn. (Tap it, remove all damage from it and remove it from combat).

Or as suggested, the easier to read but less friendly for old folks:

: The next time Cudgel Troll would be destroyed this turn, regenerate it instead. (Tap it, remove all damage from it and remove it from combat).

It would remain a word with rules meaning and interaction with Incinerate etc. Errata would be necessary of course. (yay)

The slightly more messy alternative is to leave out the word "instead", and incorporate that into the definition of regeneration.

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Okay. We have eleven people explicitly in support of this proposal, and nobody coming out against it. That's people from this forum, who are generally experienced both in the rules and in explaining them. Lots of arguments in favour of it have been made, and not a single one against. The consensus seems clear. 

I'd be interested to hear the opinion of Matt Tabak or someone else from Wizards. Would you consider this change?
Okay. We have eleven people explicitly in support of this proposal, and nobody coming out against it. That's people from this forum, who are generally experienced both in the rules and in explaining them. Lots of arguments in favour of it have been made, and not a single one against. The consensus seems clear. 

I'd be interested to hear the opinion of Matt Tabak or someone else from Wizards. Would you consider this change?

I'll throw my agreement in as well. I play with a reasonably experienced casual/competitive group, and even they have conusion over the distinction between the two definitions. I support dropping the "create a shield" definition, and using the word 'instead' explicitly in each ability. (In other words, boozerker's revision 2.)
Okay. We have eleven people explicitly in support of this proposal, and nobody coming out against it. That's people from this forum, who are generally experienced both in the rules and in explaining them. Lots of arguments in favour of it have been made, and not a single one against. The consensus seems clear. 

I'd be interested to hear the opinion of Matt Tabak or someone else from Wizards. Would you consider this change?


Sorry, but that is a major logical fallacy. You cannot assume that just because people don't speak out against it, they must be for it. On the contrary, the majority may simply be satisfied with the Status Quo, and thus feel no need to get embroiled in a debate about it (or you know, be one of the hundreds of thousands of people who don't even know these forums exist Undecided ).

Eleven people out of a forum of thousands of a player base close to one million is not a "clear consensus".

It was the same with the discussion about changing the legendary rule. You cannot ask those in favour of keeping it "what they would do better", because it doesn't NEED to be changed. I feel the same about regeneration.
Okay. We have eleven people explicitly in support of this proposal, and nobody coming out against it. That's people from this forum, who are generally experienced both in the rules and in explaining them. Lots of arguments in favour of it have been made, and not a single one against. The consensus seems clear. 

I'd be interested to hear the opinion of Matt Tabak or someone else from Wizards. Would you consider this change?


Sorry, but that is a major logical fallacy. You cannot assume that just because people don't speak out against it, they must be for it. On the contrary, the majority may simply be satisfied with the Status Quo, and thus feel no need to get embroiled in a debate about it (or you know, be one of the hundreds of thousands of people who don't even know these forums exist ).

Eleven people out of a forum of thousands of a player base close to one million is not a "clear consensus".

It was the same with the discussion about changing the legendary rule. You cannot ask those in favour of keeping it "what they would do better", because it doesn't NEED to be changed. I feel the same about regeneration.


???? Magic rules are not a democratic Process. This forum can give advice at best. What the rules team does is their choice, but I can tell you what they won't do: Count votes here or anywhere except R'n'D. You can try to persuade R'n'D with good arguments, but that is all. The hundreds of thousands of people who don't even know these forums exist don't matter because none of the people on this forum "matter", as far as numbers are concerned.
So, make an argument for keeping the Status Quo if you really want to keep it. Thats the only influence you will ever have on this issue (unless you do somthing crazy like start a playerbase-wide petition or get hired by Wizards).
[c]Forest[/c] gives you Forest
There's nothing in this thread that wasn't considered during the M10 rules update. In the end, the benefits of such a change didn't outweigh the costs. We chose to maintain the illusion of simplicity.

I think moving regeneration off the list of evergreen abilities—and possibly replacing it with something more intuitive—actually had more support at that time than any of the alternative templates for the existing keyword.

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Oh well. Thanks for the info, Del. In retrospect I'm not surprised it was considered for changing with M10; I just hadn't heard anyone mention it before.

I assume the "cost" you're referring to is the extra text box length. It is undeniably a significant cost.

It's a pity, because that illusion of simplicity can pop just as easily as a Phantasmal Dragon, as my friend found out. I personally still think it'd be better to use two different verbs, but I can respect your decision not to.

But yes, I can see that it might make more sense to just abandon regeneration as a cludgy, fiddly mess and introduce a more intuitive version. I actually wondered if Reassembling Skeleton was meant as that.
Thanks for the feedback, it's good to know that this was considered. But I must say I'm surprised at the decision, now I've really thought about it, it sticks out like a sore thumb even in the minefield that is rulespeak.

The new skelebones I could see as a way of simplifying it while sort of achieving the same result. The other way forward would be something like this, although it is slightly different.

When Skelebones is destroyed and leaves the battlefield, you may pay 1B to regenerate it. (Return it to the battlefield tapped).

Or:

Regenerate 1B (When Skelebones is destroyed and leaves the battlefield, you may pay 1B to return it to the battlefield tapped).

This would mean (a) new players would understand and (b) makes easy and instant sense in the rules department and you can lose the stuff about removing damage and removing from combat. The only concession is that it goes into the graveyard, which is what most people probably think happens anyway and I don't reckon that's a big deal. I'm not sure that's important to cling on to.

Also, flavourfully, they really have "regenerated"! They took the full force of the Goblin Knee Surgeon or whatever that killed them, and they are now back from the dead, regenerated! Rather than just shielding off getting destroyed which is quite un-skelebones-like.
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I assume the "cost" you're referring to is the extra text box length. It is undeniably a significant cost.

It's a pity, because that illusion of simplicity can pop just as easily as a Phantasmal Dragon, as my friend found out. I personally still think it'd be better to use two different verbs, but I can respect your decision not to.


Yeah, there's also the illusion of complication once you start playing the game and find out some of the text wildly contradicts your expectations.

But yes, I can see that it might make more sense to just abandon regeneration as a cludgy, fiddly mess and introduce a more intuitive version. I actually wondered if Reassembling Skeleton was meant as that.


Reassembling Skeleton is much better than regeneration.

It's not stopped by Annihilate.
Returns to the battlefield at your leisure.
You can return a milled or discarded Reassembler to the battlefield.
It triggers "enter the battlefield".

Thanks for the feedback, it's good to know that this was considered. But I must say I'm surprised at the decision, now I've really thought about it, it sticks out like a sore thumb even in the minefield that is rulespeak.

The new skelebones I could see as a way of simplifying it while sort of achieving the same result. The other way forward would be something like this, although it is slightly different.

When Skelebones is destroyed and leaves the battlefield, you may pay 1B to regenerate it. (Return it to the battlefield tapped).

Or:

Regenerate 1B (When Skelebones is destroyed and leaves the battlefield, you may pay 1B to return it to the battlefield tapped).


They already leave the battlefield if destroyed.

Regenerate 1B (When Skelebones dies, you may pay 1B to return it to the battlefield tapped).

Such a regenerate would probably get named differently and be formatted as:

Regenerate (When this creature dies, return it to the battlefield tapped if you pay .)

Except that completely changed how regeneration works, especially with regards to ETB abilities. Regenerating an Acidic Slime should not allow it to nuke multiple permanents, especially if you pull off multiple destruction shenanigans or multiple copies of spells.
There is in the above discussion what a professor of mine would, in another context, call a "mathematical pun": The same name being used for two different things. The suggested alternative to regenerate is not being proposed as a literal replacement for regenerate in all cases, but rather a new ability to be used in its place going forward - just as intimidate "replaced" fear. The final version (if implemented at all) would obviously not use the same name.
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Boozerker: I believe it is possible within the rules for something to be destroyed and not leave the battlefield, although I don't know if any cards (or combination of) currently exist which would make it happen. For example, if a creature said "This cannot leave the battlefield", it could be destroyed without leaving the battlefield. But it's not really a big deal, I agree the "leave" bit could be dropped to make it even simpler. If it did trigger in this ridiculous scenario I try to create, it would serve as nothing more than a mana dump.

And if you use "dies.." then you allow it to regenerate from being sacrificed or having zero toughness. I was trying to keep it as similar as possible while making it as simple as possible.

"When Korblimey Skeletons is destroyed, you may pay 1B. If you do, put it onto the battlefield tapped."  That's pretty streamlined.

Concerned Player: Yes it would change functionality, but I find it hard to believe a serious constructed deck could be built around Acidic Slime and my new regenerating, it would still only trigger once for each successful destruction and then regeneration of the Slime. It's mainly in limited when Regen plays any part, and I doubt even there the change would have that much of an effect. You say it shouldn't happen, but if something "regenerates", then it is meant to come back from the dead in my book, so it would make sense. Sure, the new rule would make it happen while it didn't before, but it's not making the Slime behave in any way it wasn't designed to.

4227: Yeah, the only reason I would want to keep the same name is to keep interaction with Incinerate and so on. Otherwise it doesn't even need a name at all.

I know my idea is not strong enough to make it as a replacement, I just wanted to see what I could think of as I believe regeneration came out much less well rules-wise than damage when the "pre empt" era began. Ironically, it couldn't regenerate itself and was left as a rotting corpse of disenbodied rules...
I am a Rules advisor. Feel free to send me any questions as a private message! Check if you have found a bug in Duels 2013 Report a bug Report a technical issue I have written several guides to help new DoTP players here, move to the first post to start reading. They are also in Wordpress format here. The principles involved should still be useful for Duels 2013!
Useful links:
Find other DoTP players - a database of friendly players, find a match or post your name here to be added to the list! I'll add a D13 section if anyone would like. Ask a rules question - ask anything about DoTP, Magic in general, or to check out if you've found a bug by asking if the rules are being followed. Community thread for general chatter in the DoTP part of the forum! Guide to Yugioh on Xbox live: A beginner's guide focusing on the similarities and differences to Magic.