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Rules Update, February 2024

by James Heaney, Rules Manager (1E)

5th February 2024

Happy First Monday! As the first Monday of the month, today is a regularly scheduled rules update. This month's substantive changes and clarifications are in bold blue text.

The Big News: Mirror-Universe Locations Must Be Clearly Referenced

Navigate Plasma Storms

Stop First Contact cannot target Assimilate Homeworld at Mirror Earth. Chamber of Ministers can't seed on Mirror Bajor. Kolinahr doesn't allow time travel between Alpha Quadrant Shi'kahr and Mirror Quadrant Vulcan. Vanderberg isn't a Preserver Obelisk "native" of Mirror Janus VI.

You know this. It's been the rule for coming up on ten years now: when a card names a planet that exists in both the Alpha Quadrant and the Mirror Quadrant, the card means only the Alpha Quadrant version of that planet, unless the card is [MQ] or it specifically says otherwise.

However, this rule only applied to planets. If a space location or a region existed in both universes, exactly the opposite rule applied: the card meant both versions unless the card specifically said otherwise. Thus, the bizarre status quo: you couldn't seed City of B'Hala at Mirror Bajor, but you COULD use Bajoran Resistance Cell to report Resistance to Mirror Bajor! That's bizarre! What normal player could be expected to remember that rule?

Rules has wanted to fix this for a long time. When it first came up, the reason we couldn't act was Navigate Plasma Storms. Navigate Plasma Storms really needs to work in both quadrants. It doesn't make sense otherwise. You ask, "But why didn't Rules just issue a clarifying revision to fix Navigate Plasma Storms?" Because it was 2015, clarifying revisions were still extremely rare and difficult. (Ask me about the time we spent almost a year begging 2015's Powers That Be to please fix Taris's matching commander status.) (Not really; it's a boring story.)

Time passed, the rains came, the snows melted, and the mid-2010s gave way to the late 2010s, which is when we developed the pipeline for clarifying revisions. We could finally fix Navigate Plasma Storms! Alas, now we had a new problem: around 2016/2017, [KCA] players discovered that they could revitalize that moribund faction by injecting some extra [Maq] Maquis personnel into it using They Call Themselves The Maquis. There was now an entire faction whose viability on the tournament scene depended on this rules loophole. We considered giving errata to TCTTM, but Creative had serious concerns: how could we possibly justify printing on TCTTM that it specifically allows [Maq] to report to the Mirror Badlands? The production process being what it was in 2019, there seemed no way to smoothly replace TCTTM with an alternative card, either. We once again deferred the issue.

Fast forward through covidtide to March 2023, just shy of a year ago. [KCA] was winning a lot of events. There were rumblings that it might be overpowered, and that Balance might need to take a look at it. Meanwhile, the card production process had become more flexible. Could this be our opening? After months of discussions with the entire Department of First Edition, and after considering all alternatives, the answer was "yes."

All Mirror location references now work like Mirror planet references: when a card names a location (including a region) that exists in both the Alpha Quadrant and the Mirror Quadrant, the card means only the Alpha Quadrant version of that location, unless the card is [MQ] or it specifically says otherwise.

As a result, They Call Themselves The Maquis no longer "works" in the Mirror Quadrant. TCTTM is not a [MQ] card and does not call out the Mirror Badlands, so, when it says the Badlands, it means the Alpha Quadrant Badlands. You can only now use TCTTM to report personnel to the Alpha Badlands.

They Call Themselves the Maquis

The Balance Team thought long and hard about whether [KCA] needed a "boost" to make up for this accidental nerf. Their decision was to wait and see. [KCA] is currently top tier. If this change turns them into binder fodder, Balance and Design will look into giving [KCA] additional tools to bring them back up to snuff--except, this time, the new tools will be story-appropriate and will support [KCA]'s mechanical flavor. However, I'll be frank: as I understand it, the internal consensus among 1E staffers right now is that [KCA] doesn't even need TCTTM and will be fine without it.

Rules doesn't care about any of this one way or another. We just want this stupid rule to make sense for the first time since 2015. It does now. We sincerely regret any inconvenience the change causes.

Here are all other known gameplay implications of today's rule change:

Most of these things have never been done. (Good luck finding a [MQ] deck stocking Close Quarters Combat!) Most of the others have been done only rarely. However, the really big one remains They Call Themselves the Maquis, which no longer functions in the Mirror Quadrant.

The one exception we made is for Navigate Plasma Storms. We fixed that one. Its errata will be released the same day as this article.

Balance will be monitoring [KCA] going forward to determine the impacts on [KCA] from this rule change. They will act if necessary.

Monthly Rulings

Here's the Recent Rulings Document for this month, if you want to look: RRD 2024-02-05.

There isn't much to see this month, though. Just the above rule change, plus an update based on today's errata to Sherlock Holmes.

See You... Out There

Thanks for reading! As always, please let us know if you see any errors, typos, or obsolete text in the rules documents. We are running behind on ordinary rules document maintenance, and we are trying to catch up over the next couple of months.

And be sure to tell us on the forums what you think of everything we've done this month. Hopefully you're happy, but, if not, we want to hear that, too. Until next month, we'll see you on the spaceline!

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