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The Official™ Commander Spellbook Style Guide

By The Commander Spellbook Mod Team

(Don't ask why I decided to format this vaguely like a lab report. I felt like it, okay?)

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about this document, ask one of the mods on the Commander Spellbook Discord server.

This document should be considered a constant work-in-progress, and while things that are in the document should be considered accurate, they can be changed at any time as our policies change.

If there is something you feel should be covered by the document that isn't, please let us know so that we at the spellbook can implement whatever needs to be implemented.


General Formatting Rules

Card Names

  • All card names are written out in full. No abbreviations, nicknames, etc.
    • The exception to this rule is legendary card names. If there is a version of the card that shortens the name and there are no more recent printings of said card that does not shorten the name (not including oddities like weirdly worded Secret Lairs or stuff like the List that does not update wording), you may abbreviate the card name.
    • This is not the case when there are two cards that would be abbreviated the same way. For example, if a combo has two cards that would be abbreviated "Jace", then the full name of each card is spelled out.
    • This is not the case in the "Card Names" section of a combo, where card names are always written out in full.

Mana Symbol Order in Prerequisites and Steps

  • Costs are always written with the generic mana symbol first.
    • (x magic symbol)   comes before the generic mana symbol, and is the only symbol for which this is the case as of when this is being written.
  • Colorless and mono-colored mana symbols are always listed at the end of a cost, with the colorless symbol always coming before the colored mana symbols. For all of the following cases, you may reference how EDHRec sequences its colors in the "Commanders" dropdown rather than using these explanations to figure it out yourself.
    • For two allied colors, the one that comes first in WUBRG order is written first, with G being considered to come before W.
    • For two enemy colors, the one that would only have to advance 2 positions forward in WUBRG order (rather than 3) comes first.
    • For three colors, the primary color of the wedge/shard (the enemy of both in the wedge, the ally of both in the shard) goes in the middle, and the two colors on the left and right are placed based on where they are positioned in the color pie relative to the primary color.
    • For four colors, they are listed in WUBRG order starting with the one after the missing color.
  • Phyrexian mana symbols are treated the same way as colored mana symbols are, but should be placed before normal colored mana symbols. The notation for it is:
    • (wp magic symbol)   {wp}
    • (up magic symbol)   {up}
    • (bp magic symbol)   {bp}
    • (rp magic symbol)   {rp}
    • (gp magic symbol)   {gp}
  • Energy is not a mana symbol and should not be grouped with mana symbols.
  • All other unmentioned mana symbols should go between the generic and colored mana symbols.
    • There are some mana symbol combinations with no precedent, like Phyrexian mana with any kind of of symbol outside of X or generic or snow with any other non-generic mana symbol, among others. When such a mana cost needs to be addressed, a rule will be created and added to the sheet at that time.

Attached, Equipped, Fortified, and Enchanted

  • Attach is the verb, and should be used when an equipment, aura, or fortification is being attached to something.
    • An example for an equipment would be "Activate [the named equipment] by paying [mana cost], attaching it to [target creature]".
    • The verbs equip, enchant, and fortify should not be used to describe attaching something to a permanent or card.
  • Equipped, enchanted, and fortified describe the permanent that has an equipment, aura, or fortification attached to them, respectively.
    • Attached should never be used in these cases.

Capitalization

  • Proper nouns (names of people, places, and things) and beginnings of sentences need to be capitalized.
  • Card subtypes must be capitalized, meaning stuff like Aura, Treasure, Locus, and Elf.
    • Note that this does not apply to card types or supertypes. Why? Good question. But if you look at Magic cards, that's how they do things. Presumably, it is because something like "enchantment" is just a word or "basic" is just an adjective, which subtypes are treated as names.

Numbers vs. Numerals

  • Numbers that could be written with a singular English word (like one, or twenty) should be spelled out, while multi-word numbers (like 24) should be written as numerals.
    • If it is in a context where a Magic card would use a numeral, such as with +1/+1 counters, disregard the previous rule and write the numerals anyway. If you are not sure, try and find a recently printed Magic card that uses the terminology.

Contractions

  • Don't [sic] use contractions. Like, ever.
  • Cannot [sic] is a contraction. Don't [sic] use it.

Spelling

  • The Commander Spellbook uses American English. Wizards of the Coast uses American English, and so do we.

Card Names

General

  • All card names should be written out in full. No abbreviations, nicknames, etc.
    • Note that this is different from how they are handled in other sections of the combo, where abbreviations are permitted in some cases.
  • Adventure cards should only be listed as the non-adventure part of the card.
  • Split cards should be written as "[side 1] // [side 2]".
  • Flip Cards (the ones you rotate from Kamigawa) should only be listed as the unflipped "side" of the card.
  • Modal double-faced cards and transforming double-faced cards should be listed as "[front face] // [back face]".

Card Name Ordering

  • The least replaceable piece of a combo should be farthest to the left, with less replaceable pieces further to the right.

Prerequisites

Cards and Zones

  • If all cards are in the same zone, it should be written as "All cards in [zone name]." or in the case of the battlefield "All permanents on the battlefield."
  • If there is one card in a specific zone, it should be written as "[card name] in [zone name]." or in the case of the battlefield "[card name] on the battlefield."
    • For multiple cards in the same zone, it should be written as "[card name], and [card name] in [zone name]." Additional cards can be added to that clause as needed.
  • No cards may begin a combo on the stack.

Prerequisite Ordering

  • What zones the cards you require begin in always comes first.
  • The mana required for the combo always comes last.
  • Miscellaneous results go in between; a more strict hierarchy may eventually be defined.

Summoning Sickness

  • When you have a creature on the battlefield that must either attack or use an activated ability involving tapping as a cost, one should say "[creature name] does not have summoning sickness."
    • The exception to this rule is when a permanent goes from being a creature to being a noncreature. As a noncreature, it may have its activated abilities that have tapping as a cost activated despite having summoning sickness. Therefore, there is no need to reference summoning sickness in such a case.
  • Noncreature permanents do not suffer from summoning sickness and therefore do not need to mention summoning sickness.
    • The exception to this rule is when a permanent goes from being a noncreature to being a creature. As a creature, it may only attack or have its activated abilities involving tapping as a cost activated if it does not have summoning sickness. Therefore, summoning sickness should be referenced in such a case.
  • Only the faces referenced in the combo need to be referenced in the prerequisites.

Steps

Costs and Effects

  • Steps involving casting spells or activating abilities can be broken into two parts: cost and effect. The parts are generally separated by a comma.
  • In some cases, a triggered ability may occur in between paying the cost of and the resolution of a spell or activated ability, or priority may be held and additional spells may be cast or activated abilities may be activated. See Delayed Resolution for how to handle such cases.

Dividing up Steps

  • Each individual action taken by the player is its own step.
  • If there is only one trigger occuring, one spell being cast, or one ability being activated, the activation and resolution should be part of the step.
    • In some cases, something else will be put onto the stack before the one spell, ability, or trigger is able to resolve. See Delayed Resolution for how to handle such cases.
  • When there are multiple abilities triggering at the same time, there should be a step listing all of the triggers that occurred, followed by each trigger being resolved in its own step.
    • The resolving triggers should be listed in the same order as the named triggered abilities were listed.

Delayed Resolution

  • Sometimes, you will need to delay the resolution of a trigger, activated ability, or spell that has been cast due to casting spell(s) or activating ability(ies) in response, or trigger(s) going onto the stack.
  • This can be broken down into multiple steps: how to handle referring to the item being put onto the stack, how to handle intervening triggers/actions, and how to handle the resolution of the original effect.
    • When referring to the item being put onto the stack:
      • For a triggered ability, say "[card name] triggers."
      • For casting a spell, say "Cast [card name]." Make sure to include any costs that need mentioning.
      • For activating an ability, say "Activate [card name]." Make sure to include any costs that need mentioning. If there are multiple activateable abilities on the card that could be activated, make it clear which one is being activated.
    • When referring to the step immediately afterwards:
      • For an intervening trigger, nothing special is needed. Just use the standard "~ triggers" and deal with the trigger as normal.
      • For an intervening spell cast or ability activation, say "In response, " then continue resolving the spell or ability activation as normal.
    • When resolving the original effect:
      • For a trigger, say "Resolve the ~ trigger, " then continue with the effect of said trigger (If the card name starts with the word "the", instead say "Resolve ~'s trigger").
  • For resolving a spell, say "Resolve ~, " then continue with the effects of the spell as needed.
  • For resolving an activated ability, say "Resolve the ~ ability, " then continue with the effect of said trigger.
    • If the card name starts with the word "the", instead say "Resolve ~'s ability".

Adding, Spending, and Not Spending Mana

  • All combos need to say how much mana and what kinds of mana are added when mana is added.
  • Combos must state what kinds of mana are being spent and in what quantities said types of mana are being spent.
  • The amount of unspent mana should only be referenced when directly pertinent to the cards involved, such as with Doubling Cube.
  • Mana that is left unspent should be referred to as unspent mana. For example, a step that leaves two black mana unspent should end with "leaving {b}{b} unspent."
    • The mana pool does not exist and should not be referenced.
    • "Floating" mana is a slang term that refers to the same thing, and should not be used.

Repeats

  • When every step within a combo makes up an infinite loop, the last step of the combo should read "repeat".
  • When all but the first number of steps make up an infinite loop, the last step of the combo should read "repeat from step ~".
  • When a certain group of steps need to be repeated that do not fit into either category, the step following the last step in the loop should read "repeat steps ~1 through ~2".

Results

General Results

  • Results should be formatted as they are in the search tips of the website.
    • There are two current exceptions: infinite copies (which we do not do at all) and infinite loot (which we use infinite looting for). Note that at the time you are reading this, these mistakes may have already been corrected.
  • If the result you're looking at is not in the search tips of the website, search the website for another combo that has a similar result and see what was done in that case. Note that there is no guarantee that said combo will be formatted or worded correctly.

Extra Turns

  • Extra turns are considered infinite despite the fact that you eventually deck yourself due to card draw.
  • Effects that occur once or twice per extra turn are not considered infinite.
    • For example, playing a land on each of your extra turns is not infinite landfall.

Glossary

Zone Names

  • Battlefield
  • Graveyard
  • Library
  • Hand
  • Exile
  • The command zone
  • The stack
  • The ante zone

Unofficial MTG Terms Used

  • ETB: Enters the battlefield
  • LTB: Leaves the battlefield
  • Loot/ing: Draw a card, then discard a card
  • Rummage/ing: Discard a card, then draw a card