After a few weeks of cascading shenanigans, Wizards of the Coast has decided to change the rules for the cascade mechanic in order to prevent players from casting the more expensive back halves of modal double-faced (MDFC) cards.

Don’t miss our coverage of today’s news: bans in Modern, Pioneer, Legacy, and Historic, plus the unbanning in Vintage.

Until today, cascading with a card like Violent Outburst would see the front side of an MDFC that cost less than Violent Outburst—say, Valki, God of Lies—exile it, and allow players to cast that exiled card. Then, when casting the MDFC from exile, players would be able to choose which side of the card they wanted to cast—front or back, no matter what the mana cost of the back side was—just like in any other scenario where a player was choosing to cast an MDFC.

The most common way for players to abuse this rules interaction was to cascade into the two-mana MDFC Valki, God of Lies and then choose to cast its back side, the seven-mana Planeswalker Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor.

But Wizards has seen enough trickery from the Cosmic Imposter and is changing the rules for cascade to prevent further shenanigans.

“Modal double-faced cards were designed to allow both faces to be playable in all situations,” Wizards explained. “For example, if an effect lets you cast spells from the graveyard, players expect to be able to cast either face.”

“Feedback has shown us, however, that in situations where certain criteria are mentioned, being able to play or cast the back face when it doesn’t meet those criteria is not intuitive,” they continued. “This confusion, plus being allowed to cast spells without paying their mana costs that you shouldn’t be able to, makes cascade an issue.”

Therefore, Wizards is “tweaking cascade such that the spell you cast off the triggered ability must also have lesser converted mana cost than the spell with cascade.”

Here is the new cascade rule:

702.84a. Cascade is a triggered ability that functions only while the spell with cascade is on the stack. “Cascade” means “When you cast this spell, exile cards from the top of your library until you exile a nonland card whose converted mana cost is less than this spell’s converted mana cost. You may cast that spell without paying its mana cost if its converted mana cost is less than this spell’s converted mana cost. Then put all cards exiled this way that weren’t cast on the bottom of your library in a random order.”

(Bolded text added to emphasize the new rules text.)

This change means that if you use Violent Outburst to cascade into Valki, God of Lies, you won’t be able to cast the Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor side because it costs more than the cascading spell.

“This change isn’t limited to double-faced cards,” Wizards added. “It also changes the way cascade works with anything that has a ‘dominant’ set of characteristics, like the Adventure cards from Throne of Eldraine. For example, if Bloodbraid Elf causes you to exile Fae of Wishes, you may cast Fae of Wishes, but you may not cast Granted.”

Magic has another mechanic, split cards, that has given the game’s rules issues with mana cost-related mechanics like cascade. The rules for how to calculate the converted mana cost of split cards were changed and unified in 2017, resulting in split cards always having a converted mana cost equal to the sum of both their halves. The change to cascade doesn’t impact that rule, so players still can’t use Violent Outburst to cascade into Boom // Bust and then cast the Bust half.

Modern Five-Color Cascade

Creatures (15)
Valki, God of Lies
Brazen Borrower
Simian Spirit Guide
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
Omnath, Locus of Creation

Planeswalkers (4)
Teferi, Time Raveler

Spells (11)
Force of Negation
Mystical Dispute
Violent Outburst
Cryptic Command

Enchantments (4)
Ardent Plea
Lands (26)
Breeding Pool
Field of the Dead
Flooded Strand
Gemstone Caverns
Hallowed Fountain
Ketria Triome
Misty Rainforest
Mystic Sanctuary
Raugrin Triome
Scalding Tarn
Snow-Covered Forest
Snow-Covered Island
Snow-Covered Plains
Steam Vents
Temple Garden
Watery Grave

Sideboard (15)
Kor Firewalker
Mystical Dispute
Timely Reinforcements
Vendilion Clique
Ravenous Trap
Supreme Verdict

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