September 2010 Update Bulletin

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Functional Oracle Changes

Caller of the Hunt
As printed, you chose the creature type "as you play" Caller of the Hunt. This is relevant if you want to respond to it, so we're going back to that functionality. Rule 400.7c conveniently lets Caller of the Hunt reference choices made about it during its short time as a spell.

New wording
As an additional cost to cast Caller of the Hunt, choose a creature type.
Caller of the Hunt's power and toughness are each equal to the number of creatures of the chosen type on the battlefield.

Celestial Sword
The word "bury" continues to be a thorny issue for ... well, for me I guess. Often, including with Celestial Sword in our estimation, the intent was what we now know as sacrificing: putting into the graveyard with no way to get around it. When they were included in Magic Online, both Krovikan Elementalist and Goblin Ski Patrol were updated to have the controller sacrifice it at the beginning of the next end step. Celestial Sword, their Ice Age compatriot, should work the same way.

New wording
{o3}, {oT}: Target creature you control gets +3/+3 until end of turn. Its controller sacrifices it at the beginning of the next end step.

Chaos Lord
True its name, Chaos Lord's wording seemed to just wander off in random directions, far away from its printed functionality. While the haste / "enters the battlefield" ability was clever, that's not really what the card ever did. Also, it's back to targeting an opponent to potentially gain control of it, again following the printed wording.

New wording
First strike
At the beginning of your upkeep, target opponent gains control of Chaos Lord if the number of permanents is even.
Chaos Lord can attack as though it had haste unless it entered the battlefield this turn.

Hollow Warrior
If you have a creature with vigilance that attacks, and then you pick up an extra combat phase, you should be able to tap that creature to allow Hollow Warrior to attack. This injustice ends now!

New wording
Hollow Warrior can't attack or block unless you tap an untapped creature you control not declared as an attacking or blocking creature this combat.

For Kismet, the Legends wording (the original) and the Sixth Edition wording (the most recent) are in agreement, only affecting artifacts, creatures, and lands played by an opponent. The Fourth Edition and Fifth Edition wordings targeted a specific opponent and affected all artifacts, creatures and lands that entered the battlefield under that player's control, played or not. The Oracle wording had the not-targeting part right, but got extended to include artifacts, creatures and lands entering the battlefield somehow other than being played. Weird.

New wording
Artifacts, creatures, and lands played by your opponents enter the battlefield tapped.

Krovikan Plague, Nature's Chosen, & Veteran's Voice
These three Auras from Alliances all said "tap enchanted creature to" do something. We've interpreted this as the cost of an activated ability. However, somewhere along the way these became abilities granted to the enchanted creature. This is relevant for you Muraganda Petroglyphs fans out there but in the case of Nature's Chosen, the differences are even more dramatic: the once-a-turn restriction didn't follow the ability if the Aura gets moved to a new creature. We can put that back and make Krovikan Plague's last ability a bit easier to parse.

New Krovikan Plague wording
Enchant non-Wall creature you control
When Krovikan Plague enters the battlefield, draw a card at the beginning of the next turn's upkeep.
Tap enchanted creature: Krovikan Plague deals 1 damage to target creature or player. Put a -0/-1 counter on enchanted creature. Activate this ability only if enchanted creature is untapped.

New Nature's Chosen wording
Enchant creature you control
{o0}: Untap enchanted creature. Activate this ability only during your turn and only once each turn.
Tap enchanted creature: Untap target artifact, creature, or land. Activate this ability only if enchanted creature is white and is untapped and only once each turn.

New Veteran's Voice wording
Enchant creature you control
Tap enchanted creature: Target creature other than the creature tapped this way gets +2/+1 until end of turn. Activate this ability only if enchanted creature is untapped.

Ah, Lich. A first-ballot lock for the Rules Confusion Hall of Fame (hey, can I make one of those?), I determined Lich had some wrinkles I could smooth out. Actually, I think Mark Gottlieb left this one for me as punishment.

Anyway, let's start with ability #1: I don't believe "You lose all life" means you should gain life if you're at a negative life total. Secondly, the printed card says you lose when Lich is destroyed, but that was broadened to Lich leaving the battlefield. Thirdly, we've interpreted "cards" to mean just that, although they're now known as nontoken permanents. Fourthly, you're supposed to lose if you don't send a card to the graveyard. This has a few possible interpretations, but I think the card cares more about the attempt to send a card to the graveyard than the card actually ending up there. ("Officer, I sent the card to the graveyard. How was I supposed to know Leyline of the Void would replace it?") Add it all up, and we have a new wording.

New wording (I said that already)
As Lich enters the battlefield, you lose life equal to your life total.
You don't lose the game for having 0 or less life.
If you would gain life, draw that many cards instead.
Whenever you're dealt damage, sacrifice that many nontoken permanents. If you can't, you lose the game.
When Lich is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, you lose the game.

Transmute Artifact
Transmute Artifact includes a word not found on any other printed Magic card: "fails." This gives it some street cred for being unique and qualifies it for several Internet blogs, but makes figuring out what this card is supposed to do without context that much more challenging. Sacrificing the artifact used to be part of the cost, but that doesn't jive with what we believe the intent of the printed wording was. You shouldn't have to sacrifice the artifact if Transmute Artifact is countered, for example. However, we also believe that searching your library should be contingent upon the sacrifice. And we're taking "fail" to mean the searched-for artifact card never makes it onto the battlefield if you have to pay the difference and don't. Rules management is often more art than science.

New wording
Sacrifice an artifact. If you do, search your library for an artifact card. If that card's converted mana cost is less than or equal to the sacrificed artifact's converted mana cost, put it onto the battlefield. It it's greater, you may pay {oX}, where X is the difference. If you do, put it onto the battlefield. If you don't, put it into its owner's graveyard. Then shuffle your library.

Voodoo Doll
There's nothing in the printed wording that indicates Voodoo Doll should have to deal damage to you to be destroyed, so now it's destroyed simply when the second ability resolves. Don't forget to tap it and hit something for 0 the turn you cast it!

Also, using X both in the cost and effect of the last ability led to ambiguity if the number of pin counters changed between the ability being activated and resolving, say because someone proliferated. Now, the amount of damage dealt is clearer.

New wording
At the beginning of your upkeep, put a pin counter on Voodoo Doll.
At the beginning of your end step, if Voodoo Doll is untapped, destroy Voodoo Doll and it deals damage to you equal to the number of pin counters on it.
{oXoX}, {oT}: Voodoo Doll deals damage equal to the number of pin counters on it to target creature or player. X is the number of pin counters on Voodoo Doll.

Word of Command
Completing the unholy trifecta of my first month as rules manager (along with Transmute Artifact and Lich), we have Word of Command. Mark Gottlieb realized that we could employ the new "controlling another player" technology being rolled out for Mindslaver and Sorin Markov (which lets you control another player instead of just his or her turn, opening up the possibility of controlling a player at some time other than his or her turn). It's not perfect, but it's really close, and more sensible under the current rules.

New wording
Look at target opponent's hand and choose a card from it. You control that player until Word of Command finishes resolving. The player plays that card if able. While doing so, the player can activate mana abilities only if they're from lands he or she controls and only if mana they produce is spent to activate other mana abilities of lands he or she controls and/or play that card. If the chosen card is cast as a spell, you control the player while that spell is resolving.

  1. Introduction
  2. Functional Oracle Changes
  3. Nonfunctional Oracle Changes
  4. Comprehensive Rulebook Changes
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