Dark Ascension Update Bulletin

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Functional Oracle Changes

 What is Oracle?  

Magic is a game made up of over 11,000 interchangeable pieces—the cards. Over the years, we've felt the need to update the wordings of older cards, whether because we've introduced a new keyword, or a card was printed with a mistake, or we have a clearer wording for what a card does, etc. Rather than sneak into your room at night and change your cards with a magic marker, we keep a database of the "modern wordings" (what the cards would say if we printed them today) of every tournament-legal card ever printed. These wordings are considered the official wordings of the cards, and accurately reflect their functions.

You can access a card's Oracle wording by looking it up in Gatherer.

Acidic Dagger

Somewhere along the way, this card picked up an additional timing restriction: during combat. The printed card simply says "before defense is chosen," so we're opening up the beginning and precombat main phases as well.

New Acidic Dagger wording:

{o4}, {oT}: Whenever target creature deals combat damage to a non-Wall creature this turn, destroy that non-Wall creature. When the targeted creature leaves the battlefield this turn, sacrifice Acidic Dagger. Activate this ability only before blockers are declared.

Argothian Treefolk

This card and Artifact Ward had a similar printed wording, reducing damage from artifact sources to 0. Artifact Ward continued to apply to all artifact sources, Argothian Treefolk did not. We can line them up, staying true to the printed wording.

New Argothian Treefolk wording:

Prevent all damage that would be dealt to Argothian Treefolk by artifact sources.

Blaze of Glory

Similar to what we did with Acidic Dagger, we're making a small timing adjustment on this card. Now you can cast it during the beginning of combat step as well. It may not help you draw first, but it might help you draw first blood.

New Blaze of Glory wording:

Cast Blaze of Glory only during combat before blockers are declared.

Target creature defending player controls can block any number of creatures this turn. It blocks each attacking creature this turn if able.

Builder's Bane and Volcanic Eruption

The printed wording of these cards cared about artifacts and Mountains, respectively, that were put into a graveyard. The old Oracle wordings cared about artifacts and Mountains that were destroyed. Thanks to cards like Leyline of the Void, these aren't exactly the same thing, so we're making a small change to better match the printed wording.

New Builder's Bane wording:

Destroy X target artifacts. Builder's Bane deals damage to each player equal to the number of artifacts he or she controlled put into a graveyard this way.

New Volcanic Eruption wording:

Destroy X target Mountains. Volcanic Eruption deals damage to each creature and each player equal to the number of Mountains put into a graveyard this way.


This is probably going to the weirdest explanation I've ever had to write. Bear with me. Okay so, the old Oracle wording had a couple of issues to address. It prevented damage to Camel whether it was attacking or not, spitting in the face of the printed wording. Or is that llamas? Anyway, you never know when a Desert is going to pick up some other damage-dealing ability or just get up, attack, and be blocked by a Camel. It happens in Commander!* We also reworded it a bit to remove the frightening mental image of "creatures banded with Camel by Deserts." Spooky. We had quite the interesting debate about whether an attacking creature is in a band with itself. After discussing Camel, Albert Camus, and Candace Cameron, we decided it was.

* It never happens in Commander.

New Camel wording:

Banding (Any creatures with banding, and up to one without, can attack in a band. Bands are blocked as a group. If any creatures with banding you control are blocking or being blocked by a creature, you divide that creature's combat damage, not its controller, among any of the creatures it's being blocked by or is blocking.)

As long as Camel is attacking, prevent all damage Deserts would deal to Camel and to creatures banded with Camel.

Earthlore and Tourach's Gate

In my first update (the Scars of Mirrodin one) we gave Veteran's Voice, Krovikan Plague, and Nature's Chosen a new template to keep the ability on the Aura. We missed these two cards, probably because they enchanted lands. Oops! We'll bring them in line with this update.

New Earthlore wording:

Enchant land you control

Tap enchanted land: Target blocking creature gets +1/+2 until end of turn. Activate this ability only if enchanted land is untapped.

New Tourach's Gate wording:

Enchant land you control

Sacrifice a Thrull: Put three time counters on Tourach's Gate.

At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a time counter from Tourach's Gate. If there are no time counters on Tourach's Gate, sacrifice it.

Tap enchanted land: Attacking creatures you control get +2/–1 until end of turn. Activate this ability only if enchanted land is untapped.

Farrel's Mantle

One of my favorite cards from Fallen Empires drafts, Farrel's Mantle lets an unblocked creature deal damage to "target creature." But its printed wording said "other target creature," so creatures enchanted with Farrel's Mantle are going to have to find another way to deal damage to themselves.

New Farrel's Mantle wording:

Enchant creature

Whenever enchanted creature attacks and isn't blocked, its controller may have it deal damage equal to its power plus 2 to another target creature. If that player does, the attacking creature assigns no combat damage this turn.


Heroism was designed at a time where Two-Headed Giant was unheard of, and although its printed and old Oracle wordings are sensible enough in a one-on-one setting, in 2HG things go a little haywire. In that format, when a one-shot effect refers to the "attacking player," you choose one member of the attacking team (810.7b). So, if I was attacking with a red creature, you could require my teammate (who's not playing red) pay the {o2oR}. We think this makes a lot more sense if we instead ask the controller of each attacking red creature to pay for it.

New Heroism wording:

Sacrifice a white creature: For each attacking red creature, prevent all combat damage that would be dealt by that creature this turn unless its controller pays {o2oR}.


Um... well...

Infinite Authority and Stench of Evil

These two are similar to Builder's Bane, but in reverse. The printed wordings care about permanents that are destroyed. The old Oracle wordings cared about those permanents actually hitting the graveyard.

New Infinite Authority wording:

Enchant creature

Whenever enchanted creature blocks or becomes blocked by a creature with toughness 3 or less, destroy the other creature at end of combat. At the beginning of the next end step, if that creature was destroyed this way, put a +1/+1 counter on the first creature.

New Stench of Evil wording:

Destroy all Plains. For each land destroyed this way, Stench of Evil deals 1 damage to that land's controller unless he or she pays {o2}.

Marsh Viper

The Old Oracle text ignored more recent printings that included an ability that triggered whenever Marsh Viper deals damage to any player, not just an opponent. Nafs Asp and Pit Scorpion were in similar situations, but we've kept the "player" functionality there. Marsh Viper should line up with those. After all, the snake's poisonous (not the keyword) no matter who it's biting.

New Marsh Viper wording:

Whenever Marsh Viper deals damage to a player, that player gets two poison counters. (A player with ten or more poison counters loses the game.)


Okay so... argh...

Minion of the Wastes

When we last looked at this card, it was together with Wood Elemental. We changed Minion of the Wastes to be more consistent with its printed wording. But this time around, I started looking at Dracoplasm, originally thinking it would change to match Minion of the Wastes. But the more research I did, the more I became convinced that we might have made a mistake with Minion of the Wastes and maybe it was the card that needed to change. I found rulings going back to Dracoplasm's release supporting that if it entered the battlefield some other way, you could still sacrifice creatures. So, we're reversing course on Minion of the Wastes and calling it good.

New Minion of the Wastes wording:


As Minion of the Wastes enters the battlefield, pay any amount of life.

Minion of the Wastes's power and toughness are each equal to the life paid as it entered the battlefield.

Mogg Bombers

This card has an ability that is in the same family as the one on Impending Disaster and its Urza's Legacy brethren. The additional ability shouldn't be dependent on the sacrifice. It's now a little happier when multiple creatures enter the battlefield simultaneously.

New Mogg Bombers wording:

When another creature enters the battlefield, sacrifice Mogg Bombers and it deals 3 damage to target player.

Orcish Mine

The printed wording suggests that the check associated with the last counter being removed could be its own trigger. But it was all printed as one ability, so it's hard to tell. The issue is confused even further with effects like Vampire Hexmage's. Additionally, there's a significant difference between triggering when the last counter is removed and triggering when it becomes tapped with no ore counters on it (or at the beginning of your upkeep). Consider if it's enchanting an indestructible land. The old Oracle wording would have it dealing 2 damage repeatedly. After working through all the issues, we came up with a new wording.

New Orcish Mine wording:

Enchant land

Orcish Mine enters the battlefield with three ore counters on it.

At the beginning of your upkeep and whenever enchanted land becomes tapped, remove an ore counter from Orcish Mine.

When the last ore counter is removed from Orcish Mine, destroy enchanted land and Orcish Mine deals 2 damage to its controller.

Phyrexian Portal

The printed wording told you to ignore the effect if your library had fewer than ten cards in it. This became an activation restriction, but didn't account for the possibility that your library could dip down below ten cards in response to activating Phyrexian Portal. I think we can write an effect that's truer to the printed wording.

New Phyrexian Portal wording:

{o3}: If your library has ten or more cards in it, target opponent looks at the top ten cards of your library and separates them into two face-down piles. Exile one of those piles. Search the other pile for a card, put it into your hand, then shuffle the rest of that pile into your library.

Sword of the Ages

The use of "then" in the printed wording indicates to me that the Sword and creatures were clearly sacrificed and then exiled later. Other cards, like City of Shadows, do a similar thing but don't have this temporal delineation, so this time we're just addressing Sword of the Ages.

New Sword of the Ages wording:

Sword of the Ages enters the battlefield tapped.

{oT}, Sacrifice Sword of the Ages and any number of creatures you control: Sword of the Ages deals X damage to target creature or player, where X is the total power of the creatures sacrificed this way, then exile Sword of the Ages and those creature cards.


This card's ability is also in the same family as Impending Disaster's. The countering of the spell will no longer be dependent on sacrificing Hesitation.

New Hesitation wording:

When a player casts a spell, sacrifice Hesitation and counter that spell.

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