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Magic 2014 Update Bulletin

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Oracle Changes

Indestructible (functional)

 What is Oracle?  

Magic is a game made up of more than 12,000 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.

Now that indestructible is a keyword, the way it's used in templates changes. Below is a sampling of the sixty-two cards that received new wordings:

Avacyn, Angel of Hope
Flying, vigilance, indestructible
Other permanents you control have indestructible.

Darksteel Plate
Indestructible
Equipped creature has indestructible.
Equip {o2}

Boros Charm
Choose one — Boros Charm deals 4 damage to target player; or permanents you control gain indestructible until end of turn; or target creature gains double strike until end of turn.




Can't be blocked (nonfunctional)

In the other big terminology change this time around, 122 cards were updated by replacing "unblockable" with "can't be blocked." This includes the reminder text of landwalk abilities.




Convoke reminder text (functional)

With the retooling of convoke, new reminder text is required. It's no longer a cost-reduction ability. I don't want to scoop myself, but check out the Comprehensive Rules changes on the next page. Eighteen cards were changed.

Old reminder text:
(Each creature you tap while casting this spell reduces its cost by {o1} or by one mana of that creature's color.)

New reminder text:
(Each creature you tap while casting this spell pays for {o1} or one mana of that creature's color.)




Delve reminder text (functional)

The three cards with delve received new reminder text to reflect the changes to that ability.

Old reminder text:
(You may exile any number of cards from your graveyard as you cast this spell. It costs {o1} less to cast for each card exiled this way.)

New reminder text:
(Each card you exile from your graveyard while casting this spell pays for {o1}.)




Anti-Magic Aura (nonfunctional... I think)

This card experienced a bit of Oracle drift between its two printings. The Fifth Edition version assumes constant Aura targeting, which is clearly not compatible with the modern system. All in all, I think there's a better template we could use.

Old wording:
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature can't be the target of spells and can't be enchanted. This effect doesn't remove Anti-Magic Aura.

New wording:
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature can't be the target of spells and can't be enchanted by other Auras.




Chaos Orb (functional)

This wacky old-timer may seem like we're jumping into the deep end, but this change is fairly benign. We've long interpreted the word "cards" on older, um... cards, to mean "nontoken permanents." For some reason, Chaos Orb has escaped this treatment, despite clearly saying "cards" in its printed wording.

Old wording:
{o1}, {oT}: If Chaos Orb is on the battlefield, flip Chaos Orb onto the battlefield from a height of at least one foot. If Chaos Orb turns over completely at least once during the flip, destroy all permanents it touches. Then destroy Chaos Orb.

New wording:
{o1}, {oT}: If Chaos Orb is on the battlefield, flip Chaos Orb onto the battlefield from a height of at least one foot. If Chaos Orb turns over completely at least once during the flip, destroy all nontoken permanents it touches. Then destroy Chaos Orb.




Contested Cliffs & Triangle of War (nonfunctional)

These two cards were updated to use fight a while back, but they didn't do so in the most clear and efficient way. They've both received a new, shorter template.

Contested Cliffs

Old wording:
{oT}: Add {o1} to your mana pool.
{oRoG}, {oT}: Choose target Beast creature you control and target creature an opponent controls. Those creatures fight each other. (Each deals damage equal to its power to the other.)

New wording:
{oT}: Add {o1} to your mana pool.
{oRoG}, {oT}: Target Beast creature you control fights target creature an opponent controls. (Each deals damage equal to its power to the other.)

Triangle of War

Old wording:
{o2}, Sacrifice Triangle of War: Choose target creature you control and target creature an opponent controls. Those creatures fight each other. (Each deals damage equal to its power to the other.)

New wording:
{o2}, Sacrifice Triangle of War: Target creature you control fights target creature an opponent controls. (Each deals damage equal to its power to the other.)




Dread Charge (nonfunctional)

This Oracle wording of this Portal card was clearly based on its printed text, but that left it with a weird, nonstandard template. Usually, when we talk about this sort of effect, we use "can't be blocked this turn except by..."

Old wording:
Until end of turn, black creatures you control can be blocked only by black creatures.

New wording:
Black creatures you control can't be blocked this turn except by black creatures.




Duplicant (functional, sort of)

As you'll read in the Comprehensive Rules section (you will read that part too, right?), our favorite friend Strionic Resonator can do some wacky things with cards that have imprint abilities. Cards that were meant to only have one exiled card can now have two or more. In most cases, that's fine, a rules tweak lets those cards take advantage of that, but Duplicant is a bit different. It's the one card of the bunch that doesn't react well to exiling multiple creature cards. It simply can't have multiple powers and toughnesses. Back before linked abilities were codified, this was solved by having Duplicant get the power, toughness, and creature types of the last creature card it exiled. We're using that solution again, updated with modern terminology.

Old wording:
Imprint—When Duplicant enters the battlefield, you may exile target nontoken creature.
As long as the exiled card is a creature card, Duplicant has that card's power, toughness, and creature types. It's still a Shapeshifter.

New wording:
Imprint—When Duplicant enters the battlefield, you may exile target nontoken creature.
As long as a card exiled with Duplicant is a creature card, Duplicant has the power, toughness, and creature types of the last creature card exiled with Duplicant. It's still a Shapeshifter.




Non-mana costs to attack or block (nonfunctional)

Previously, if an effect imposed a cost on a creature attacking or blocking, we'd use the reminder text "(This cost is paid as attackers are declared.)." It fell out of favor over time, because players pretty much understood when to make these payments. But it turns out that might only be true for mana payments. There are a few cards with weird attacking or blocking costs, and we felt the reminder text would be helpful there.

The following cards are affected:

Exalted Dragon
Flooded Woodlands
Hollow Warrior (this one gets "This cost paid as attackers or blockers are declared.")
Leviathan
Reclamation



Fire Dragon (nonfunctional)

All the past updates are kind of a blur, but at some point we lined up the text of spells like Spitting Earth that dealt damage to a target based on a number of something. Fire Dragon proved elusive and hid out in its lair to avoid this update, but we finally caught up with it.

Old wording:
Flying
When Fire Dragon enters the battlefield, it deals damage equal to the number of Mountains you control to target creature.

New wording:
Flying
When Fire Dragon enters the battlefield, it deals damage to target creature equal to the number of Mountains you control.




Effects that put tokens onto the battlefield controlled by another player(nonfunctional)

Several cards, including the Hunted cycle from Ravnica, instructed a player to put a token onto the battlefield under another player's control. The rules now say that a token is owned by the person under whose control it entered the battlefield, so it seemed a little confusing for a player who wasn't the token's owner to do this. These cards are being changed to just have the owner put the token onto the battlefield.

Forbidden Orchard

Old wording:
{oT}: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
Whenever you tap Forbidden Orchard for mana, put a 1/1 colorless Spirit creature token onto the battlefield under target opponent's control.

New wording:
{oT}: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
Whenever you tap Forbidden Orchard for mana, target opponent puts a 1/1 colorless Spirit creature token onto the battlefield.

The Hunted Cycle

Old wording:
Flying, haste
When Hunted Dragon enters the battlefield, put three 2/2 white Knight creature tokens with first strike onto the battlefield under target opponent's control.

New wording:
Flying, haste
When Hunted Dragon enters the battlefield, target opponent puts three 2/2 white Knight creature tokens with first strike onto the battlefield.

Similar updates were made to Hunted Horror, Hunted Lammasu, Hunted Phantasm, and Hunted Troll.

Phantasmal Sphere

Note: Due to (spins Wheel of Excuses...) a solar coronal mass ejection, the update of this card didn't get in this update. Well, here's a preview and we'll clean it up in the Theros update.

Old Wording
Flying
At the beginning of your upkeep, put a +1/+1 counter on Phantasmal Sphere, then sacrifice Phantasmal Sphere unless you pay {o1} for each +1/+1 counter on it.
When Phantasmal Sphere leaves the battlefield, put a blue Orb creature token with flying onto the battlefield under target opponent's control. That creature's power and toughness are each equal to the number of +1/+1 counters on Phantasmal Sphere.

New Wording
Flying
At the beginning of your upkeep, put a +1/+1 counter on Phantasmal Sphere, then sacrifice Phantasmal Sphere unless you pay {o1} for each +1/+1 counter on it.
When Phantasmal Sphere leaves the battlefield, target opponent puts a blue Orb creature token with flying onto the battlefield. That creature's power and toughness are each equal to the number of +1/+1 counters on Phantasmal Sphere.

Varchild's War-Riders

Old Wording
Cumulative upkeep—Put a 1/1 red Survivor creature token onto the battlefield under an opponent's control. (At the beginning of your upkeep, put an age counter on this permanent, then sacrifice it unless you pay its upkeep cost for each age counter on it.)
Trample; rampage 1 (Whenever this creature becomes blocked, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each creature blocking it beyond the first.)

New Wording
Cumulative upkeep—Have an opponent put a 1/1 red Survivor creature token onto the battlefield. (At the beginning of your upkeep, put an age counter on this permanent, then sacrifice it unless you pay its upkeep cost for each age counter on it.)
Trample; rampage 1 (Whenever this creature becomes blocked, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each creature blocking it beyond the first.)




Gaea's Touch (functional)

When thinking about changing rules governing playing additional lands, I knew Gaea's Touch was always going to be the problem child. It puts a qualifier on the additional land: it has to be a basic Forest. The temporal mechanics didn't quite work out. But, I wasn't going to let one oddball card stop a sensible rules overhaul. I thought about its Oracle text for a while, but the real key was actually in its printed text. Well that doesn't look much like a land play at all. I had my answer, and the rest of R&D agreed. It's a slight change, and probably a larger one than we'd make if it weren't for the rules change, but it remains true to the spirit of the card.

Old Wording
You may play an additional land during your turn if that land is a basic Forest.
Sacrifice Gaea's Touch: Add {oGoG} to your mana pool.

New Wording
{o0}: You may put a basic Forest card from your hand onto the battlefield. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery and only once each turn.
Sacrifice Gaea's Touch: Add {oGoG} to your mana pool.




Knucklebone Witch (nonfunctional)

In the last update, we removed the "dies" template from Boggart Shenanigans because it was clearly meant to interact with tribal Goblins. Well, this Boggart called shenanigans, so we gave it the same treatment.

Old Wording
Whenever a Goblin you control dies, you may put a +1/+1 counter on Knucklebone Witch.

New Wording
Whenever a Goblin you control is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, you may put a +1/+1 counter on Knucklebone Witch.




O-Naginata (nonfunctional)

Oh, O-Naginata... this sword had a funny way of referring to creatures with power 3 or greater.

Old Wording
O-Naginata can be attached only to a creature with 3 or more power.
Equipped creature gets +3/+0 and has trample.
Equip {o2} ({o2}: Attach to target creature you control. Equip only as a sorcery.)

New Wording
O-Naginata can be attached only to a creature with power 3 or greater.
Equipped creature gets +3/+0 and has trample.
Equip {o2} ({o2}: Attach to target creature you control. Equip only as a sorcery.)




Preacher (nonfunctional)

We looked at this card originally because the "that" was nonstandard. After a bit of research, we gave it a slightly clearer template based on Giant Oyster. Evangelize also received a minor update to remove the errant "that."

Old Wording
You may choose not to untap Preacher during your untap step.
{oT}: Gain control of target creature of an opponent's choice that he or she controls for as long as Preacher remains tapped.

New Wording
You may choose not to untap Preacher during your untap step.
{oT}: For as long as Preacher remains tapped, gain control of target creature of an opponent's choice he or she controls.




Sabertooth Cobra (nonfunctional)

After the Cobra bites you, you have until your next upkeep to pay mana for the antidote. The three other cards that involve this special action refer to "that step." For some reason, Sabertooth Cobra used "that turn," so we're lining it up.

Old Wording
Whenever Sabertooth Cobra deals damage to a player, he or she gets a poison counter. That player gets another poison counter at the beginning of his or her next upkeep unless he or she pays {o2} before that turn. (A player with ten or more poison counters loses the game.)

New Wording
Whenever Sabertooth Cobra deals damage to a player, he or she gets a poison counter. That player gets another poison counter at the beginning of his or her next upkeep unless he or she pays {o2} before that step. (A player with ten or more poison counters loses the game.)




Venarian Gold (functional, but only in the sense that it now will be)

When last we looked at this fan favorite (literally, I think there's one guy out there), we overlooked one little detail: now that it had an enters-the-battlefield triggered ability and not an enters-the-battlefield replacement, the value of X wasn't being passed on. Strictly speaking, you would always put 0 sleep counters on the enchanted creature. Clearly, that's not how it should work. How about this?

Old Wording
Enchant creature
When Venarian Gold enters the battlefield, tap enchanted creature and put X sleep counters on it.
Enchanted creature doesn't untap during its controller's untap step if it has a sleep counter on it.
At the beginning of the upkeep of enchanted creature's controller, remove a sleep counter from that creature.

New Wording
Enchant creature
When Venarian Gold enters the battlefield, tap enchanted creature and put a number of sleep counters on it equal to the value of X as you cast Venarian Gold.
Enchanted creature doesn't untap during its controller's untap step if it has a sleep counter on it.
At the beginning of the upkeep of enchanted creature's controller, remove a sleep counter from that creature.




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