July 2010 Update Bulletin

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Other Nonfunctional Oracle Changes

Elixir of Immortality
This is a new M11 card, and it has a problem. When creating the wording for this card, we neglected to consider the case in which you control Elixir of Immortality, but you don't own it. You certainly don't get to shuffle Elixir of Immortality into your own library in this case. Rule 400.3 says "If an object would go to any library, graveyard, or hand other than its owner's, it goes to its owner's corresponding zone." Still, we don't like to rely on players knowing that rule, and we do like cards to say what they actually do, so the Elixir is getting immediate errata.

Once that was determined, we had two further questions to consider:

1) Who does the shuffling? (Cosi's Trickster wants to know.)

2) Say you both own and control Elixir of Immortality, and you activate its ability. How many shuffles are there? That is, do you shuffle the Elixir into its owner's library and, as a separate action, shuffle your graveyard into your library? (Cosi's Trickster wants to know that too. Tricksters are notoriously curious.)

Based on the printed wording, the answers are 1) the controller of Elixir of Immortality's ability, not the owner of Elixir of Immortality, does the shuffling, and 2) There's just one shuffle in that case.

We wound up with the following wording, which should be more accurate—but no functionally different—than what you'll find in your M11 packs.

New wording
{o2}, {oT}: You gain 5 life. Shuffle Elixir of Immortality and your graveyard into their owner's library.

Assembly Hall
This is another change from "reveal the card" to "reveal it." Infernal Tutor and Remembrance say "reveal it" following a search for a card with the same name as something else.

New wording
{o4}, {oT}: Reveal a creature card in your hand. Search your library for a card with the same name as that card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.

Balduvian Shaman
For the sake of the last few shreds of my own sanity, let's ignore everything this card does. The only issue here is the card's first reminder text. (Yes, really. Its first reminder text. It has two separate pieces of reminder text.) This reminder text demonstrates, by example, what its text-changing ability does. In Oracle, this was unchanged from the way it appears on the printed card: It let you know that one of your options with Balduvian Shaman's ability could be to change the text "counters black spells" to the text "counters blue spells." Okay ... except that text makes no sense! Not only does it not appear on any Magic card (let alone on a white enchantment, which is all you can affect with Balduvian Shaman's ability), it can't appear on a Magic card. What kind of ability would say "counters black spells" on it? "If a Rigger you control would assemble a Contraption, it counters black spells instead"? We're replacing that reminder text with a more realistic example (because, as we all know, Balduvian Shaman is all about the realistic game scenarios) pulled from part of Light of Day's ability.

New wording
{oT}: Change the text of target white enchantment you control that doesn't have cumulative upkeep by replacing all instances of one color word with another. (For example, you may change "black creatures can't attack" to "blue creatures can't attack.") That enchantment gains "Cumulative upkeep {o1}." (At the beginning of its controller's upkeep, that player puts an age counter on it, then sacrifices it unless he or she pays its upkeep cost for each age counter on it.)

Bargaining Table
At some point, Bargaining Table got some clarification text in Oracle stating that X is the number of cards in an opponent's hand "as you activate this ability." Well, sure ... that's when you need to know what X is, because that's when you're paying the cost. The card was printed without this text, and it doesn't seem necessary. Other similar cards like Chromatic Armor and Soul Foundry don't have it. So it's being deleted.

New wording
{oX}, {oT}: Draw a card. X is the number of cards in an opponent's hand.

Basalt Monolith
The order of its abilities is being juggled a little.

New wording
Basalt Monolith doesn't untap during your untap step.
{oT}: Add {o3} to your mana pool.
{o3}: Untap Basalt Monolith.

Bronze Horse, Spirit of Resistance, & Thunderstaff
These cards all have static abilities that create prevention effects. They start with "if," as many such abilities do, but it's a different kind of "if." The condition the "if" clause checks isn't a this-effect-works-at-this-specific-point-in-time condition of "if damage would be dealt to [this creature]," but is instead a check-this-all-the-time-to-see-if-this-ability-is-"turned on" condition. And that should start with "as long as."

Thunderstaff is more complex, since it actually starts with both. It's being broken up into an "as long as" bit and an "if" bit.

New Bronze Horse wording
As long as you control another creature, prevent all damage that would be dealt to Bronze Horse by spells that target it.

New Spirit of Resistance wording
As long as you control a permanent of each color, prevent all damage that would be dealt to you.

New Thunderstaff wording
As long as Thunderstaff is untapped, if a creature would deal combat damage to you, prevent 1 of that damage.
{o2}, {oT}: Attacking creatures get +1/+0 until end of turn.

There's a family of cards that refer to two different creatures and have to go to great lengths to distinguish which creature it's referring to at any given time. For example, the Oracle wording of Venom says "Whenever enchanted creature blocks or becomes blocked by a non-Wall creature, destroy the other creature at end of combat." All such cards use "the other creature," except for Charisma, which uses "the second creature." Just to be consistent, Charisma is changing to match the rest.

New wording
Enchant creature
Whenever enchanted creature deals damage to a creature, gain control of the other creature for as long as Charisma remains on the battlefield.

Duplicity & Gustha's Scepter
The way the last ability of each of these cards is worded assumes that cards owned by multiple different players have been exiled. This is entirely possible (due to different players gaining control of the permanent and using it), but it's certainly not the likely scenario by any means. In these cases, our policy is to word the card assuming there's just one player involved. (See Khalni Gem for an example of a card that assumes one player owns all the relevant cards; see Whiplash Trap for an example of a card that doesn't make that assumption.) The cards work exactly the same regardless of this wording choice; this is just a decision based on what we think is less confusing given the circumstances. Duplicity and Gustha's Scepter will now match Knowledge Vault and Kyren Archive in this respect.

New Duplicity wording
When Duplicity enters the battlefield, exile the top five cards of your library face down.
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may exile all cards from your hand face down. If you do, put all other cards you own exiled with Duplicity into your hand.
At the beginning of your end step, discard a card.
When you lose control of Duplicity, put all cards exiled with Duplicity into their owner's graveyard.

New Gustha's Scepter wording
{oT}: Exile a card from your hand face down. You may look at it for as long as it remains exiled.
{oT}: Return a card you own exiled with Gustha's Scepter to your hand.
When you lose control of Gustha's Scepter, put all cards exiled with Gustha's Scepter into their owner's graveyard.

Eye of Yawgmoth
This had a weird wording; it instructed you to reveal cards equal to something. We're adding "a number of" to the wording so it reads better.

New wording
{o3}, {oT}, Sacrifice a creature: Reveal a number of cards from the top of your library equal to the sacrificed creature's power. Put one into your hand and exile the rest.

Juniper Order Advocate & Spectral Guardian
"As long as [this permanent] is untapped" is frontloaded on all other cards with that wording. It makes it easier to immediately discern whether you need to keep reading the ability. This change also puts "shroud" right next to its reminder text on Spectral Guardian's Oracle wording.

New Juniper Order Advocate wording
As long as Juniper Order Advocate is untapped, green creatures you control get +1/+1.

New Spectral Guardian wording
As long as Spectral Guardian is untapped, noncreature artifacts have shroud. (They can't be the targets of spells or abilities.)

Obelisk of Undoing
The Obelisk's ability affects permanents you both own and control. But it says only that it affects permanents "you own and control." You know what would make this easier to understand? Saying it affects permanents you both own and control. (Remove Enchantments already says that, and nothing Remove Enchantments does can possibly be ludicrous.)

New wording
{o6}, {oT}: Return target permanent you both own and control to your hand.

Ogre Marauder
The ability that Ogre Marauder grants itself is "Ogre Marauder can't be blocked." This is unusual, though. If there was a qualifier on there, like "Ogre Marauder can't be blocked by blue creatures," or "Ogre Marauder can't be blocked except by two or more creatures," it'd be fine. But in the general case, we always say "Ogre Marauder is unblockable."

New wording
Whenever Ogre Marauder attacks, it gains "Ogre Marauder is unblockable" until end of turn unless defending player sacrifices a creature.

Orim's Cure & Sivvi's Valor
A whopping 82 cards say "You may [pay some alternative cost] rather than pay [this card]'s mana cost." Only two cards say "You may [pay some alternative cost] rather than pay the mana cost of [this card]." Those two cards are Orim's Cure and Sivvi's Valor, and they have a nonstandard wording to avoid back-to-back possessive words. We've used that construction elsewhere, though (Hibernation's End mentions "Hibernation's End's cumulative upkeep"), so there's no reason to dodge that here. Usually we just avoid card names like this when we know they'll be used in this manner.

New Orim's Cure wording
If you control a Plains, you may tap an untapped creature you control rather than pay Orim's Cure's mana cost.
Prevent the next 4 damage that would be dealt to target creature or player this turn.

New Sivvi's Valor wording
If you control a Plains, you may tap an untapped creature you control rather than pay Sivvi's Valor's mana cost.
All damage that would be dealt to target creature this turn is dealt to you instead.

Phyrexian Driver
This card had an unnecessary "all"; it's been deleted.

New wording
When Phyrexian Driver enters the battlefield, other Mercenary creatures get +1/+1 until end of turn.

Primal Clay
Back when Primal Clay was printed, artifact creatures didn't get creature types other than Wall. Obsianus Golem wasn't even a Golem back then! Wall was functionally relevant, of course; this was years before defender, and "Wall" incorporated the ability "This creature can't attack." At the time, Primal Clay could be a 3/3 creature-typeless artifact creature, a 2/2 creature-typeless artifact creature with flying, or a 1/6 Wall artifact creature.

We live in a more enlightened society now. Barbers and doctors are distinct professions. My cat's Netflix membership auto-rebills. And all creatures have creature types. Primal Clay is now always a Shapeshifter ... and sometimes it's a Wall too. Its current wording expresses this awkwardly, so we're trying something new.

New wording
As Primal Clay enters the battlefield, it becomes your choice of a 3/3 artifact creature, a 2/2 artifact creature with flying, or a 1/6 Wall artifact creature with defender in addition to its other types.

Changing "for each one" to "for each permanent." This wording matches Reprocess, for example.

New wording
Sacrifice any number of permanents. You gain 2 life for each permanent sacrificed this way.

Rockslide Ambush & Spitting Earth
These two cards have the same wording as one another, and their abilities are functionally identical to the M10 card Seismic Strike. The former two are being updated to match the newer card.

New Rockslide Ambush wording
Rockslide Ambush deals damage to target creature equal to the number of Mountains you control.

New Spitting Earth wording
Spitting Earth deals damage to target creature equal to the number of Mountains you control.

The wording was slightly off. Plenty of cards have you look at the top few cards of your library, then put them back in any order. Except for Soothsaying, they all say it like that: Clearly sequential, with a comma and the word "then."

New wording
{o3oUoU}: Shuffle your library.
{oX}: Look at the top X cards of your library, then put them back in any order.

Static Orb
Winter Orb's and Storage Matrix's static abilities start with "As long as [this permanent] is untapped," but Static Orb's similar ability started with "if." Static Orb (which should really know better regarding static abilities) is being changed to match.

New wording
As long as Static Orb is untapped, players can't untap more than two permanents during their untap steps.

Stronghold Gambit
In its current wording, the third sentence goes out of its way to state who does the putting of the permanents, but then the last sentence switches over to passive voice and leaves you in the dark. Sure, you can infer who does what, but it's an odd construction. Moreover, there's a way to word this card that negates the need for a separate sentence regulating what happens in case of a tie.

New wording
Each player chooses a card in his or her hand. Then each player reveals his or her chosen card. The owner of each creature card revealed this way with the lowest converted mana cost puts it onto the battlefield.

Thieves' Auction
"Those cards" doesn't have a particularly good antecedent, so it's getting changed to "all cards exiled this way."

New wording
Exile all nontoken permanents. Starting with you, each player chooses one of the exiled cards and puts it onto the battlefield tapped under his or her control. Repeat this process until all cards exiled this way have been chosen.

Venomous Breath
Venomous Breath's effect creates a delayed triggered ability. You cast the spell. The spell resolves. Then, at end of combat, its delayed triggered ability triggers and goes on the stack. Then the ability resolves. Lots of cards do this. No big deal.

What lots of cards don't do, however, is have a target inside the delayed triggered ability. This is verboten, because it's wildly ambiguous (and has been the subject of fevered debates within R&D over the past few months). Here's how Venomous Breath was printed:

At end of combat, destroy all creatures that blocked or were blocked by target creature this turn.

You could interpret this in two ways:

As you cast Venomous Breath, you choose a target creature. That's what you do as you cast a spell that says "target [something]" in it. Venomous Breath resolves and does nothing at that time (other than creating its delayed triggered ability). Later, at end of combat, the delayed triggered ability triggers. When it resolves, it destroys all creatures that blocked or were blocked by the previously chosen creature this turn.

2) As you cast Venomous Breath, you do nothing. You don't choose a target because that's the delayed triggered ability's target. Venomous Breath resolves and does nothing at that time (other than creating its delayed triggered ability). Later, at end of combat, the delayed triggered ability triggers. As you put it on the stack, you choose a target. When the ability resolves, it destroys all creatures that blocked or were blocked by the targeted creature this turn.

I believe the correct interpretation here is #1, so it's getting a new wording to make that clear.

New wording
Choose target creature. At end of combat, destroy all creatures that blocked or were blocked by it this turn.

Worldly Tutor
The second sentence was slightly off; it's being changed to match Mystical Tutor, Enlightened Tutor, and others.

New wording
Search your library for a creature card and reveal that card. Shuffle your library, then put the card on top of it.

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