April 2010 Update Bulletin

Posted in Feature on April 13, 2010

By Mark L. Gottlieb

Welcome, one and all, to the Mark Gottlieb Cavalcade of Minutiae and Pedanticness! Step right in to the Ruleseteria, put on your thinking cap and your straightjacket (mine is bedazzled), and fasten your safety harness by following the 39-step (and 17-substep!) Safety Harness Fastening Manual. You must be this Melviny to enter and, as always, no Vorthoses allowed. (Psst! Vorthos! I saw a minotaur eating a cheeseburger three articles over. Go check that wrongness out!)

It's that time of spring: The marigolds, daffodils, and Eldrazi are rising, so with a Prerelease right around the corner (I'll be at Seattle's this weekend), let's update Oracle and the Comprehensive Rulebook! The biggest functional card change this time out involves the Planar Collapse cycle from Urza's Legacy. (Since Urza's Legacy and Urza's Destiny are coming down the Magic Online pike over the next few months or so, they got the most attention this month.) In a reversion to their printed wordings, you no longer need to sacrifice them to get their effects, which probably opens up some sort of degenerate Second Chance combo with recurring bounce effects. Hooray?

The biggest rules change this time out involves the Two-Headed Giant multiplayer variant. Sometimes cards need to check what a player's life total is. The old rules that covered this said that each player's share of the team's life total was considered to be half that life total, rounded up. This mostly sorta worked, and it mostly sorta made sense. Your part of the life total was half that life total, right? But it also did some weird, weird things. If your team had 11 life, the game considered your life total to be 6, and your teammate's life total to also be 6. Weird. If an effect caused you to double your life total, your team's life total would go from 11 to 17. Weird. I could go on, but we're changing that rule, so why dwell on the past?

We briefly considered a new rule in which the primary player's share of the life total was half the team's life total, rounded up, and the secondary player's share of the life total was half the team's life total, rounded down. On its surface, that makes a lot more sense. Now a team with 11 life has one player whose life total is considered to be 6 and another whose life total is considered to be 5. Hey, that actually adds up to 11! Sounds like progress! Oddly, this rule turns out to be much less intuitive in just about every other way. Take the Rise of the Eldrazi card Near-Death Experience, for example. It says that you win the game at the beginning of your upkeep if your life total is exactly 1. Under this system, if the primary player controls Near-Death Experience, that team wins the game if its life total is 1 or 2 ... and if the secondary player controls Near-Death Experience, that team wins the game if its life total is 2 or 3. But, of course, not 1. 3? Where'd the 3 come from?

Instead, the system is changing to the simplest system possible. If something needs to know an individual player's life total, it uses the team's life total instead. Some examples of what this means:

  • If your team has 11 life and you cast Beacon of Immortality, you'll gain 11 life and your team will wind up at 22 life.
  • If you control Near-Death Experience, you'll win the game during your upkeep if your team has exactly 1 life.
  • If your team has 17 life and you want to activate Lurking Evil's activated ability, you'll have to pay 9 life to do so (not 5 life, which is what you pay under the current system), leaving your team at 8.

Some rules about life totals aren't changing. OK, one of the rules about life totals isn't changing. Specifically, gaining and losing life still applies to each player individually, and the result is applied to the team life total. For example, if your team has 24 life and you gain 6 life, your team winds up at 30 life (as you'd expect). Your Well of Lost Dreams triggers, but your teammate's Well does not.

As for the rest of the rules ....

If something sets one player's life total to a specific number (like Magister Sphinx does), that player gains or loses the necessary amount of life to wind up at the new total, and the team's life total is adjusted accordingly. So if your team has 18 life and you're targeted by Magister Sphinx's ability, you'll lose 8 life and your team will wind up at 10 life.

If something would set the life total of each player on a team to a specific number (like Sway of the Stars would, or Biorhythm would), a team that's being affected picks one of its players and only that player is affected. Sway of the Stars works as you'd expect (your team winds up at 7). Biorhythm ... well, that doesn't work in Two-Headed Giant as it is (which is one of the motivating factors behind the system change), so it's no big surprise that it's still screwy under the new system. At least that's the only card in existence that tries to set the life total of each member of the same team to a different number.

If something would cause you to exchange life totals with your teammate, nothing happens. Additionally, Reverse the Sands gets its own special rule: It can't affect more than one player on each team. And finally, if an effect says that a player can't gain life, no player on that team can gain life.

Now, I know what the doomsayers out there are probably yelling at their screens: "You idiot! This makes a bunch of cards way more powerful in Two-Headed Giant! How dare you!" And I know what the pessimists are probably shrieking: "You numbskull! This makes a bunch of cards way less powerful in Two-Headed Giant! What gives you the right?" To which I reply: Yup. Some cards' power level changed. By my count, 82 cards care about your life total. Some are now better. Some are now worse. I'm not going to go card-by-card (why take away your fun?), but let's look at the categories of cards that are affected.

Cards that set one player's life total to a specific number (9)
Example: Form of the Dragon
Analysis: Holy cow is this much easier to grok under the new system. Some of these get more powerful, and some get less powerful, depending on who they affect and what they set the life total to.

Cards that set multiple players' life totals to specific numbers (5)
Example: Rise of the Eldrazi's Repay in Kind
Analysis: Rebirth and Sway of the Stars get much less powerful but much more intuitive. Arbiter of Knollridge and Repay in Kind are pretty much the same, but without the rounding errors. Biorhythm goes kablooey. Sorry, Biorhythm, you're just going to have to take one for the team, so to speak.

Cards that exchange two players' life totals (5)
Example: Magus of the Mirror
Analysis: These get more powerful. Again, they're massively simpler to comprehend. Before, if one team was at 33 and another was at 19 when Magus of the Mirror was used, the teams would each wind up at 26. (Also, these effects would always end up in a tie or in life totals that differed by just 1.) Under the new system, the life totals will end up being 19 and 33!

Cards that redistribute any number of players' life totals (1)
Example: Reverse the Sands
Analysis: Gets its own rule, and winds up like an exchange card above.

Cards that double a player's life total (2)
Example: Beacon of Immortality
Analysis: Fittingly, they're twice as powerful.

Cards that halve one player's life total (15)
Example: Blood Tribute, Lurking Evil
Analysis: Most of these cards get less powerful, since they affect their controllers. A few, however, get a good deal more powerful, since they affect an opponent. Of note is Heartless Hidetsugu, which just gets stupid in this format. Its ability flat-out kills any team with an even life total regardless of what it is (if a team has 34 life, for example, Hidetsugu deals 17 damage to each member of that team), and leaves each team with an odd life total at 1.

Random cards that check life total and get more powerful (11, by my count)
Example: Felidar Sovereign (it's easier to have 40 or more life)
Analysis: As always, these cards become much easier to process and understand within a game, since there's no calculation (halving and rounding) to deal with. The ones that leap in power level are Divinity of Pride (it's "turned on" if you have 25 or more life, so it's reasonably likely to enter the battlefield that way early in the game), and Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant (which checks if you're at 30).

Random cards that check life total and get less powerful (16, by my count)
Example: Convalescent Care, Bloodghast
Analysis: Stop me if you've heard this, but these are easier to process and understand within a game. Some, like Convalescent Care, are weaker because it's harder (and more dangerous) to be at 5 life or less. Some, like Bloodghast, are weaker because it's harder to get the opposing team down to 10 life.

Cards that compare life totals between opponents (10, including 2 that appear on other lists)
Example: Pulse of the Forge
Analysis: Eliminating the rounding is huge for these; under the old system, if one team has 14 life and the other team has 13 life, all players are considered to have a life total of 7. These cards work a lot more sensibly now. Their power levels don't appreciably change.

Cards that compare life totals and may look at teammates (5)
Example: Wild Dogs
Analysis: Some of these go wiggy. Loxodon Peacekeeper and Psychic Transfer can work themselves out. Wild Dogs and Ghazbán Ogre, on the other hand, will never change control because two players on the same team will always be tied for highest life total. These are just a 2/1 and a 2/2, respectively, in this format. Similarly, Celestial Convergence will always end the game in a draw if it goes off.

Worship-like cards that say " Damage that would reduce your life total to less than 1 reduces it to 1 instead." (5)
Example: Um, Worship
Analysis: These are fine. They already worked under the old system the way they'll work under the new system; it just makes more sense now.

So there you go. In our opinion, the overall gains inherent in the new system strongly outweigh the few cards that go sideways. As for the cards that will now be evaluated differently in Two-Headed Giant than they are in other formats ... well, that's actually one of the fun things about having different formats! And in case you're wondering why we're implementing this change now rather than waiting for Magic 2011, there are two Rise of the Eldrazi cards that would've behaved less-than-sensibly under the old system (Near-Death Experience and Repay in Kind), so we had the impetus to go ahead and put the new system into place.

The Oracle updates go live later this week. The new Comprehensive Rulebook will be up sometime around May 1. Note that changes to the Comprehensive Rules may wind up a bit different than what's posted here because it'll go through Editing and a review process before it's finalized. The next full-scale update to Oracle and to the Comprehensive Rulebook will be when Magic 2011 comes out, but there'll be a special Archenemy update before then. That update will be limited to adding the new Archenemy cards to Oracle, and adding the new Archenemy rules to the rulebook.


Planar Collapse cycle
Planar Collapse is a member of a five-card cycle of enchantments in Urza's Legacy. Each one checks if a certain condition is met during your upkeep, and if it is, the enchantment is sacrificed and some powerful effect happens. Second Chance gives you an extra turn, for example, and Planar Collapse destroys all creatures. As printed, the enchantments just listed out their two effects: Brink of Madness said "sacrifice Brink of Madness and target opponent discards his or her hand." Even if you failed to sacrifice Brink of Madness when the ability resolved (because it was no longer on the battlefield at that time), the targeted opponent would still discard his or her hand.

Somewhere along the way, the cards got different functionality in Oracle. Brink of Madness, for one, changed to say "sacrifice Brink of Madness. If you do, target opponent discards his or her hand." The other four cards were amended to include "if you do" as well. Sacrificing the enchantment was still mandatory as the ability resolved—but if you couldn't, because it had been Disenchanted or returned to your hand in response to the triggered ability, you wouldn't get the big effect either. Since that's not the way the printed cards work, the "if you do" additions are being subtracted. If you want to go nuts with Second Chance and bounce spells, well, don't blame me when you're kicked out of your play group.

New Brink of Madness wording
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you have no cards in hand, sacrifice Brink of Madness and target opponent discards his or her hand.

New Defense of the Heart wording
At the beginning of your upkeep, if an opponent controls three or more creatures, sacrifice Defense of the Heart, search your library for up to two creature cards, and put those cards onto the battlefield. Then shuffle your library.

New Impending Disaster wording
At the beginning of your upkeep, if there are seven or more lands on the battlefield, sacrifice Impending Disaster and destroy all lands.

New Planar Collapse wording
At the beginning of your upkeep, if there are four or more creatures on the battlefield, sacrifice Planar Collapse and destroy all creatures. They can't be regenerated.

New Second Chance wording
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you have 5 or less life, sacrifice Second Chance and take an extra turn after this one.

Bend or Break
As printed, it says that it affects "land cards." That means that it shouldn't affect land tokens, which are not cards. Land tokens are hard to create, but it's certainly doable, most commonly by making a token that's a copy of an animated land (such as Spitting Image targeting an animated Celestial Colonnade). We never refer to permanents as "cards," so this has just been affecting lands. It should affect nontoken lands, however.

New wording
Each player separates all nontoken lands he or she controls into two piles. For each player, one of his or her piles is chosen by one of his or her opponents of his or her choice. Destroy all lands in the chosen piles. Tap all lands in the other piles.

After steadfastly ignoring this crazy, crazy card for years, I eventually poked it during the last Oracle update, modifying its wording so it worked closer to the way it was intended in multiplayer games. However, it still didn't work as you'd expect with respect to creatures that can block more than one attacker (either because they can block an additional creature, or because they can block any number of creatures). Camouflage forced them into blocking a maximum of one attacking creature, basically negating their abilities.

To address that, a new sentence has been added to this card's already-too-long wording. Now, as you divide potential blocking creatures into piles that will be randomly assigned to attackers, creatures that can block additional creatures may likewise be put into additional piles. That means a creature like Foriysian Brigade, which can block an additional creature, can be put into 0, 1, or 2 piles. A creature like Palace Guard, which can block any number of creatures, can be put into any number of piles. A creature like Anurid Swarmsnapper, which may wind up somewhere in between, can be put into a number of piles based on how many times its ability has resolved.

This change also required a rules change to the "divide things into piles" rules. A new rule was added saying that when dividing cards into piles, each of those cards can be put into exactly one of those piles ... just so this card could be an exception to that rule! (We certainly don't want Camouflage's put-the-same-card-into-multiple-piles functionality to set a precedent for anything else.)

New wording
Cast Camouflage only during your declare attackers step.
This turn, instead of declaring blockers, each defending player chooses any number of creatures he or she controls and divides them into a number of piles equal to the number of attacking creatures for whom that player is the defending player. Creatures he or she controls that can block additional creatures may likewise be put into additional piles. Assign each pile to a different one of those attacking creatures at random. Each creature in a pile that can block the creature that pile is assigned to does so. (Piles can be empty.)

Carpet of Flowers
In the last update, Carpet of Flowers got a new wording. However, there's a minor glitch in it. The card's ability now checks to see whether you've added mana to your mana pool with Carpet of Flowers earlier in the turn. (This is so that you can use the ability just once per turn.) The check is too broad, however. If you do something nutty like turn Carpet of Flowers into a creature, enchant it with Multani's Harmony, and tap it for mana, that shouldn't preclude you from using Carpet of Flowers's ability that turn. The ability is being amended so it just looks at itself, not at the permanent.

New wording
At the beginning of each of your main phases, if you haven't added mana to your mana pool with this ability this turn, you may add up to X mana of any one color to your mana pool, where X is the number of Islands target opponent controls.

Devoted Caretaker
As printed, Devoted Caretaker granted protection from instant spells and from sorcery spells. At some point, it got errata to grant protection from instants and from sorceries. These are different. For example, say you cycle Solar Blast and target a creature with its triggered ability. The source of damage is an instant, but it's not an instant spell—so Devoted Caretaker's protection ability shouldn't be able to save the targeted creature. This is being reverted to its printed functionality.

New wording
{oW}, {oT}: Target permanent you control gains protection from instant spells and from sorcery spells until end of turn.

It's not clear whether the printed wording should target an attacking creature or not. Cards printed 13+ years ago weren't as fastidious about their use of the word "target" as we are today. Frequently, a card from that era whose printed wording clearly identified a specific player, creature, or other permanent has been interpreted as legitimately targeting that creature by modern standards, and the wording has been adjusted accordingly. In the case of Forcefield, though, there's a case to be made that the ability should not be targeted. After looking at the Circles of Protection and (especially) at Circle of Protection: Shadow, we decided that Forcefield should allow the choice of the damage source to be made as it resolves.

New wording
{o1}: The next time an unblocked creature of your choice would deal combat damage to you this turn, prevent all but 1 of that damage.

Jungle Patrol
As printed, this creature made Wood Wall tokens, and it could sacrifice Wood Wall tokens. When Wood was eliminated from the creature type list, the card was adjusted to make and sacrifice Plant Wall tokens. But this didn't really match what we did with other similar cards that had made (and, in some cases, affected) unique tokens. Wall of Kelp, for example, changed from making Kelp Walls to making Plant Walls named Kelp. Wirefly Hive changed from making and affecting Wireflies to making and affecting Insects named Wirefly.

Jungle Patrol will also get the "token named [Name]" technology applied to it, which keeps the tokens it makes and affects rather unique. It also lets them go back to making Wood tokens, in a way. The tokens will also no longer be Plants. This decision is based on the original concept of Wood tokens. Note that while Wall of Blossoms and Tinder Wall (for example) are Plant Walls, Wall of Wood is just a Wall. "Wood" is no longer alive, so it's no longer a Plant; in this case, the Jungle Patrol has already chopped down some trees (thus creating wood), and can set them on fire (sacrificing them to create ).

New wording
{o1oG}, {oT}: Put a 0/1 green Wall creature token with defender named Wood onto the battlefield.
Sacrifice a token named Wood: Add {oR} to your mana pool.

Minion of the Wastes
As printed, you paid life when you cast Minion of the Wastes, not as it entered the battlefield. With the proper rules support (much of which was already in place), this can work. This means casting Zombify on Minion of the Wastes is a really bad idea ... but wasn't it already? (I'm sure you can find some other creatures that'd love to be Zombified.)

New wording
As an additional cost to cast Minion of the Wastes, pay any amount of life.
Minion of the Wastes's power and toughness are each equal to the life paid as it was cast.

Wood Elemental
As printed, Wood Elemental was a */* creature that let you sacrifice any number of untapped Forests as it entered the battlefield and set its power and toughness to that number. In Oracle, it turned into a 0/0 creature that let you sacrifice any number of untapped Forests as it entered the battlefield and put that many +1/+1 counters on it. But this creature shouldn't be using +1/+1 counters; that's too much of a functional change. The interactions with Helium Squirter and Plaxcaster Frogling alone move it dangerously close to not being the worst creature ever printed, and that's just unacceptable. It gets a lot closer to its printed functionality by using the wording seen on Minion of the Wastes ... er, the wording seen on Minion of the Wastes in Oracle right before we changed it one card earlier.

New wording
As Wood Elemental enters the battlefield, sacrifice any number of untapped Forests.
Wood Elemental's power and toughness are each equal to the number of Forests sacrificed as it entered the battlefield.

Übertemplating Oracle Changes

"Put/return [a card] from [someone's] graveyard"
Sometimes, when a spell or ability instructs a player to move a card out of a graveyard and into another zone, it says to put (or return) that card "from" that graveyard to that other zone. Other times, it says to put (or return) that card "in" that graveyard to that other zone. This dichotomy is especially pronounced on Volrath's Stronghold ("{o1oB}, {oT}: Put target creature card from your graveyard on top of your library") and Academy Ruins ("{o1oU}, {oT}: Put target artifact card in your graveyard on top of your library"). We're synchronizing these templates to use "from." One reason for that is that, in my opinion, it reads more naturally. When you're partway through reading Academy Ruins, for example, it's instructing you to "Put target artifact card in your graveyard," which is actually the opposite of what the entire sentence is telling you to do.

Some similar cards, like Second Sunrise, use "in" in a subtly different way, and are being left alone. It's all about the timing and the details.

New Academy Ruins wording
{oT}: Add {o1} to your mana pool.
{o1oU}, {oT}: Put target artifact card from your graveyard on top of your library.

Other cards in which "in your graveyard" became "from your graveyard"
Golgari Thug, Hag Hedge-Mage, Mistveil Plains

Cards in which "in a graveyard" became "from a graveyard"
Beacon of Unrest; Debtors' Knell; Disturbing Plot; Grave Scrabbler; Grazing Kelpie; Grixis; Hymn of Rebirth; Junktroller; Mine Excavation; Naya Charm; Nezumi Graverobber; Nomad Mythmaker; Reito Lantern; Revive the Fallen; Rise // Fall; Rise from the Grave; Teneb, the Harvester

Cards in which "in an opponent's graveyard" became "from an opponent's graveyard"
Crime // Punishment; Forcemage Advocate; Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni Avatar; Nullmage Advocate; Pulsemage Advocate; Puppeteer Clique; Shieldmage Advocate; Spurnmage Advocate

Cards in which "in a single graveyard" became "from a single graveyard"
Jötun Grunt

Cards in which "in all graveyards" became "from all graveyards"
Liliana Vess

Cards in which "in his or her graveyard" became "from his or her graveyard"
Pyrrhic Revival

Cards in which "in the ante" became "from the ante"
Jeweled Bird

Some cards were inconsistent about saying "combat" vs. "combat phase." For example, we had two different ways of saying that an ability triggers at the beginning of combat. Battering Ram's ability triggered "At the beginning of your combat phase." Sentry Oak's ability, on the other hand, triggers "At the beginning of combat on your turn." Since these mean the same thing, they're all being aligned with the Sentry Oak wording.

Cards in which "at the beginning of your combat phase" became "at the beginning of combat on your turn"
Battering Ram, Johan, Stand or Fall

That change meant that the wording "At the beginning of each opponent's combat phase" no longer matched its counterpart. It couldn't get the same change applied to it, but it could get "phase" deleted so, like the wording above, it refers just to "combat."

Cards in which "at the beginning of each opponent's combat phase" became "at the beginning of each opponent's combat"
Fight or Flight, Web of Inertia

There were other cases in which the use of "combat phase" didn't match other similar cards that referred to "combat" instead. For example, 19 cards said "during combat," but only Hand to Hand said "During the combat phase." The following cards were brought into line with other cards that have similar wordings:

New Hand to Hand wording
During combat, players can't cast instant spells or activate abilities that aren't mana abilities.

New Maddening Imp wording
{oT}: Non-Wall creatures the active player controls attack this turn if able. At the beginning of the next end step, destroy each of those creatures that didn't attack this turn. Activate this ability only during an opponent's turn and only before combat.

New Melee wording
Cast Melee only during your turn and only during combat before blockers are declared.
Instead of defending player, you choose how each creature blocks this turn.
Whenever a creature attacks and isn't blocked this turn, untap it and remove it from combat.

This doesn't eradicate the use of "combat phase." Cards that create an additional combat phase, or cause a combat phase to be skipped, will still use the full phrase because that's what's the clearest and sounds the best.

"You may ... for each"
Three cards had wordings that said "you may [do something] for each [something else]." This is actually a very confusing wording. Let's look at Clearwater Goblet to examine why. It said "At the beginning of your upkeep, you may gain 1 life for each charge counter on Clearwater Goblet." Imagine there are three charge counters on it. You could interpret the effect as "you may [gain 1 life for each charge counter on Clearwater Goblet]," meaning you could gain 0 life or 3 life, or you could interpret the effect as "[you may gain 1 life] for each charge counter on Clearwater Goblet," meaning you could gain 0, 1, 2, or 3 life. Rulings stated that the former interpretation was correct, but there's no reasonable way to know that. These three cards have been changed to eliminate the ambiguity.

New Clearwater Goblet wording
Sunburst (This enters the battlefield with a charge counter on it for each color of mana spent to cast it.)
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may gain life equal to the number of charge counters on Clearwater Goblet.

New Gempalm Polluter wording
Cycling {oBoB} {oBoB}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)
When you cycle Gempalm Polluter, you may have target player lose life equal to the number of Zombies on the battlefield.

New Mana Echoes wording
Whenever a creature enters the battlefield, you may add {oX} to your mana pool, where X is the number of creatures you control that share a creature type with it.

"Ignore this effect"
Three cards have effects that a player can take an action to ignore for the rest of the turn. For example, Damping Engine said "A player who controls more permanents than each other player can't play lands or cast artifact, creature, or enchantment spells. That player may sacrifice a permanent to ignore this effect until end of turn." It's unclear, however, whether the "ignore" bit is personal or global. Say Player A controls the most permanents at the start of the turn. That player sacrifices a permanent to ignore Damping Engine's effect. During the course of the turn, Player B winds up with the most permanents, and that player then wants to cast a creature. Can Player B do so? How, exactly, does "ignore this effect" work? The same ambiguity exists with Lost in Thought or Volrath's Curse enchanting a creature that changes control, or a creature that has an activated ability any player can activate. We're implementing a new wording that makes it clear that only the player taking the action gets to ignore the effect that turn; everyone else still has to obey it.

New Damping Engine wording
A player who controls more permanents than each other player can't play lands or cast artifact, creature, or enchantment spells. That player may sacrifice a permanent for that player to ignore this effect until end of turn.
Similar cards: Lost in Thought, Volrath's Curse

"Then" placement
How many times have you seen the sentence "Then shuffle your library"? Too many to count, right? Technically, the word "then" doesn't even need to be there; you'd process the instructions in the order they're written even without the word "then" making the sequentiality explicit. We include "then" to break up those instructions into steps, making them easier to read and more intuitive to process.

In the vast majority of cases when part of an effect instructs you to "then" do something, the word "then" starts the sentence. In a few cases, though, the word "then" wasn't at the beginning. Prophecy, for example, said "That player then shuffles his or her library," as did the cards in the Scour cycle. These are changing to move "then" to the front of the sentence to match the rest.

New Prophecy wording
Reveal the top card of target opponent's library. If it's a land, you gain 1 life. Then that player shuffles his or her library.
Draw a card at the beginning of the next turn's upkeep.
Similar cards: Eradicate, Infernal Genesis, Nebuchadnezzar, Quash, Scour, Sowing Salt, Splinter

Two cards had the sentence "If that player does, he or she then shuffles his or her library." The "then" is truly extraneous in these cases, because the "if that player does" clearly expresses the sequentiality. These didn't match the standard, so their "then" was deleted.

New Pattern of Rebirth wording
Enchant creature
When enchanted creature is put into a graveyard, that creature's controller may search his or her library for a creature card and put that card onto the battlefield. If that player does, he or she shuffles his or her library.
Similar cards: Verdant Succession

Other Nonfunctional Oracle Changes

Academy Rector
The "if you do" clause extends to the "search" action and the "put" action ... as well as the "shuffle" action in the next sentence. The shuffle has been folded into the previous sentence for clarity.

New wording
When Academy Rector is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, you may exile it. If you do, search your library for an enchantment card, put that card onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

Alter Reality
Sixteen cards contain the phrase "spell or permanent," but only Alter Reality had it backwards ("permanent or spell"). It's being changed to match the standard template.

New wording
Change the text of target spell or permanent by replacing all instances of one color word with another. (This effect lasts indefinitely.)
Flashback {o1oU} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

Auratouched Mage
This card lacked the words necessary to specify that the Aura card actually enters the battlefield. It just said to attach the Aura to Auratouched Mage. Academy Researchers, for example, demonstrates what this card should say.

New wording
When Auratouched Mage enters the battlefield, search your library for an Aura card that could enchant it. If Auratouched Mage is still on the battlefield, put that Aura card onto the battlefield attached to it. Otherwise, reveal the Aura card and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.

Butcher Orgg
Since this ability affects how you assign its combat damage, it's been changed to use the word "assign."

New wording
You may assign Butcher Orgg's combat damage divided as you choose among defending player and/or any number of creatures he or she controls.

Defensive Formation
We changed this wording in the last update, and we're giving it a bit of a tweak. It should say "divided as you choose" like Butcher Orgg and the banding rules do.

New wording
Rather than the attacking player, you assign the combat damage of each creature attacking you. You can divide that creature's combat damage as you choose among any of the creatures blocking it.

Eater of the Dead
We took a long look at this card (again) because its Oracle ability is so different from its printed ability. After much debate, we decided to leave the functionality alone on the grounds that the way it works now is the way it was intended to work, and the way everyone played with it back in the days of The Dark. We just adjusted its wording for clarity.

New wording
{o0}: If Eater of the Dead is tapped, exile target creature card from a graveyard and untap Eater of the Dead.

This said "basic land" where it should say "basic land card" (like Haunting Echoes does).

New wording
Split second (As long as this spell is on the stack, players can't cast spells or activate abilities that aren't mana abilities.)
Choose target card in a graveyard other than a basic land card. Search its owner's graveyard, hand, and library for all cards with the same name as that card and exile them. Then that player shuffles his or her library.

Frantic Search & Rewind
The Urza block "free" spells wound up with subtly different wordings for no particular reason. Frantic Search put its land-untapping effect on its own line, while Rewind ran it into the previous sentence. In the end, we decided that Snap was doing it right.

New Frantic Search wording
Draw two cards, then discard two cards. Untap up to three lands.

New Rewind wording
Counter target spell. Untap up to four lands.

Ghazbán Ogre & Wild Dogs
These two cards have identical abilities that were identically ambiguous. Let's take Wild Dogs. It said "At the beginning of your upkeep, if a player has more life than each other player, that player gains control of Wild Dogs." This ability has an "intervening 'if' clause," which means it checks whether a player has more life than each other player as it triggers, and it checks again as it resolves ... and it grants "that player" control of Wild Dogs. But what if "that player" is actually two different players? Maybe Player A has more life than any other as the ability triggers, but Player B has more life than any other as the ability resolves. Who is "that player"? I've ruled that it's Player B, but the wording can be changed to eliminate the question.

New Wild Dogs wording
At the beginning of your upkeep, if a player has more life than each other player, the player with the most life gains control of Wild Dogs.
Cycling {o2} ({o2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)
Similar cards: Ghazbán Ogre

Iridescent Drake & Nomad Mythmaker
These cards have abilities that put an Aura card from a graveyard onto the battlefield, and they have reminder text to stipulate that you control that Aura. All other abilities that let you put a permanent from any player's graveyard onto the battlefield explicitly state that the permanent enters the battlefield "under your control"—it's rules text, not reminder text. The ability doesn't have to state this at all; the rules cover the fact that you control the permanent rather than its owner. But since it's a very easy point of confusion, the standard wording always makes the control issue clear. (Note that we don't say "under your control" when the permanent must come from your graveyard; in that case, there can be no confusion between you and the card's owner since you're the same person.) These two cards are being brought in line with the rest.

New Iridescent Drake wording
When Iridescent Drake enters the battlefield, put target Aura card from a graveyard onto the battlefield under your control attached to Iridescent Drake.

New Nomad Mythmaker wording
{oW}, {oT}: Put target Aura card from a graveyard onto the battlefield under your control attached to a creature you control.

Last-Ditch Effort
We're streamlining the wording by eliminating the X.

New wording
Sacrifice any number of creatures. Last-Ditch Effort deals damage to target creature or player equal to the number of creatures sacrificed this way.

Loafing Giant
We deleted an extraneous "that".

New wording
Whenever Loafing Giant attacks or blocks, put the top card of your library into your graveyard. If that card is a land card, prevent all combat damage Loafing Giant would deal this turn.

Mind Warp
Five cards say "discards those cards," but only Mind Warp said "discards them." It's being changed to match the standard wording.

New wording
Look at target player's hand and choose X cards from it. That player discards those cards.

Molten Hydra
The wording is getting an X extraction (an X-traction?) since it wasn't printed with an X and the wording is more streamlined without it.

New wording
{o1oRoR}: Put a +1/+1 counter on Molten Hydra.
{oT}, Remove all +1/+1 counters from Molten Hydra: Molten Hydra deals damage to target creature or player equal to the number of counters removed this way.

Myojin of Cleansing Fire
The standard wording for abilities like this is "destroy all other [somethings]," as seen on Desolation Giant, Martial Coup, Novablast Wurm, and other ridiculously awesome cards. This one is changing to match.

New wording
Myojin of Cleansing Fire enters the battlefield with a divinity counter on it if you cast it from your hand.
Myojin of Cleansing Fire is indestructible as long as it has a divinity counter on it.
Remove a divinity counter from Myojin of Cleansing Fire: Destroy all other creatures.

Oath of Druids
In the recent Oracle changes to this card, the card inadvertently wound up saying "from his or her library" rather than the correct "from the top of his or her library."

New wording
At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that player chooses target player who controls more creatures than he or she does and is his or her opponent. The first player may reveal cards from the top of his or her library until he or she reveals a creature card. If he or she does, that player puts that card onto the battlefield and all other cards revealed this way into his or her graveyard.

Rank and File
If this kind of ability affects a subset of creatures (rather than affecting all creatures), we typically don't include "all" in the wording. This card's ability said it affected "all green creatures," but that's the same as affecting "green creatures." See Goblin Soothsayer, for example.

New wording
When Rank and File enters the battlefield, green creatures get -1/-1 until end of turn.

Rayne, Academy Chancellor
This card has a run-on sentence that's complex to process. We broke it into two sentences to make it easier to handle.

New wording
Whenever you or a permanent you control becomes the target of a spell or ability an opponent controls, you may draw a card. You may draw an additional card if Rayne, Academy Chancellor is enchanted.

Thieving Magpie
The wording said "you draw a card" when it only needs to say "draw a card" (like Looter il-Kor does).

New wording
Whenever Thieving Magpie deals damage to an opponent, draw a card.

Treefolk Mystic
The standard wording for this kind of trigger condition is "Whenever [this creature] blocks or becomes blocked by a creature." This was the only card that had that backwards; it said "Whenever a creature blocks or becomes blocked by Treefolk Mystic." It means the same thing, but we normally put the creature with the ability as the subject of the sentence.

New wording
Whenever Treefolk Mystic blocks or becomes blocked by a creature, destroy all Auras attached to that creature.

Walking Sponge
The targeted creature loses only one of the listed abilities. To make that clearer, we're adding "your choice of" to the wording (as seen on cards like Jodah's Avenger).

New wording
{oT}: Target creature loses your choice of flying, first strike, or trample until end of turn.

Table of Contents
Section 7 was changed to accommodate the new rule 710, Leveler Cards. Old rules 710-714 each moved down one number to be rules 711-715, respectively.

This is a new rule added to the "Numbers and Symbols" section to cover level symbols. (Those are the arrow-shaped symbols on the left side of a leveler card's text box that say {LEVEL 1-3} and {LEVEL 4+} or the like.) The old 107.8 through 107.11 each moved down one number to become 107.9 through 107.12, respectively.

109.5, 112.7, 112.8, 405.4, 603.3a
Ah, complexity creep.

The game has triggered abilities, and it has rules about how to determine the source and the controller of those abilities.

The game also has a specialized kind of triggered abilities called delayed triggered abilities. These are triggered abilities created by spells and by other resolving abilities. Naturally, there are rules about how to determine the source and the controller of delayed triggered abilities, but they're different from the parallel rules about normal triggered abilities.

The rebound ability introduces, for the first time, a delayed triggered ability created by a replacement effect. Of course, there are rules about how to determine the source and the controller of these sorts of delayed triggered abilities, but they're different than the parallel rules about normal triggered abilities and the parallel rules about other delayed triggered abilities.

Various rules within the rulebook cover sources and/or controllers of things. They state how to determine the source and/or controller of a triggered ability that's not a delayed triggered ability. They used to do the same for delayed triggered abilities as well, but that process is now so complex that they instead just cross-reference the delayed triggered ability sections.

This rule states what zone a cost-modifying ability works in. It used to state that such an ability functions on the stack. This didn't exclude that ability from working on the battlefield (and it does work on the battlefield, as a Bringer of the Blue Dawn enchanted with Pendrell Flux can attest to). It's being changed to be more accurate.

Changed "a spell with no mana cost" to "an object with no mana cost."

This rule states that if an Aura has an ability that triggers when the enchanted permanent leaves the battlefield (like Reins of the Vinesteed does), that ability can find that Aura in the graveyard—even though it has become a new object in a new zone—after the permanent leaves the battlefield and the Aura is put into the graveyard as a state-based action. What it didn't cover, however, is that the ability can also find the Aura if both it and the enchanted permanent were put into the graveyard at the same time (due to Akroma's Vengeance, for example). Now it does.

This new rule states that if a card is brought into a game from outside it, it remains in the game until the game concludes.

This new rule states that if an effect causes a player to put a card into his or her library "Nth from the top," and that library has fewer than N cards in it, the player puts that card on the bottom of his or her library.

This rule used to state that to cast a spell is "to take it from the zone it's in," put it on the stack, and do all sorts of other stuff. Spawnsire of Ulamog, however, lets you cast cards from outside the game. That's not a zone, so this rule has suddenly become too specific. Now it will state that to cast a spell is "to take it from where it is," put it on the stack, and so on.

This is the "intervening 'if' clause" rule. Since it's a notoriously confusing rule, an example has been added.

603.7a, 603.7d-f
As stated above, rebound means that a delayed triggered ability may now be created by a replacement effect. The delayed triggered ability rules have been modified accordingly.

This rule about linked abilities (such as the ones Faceless Butcher has) got some extra text for clarification and specificity.

This is a new linked abilities rule to cover cards like Phyrexian Processor, which have an ability that requires a player to pay a cost as it enters the battlefield, and another ability that refers to the cost paid as it enters the battlefield. Those are linked and can refer only to each other (and not to other costs, or other abilities due to Cytoshape shenanigans). The old 607.2e and 607.2f were bumped down to 607.2f and 607.2g, respectively.

This is a new linked abilities rule to cover the new wording on Minion of the Wastes. It now has an ability that causes a player to pay a variable additional cost as it's cast, and another ability printed on it that refers to the cost paid "as it was cast." Those are linked, and can only refer to one another (and not to other costs, or other abilities). The old 607.2g has been bumped down to 607.2i.

Fixed a typo in the example (changed a colon to a comma).

This is in the "divide cards into piles" section. I realized that it didn't have a rule explicitly stating that when putting cards in piles, any given card may be put into only one of those piles. Oddly, we had just relied on common sense for that. But now that there's an exception (the bizarre / insane ... hmm, bizane? ... Camouflage wording that lets you put Palace Guard into any number of piles), we needed a rule that we could contradict. The old 700.3a-c were nudged down to become 700.3b-d, respectively.

This said "exiled from the game." Oops. Now it just says "exiled."

The new annihilator rules.

The new level up rules.

The new rebound rules.

The new totem armor rules.

The new section for leveler cards. The old sections 710-714 were incremented to 711-715, respectively.

Five cards have Oracle wordings that refer to the "active player": Nettling Imp, Norritt, Maddening Imp, Siren's Call, and Arcum's Whistle. This rule states that in a Two-Headed Giant game, any effect that refers to the "active player" refers to one specific active player, not to both of the active players. The controller of the effect chooses which one it applies to.

This is the part of the Two-Headed Giant rules that handles life totals, and it's been overhauled, as described in detail earlier in this bulletin.

New entries for annihilator, leveler cards, level symbol, level up, rebound, and totem armor.

Glossary: Cast
Same change as in rule 601.2b.

Glossary: Delayed Triggered Ability
Adjusted to cover such abilities created by replacement effects.

Glossary: Range of Influence
This entry was misalphabetized; it's been moved.

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