January 2010 Update Bulletin

Posted in Feature on January 28, 2010

By Mark L. Gottlieb

Hi everyone! It's the end of the first month of the beginning of the first year of the beginning of a new decade, and what better way to commemorate the occasion than with the Worldwake Prerelease? (In the spirit of full disclosure, I actually had an answer to that, but since my celebratory moon mission has been canceled by "the authorities," let's just go ahead and assume that the question is rhetorical.) Of course, a Prerelease goes hand-in-hand with an Oracle update (since we've got to put the new cards in there anyway) and a Comprehensive Rulebook update (since we've got to put the new rules in there anyway). Good times!

Since these updates are the be-all, end-all of rules managerdom, it seems appropriate to announce that as of this month, I am the longest-tenured rules manager in Magic history. (What can I say, I put the "age" in "rules manager.") This can only mean that my brain is about to explode. Any second now. Whenever you're ready, brain. Waiting ... waiting ... Oh! There it goes—no, never mind. False alarm. Well, with any luck, it'll pop before the end of the article.

I've got reinforcements, though, as Matt Tabak has been brought on as a new Magic editor. Y'all know Matt Tabak, right? A lot of the changes in the rulebook this time around are his doing. (If that sounded accusatory, good. Stupid no-good new editor, makin' me think about rules and stuff. Wasn't everything fine before?!)

This update contains a lot of stuff, but most of it is minutiae. There are no Oracle bombshells this time around, just cards with little tweaks. The changes are heavy on Urza's Saga, since that's the next set that will show up on Magic Online, but (to my surprise, given the general ridiculousness of that set) nothing went kablooey ... except for my exploding brain? Nope, no, not quite yet. Sigh.

Of some note are two Worldwake cards that need errata right out of the gate. One is Walking Atlas, an artifact creature. The word "artifact" was inadvertently omitted from its type line. That's a mistake; it's clearly an artifact creature if you look at it. The other is Nemesis Trap. It says to put a "creature token" that's a copy of another creature onto the battlefield. The problem is that the token might not be a creature. If you copy an animated land, for example, the token will be a regular, non-animated land. (It's a copy of the permanent, ignoring all effects—such as the animation effect—that have been applied to it.) For that reason, Nemesis Trap has received minor errata to specify that you put a "token," not a "creature token," onto the battlefield.

Walking Atlas
Nemesis Trap

The Oracle updates go live on Friday, January 29. The new Comprehensive Rulebook will be up as soon as it's gone through Editing and a review process; we're aiming for early next week. Note that changes to the Comprehensive Rules may wind up a bit different than what's posted here due to those processes.


The printed wording of Backdraft reads strongly like you cast it after the sorcery it's looking for has already resolved, while the Oracle wording can be cast only while that sorcery is still on the stack (and, thus, hasn't resolved yet). So let's try a wacky wording that attempts to mimic the (egads) Legends functionality.

New wording
Choose a player who cast one or more sorcery spells this turn. Backdraft deals damage to that player equal to half the damage dealt by one of those sorcery spells this turn, rounded down.

Bend or Break
This is a functional change if you look at what the card says compared its new wording. But since the card has never actually been played using a strict interpretation of its printed wording, we're not really changing its functionality. We're just bringing it in line with what it's obviously supposed to do.

This is the only divvy card that affects multiple players at once. By a strict reading of its printed wording, the opponent doing the choosing in each case has to be an opponent of the spell's controller, not an opponent of whichever player is getting a pile chosen. The wording also (by strict reading) says that a player doing the choosing can choose any pile, not just a pile controlled by the intended player. We all know what it means, but that's not good enough for a pedantic guy like me. What it means has got to match what it says. Which leads (sadly? humorously?) to this:

New wording
Each player separates all 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.

Two changes with Camouflage. First, this should affect only your attacking creatures. That's how it was printed, but its Oracle wording let you cast it during another player's turn to affect his or her attack. You probably wouldn't want to mess with your own ability to block, but the fact is you shouldn't even have the option—and, more importantly, you certainly shouldn't be able to cast it during a multiplayer game to mess with two of your opponents. That's just not what the card does.

The other change also relates to multiplayer. The card's wording assumed that there's only one defending player and that all attacking creatures are going that player's way. It needed a better wording for multiplayer. And when I say "better," I mean "ridiculous and awful, but properly functional, at least."

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. Assign each pile to a different one of those attacking creatures at random. Each creature that can block the creature its pile is assigned to does so. (Piles can be empty.)

Carpet of Flowers
As printed, this card added mana to your mana pool "during your main phase." This is something called a "phase ability," which could be used once during the stated phase. At the time of the Sixth Edition rules changes, all phase abilities were changed to triggered abilities that triggered "at the beginning of" the stated phase, and that's what happened to Carpet of Flowers too.

But another change happened at the same time. Before Sixth Edition, each turn just had one main phase, not two. (Combat was something that happened in the middle of that one main phase.) Now that each turn had two main phases, Carpet of Flowers went a little wonky. Originally, you could get the mana after combat, if you wanted. Then you couldn't, because it was changed to give you the mana at the beginning of your precombat main phase. Just reading the printed card is confusing, since the phrase "your main phase" doesn't make sense anymore. We're giving the card a new template that triggers during each of your main phases, but that you can effectively use only once per turn. Now you can get that mana after combat if you want.

New wording
At the beginning of each of your main phases, if you haven't added mana to your mana pool with Carpet of Flowers 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.

Cave Tiger and friends
Three Exodus cards and three Urza's Saga cards were printed with the wording "Whenever a creature blocks it, [this creature] gets +1/+1 until end of turn" (or a close variant of that ability). Their Oracle wordings became "Whenever [this creature] becomes blocked, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each creature blocking it." I believe this is functionally different. As I read the original card, it should trigger once per creature declared as a blocker for it. Each of those triggers will resolve individually, even if a blocking creature that caused one of them to trigger has left the battlefield by then. By contrast, the Oracle wording triggers just once, and counts the number of blocking creatures when it resolves. Elvish Berserker has been left alone, since it was printed in both Ninth Edition and Tenth Edition with the new wording. But the other five cards haven't been reprinted, so they're going back to their original functionalities.

New Cave Tiger wording
Whenever Cave Tiger becomes blocked by a creature, Cave Tiger gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

New Pygmy Troll wording
Whenever Pygmy Troll becomes blocked by a creature, Pygmy Troll gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
{oG}: Regenerate Pygmy Troll.

New Rabid Wolverines wording
Whenever Rabid Wolverines becomes blocked by a creature, Rabid Wolverines gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

New Retaliation wording
Creatures you control have "Whenever this creature becomes blocked by a creature, this creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn."

New Viashino Weaponsmith wording
Whenever Viashino Weaponsmith becomes blocked by a creature, Viashino Weaponsmith gets +2/+2 until end of turn.

Dark Depths
The Marit Lage token that this card creates is inherently legendary, is inherently black, and inherently has flying, because all of those are characteristics. If you copy the token with Sakashima the Impostor, for example, Sakashima will gain those characteristics too. However, being indestructible isn't a characteristic; it's just something true about the token. That Sakashima will not be indestructible. This is wildly counterintuitive, especially since the Marit Lage tokens we printed to go along with Dark Depths say "This creature is indestructible" right on them! The determination is that this functionality loophole is an unintended oversight, and it's being corrected.

New wording
Dark Depths enters the battlefield with ten ice counters on it.
{o3}: Remove an ice counter from Dark Depths.
When Dark Depths has no ice counters on it, sacrifice it. If you do, put a legendary 20/20 black Avatar creature token with flying and "This creature is indestructible" named Marit Lage onto the battlefield.

Defensive Formation
Two changes here. One is small: the wording used the word "instead," but it doesn't create a replacement effect, so that's being revised. The other change is substantial. As printed, Defensive Formation let you choose how creatures attacking you deal combat damage. What does that mean under the M10 rules? After some discussion, we decided that this card should work the way banding works now. In the case of double blocks, it lets you ignore damage assignment order and divide the incoming damage however you like.

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 among any of the creatures blocking it.

Firestorm Phoenix
This card was odd, in that it creates an unverifiable situation involving hidden information. If the Phoenix dies, it returns to its owner's hand but can't be cast again that turn. But that player can still cast a different Firestorm Phoenix from his or her hand. If that player casts a Phoenix and claims it's a different one, there's no way for the other players in the game to verify whether it is or isn't. That's just not the sort of thing we allow, so the card is changing to get a "reveal" clause. This could impact the card negatively; for example, if that player casts Brainstorm, the other players will now know whether Firestorm Phoenix winds up on top of the player's library or not (which is info they wouldn't previously have had). But on the whole, we felt that it was a necessary change.

New wording
If Firestorm Phoenix would be put into a graveyard from the battlefield, return Firestorm Phoenix to its owner's hand instead. Until that player's next turn, that player plays with that card revealed in his or her hand and can't play it.

Grim Reminder
In practical terms, this isn't a functional change, but in technical terms it could be seen as one, so it's getting listed here. This card said "Search your library for a nonland card and reveal it [...] Then shuffle the revealed card back into your library." If you search your library, you don't actually have to find a card in this case. (The search parameters list a characteristic of the card you're looking for. In order to avoid unverifiability issues—claiming that you don't have such a card in your library can't be confirmed by your opponents since they can't see the contents of your library—you can always just "fail to find.") If you don't find a card, however, then you obviously can't reveal it, and thus can't shuffle it back into your library. That means you'd search your library without shuffling it, and that's completely out of bounds; we never allow that to happen. So of course you have to shuffle, but it's a matter of wording the card to actually accomplish that.

Luckily, the card you search for and reveal never actually leaves your library. So changing that last sentence to just "Then shuffle your library" covers all cases.

New wording
Search your library for a nonland card and reveal it. Each opponent who cast a card this turn with the same name as that card loses 6 life. Then shuffle your library.
{oBoB}: Return Grim Reminder from your graveyard to your hand. Activate this ability only during your upkeep.

Infernal Medusa
According to the printed text, the non-Wall stipulation is supposed to apply only to the situation in which Infernal Medusa is attacking, not when it's blocking. Walls don't often attack, so Infernal Medusa isn't often going to block one, and I can see why the Oracle change would have been made to shorten the text. But it's still a functional change that shouldn't be there, so it's being taken out.

New wording
Whenever Infernal Medusa blocks a creature, destroy that creature at end of combat.
Whenever Infernal Medusa becomes blocked by a non-Wall creature, destroy that creature at end of combat.

This card has, as far as I'm concerned, the worst printed wording of all time. It makes no sense. It defies logic, parsing, common decency, and the space-time continuum. Let's start with what it says:

Whenever a creature is put into a graveyard and a creature is in play, return that creature from your graveyard to play at end of turn.

It's not at all clear what this card should do. When should it check when the other creature is in play? Should it affect everyone (it triggers whenever a creature is put into a graveyard), or just you (it says to return it from "your graveyard")? If the former, whose control should the creatures return under? The card is so ambiguous that any answers can be justified. Previous judgments had been that Lifeline affects everyone, and that each card is returned to the battlefield under its owner's control, and we were satisfied keeping those decisions intact. But we changed the answer to the first question.

The rules state that when dealing with a leaves-the-battlefield trigger, you check the game state just before the trigger event to see what's going on. That means that if Lifeline is on the battlefield and someone casts Day of Judgment, the just-before-Day of Judgment game state allows Creature A to see that Creature B is on the battlefield, and Creature B sees that Creature A is on the battlefield, and all the other creatures can see both Creatures A and B ... basically, all creatures serve as lifelines for all other creatures, even though they all die at the same time. The old Oracle wording let all those creatures return.

This didn't seem right, and it didn't seem intuitive. The new wording checks whether another creature is on the battlefield both at the time the ability triggers and at the time the ability resolves. Another creature has to actually live to allow the dead creature to return to the battlefield later.

New wording
Whenever a creature is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, if another creature is on the battlefield, return the first card to the battlefield under its owner's control at the beginning of the next end step.

Lord of Tresserhorn
As printed, the enters-the-battlefield ability targeted an opponent. We're restoring that functionality. That means that if the triggered ability fails to resolve for having no legal targets, you won't have to pay life or sacrifice creatures.

New wording
When Lord of Tresserhorn enters the battlefield, you lose 2 life, you sacrifice two creatures, and target opponent draws two cards.
{oB}: Regenerate Lord of Tresserhorn.

Mercadia's Downfall
This card said "Attacking creatures get +X/+0 until end of turn, where X is the number of nonbasic lands defending player controls." Since a spell returns a single value for X, this doesn't really work in a multiplayer game in which creatures are attacking different opponents. It's treating the attacking creatures collectively, when it needs to treat each attacking creature/defending player relationship individually.

New wording
Each attacking creature gets +1/+0 until end of turn for each nonbasic land defending player controls.

Oath of Druids
As printed, the last sentence has one instance of the word "puts," meaning all the putting is a single simultaneous action. This means that revealing Dragon Fangs and Darksteel Colossus would get the Colossus to trigger the Fangs, since the Colossus is put onto the battlefield at the same time the Fangs are put into the graveyard. However, when this card was updated a couple of months ago, the ability was changed to have two instances of the word "puts." This makes putting the creature card onto the battlefield come before putting the other cards into the graveyard. That was an unintentional change, and it's being corrected.

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 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.

Power Sink
As printed, Power Sink said to tap all mana-producing lands. The Oracle wording says to tap all lands. It's a marginal difference, but we can get it back to what it says it does.

New wording
Counter target spell unless its controller pays {oX}. If he or she doesn't, that player taps all lands with mana abilities he or she controls and empties his or her mana pool.

Ring of Renewal
As printed, this card's activated ability had both the discard and the card draws in its effect. This drifted in Oracle so that the discard became part of the ability's cost. There doesn't seem to be any justification for this. If the printed wording said to discard a card "to" draw two cards, we'd interpret that nowadays as a cost. But it doesn't. If you activate this ability with an empty hand, you should just draw two cards as a result.

New wording
{o5}, {oT}: Discard a card at random, then draw two cards.

Sneak Attack
As printed, the creature you sneak onto the battlefield gains haste forever. Most of the time, this doesn't matter, because the creature is sacrificed at the beginning of the next end step, so the Oracle wording changed to grant that creature haste just until the end of the turn. But it could matter if the creature changes control before the end step, and thus dodges the sacrifice.

New wording
{oR}: You may put a creature card from your hand onto the battlefield. That creature gains haste. Sacrifice the creature at the beginning of the next end step.

Soul Echo
Like Lord of Tresserhorn, this was printed with a targeted ability that has become untargeted. We're restoring the printed functionality. Now, if the triggered ability fails to resolve for having no legal targets, Soul Echo won't be sacrificed when it has no counters on it ... at least not until your next turn begins, anyway.

New wording
Soul Echo enters the battlefield with X echo counters on it.
You don't lose the game for having 0 or less life.
At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Soul Echo if there are no echo counters on it. Otherwise, target opponent may choose that for each 1 damage that would be dealt to you until your next upkeep, you remove an echo counter from Soul Echo instead.

The printed wording of the second ability triggered only when a creature with a fungus counter is put into a graveyard. The Oracle wording had changed so it triggered whenever any creature is put into a graveyard. Practically, it makes no difference, since those extra triggers won't produce any Saprolings. But it really shouldn't trigger at all in those cases.

New wording
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may put a fungus counter on target nontoken creature.
Whenever a creature with a fungus counter on it is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, put a 1/1 green Saproling creature token onto the battlefield for each fungus counter on that creature.
When Sporogenesis leaves the battlefield, remove all fungus counters from all creatures.

Sulfuric Vapors
Tricky card. As printed, it said "Whenever a red spell deals damage, it instead deals that amount of damage plus 1." It's quite clear what that means with respect to Lightning Bolt. But what does it mean with respect to Pyroclasm while there are three creatures on the battlefield? Pyroclasm would deal 2 damage to Creature A, 2 to Creature B, and 2 to Creature C, for a total of 6 damage. Does Sulfuric Vapors change the effect so it instead deals 7 damage (since that's 6 + 1), and if so, where does that extra damage go? Or does it change Pyroclasm's effect so it deals 3 damage (2 + 1) to Creature A, 3 to Creature B, and 3 to Creature C? Clearly, based on the Oracle wording, that's how it was ruled. OK.

The reason Sulfuric Vapors is garnering attention now is due to planeswalkers. Since the printed wording of this card didn't reference a damage recipient, it should work with regard to any damage recipient. That used to mean "creature or player," but now it means "permanent or player."

New wording
If a red spell would deal damage to a permanent or player, it deals that much damage plus 1 to that permanent or player instead.

Like Mercadia's Downfall, this should treat each attacking creature/defending player relationship in a multiplayer game individually.

New wording
Each creature you control is unblockable as long as defending player controls an artifact land.

As printed, sacrificing a creature was part of the spell's effect. This changed in Oracle to be an additional cost. It shouldn't be. (If the printed wording said to sacrifice a creature "to" return the targeted creatures to the battlefield, that would be a different matter. But it doesn't.)

New wording
Choose two target creature cards in your graveyard. Sacrifice a creature. If you do, return the chosen cards to the battlefield tapped.

Nonfunctional Oracle Changes

Advice from the Fae and friends
A number of cards had wordings that checked to see if one player had more of something (life, creatures, whatever) "than any other," or more of something "than any other player." These wordings are ambiguous in a multiplayer game—they could be interpreted to mean "more of something than each other player" (which is what they meant), or "more of something than a single other player of your choice."

There's another group of cards, including Even the Odds and Descendant of Kiyomaro, that checks to see if you have more of something "than each opponent." The first group is changing to match the second group; they'll now say "than each other player."

New Advice from the Fae wording
({o(2/u)} can be paid with any two mana or with {oU}. This card's converted mana cost is 6.)
Look at the top five cards of your library. If you control more creatures than each other player, put two of those cards into your hand. Otherwise, put one of them into your hand. Then put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.

In addition, Sokenzan Renegade and Thoughtbound Primoc got more extensive changes so they match up with Wild Dogs, Wild Mammoth, and others.

New Sokenzan Renegade wording
Bushido 1 (When this blocks or becomes blocked, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)
At the beginning of your upkeep, if a player has more cards in hand than each other player, that player gains control of Sokenzan Renegade.

New Thoughtbound Primoc wording
At the beginning of your upkeep, if a player controls more Wizards than each other player, that player gains control of Thoughtbound Primoc.

Other affected cards: Damping Engine, Ghazbán Ogre, Greener Pastures, Peer Pressure, Rivalry, Wild Dogs, Wild Mammoth

Aerie Ouphes
This needed a space inserted into its reminder text in Oracle.

New wording
Sacrifice Aerie Ouphes: Aerie Ouphes deals damage equal to its power to target creature with flying.
Persist (When this creature is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, if it had no -1/-1 counters on it, return it to the battlefield under its owner's control with a -1/-1 counter on it.)

Aladdin's Lamp
This is unusual, in that it says to shuffle a portion of your library. We avoided using the word "shuffle" with cascade, since it's very confusing with regard to abilities that trigger when you shuffle your library. I believe the correct ruling is that it's not a "shuffle," so we're applying cascade technology to this card.

New wording
{oX}, {oT}: The next time you would draw a card this turn, instead look at the top X cards of your library, put all but one of them on the bottom of your library in a random order, then draw a card. X can't be 0.

Amplify reminder text
The amplify reminder text started with "As this card enters the battlefield [...]" While that's accurate for the nine cards it's printed on, it's not that helpful if a token copy of one of those cards enters the battlefield, for example. Amplify works on tokens, not just cards, and the reminder text should indicate that. To help, the reminder text in Oracle is changing to start with "As this creature enters the battlefield [...]" instead.

Arc Lightning and friends
Arc Lightning says that it deals 3 damage divided as you choose among "any number of" target creatures and/or players. But that's not really true. You can't choose zero targets; you need at least one because you're dividing damage among them. (Normally, "any number" includes zero.) You can't choose four or more targets; when you're dividing something, each recipient must receive at least one of whatever's being divided. So in this case, "any number" really means "one, two, or three," which isn't "any number" at all.

We've decided that when "any number" actually means "one or two" or "one, two, or three," that it's just easier and friendlier to spell that out explicitly. "Any number" choices that are limited, but that include at least four choices, will remain as "any number" because it gets too wordy to spell them out.

New Arc Lightning wording
Arc Lightning deals 3 damage divided as you choose among one, two, or three target creatures and/or players.

Other affected cards: Arc Mage, Electrolyze, Fire // Ice, Fire at Will, Flameshot, Ignite Disorder, Skirk Volcanist, Wurmskin Forger

"At the beginning of each end step"

In the July 2009 Oracle update, cards that said "at end of turn" were changed to the far more accurate "at the beginning of the end step." We're implementing a further clarification on 15 cards, using a wording that first appeared on the Zendikar cards Archmage Ascension and Bloodmage Ascension. If a "beginning of end step" trigger is expected to trigger just once, that's what it will say. But if a "beginning of end step" trigger is expected to trigger each turn, we're now going to use "at the beginning of each end step." This is similar to how we use "when" vs. "whenever." We already use a similar trigger condition on abilities that trigger "at the beginning of each player's end step," though those have to say that because the ability's effect references that player.

Other Affected cards: Asmira, Holy Avenger; Brooding Saurian; Desolation; Discordant Spirit; Dunerider Outlaw; Force Bubble; Form of the Dragon; Khabál Ghoul; Krovikan Vampire; Osai Vultures; Possessed Portal; Pyromancer's Swath; Quicksilver Fountain; Scavenging Ghoul; Spiny Starfish; Sygg, River Cutthroat; Tombstone Stairwell; Wall of Resistance; Whirling Dervish; Wound Reflection

"Bounce" reminder text
Five cards with "return to hand" abilities have the reminder text "Return it only if it's on the battlefield": Kaijin of the Vanishing Touch, Quicksilver Behemoth, Surprise Deployment, Viashino Sandscout, and Viashino Sandstalker. This makes it clear that if the creature in question is no longer on the battlefield by the time the ability resolves, it's not returned. (This is a frequent point of confusion with newer players; many believe the creature may be returned to hand from the graveyard, for example.) The reminder text is being added to four more cards in Oracle.

Other Affected cards: Dragon Mask, Phantom Whelp, Wall of Junk, and Windscouter.

Bulwark & Dark Suspicions
Bulwark is a tough card to decode; I believe Storm World does a clearer job, so Bulwark's wording is changing accordingly. Dark Suspicions fits into the same family, so it's coming along for the ride.

New Bulwark wording
At the beginning of your upkeep, Bulwark deals X damage to target opponent, where X is the number of cards in your hand minus the number of cards in that player's hand.

New Dark Suspicions wording
At the beginning of each opponent's upkeep, that player loses X life, where X is the number of cards in that player's hand minus the number of cards in your hand.

Deconstruct & Turn to Dust
As printed, these cards' second sentences (which added mana to your mana pool) started with "then." I think the idea was that this made it clearer that if the first sentence of the ability failed because the target became illegal, the second part would also fail (because the whole spell was countered). But the more recent Seismic Spike is essentially the same thing, and that doesn't start its second sentence with "then." So the two older cards are being brought in line with the more recent standard.

New Deconstruct wording
Destroy target artifact. Add {oGoGoG} to your mana pool.

New Turn to Dust wording
Destroy target Equipment. Add {oG} to your mana pool.

Desecrator Hag
This should say "greatest power," not "highest power."

New wording
When Desecrator Hag enters the battlefield, return to your hand the creature card in your graveyard with the greatest power. If two or more cards are tied for greatest power, you choose one of them.

Diabolic Servitude
This has a pretty loose template that isn't precisely covered by the linked abilities rules. It's being made more explicit.

New wording
When Diabolic Servitude enters the battlefield, return target creature card from your graveyard to the battlefield.
When the creature put onto the battlefield with Diabolic Servitude is put into a graveyard, exile it and return Diabolic Servitude to its owner's hand.
When Diabolic Servitude leaves the battlefield, exile the creature put onto the battlefield with Diabolic Servitude.

Fateseal and scry reminder text
Most scry reminder text is written as "To scry N, [perform the scry action]." But two scry cards don't match, and neither do the two fateseal cards. They just list out the action as an imperative. They're being changed to match.

Other Affected cards: Mesmeric Sliver, New Benalia, Spin into Myth, Unblinking Bleb

Fiery Mantle & Fortitude
These cards have the ability "When [this card] is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, return [this card] to its owner's hand." In all cases except for these two, this ability comes last on the card. These two are different because an earlier order-of-abilities philosophy dictated that triggered abilities were printed above activated abilities. Our current philosophy is that abilities are printed in the most likely order in which they'll be used, which means that leaves-the-battlefield triggers come last.

New Fiery Mantle wording
Enchant creature
{oR}: Enchanted creature gets +1/+0 until end of turn.
When Fiery Mantle is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, return Fiery Mantle to its owner's hand.

New Fortitude wording
Enchant creature
Sacrifice a Forest: Regenerate enchanted creature.
When Fortitude is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, return Fortitude to its owner's hand.

This card's wording had two consecutive instances of "then [perform an action]," which was awkward.

New wording
Search your library for a card, put that card into your hand, discard a card at random, then shuffle your library.

Goblin Artisans and friends
Sixteen coin-flip cards cards say "if you win the flip" followed by "if you lose the flip." Only three say "if you win the flip" followed by "otherwise." Those three are being brought in line with the others.

New Goblin Artisans wording
{oT}: Flip a coin. If you win the flip, draw a card. If you lose the flip, counter target artifact spell you control that isn't the target of an ability from another creature named Goblin Artisans.

Other affected cards: Mogg Assassin, Tide of War

Hornet Cannon
We're changing "that creature" to "it" in its last sentence.

New wording
{o3}, {oT}: Put a 1/1 colorless Insect artifact creature token with flying and haste named Hornet onto the battlefield. Destroy it at the beginning of the next end step.

Jagged Lightning
The template is changing to match Swelter.

New wording
Jagged Lightning deals 3 damage to each of two target creatures.

Maddening Imp & Taunt
Other cards like this (Instigator, for example) treat the creatures that must attack collectively. These are changing to match the standard.

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, before the combat phase.

New Taunt wording
During target player's next turn, creatures that player controls attack you if able.

It's getting a new template for its first ability that matches Razormane Masticore.

New wording
At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Masticore unless you discard a card.
{o2}: Masticore deals 1 damage to target creature.
{o2}: Regenerate Masticore.

Matching the standard template seen on Beast Hunt, Sages of the Anima, and other cards.

New wording
Reveal the top four cards of your library. Put all land cards revealed this way into your hand and the rest into your graveyard.

Phasing reminder text
Fifteen cards that got phasing reminder text had an inadvertent extra space just before the final parenthesis. Those spaces have been deleted.

Power Taint
This has an obsolete "do A or do B" wording; nowadays we use "do A unless you do B."

New wording
Enchant enchantment
At the beginning of the upkeep of enchanted enchantment's controller, that player loses 2 life unless he or she pays {o2}.
Cycling {o2} ({o2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

Raving Oni-Slave & Sundering Titan
These cards have two triggered abilities: One when it enters the battlefield, and one when it leaves the battlefield. The effects on both triggers are identical. Therefore, the two triggers are being consolidated into a single ability with two trigger conditions (as seen on Deadwood Treefolk, for example).

New Raving Oni-Slave wording
When Raving Oni-Slave enters the battlefield or leaves the battlefield, you lose 3 life if you don't control a Demon.

New Sundering Titan wording
When Sundering Titan enters the battlefield or leaves the battlefield, choose a land of each basic land type, then destroy those lands.

Skyrider Trainee
We're bringing it in line with Fledgling Osprey. We generally put simple "as long as" clauses (in particular, those containing just one verb) last.

New wording
Skyrider Trainee has flying as long as it's enchanted.

Teferi's Realm
Minor grammatical error in the reminder text; "doesn't" should be "don't".

New wording
At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that player chooses artifact, creature, land, or non-Aura enchantment. All nontoken permanents of that type phase out. (While they're phased out, they're treated as though they don't exist. Each one phases in before its controller untaps during his or her next untap step.)

Temporal Aperture
No biggie, just changing the "and" in the first sentence to "then".

New wording
{o5}, {oT}: Shuffle your library, then reveal the top card. Until end of turn, for as long as that card remains on top of your library, play with the top card of your library revealed and you may play that card without paying its mana cost. (If it has X in its mana cost, X is 0.)

Thran Turbine
As printed, it let you add "up to two mana to your mana pool." This made sense when "two" was spelled out in words. But "up to {2}," which is what its Oracle wording says, is weird.

New wording
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may add {o1} or {o2} to your mana pool. You can't spend this mana to cast spells.

Time and Tide
This should refer to "creatures," not "creature cards," since phased-out creatures remain on the battlefield now. Also, "creatures that are phased out" can be streamlined to "phased-out creatures."

New wording
Simultaneously, all phased-out creatures phase in and all creatures with phasing phase out.

This was the only card in Oracle to say "and then." The "and" is becoming a comma.

New wording
Each player shuffles his or her hand and graveyard into his or her library, then draws seven cards. (Then put Timetwister into its owner's graveyard.)

Upwelling and Kamigawa Snakes
The Worldwake card Omnath, Locus of Mana uses a new wording for the Upwelling ability. As printed, Upwelling said that mana didn't empty from mana pools as phases or turns end. When the rules about the mana pool changed with the release of M10 (now they empty at the end of steps too), the wording was changed accordingly; Upwelling said that mana didn't empty from mana pools as steps, phases, or turns end. But it doesn't need to mention turns, since a turn can't end without a step and phase also ending (that's the ending phase and the cleanup step). Omnath already displays the new wording; it's not functionally different from how Upwelling already works.

Omnath, Locus of Mana

New Upwelling wording
Mana pools don't empty as steps and phases end.

Some Kamigawa Snakes are getting a minor tweak as well. They said that mana doesn't empty "as steps or phases end"; they're getting changed to say "as steps and phases end."

Other Affected cards: Mark of Sakiko; Sakiko, Mother of Summer; Sakura-Tribe Springcaller; Shizuko, Caller of Autumn

Veiled Apparition & Veiled Serpent
We're collapsing the abilities back down to single sentences, which is how they were printed.

New Veiled Apparition wording
When an opponent casts a spell, if Veiled Apparition is an enchantment, Veiled Apparition becomes a 3/3 Illusion creature with flying and "At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Veiled Apparition unless you pay {o1oU}."

New Veiled Serpent wording
When an opponent casts a spell, if Veiled Serpent is an enchantment, Veiled Serpent becomes a 4/4 Serpent creature that can't attack unless defending player controls an Island.
Cycling {o2} ({o2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

Ventifact Bottle
This card's Oracle wording had a "then" in it to strongly express sequentiality. But Sacellum Godspeaker shows that it's not necessary, so it's being deleted.

New wording
{oXo1}, {oT}: Put X charge counters on Ventifact Bottle. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.
At the beginning of your precombat main phase, if Ventifact Bottle has a charge counter on it, tap it and remove all charge counters from it. Add {o1} to your mana pool for each charge counter removed this way.

Verdeloth the Ancient
Its second ability is changing to match Death Baron.

New wording
Kicker {oX} (You may pay an additional {oX} as you cast this spell.)
Saproling creatures and other Treefolk creatures get +1/+1.
When Verdeloth the Ancient enters the battlefield, if it was kicked, put X 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens onto the battlefield.

This checks "the greatest number a player discarded," which is unnecessarily ambiguous. It's getting clarified:

New wording
Each player discards his or her hand, then draws cards equal to the greatest number of cards a player discarded this way.

Yawgmoth's Will
The standard wording for this sort of thing includes "from anywhere." See Yawgmoth's Agenda, for example.

New wording
Until end of turn, you may play cards from your graveyard.
If a card would be put into your graveyard from anywhere this turn, exile that card instead.

Added a note about subrule numbering that the letters "l" and "o" are skipped because they look like the numbers "1" and "0." Incorporated the rules web site into the text.

Table of Contents
Changed "Questions?" to "Customer Service Information"

Section 100
Editing tweaks involving the descriptions of how Limited play works, sideboards, the definition of a match, and how the store locator works. No substantive changes.

A rewrite for clarity of the "Golden Rule" rule.

Some extra words added to the example for clarity.

Editing tweaks, including some redefinition of what a match is. No substantive changes.

104.2d, 807.5a
These rules were added to state that in an Emperor game, a team wins the game if its emperor wins the game. The other rules in the 807.5 section were renumbered accordingly.

104.3h, 800.6
Rule 104.3h said that "you win the game" effects in multiplayer games with limited range of influence really meant "each other player [within range] loses the game." It now covers such effects in all multiplayer games that way. This is necessary due to Abyssal Persecutor. If Player A controls Abyssal Persecutor and Player B successfully resolves the triggered ability of Epic Struggle (which, I believe, would be the first time that had ever happened), Player C shouldn't lose the game as a result (because the Persecutor flat-out says that Player C can't lose the game). Rule 800.6 was created to say the same thing in the multiplayer section.

Rule 104.2b got a minor adjustment to follow along.

"Tournament game" was shortened to "tournament."

105.3, 202.2e
Text was added to state that effects can make a colored object become colorless.

This rule was expanded to include a definition of "tap a permanent for mana [of a specific color]," which is necessary for Gauntlet of Power.

This rule was created to specify what choices may be made when something instructs a player to choose "any number" of something. (In most cases, "any number" includes zero. In cases when something is being divided or distributed, what a player can choose for "any number" is more restricted.)

This section was adjusted to include the existence of neutral loyalty symbols, which contain the number 0 without a plus sign or a minus sign—a necessary addition due to Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

This section lost the "with a Magic card front and a Magic card back" line, which doesn't seem to add any further clarity.

112.5, 606.3
These rules were a bit ambiguous. It's been changed to clarify that it's checking the permanent (to see if it had had any loyalty abilities activated earlier in the turn), not checking the particular loyalty abilities the permanent currently has (to see if any of them had been activated earlier in the turn).

Minor editing change in the example.

This rule was expanded to explicitly cover how "[this permanent] is indestructible" and "[this permanent] is unblockable" behave.

This section covered changing the target of a spell or ability. It's been expanded to include effects that change all the targets of a spell or ability, as well as effects that let a player choose new targets for a spell or ability (which work differently).

A new rule that states that activating mana abilities can't be made mandatory, even if paying a cost that requires mana is.

Changed "objects that aren't cards" to "some objects that aren't cards," since not all of them are covered here.

The "Name" section has been revised and expanded, including some renumbering and deletion of the nonstandard term "duplicates." A new rule covers "name a card" much the same way that 204.3d covers "choose a subtype." A new rule covers what happens when Quicksilver Elemental or an Arcane card gains an ability that refers to a different card by name.

"Art" is now "illustration."

A line was added to the example to stress that the land in question retains not just its old card types, but its old subtypes and supertypes too.

204.3b, 204.3d
Editorial revisions. No substantive changes.

Added Eldrazi to the list.

Added Luvion and Pyrulea to the list. These are the plane types of a couple of DCI promo planes that have been released.

This rule stated that the Chinese Fifth Edition core set had expansion symbols; it turns out that just the Simplified Chinese Fifth Edition core set did. The Traditional Chinese set didn't.

Some of the card type sections had rules covering specific cases in which objects had two types. For example, the artifact section had a rule about artifact creatures (but the creature section did not). Three such rules have been cut (301.5 about artifact creatures, 301.6 about artifact lands, and 302.8 about creature lands). The rest of 301 was renumbered accordingly. The rule in the land section about lands with other types remains, and the rule in the tribal section about other types remains; they seem significant enough to stay in those sections. Rule 300.2, which already covered objects with multiple card types, was expanded and given some new subrules to cover these cases.

301.5 (formerly 301.7)
The subrules were reordered.

The reference to haste was deleted. That's covered well enough in the haste section.

The subrules were reordered.

Minor wording tweak in the example.

Changed the last instance of "played" to "cast."

Editorial revisions. No substantive changes.

Changed "vanguards" to "vanguard cards."

Modified the rule so it also covers vanguard cards, not just plane cards.

Corrected a typo.

Clarified the definition of "hand" a bit.

403.5, 406.7, 601.1, 602.1b, 701.10d, 701.10e
"For many years" was changed to "Previously" since the change isn't quite so recent anymore.

405.4, 405.6c
Editorial revisions. No substantive changes.

The rule now explicitly states that only the first main phase of a turn is a precombat main phase; all others are postcombat main phases (even those that are both before and after a combat phase).

This rule covers a permanent that's both a blocking creature and a planeswalker that's being attacked, and what happens to it with regard to combat if it stops being either of those types. It was rewritten for clarity.

This rule was added to define "cast [this spell] only before the combat damage step" and similar text.

508.1, 509.1, 510.1f, 601.2, 602.2
Minor editorial tweak regarding the phrasing of the "[something] is illegal" statement.

509.2, 509.3
These rules are about damage assignment orders. They previously stated that such orders are created only when multiple creatures block an attacker and a blocker blocks multiple creatures. They now state that they're created in all cases. This is necessary because if an additional attacker or blocker is added later, it gets added to the appropriate damage assignment order that already exists ... so one must already exist in all cases. (In cases when there's only one blocker or creature being blocked, the order is automatic, of course; it's just that one creature.)

509.4a, 509.4b, 509.4d, 509.4f
Clarification and expansion of these rules. Some instances when these rules were invoked were missing. In addition, there's been some confusion regarding the difference between the case when a creature is blocked as the result of an effect (Dazzling Beauty, Balduvian Warlord), and when a creature is blocked as the result of a creature entering the battlefield blocking (Flash Foliage). These are different cases, and the rules are more explicit about when the latter case is excluded.

601.2b, 601.2c
These rules referred to "alternative, additional, or other special costs"; now they just refer to "alternative or additional costs." There were a couple of other minor wording tweaks in the latter rule as well.

Editorial revisions. No substantive changes.

The last sentence now states that the ability remains on the stack until it's countered, resolves, or is moved elsewhere (which is something Time Stop can do).

Corrected a typo.

The part of this rule about an illegal target being unaffected by a spell or ability was too broad. For example, imagine two Glacial Rays are spliced onto a Hideous Laughter. One of the targeted creatures gains shroud in response to the spell. It's now an illegal target, so the part of the spell that cares about that won't affect it (it won't be dealt 2 damage). But it'll still get -2/-2, so it's still being affected by the spell. The rule's been revised, as has the second example, which covered a similar case. (The example works fine; it just explains itself better now.) The rule also now states that a spell or ability can read information from an illegal target (this isn't considered "affecting" it).

This rule has been expanded; it now contains explicit instructions on dividing or distributing something among any number of untargeted players and/or objects during the resolution of a spell or ability. (Master of the Wild Hunt needed a bit more clarification, clearly.) Also, the parenthetical chunk of 608.2g about division and distribution has been moved into this rule.

Besides losing its parenthetical sentence, this rule has been expanded to cover when last known information is used. (It's also used when an effect moves an object from a public zone to a hidden zone and needs information from that object; a Worldwake card does this. The information is read using its last existence in the public zone.)

Editorial tweak.

The example was a bit messy in getting its point across, and actually still used the obsolete term "global" to mean "non-Aura enchantment." It's been revised.

Every so often, a seemingly good Library of Leng combo is found. The latest one involves Chandra Ablaze. You can discard a red card from your hand so Chandra deals 4 damage to something, put that card on top of your library thanks to Library of Leng, and draw it again next turn to repeat the process. The problem is that you discarded that red card from your hand (where no one else can see it) to the top of your library (where no one else can see it). So how does anyone know it was red? This rule stipulates that if a card is discarded, but it's put into a hidden zone instead of into its owner's graveyard, all values of that card's characteristics are considered to be undefined. So the combo doesn't actually work, because the game can't verify it.

A new "shuffle" section has been added, not because "shuffle" itself needed to be defined (it's just the English definition), but because there are some wonky corner-case rules involving shuffling that needed to be put somewhere. For example, there's now a rule that states that if you're instructed to shuffle your library, but it's empty or there's just one card in it, abilities that trigger whenever you shuffle your library still trigger. (It's like discarding an empty hand; since you're operating on all cards in a zone, you can still perform the action even if "all" is the empty set.)

Rules 701.16-19 have been renumbered accordingly.

702.12b, 702.12c
This is in the landwalk section. The previous 701.12b has been split into two rules, and the previous 701.12c has been deleted. Nothing lets you choose any landwalk ability anymore; the cards that used to do that (Illusionary Presence, for example) were given errata a while back.

702.13a, 702.13b
This is in the lifelink section. The previous 701.13a has been split into two rules. The other rules in this section have been renumbered accordingly.

Editorial revisions. No substantive changes.

Added missing quotation marks.

Some lines were added to the typecycling rules to explicitly state that typecycling abilities are cycling abilities, and things like Fluctuator affect them.

This rule about horsemanship used to say that the ability appeared in the Portal Three Kingdoms set (which players may have never seen, or even heard of). Now that it's also in Masters Edition III, this note has been deleted.

The kicker section has been revised to include multikicker.

702.30a, 702.48a, 702.53a, 702.63a, 702.71a, 702.75a, 702.78a, 702.81a
Changed to say that the ability functions while the spell "with [the ability]" is on the stack (or the equivalent, for those abilities that don't work on the stack). 702.53a, the replicate rule, also had the word "number" deleted so it matches the form of the storm rule.

Now specifies that epic is a spell ability (not a static ability) and a delayed triggered ability.

This new rule states that if a player casts a split card, that player chooses which half to cast before putting it onto the stack.

712.2, 712.5
The rules about subgames have been expanded (and new subrules in these sections have been created) to specify what happens to cards in the command zone in these cases (planes, vanguard cards, and EDH generals). Those cards migrate down to the subgame, then migrate back to the main game when the subgame ends.

This rule had an incorrect example. It's been modified to be true, which should be helpful.

This rule, about what "defending player" means in a multiplayer game, has been expanded to cover cases in which the ability that mentions the defending player is not on an attacking creature.

This rule was "Timing of Team Turns" and contained a number of Two-Headed Giant subrules. The first two covered mulligans and skipping the first draw step of the game, which didn't really belong in a team turn timing section. Rule 806.6 now states that it's about beginning-of-game procedures in Two-Headed Giant, and those first two subrules are numbered the same. Now 806.7 is "Timing of Team Turns" and all the other subrules in that section have been renumbered accordingly. The subsequent rules in the Two-Headed Giant section have been renumbered as well.

806.7b (formerly 806.6d)
This rule more explicitly covers the Two-Headed Giant version of the APNAP rule (specifically, when an effect causes each player to individually make a choice, such as Hypergenesis).

This rule was rewritten into passive voice. Sometimes mana is added to a player's mana pool, but that player isn't the one doing the adding. (See Magus of the Vineyard, for example.)

Glossary: Amplify, Buyback, Extra Turn, In Play
Editorial revisions. No substantive changes.

Glossary: Attach
Deleted the word "physically."

Glossary: Attack Alone, Casting Cost
Corrected a typo.

Glossary: Caster
Changed "a term" to "an obsolete term."

Glossary: EDH
This entry was out of alphabetical order; that's been corrected.

Glossary: Lose the Game
Gained a cross-reference to the additional EDH rule for losing the game.

Glossary: Loyalty, Power, Toughness
Added the word "cards" to the "part of a card" definition.

Glossary: Multikicker
Added a definition for this new term.

Glossary: Search
Added the word "possibly," since failing to find is usually a legal option.

Customer Service Information
This section was previously titled "Questions?"

Over the course of the document, various cross-references have been adjusted, as have the treatment of some cross-references (such as whether they appear in parentheses).

Mark's Exploding Brain

Sorry, still nothing. Trust me, I'm as disappointed as you are.

Latest Feature Articles


Magic Player Profile Survey by, Wizards of the Coast

What do you want as a Magic fan? You can let us know directly with this new survey.

Learn More


Amonkhet Prerelease Primer by, Gavin Verhey

Welcome to Amonkhet! You've never quite seen a world like Amonkhet before. Inspired by ancient Egypt at its height, and showcasing some of the strongest warriors around, Amonkhet is a ...

Learn More



Feature Archive

Consult the archives for more articles!

See All

We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. By clicking any link on this page or by clicking Yes, you are giving your consent for us to set cookies. (Learn more about cookies)

No, I want to find out more