April 2012 Update Bulletin

Posted in Feature on April 25, 2012

By Matt Tabak

Senior editor. Game designer. Writer. Bon vivant. Matt wears many hats inside Magic R&D, but they're hard to see as he's so tall.

Welcome to the Avacyn Restored Update Bulletin, starring a new card set, a few updated Oracle wordings, and some new and/or tweaked rules. There's not a whole lot to talk about this update. In fact, there's so little I combined the usual Functional and Nonfunctional sections into a single Card Changes section. Have fun!

If you'd like to get in touch with me concerning future changes, you can do so in a variety of ways: (1) shouting really loudly, (2) on Twitter: (@TabakRules), (3) on the forums: WotC_MattT, or (4) respond to this article.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this round of changes.

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

Astral Slide

This card used a slightly nonstandard way to find the card it had exiled. We're going to line it up with Mistmeadow Witch, among others. Referring to that card by mentioning a specific zone is important for things that require that card to be exiled, like imprint and hideaway. In cases like Astral Slide, it slightly confuses the issue. One side benefit is that it's clearer that if you exile a commander this way, and that commander heads to the command zone instead of exile, it returns.

New Astral Slide wording:
Whenever a player cycles a card, you may exile target creature. If you do, return that card to the battlefield under its owner's control at the beginning of the next end step.


Desolation was confusing in situations where more than one player sacrificed a Plains. This template is streamlined and (hopefully) clear.

New Desolation wording:
At the beginning of each end step, each player who tapped a land for mana this turn sacrifices a land. Desolation deals 2 damage to each player who sacrificed a Plains this way.


"All players sacrifice all lands" is not quite the group activity it was purporting to be. Taking a cue from All is Dust, we're going to have the sacrifices be a little more individualized.

New Epicenter wording:
Target player sacrifices a land.
Threshold—Each player sacrifices all lands he or she controls instead if seven or more cards are in your graveyard.

Granger Guildmage & Thornscape Apprentice

The guidelines for order of abilities when these cards were printed (white before red) were different than the current guidelines (red before white), so the abilities on these cards will be doing a do-se-do. Or is the do-se-do where they end up in their original positions? If that's true, they're doing the other thing. You know what I mean.

New Granger Guildmage wording:
{oR}, {oT}: Granger Guildmage deals 1 damage to target creature or player and 1 damage to you.
{oW}, {oT}: Target creature gains first strike until end of turn.

New Thornscape Apprentice wording:
{oR}, {oT}: Target creature gains first strike until end of turn.
{oW}, {oT}: Tap target creature.

Orcish Mine

Orcish Mine received an update last time around, but it still had two minor issues. First, it dealt damage "to its controller," where "it" is supposed to refer to the enchanted land but could be misread as referring to Orcish Mine. Second, we usually use "or" to link both sides of a compound trigger condition, so we'll also be doing that here.

New Orcish Mine wording:
Enchant land
Orcish Mine enters the battlefield with three ore counters on it.
At the beginning of your upkeep or whenever enchanted land becomes tapped, remove an ore counter from Orcish Mine.
When the last ore counter is removed from Orcish Mine, destroy enchanted land and Orcish Mine deals 2 damage to that land's controller.


Unlike other cards that compare two or more values, Tariff was unclear what to do when more than two creatures were tied for the highest cost.

New Tariff wording:
Each player sacrifices the creature he or she controls with the highest converted mana cost unless he or she pays that creature's mana cost. If two or more creatures a player controls are tied for highest cost, that player chooses one.


This rule explains who the owner and controller of a spell is. The sentence explaining who controlled a spell by default was tautological, saying essentially "its controller is its controller." I reworded it to be a little clearer, keeping in mind that copies of spells get onto the stack both by being created there (e.g. Twincast) and by being cast (e.g. Isochron Scepter).

118.7, 118.8

These two rules explain, in part, that a player who can't gain or lose life can't exchange life totals with a player with a higher or lower life total, respectively. However, exchanging life totals is not the only exchange that could impact a life total, thanks to Tree of Redemption, so the two rules are being slightly broadened.


I'm proud to welcome Tamiyo and Tibalt to the family of planeswalker types.

303.4 & subrules

The rules previously spoke of the enchant keyword "restricting" what an Aura could be attached to. However, I believe this to be misleading. This paradigm starts with the assumption that Auras can be attached to anything and whittles down the set of objects they can be attached to based on enchant abilities. I believe a better paradigm is that Auras can't be attached to anything by default and the enchant abilities define that set of objects. The subrules in this section have been slightly reworded to emphasize this point.


This rule defines the conditions under which an effect is dependent on another. One of the conditions is that neither effect is from a characteristic-defining ability (CDA). However, this rule proved to be insufficient. Consider the case where a Sutured Ghoul has exiled a Maro. Sutured Ghoul's CDA needs to know the power and toughness of Maro, so it has to depend on Maro's CDA to get the correct value. (Keep in mind that Sutured Ghoul and Maro enter their respective zones simultaneously, so their relative timestamps could lead us astray.) So while it's true that a CDA and an ability that's not a CDA won't form a dependency, two CDAs could, so I'm adapting this rule for that situation.


In part of my ongoing project of improving the Aura rules (and this is far from the last change you'll see), I'm adding the following provision to this rule in the "Attach" section: If an effect tries to attach an object that isn't an Aura, Equipment, or Fortification to another object or player, the effect does nothing and the first object doesn't move.


It's a (section covering the rules for) miracle!


A new section covering soulbond. Note: if you read these rules in the Avacyn Restored FAQ, you might have noticed the rule numbers changed. I just made an error in the FAQ. I didn't get rid of banding or anything.


The rules for ending a subgame curiously left out what to do if you were also playing an Archenemy game, so this new rule covers it. But really? Shahrazad in Archenemy? Diabolical!


This is a new rule for multiplayer games for cards like Conjurer's Ban. Say I cast Conjurer's Ban and name Runeclaw Bear (because that sounds like winning strategy). Before my next turn, I leave the game, presumably because you have lots of Runeclaw Bears and want me gone. So, what happens to the effect of Conjurer's Ban? Having it end immediately felt really weird, especially considering effects of cards like Giant Growth wouldn't. Having it last indefinitely didn't feel right either. I decided that the most sensible thing was for the effect to end kinda, sorta close to when it was supposed to.


Miracle, soulbond entries added.

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