Fate Reforged Update Bulletin—Oracle Text

Posted in Feature on January 15, 2015

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.

What is Oracle?

Magic is a game made up of more than 14,000 interchangeable pieces—the cards. Over the years, we've felt the need to update the wordings of older cards, whether because we've introduced a new keyword, or a card was printed with a mistake, or we have a clearer wording for what a card does, etc. Rather than sneak into your room at night and change your cards with a magic marker, we keep a database of the "modern wordings" (what the cards would say if we printed them today) of every tournament-legal card ever printed. These wordings are considered the official wordings of the cards, and accurately reflect their functions.

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


Reach reminder text (nonfunctional)

Some older cards had shortened versions of the reach reminder text. This update brings them in line with the current reminder text.

(This creature can block creatures with flying.)

Affected cards: Cloudcrown Oak, Cloudthresher, Court Archers, Ember Weaver, Jungle Weaver, Juvenile Gloomwidow, Lys Alana Bowmaster, and Pale Recluse.


Ashcloud Phoenix (nonfunctional)

When a card instructs you to exile a permanent and then return it to the battlefield, it will usually tell you under whose control that permanent returns. We got a bit distracted with Ashcloud Phoenix and accidentally left that part off. The rules tell you if you are instructed to return it, it's under your control, but the card really should specify.

Previous wording:

Flying

When Ashcloud Phoenix dies, return it to the battlefield face down.

Morph 4RR (You may cast this card face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)

When Ashcloud Phoenix is turned face up, it deals 2 damage to each player.

New wording:

Flying

When Ashcloud Phoenix dies, return it to the battlefield face down under your control.

Morph 4RR (You may cast this card face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)

When Ashcloud Phoenix is turned face up, it deals 2 damage to each player.


Atalya, Samite Master; Crimson Hellkite; Crypt Rats (functional)

These three cards all have an activated ability with an X in the activation cost that's restricted to a specific color of mana. Previously, they all said to spend only that color of mana "this way." Cases where this activation cost were increased (say, with Suppression Field) were confusing. Could I spend mana of any color for the additional cost? Compare these cards to ones where the X was in the mana cost, such as Drain Life. That limitation was very specific: "Spend black mana only on X." Additional costs were clearly not included. We decided to unify the templates so these three cards work the same way.

Atalya, Samite Master

Previous wording:

X, T: Choose one—

• Prevent the next X damage that would be dealt to target creature this turn. Spend only white mana this way.

• You gain X life. Spend only white mana this way.

New wording:

X, T: Choose one—

• Prevent the next X damage that would be dealt to target creature this turn. Spend only white mana on X.

• You gain X life. Spend only white mana on X.

Crimson Hellkite

Previous wording:

Flying

X, T: Crimson Hellkite deals X damage to target creature. Spend only red mana this way.

Flying

X, T: Crimson Hellkite deals X damage to target creature. Spend only red mana on X.

Crypt Rats

Previous wording:

X: Crypt Rats deals X damage to each creature and each player. Spend only black mana this way.

New wording:

X: Crypt Rats deals X damage to each creature and each player. Spend only black mana on X.


Beasts of Bogardan (functional)

A very long time ago, we decided when that when an older card said "cards" and was clearly referring to permanents, that would be interpreted in modern templates as "nonland permanents." Beasts of Bogardan labored for many years on the wrong side of that field. Time to move to the right side, Beasts. Here guys! *whistles* *offers a molten treat*

Previous wording:

Protection from red

Beasts of Bogardan gets +1/+1 as long as an opponent controls a white permanent.

New wording:

Protection from red

Beasts of Bogardan gets +1/+1 as long as an opponent controls a nontoken white permanent.


The "Rout cycle" (nonfunctional)

These five sorceries from Invasion can all be cast any time you could cast an instant if you pay 2 more to cast them. In fact, that's almost exactly what their previous wording said. But under modern templating, we route that functionality through the flash ability. It's strange that there would be two templates accomplishing the same thing, so we lined them up.

Previous wording:

You may cast Rout any time you could cast an instant if you pay 2 more to cast it.

Destroy all creatures. They can't be regenerated.

New wording:

You may cast Rout as though it had flash if you pay 2 more to cast it. (You may cast it any time you could cast an instant.)

Destroy all creatures. They can't be regenerated.

Similar updates were made to Breaking Wave, Ghitu Fire, Saproling Symbiosis, and Twilight's Call.


Cataclysm (nonfunctional)

It's standard to say "among" when choosing from among a group of objects. (See?) We added the missing word.

Previous wording:

Each player chooses from the permanents he or she controls an artifact, a creature, an enchantment, and a land, then sacrifices the rest.

New wording:

Each player chooses from among the permanents he or she controls an artifact, a creature, an enchantment, and a land, then sacrifices the rest.


Daru Stinger (functional)

In the Grand Creature Type Update, Daru Stinger was promoted to a Human Soldier. This change was consistent with how we treated many creatures. The art clearly depicts a human, so it was made a Human. However, because this card has amplify, this represented a substantial power boost. This made the card clearly not quite what the designers or developers had in mind, so we're reversing this update.

Previous creature type:

Human Soldier

New creature type:

Soldier

The reminder text for amplify was also adjusted to account for the new creature type.


Faith's Fetters and Stasis Cocoon (nonfunctional)

Faith's Fetters and Stasis Cocoon are slightly unusual Auras in that, while they can enchant noncreature permanents, one of their effects applies only if that enchanted permanent is a creature. We found that the template on these cards is prone to misunderstanding, especially if you are an inexperienced player. Could it attack or block if it wasn't a creature? We decided to tighten this template a bit.

Faith's Fetters

Previous wording:

Enchant permanent

When Faith's Fetters enters the battlefield, you gain 4 life.

Enchanted permanent's activated abilities can't be activated unless they're mana abilities. If enchanted permanent is a creature, it can't attack or block.

New wording:

Enchant permanent

When Faith's Fetters enters the battlefield, you gain 4 life.

Enchanted permanent can't attack or block, and its activated abilities can't be activated unless they're mana abilities.

Stasis Cocoon

Previous wording:

Enchant artifact

Enchanted artifact's activated abilities can't be activated. If enchanted artifact is a creature, it can't attack or block.

New wording:

Enchant artifact

Enchanted artifact can't attack or block, and its activated abilities can't be activated.


Fight or Flight and Web of Inertia (nonfunctional)

We've made a small update to the trigger condition found on these two cards.

Fight or Flight

Previous wording:

At the beginning of each opponent's combat, separate all creatures that player controls into two piles. Only creatures in the pile of his or her choice can attack this turn.

New wording:

At the beginning of combat on each opponent's turn, separate all creatures that player controls into two piles. Only creatures in the pile of his or her choice can attack this turn.

Web of Inertia

Previous wording:

At the beginning of each opponent's combat, that player may exile a card from his or her graveyard. If the player doesn't, creatures he or she controls can't attack you this turn.

New wording:

At the beginning of combat on each opponent's turn, that player may exile a card from his or her graveyard. If the player doesn't, creatures he or she controls can't attack you this turn.


Land's Edge (nonfunctional)

We changed the "is" to a "was" because time travel and reasons. The choice here is fairly arbitrary, but it's consistent with a few other cards, such as Necromancer's Stockpile.

Previous wording:

Discard a card: If the discarded card is a land card, Land's Edge deals 2 damage to target player. Any player may activate this ability.

New wording:

Discard a card: If the discarded card was a land card, Land's Edge deals 2 damage to target player. Any player may activate this ability.


Mirror Entity (nonfunctional)

This card was missed in the initial "base power and toughness" pass. I didn't see it. I mean, the light was reflected right in my eyes. Completely not my fault.

Previous wording:

Changeling (This card is every creature type at all times.)

X: Creatures you control become X/X and gain all creature types until end of turn.

New wording:

Changeling (This card is every creature type at all times.)

X: Until end of turn, creatures you control have base power and toughness X/X and gain all creature types.


Phantasmal Sphere (nonfunctional)

This change is related to the change to Promise of Power, coming up soon. Promise! We just felt this was a clearer way to talk about the mysterious blue Orb token.

Previous wording:

Flying

At the beginning of your upkeep, put a +1/+1 counter on Phantasmal Sphere, then sacrifice Phantasmal Sphere unless you pay 1 for each +1/+1 counter on it.

When Phantasmal Sphere leaves the battlefield, target opponent puts a blue Orb creature token with flying onto the battlefield. That creature's power and toughness are each equal to the number of +1/+1 counters on Phantasmal Sphere.

New wording:

Flying

At the beginning of your upkeep, put a +1/+1 counter on Phantasmal Sphere, then sacrifice Phantasmal Sphere unless you pay 1 for each +1/+1 counter on it.

When Phantasmal Sphere leaves the battlefield, target opponent puts an X/X blue Orb creature token with flying onto the battlefield, where X is the number of +1/+1 counters on Phantasmal Sphere.


Promise of Power (nonfunctional)

Told you. This card included "as the token enters the battlefield," but that goes without saying, so let's just not say it.

Previous wording:

Choose one—

• You draw five cards and you lose 5 life.

• Put an X/X black Demon creature token with flying onto the battlefield, where X is the number of cards in your hand as the token enters the battlefield.

Entwine 4 (Choose both if you pay the entwine cost.)

New wording:

Choose one—

• You draw five cards and you lose 5 life.

• Put an X/X black Demon creature token with flying onto the battlefield, where X is the number of cards in your hand.

Entwine 4 (Choose both if you pay the entwine cost.)


Prowling Pangolin (nonfunctional)

Prowling Pangolin was printed as a Beast. But a pangolin is an actual animal, and actual animals get corresponding creature types. Beast is sort of code for "we don't know what the heck this is" or "we made something up." A pangolin is (perhaps) a kind of anteater. Or maybe it's related to an anteater. Or maybe it had lunch once with an anteater. No one really knows. I tried watching Nat Geo to figure it out, but that went nowhere. I did go to the San Diego Zoo a few months ago and saw a pangolin. She was sleeping. So adorable. Where was I?

Oh, right. So we created a creature type for this card: Anteater. But there are no other Anteaters in Magic. To my knowledge, none are on the way. (Although they're fairly slow, so who knows?) This creature type really has little business existing, so we're getting rid of it. Prowling Pangolin will stand as a Beast for now. I'm lobbying Rosewater for a race of sentient pangolin-folk in an upcoming world. Stay tuned.

Previous creature type:

Anteater Beast

New creature type:

Beast


Renegade Warlord (functional)

This fellow was printed as a Soldier, but the Oracle team determined that Soldiers weren't really a red thing, so he was changed to a Human Warrior. The name supported that choice. But now Soldiers are at least sometimes a red thing, at least in Akros, so we can change this card to a Human Soldier. While the name was consistent with a Warrior, it's not strong enough to override the printed creature type.

Previous creature type:

Human Warrior

New creature type:

Human Soldier


Soltari Champion (nonfunctional)

This card had an unnecessary, nonstandard "all" in its template.

Previous wording:

Shadow (This creature can block or be blocked by only creatures with shadow.)

Whenever Soltari Champion attacks, all other creatures you control get +1/+1 until end of turn.

New wording:

Shadow (This creature can block or be blocked by only creatures with shadow.)

Whenever Soltari Champion attacks, other creatures you control get +1/+1 until end of turn.


Introduction

Oracle Changes

Comprehensive Rulebook Changes

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