Lorwyn Oracle Changes

Posted in Feature on September 26, 2007

By Mark L. Gottlieb

What is Oracle?

Magic is a game made up of over 9,000 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.

These changes will take effect on Friday, September 28.

Reef Shaman and friends
Starting with the Lorwyn set, we have a simpler template for the Reef Shaman ability. Reef Shaman was printed with "{T}: Target land's type becomes the basic land type of your choice until end of turn." This was updated for two reasons. One, the land's type is technically "land." Its subtype is what's changing, but we didn't say so. Two, it didn't match templates like Dreamwinder's, which said "{U}, Sacrifice an Island: Target land becomes an Island until end of turn."

The new Reef Shaman template is "{T}: Target land becomes the basic land type of your choice until end of turn." This is purely a template change, not a functional change, and it applies to other subtype-changing effects as well. Cards that are getting errata: Ageless Sentinels, Boldwyr Intimidator, Coalition Flag, Dream Thrush, Excavator, Imagecrafter, Jinx, Mistform Dreamer, Mistform Mask, Mistform Mutant, Mistform Seaswift, Mistform Shrieker, Mistform Skyreaver, Mistform Stalker, Mistform Wakecaster, Mistform Wall, Mistform Warchief, Moonbow Illusionist, Mystic Compass, Phantasmal Terrain, Proteus Machine, Reef Shaman, Sea Snidd, Shimmering Mirage, Standardize, Terraformer, Trickery Charm, Unnatural Selection, and Vision Charm.

Benthic Explorers
This was printed with a "Do A to do B" template. That generally means that "Do A" is supposed to be part of the cost, and the card is getting changed accordingly.

Caribou Range
As printed, this card let you sacrifice a Caribou token. Somehow the word "token" was lost in Oracle, thus letting you sacrifice any Caribou. The word "token" is being restored.

Clockwork Steed & Clockwork Swarm
These cards are getting the same update that Clockwork Beast got in the Masters Edition update. In Oracle, these cards have the separate ability "Clockwork [Steed/Swarm] can't have more than four +1/+0 counters on it." But as printed, this was just a rider on the activated ability that let you refill them with counters. Like Clockwork Beast, the new wording collapses the limitation on the number of +1/+0 counters back into the "refill" ability, so it won't affect anything else. It also makes it clear what happens if you overpay on X.

Deep Water & Infernal Darkness
Six cards that replace what mana is produced by certain permanents were originally printed with the phrase "instead of their normal mana." On four of them (Reality Twist, Chaos Moon, Naked Singularity, and Ritual of Subdual), "normal mana" has been interpreted in their Oracle records to mean "type of mana." On the other two (Deep Water and Infernal Darkness), "normal mana" has been interpreted to mean "type and amount of mana." The original Ritual of Subdual makes it pretty clear that "normal mana" referred only to type, so Deep Water and Infernal Darkness are being synched up with the other four.

Dracoplasm
When this card was updated in the Masters Edition update, its power and toughness should have changed from */* to 0/0 because the nature of its ability changed. This is a late update.

Festival
Festival's printed wording is "Opponent may not declare an attack this turn." Its Oracle wording says that the combat phase is skipped. This isn't the same thing; its Oracle wording is changing so that the card prevents creatures from attacking, but doesn't skip any phases.

Krovikan Vampire
As printed, its ability triggered at the end of the turn. In Oracle, its ability triggers when a creature dealt damage by it is put into a graveyard. This is an unnecessary functional change, and the card is being reverted to its original functionality.

Mana Vortex
As printed, this said "If you do not sacrifice a land when Mana Vortex is cast, Mana Vortex is countered." In Oracle, this has changed into a comes-into-play ability. We're reverting it to its printed functionality by adapting the template seen on Temporal Extortion et al to a choice you make rather than one your opponent makes.

Sunglasses of Urza
As printed, this card had a static ability that allowed you to spend white mana as though it were red mana. In Oracle, this has changed into an activated ability. This is functionally different in some corner cases, so we're adapting the template seen on Mycosynth Lattice and Celestial Dawn to restore this card's static ability.

Witch Engine
As printed, this card had an activated ability that generated mana and had a target. Reminder text stated that the ability could be played as an instant (implying that it was not a mana ability). But once Sixth Edition rules were implemented, we had no support for this kind of ability—any activated ability that generated mana was a mana ability, which meant it didn't use the stack, and thus couldn't have a target—so it was changed in Oracle to not have a target. Now we have a rule that states that an ability with a target isn't a mana ability, even if it produces mana. That allows Witch Engine's original ability to work again.

Other template updates
The following cards got minor template updates that didn't involve functional changes: Chaos Moon, Magistrate's Scepter, Minion of the Wastes, Nameless Race, Old Man of the Sea, Second Chance, and Vodalian War Machine.

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