Magic Origins Update Bulletin—Oracle Changes

Posted in Feature on July 16, 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.

In all, 316 cards received Oracle updates this time around. That number may be a stunner to some, but not to worry—many of those are part of some minor reminder text updates.

Biomass Mutation

This card was suspiciously absent when I handed out "base power and toughness" updates. Where was it? Why wasn't it around? Is it up to something?

Old text:

Creatures you control become X/X until end of turn.

New text:

Creatures you control have base power and toughness X/X until end of turn.


Concerted Effort

When referring to "creatures you control" gaining an ability, we don't include "all." This card did, so we brought it in line.

Old text:

At the beginning of each upkeep, all creatures you control gain flying until end of turn if a creature you control has flying. The same is true for fear, first strike, double strike, landwalk, protection, trample, and vigilance.

New text:

At the beginning of each upkeep, creatures you control gain flying until end of turn if a creature you control has flying. The same is true for fear, first strike, double strike, landwalk, protection, trample, and vigilance.


Dark Prophecy and Moriok Replica

There are a few variations of this type of instruction: Sometimes you're losing more life, sometimes you're gaining life, and sometimes it's not necessarily you doing anything. Because this card's effect is dependent on an action associated specifically with you (a creature you control dying), we'll just be as clear as possible and include "you" twice.

Dark Prophecy's old text:

Whenever a creature you control dies, you draw a card and lose 1 life.

New text:

Whenever a creature you control dies, you draw a card and you lose 1 life.

Moriok Replica's old text:

1B, Sacrifice Moriok Replica: You draw two cards and lose 2 life.

New text:

1B, Sacrifice Moriok Replica: You draw two cards and you lose 2 life.


Darksteel Pendant, Opt, and Soldevi Excavations (functional)

Now that scry is an evergreen keyword action, it's eligible to appear in any Magic set. This means that previous cards that used the procedure scry defines will now just instruct you to scry. This is a functional change with respect to a small number of cards (such as Knowledge and Power).

Darksteel Pendant's old text:

Indestructible (Effects that say "destroy" don't destroy this artifact.)

1, T: Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.

New text:

Indestructible (Effects that say "destroy" don't destroy this artifact.)

1, T: Scry 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)

Opt's old text:

Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library. Draw a card.

New text:

Scry 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)

Draw a card.

Soldevi Excavations's old text:

If Soldevi Excavations would enter the battlefield, sacrifice an untapped Island instead. If you do, put Soldevi Excavations onto the battlefield. If you don't, put it into its owner's graveyard.

T: Add 1U to your mana pool.

1, T: Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.

New text:

If Soldevi Excavations would enter the battlefield, sacrifice an untapped Island instead. If you do, put Soldevi Excavations onto the battlefield. If you don't, put it into its owner's graveyard.

T: Add 1U to your mana pool.

1, T: Scry 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)


Shape Stealer

The change to "base power and toughness" involved several judgment calls as to what the best template is. After some consideration, we're changing this card to read more like Brine Hag. The verb "change" does a pretty good job of indicating a . . . you know . . . change.

Old text:

Whenever Shape Stealer blocks or becomes blocked by a creature, Shape Stealer has base power and toughness equal to that creature's power and toughness until end of turn.

New text:

Whenever Shape Stealer blocks or becomes blocked by a creature, change Shape Stealer's base power and toughness to that creature's power and toughness until end of turn.


Shared Fate

As written, "an opponent" could be interpreted as always meaning an opponent of the Shared Fate's controller. That's clearly not what was intended, so we clarified a bit.

Old text:

If a player would draw a card, that player exiles the top card of an opponent's library face down instead. Each player may look at and play cards he or she exiled with Shared Fate.

New text:

If a player would draw a card, that player exiles the top card of one of his or her opponents' libraries face down instead.

Each player may look at and play cards he or she exiled with Shared Fate.


Test of Faith

Damage prevention sometimes comes with additional effects that happen at the same time. For this update, we tweaked Test of Faith so it looked more like Temper.

Old text:

Prevent the next 3 damage that would be dealt to target creature this turn, and put a +1/+1 counter on that creature for each 1 damage prevented this way.

New text:

Prevent the next 3 damage that would be dealt to target creature this turn. For each 1 damage prevented this way, put a +1/+1 counter on that creature.


The chaos symbol

Somehow, the text representation of the chaos symbol was {C} on some cards and {chaos} on others. We just lined them up as {CHAOS}. Why all capital letters? Well, I wanted {c#A0$} but my editor overruled me. Alas.


Intimidate reminder text

Intimidate won't be showing up on new cards, and we don't expect players to necessarily know the meanings of keywords that aren't in current use. To help, we've added reminder text to those cards.


Changeling reminder text

We trimmed the "at all times" from the changeling reminder text. The extra words weren't really needed, and they could be potentially confusing with respect to type-changing effects.

Old reminder text:

This card is every creature type at all times.

New reminder text:

This card is every creature type.


Landwalk reminder text

Similar to what we did with intimidate, we added reminder text to these cards now that landwalk has fallen out of favor on new cards.


Bushido reminder text

The printed reminder text took some shortcuts with pronouns that we wouldn't take today (localization is a factor here), so this reminder text was revised.

Old reminder text:

When this blocks or becomes blocked, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

New reminder text:

Whenever this creature blocks or becomes blocked, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn.


Provoke reminder text

Another minor reminder text update, this one changing the "when" to "whenever," as the ability can be expected to trigger more than once.

Old reminder text:

When this creature attacks, you may have target creature defending player controls untap and block it if able.

New reminder text:

Whenever this creature attacks, you may have target creature defending player controls untap and block it if able.


Introduction

Oracle Changes

Comprehensive Rule Changes

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