Morningtide Update Bulletin

Posted in Feature on January 16, 2008

By Mark L. Gottlieb

TheMorningtide Prerelease is days away, which means that it's time for another round of Oracle fixes and Comp Rules updates. These updates happen only when a new set is released, so corrections or improvements that have come to our attention over the past few months are being implemented now. In addition, some rules changes are necessary to make the new cards work.

The biggest part of the last update was the Grand Creature Type Update. The biggest part of this update is fine-tuning the last update! That project was so immense that some cards were overlooked and some mistakes were made (sorry, Raveka!), but thanks to all y'all out there in Internetland, we're getting everything in shipshape shape.

Changes to the Oracle card database will go into effect on Friday, January 18.

Changes to the Comprehensive Rules will take effect on February 1, though any changes that are necessary for Morningtide cards to work will be in effect during the Prerelease. Bear in mind, however, that the new version of the Comp Rules has not yet been finalized, so the listed amendments are subject to change. This article will be updated with any changes.

Normal Oracle Changes

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.

No, not the band responsible for "The Logical Song." I'm talking about Rhox, Lone Wolf, and friends. They were having a nice, happy existence . . . then they met the planeswalkers.

Lone Wolf said "You may have Lone Wolf deal its combat damage to defending player as though it weren't blocked." Let's say your Lone Wolf is attacking a planeswalker. It becomes blocked. You want to use its ability. Lone Wolf now deals its combat damage to the defending player (the controller of the planeswalker) as though it weren't blocked. Well, if Lone Wolf weren't blocked, it wouldn't deal any damage to the defending player! So the consensus among judges is that using its ability results in it dealing no damage.


That's not just counterintuitive, it's sad. These guys were behind the times. But what's the solution? We considered giving these cards errata so they'd deal their combat damage to the defending player. They say "defending player" right on them, so that would make some sense. But we decided to give these cards errata so they'd deal their damage as though they weren't blocked. That makes a lot more sense given the intent of the ability. Now if your Lone Wolf is attacking a planeswalker and gets blocked, you can have it deal its damage to that planeswalker anyway.

The cards that are getting changed as a result of this are Deathcoil Wurm, Gurzigost, Lone Wolf, Outmaneuver, Predatory Focus, Pride of Lions, Rhox, Thorn Elemental, Tornado Elemental, and Wolf Pack.

Orim's Prayer
This card's Oracle wording was functionally identical to its printed wording . . . as long as you assume that all attacking creatures are attacking you. Now that planeswalkers exist, that's a bad assumption. (It's also functionally different in multiplayer free-for-all games.) This'll go back to its printed functionality.

Its printed wording targeted both an opponent and a bunch of cards in your graveyard. Its Oracle wording doesn't target an opponent. This made it better in multiplayer . . . but worse in terms of knowing whether it targets your opponent. The card will once again target an opponent (and get a smoother template based on Aether Burst).

This card broke with the introduction of tribal as a card type. For example, if you targeted a tribal enchantment with it, the first card you reveal from the top of your library that shared a type with that permanent could be a tribal instant. And putting a tribal instant into play doesn't work so well. Reweave will now specify that you're looking for a permanent card.

Root Sliver
We have two wordings for the "can't be countered" ability. Permanent cards, like Scragnoth, say "Scragnoth can't be countered." Cards with targets, like Urza's Rage, say "Urza's Rage can't be countered by spells or abilities." Why? Because Urza's Rage can still be countered by the game rules if its target becomes illegal. Root Sliver's ability used to fall into the first category since all Slivers were creatures. But now that Nameless Inversion and Crib Swap are Sliver spells that have targets, it falls into the second category and is getting the appropriate wording.

Eladamri, Lord of Leaves
Eladamri was never supposed to boost himself with his own abilities. When he became an Elf in the last update, however, he suddenly started affecting himself. This was an unintended functional change, and it's been corrected—he now affects "other" Elves.

Purity says "If a spell or ability would deal damage to you..." But abilities don't deal damage—their sources do. Oops. It'll now say "If noncombat damage would be dealt to you..."

Shambling Swarm
Shambling Swarm puts -1/-1 counters on creatures, then it removes "those counters" at end of turn. But counters with the same name are indistinguishable from one another! This wasn't much of a problem until we implemented the rule that says that +1/+1 counters and -1/-1 counters annihilate each other. Say you put all three Shambling Swarm counters on a creature you don't control that already has a -1/-1 counter on it. Then you put a +1/+1 counter on that creature. With Shambling Swarm's current wording, it matters whether the new counter annihilates a -1/-1 counter that was placed by it, or whether it annihilates the other counter. That distinction is impossible under current rules, and it's really annoying to try to keep track of. So the Swarm got a new wording that'll remove the appropriate number of -1/-1 counters from the appropriate creatures without tracking the specific counters it added.

Avenging Angel
As printed, it had a triggered ability. (Lots of Tempest triggered abilities started with "if.") Somewhere along the way, this became a replacement ability. It's getting changed back.

This was also printed as a triggered ability but had somehow become a replacement ability in Oracle. It's going back to a triggered ability.

Cold Storage
As printed, Cold Storage let you return only creature cards you removed from the game with it. Somehow this word was lost in Oracle, and Cold Storage had been returning all cards removed from the game with it. The printed functionality is being restored. Sorry, Treetop Village!

As printed, its last ability triggered when you lost control of Duplicity. But its current wording triggers when Duplicity leaves play. As usual, the printed functionality is being restored. Duplicity also says that you "exchange" the cards in your hand for the cards removed from the game with it—but nothing in the definition of "exchange" implies that the cards you remove from your hand get turned face down! So we're cleaning that up too.

Misfortune's Gain
As printed, the creature's owner gained the life (just like Path of Peace). But according to its Oracle wording, the creature's controller gains the life. That's getting fixed.

As printed, its second ability was a static ability. It had changed to a triggered ability, which made it work differently if Watchdog left play during combat, for example. It's being changed back.

Soltari Lancer
This card was printed with the ability "First strike when attacking," which is weird phrasing. Due to the rule that an ability that uses the words "when," "whenever," or "at" is a triggered ability, this had been reworded into a more standard triggered ability. But we believe that this ability is meant to be read as English, with "when" equivalent to "while." As such, we're converting this back into a static ability.

Based on its printed wording, this spell should check the whether its two targets share a card type both when it's played and when it resolves. Its Oracle wording lets you target any two permanents and checks only on resolution. We're putting the targeting restriction back.

Ertai's Meddling
Back in the day, lots of cards used the terminology "successfully cast." Nowadays, those cards simply use the term "play" or "played." But not this one. Instead, it interprets "successfully cast" as "resolved," and has one of the most bizarre replacement abilities in the game today. It's getting simplified (and falling in line with everything else), and as a result, it'll remove the spell it's targeting from the game immediately. Its last ability is also getting cleaned up, though it isn't functionally changing.

Goblin Shrine
The The Dark Goblin Shrine said "basic mountain." The Chronicles Goblin Shrine just said "mountain." Since it's our general policy to agree with the most recently printed card, we're updating the Oracle wording to match the Chronicles functionality.

Corpse Dance & Echo Chamber
These cards each put creatures into play. They granted them haste until end of turn. Then they removed those creatures from the game at end of turn. Since those creatures wouldn't be sticking around, the Oracle wordings took a shortcut and deleted the "until end of turn" duration from haste. Although it only matters in extreme corner cases (if ever), the cards should work as printed. So the durations are being restored.

Other template updates
The following cards got minor template updates that didn't involve functional changes: Alaborn Zealot, all the Licids except Transmogrifying Licid, Ancient Craving, Arcades Sabboth, Barrin's Unmaking, Burning of Xinye, Choking Sands, Chromium, Cinder Marsh, Combat Medic, Contamination, Conversion, Corrupt Court Official, Cyclone, Elder Spawn, Empyrial Armor, Essence Vortex, False Orders, Feast of Worms, Forethought Amulet, Gamekeeper, Helldozer, Helm of Possession, Highway Robber, Hired Giant, Icequake, Illicit Auction, Infernal Denizen, Interdict, Kindle, Knight of Stromgald, Lady Sun, Lovisa Coldeyes, Mages' Contest, Mogg Hollows, Molten Rain, Myr Matrix, Nebuchadnezzar, Oracle en-Vec, Order of Leitbur, Order of the Ebon Hand, Pain's Reward, Planeswalker's Mischief, Primal Clay, Reviving Vapors, Rockslide Ambush, Rootwater Depths, Sacred Guide, Scroll Rack, Serene Offering, Soltari Monk, Steam Frigate, Temporal Aperture, Territorial Dispute, Thalakos Lowlands, Theft of Dreams, Thermokarst, Topple, Torrent of Stone, Tsabo's Assassin, Unstable Shapeshifter, Vec Townships, Volcanic Eruption, Wind Spirit, and Wood Sage.

The Grand Creature Type Update Update

In advance of the Lorwyn release, we updated nearly 1200 cards to modern-day creature type standards. That's a lot, and we had no illusions that we'd done it perfectly. Instead, we asked you to post any mistakes, omissions, or other comments on the message boards. And you did! We truly appreciate the effort (and the attention to detail) from everyone who posted their opinions. Thank you! We thoroughly combed through all 18 pages of posts, and considered all suggestions that were made. As a result, we updated 90 cards. Which ones? I'm glad you asked...

CardPrinted TypesCurrent TypesNew Types
Akron LegionnaireLegionnaireHuman SoldierGiant Soldier
Ali BabaAli BabaHumanHuman Rogue
Anaba Spirit CrafterMinotaurMinotaurMinotaur Shaman
AquamoebaBeastBeastElemental Beast
Armored GuardianGuardianCat WarriorCat Soldier
Balthor the StoutDwarfDwarf WarriorDwarf Barbarian
Bartel Runeaxe[none]Human WarriorGiant Warrior
Beast WalkersHeroesHuman SoldierHuman Beast Soldier
Bird MaidenBird MaidenHumanHuman Bird
Blighted ShamanClericHuman ShamanHuman Cleric Shaman
Bloodline ShamanElf WizardElf WizardElf Wizard Shaman
Bola WarriorSpellshaperHuman SpellshaperHuman Spellshaper Warrior
Boris Devilboon[none]Human WizardZombie Wizard
Captain Sisay[none]Human WarriorHuman Soldier
Cloud Dragon[none]DragonIllusion Dragon
Coffin QueenWizardHuman WizardZombie Wizard
Coiling WoodwormInsectWormInsect Worm
Crossbow InfantrySoldierHuman SoldierHuman Soldier Archer
Cryptic AnnelidBeastBeastWorm Beast
Darkling StalkerSpiritShadeShade Spirit
Devoted Hero[none]Human SoldierElf Soldier
Elder SpawnSpawnSpawnElemental
El-HajjajEl-HajjajHumanHuman Wizard
Ertai, the CorruptedWizardHuman Mutant WizardHuman Wizard
Fleet-Footed Monk[none]Human Cleric MonkHuman Monk
Forcemage AdvocateCentaurCentaurCentaur Shaman
FungusaurFungusaurFungusFungus Lizard
Fyndhorn DruidDruidHuman DruidElf Druid
Gibbering HyenasHyenasHoundHyena
Glowing AnemoneBeastAnemone BeastJellyfish Beast
Goblin SpyGoblinGoblinGoblin Rogue
Grandmother Sengir[none]VampireHuman Wizard
Greater MossdogHoundFungus HoundPlant Hound
Guiding SpiritAngelSpiritAngel Spirit
Gwendlyn di Corci[none]HumanHuman Rogue
Henge Guardian[none]DragonDragon Wurm
Hua Tuo, Honored Physician[none]Human ShamanHuman
Ihsan’s Shade[none]ShadeShade Knight
Irini Sengir[none]Dwarf WizardVampire Dwarf
Ivory GuardiansGuardiansHuman ClericGiant Cleric
Jackalope HerdBeastsBeastRabbit Beast
Jeska, Warrior AdeptBarbarianHuman BarbarianHuman Barbarian Warrior
Kangee, Aerie Keeper[none]Bird SoldierBird Wizard
Kaysa[none]Human DruidElf Druid
Keen-Eyed Archers[none]Human Soldier ArcherElf Archer
Keldon BerserkerSoldierHuman SoldierHuman Soldier Berserker
KezzerdrixBeastBeastRabbit Beast
LawbringerRebelHuman RebelKor Rebel
LightbringerRebelHuman RebelKor Rebel
Living HiveElementalElementalElemental Insect
MagmasaurElementalElementalElemental Lizard
Moss MonsterMonsterFungusElemental
MossdogHoundFungus HoundPlant Hound
Niall SilvainNiall SilvainElementalOuphe
Orcish CannoneersOrcsOrcOrc Warrior
Orcish SpyOrcOrcOrc Rogue
OvertakerSpellshaperHuman SpellshaperMerfolk Spellshaper
Personal IncarnationAvatarAvatarAvatar Incarnation
Phage the UntouchableMinionMinionZombie Minion
Phyrexian GremlinsGremlinsGremlinOuphe
Pianna, Nomad CaptainNomadHuman Nomad SoldierHuman Nomad
Plague WitchSpellshaperHuman SpellshaperElf Spellshaper
Psionic EntityEntityBeastIllusion
Putrid WarriorSoldier Zombie Soldier Zombie Zombie Soldier Warrior
Reveka, Wizard Savant[none]Human WizardDwarf Wizard
Rubinia Soulsinger[none]HumanFaerie
Sandstone WarriorSoldierHuman SoldierHuman Soldier Warrior
Serra InquisitorsInquisitorsHumanHuman Cleric
Shelkin BrownieFaerieFaerieOuphe
Silent Arbiter[none]GolemConstruct
Spectral LynxCatCatCat Spirit
Spike SoldierSpikeSpikeSpike Soldier
Storm ShamanClericHuman ClericHuman Cleric Shaman
Tetsuo Umezawa[none]Human WarriorHuman Archer
Tobias Andrion[nothing]HumanHuman Advisor
Trade CaravanCaravanHumanHuman Nomad
Trained OrggBeastOrgg BeastOrgg
Tsabo Tavoc[none]ZombieHorror
Vampire HoundsHoundsHoundVampire Hound
VizzerdrixBeastBeastRabbit Beast
Voltaic ConstructGolemGolemGolem Construct
Walking DeadWalking DeadSkeletonZombie
Wall of BoneWallWallSkeleton Wall
Wall of BramblesWallWallPlant Wall
Wall of Pine NeedlesWallWallPlant Wall
WarmongerMongerOx MongerMinotaur Monger
Wingbeat WarriorBird SoldierBird SoldierBird Soldier Warrior
Wormfang NewtNightmare BeastNightmare Lizard BeastNightmare Salamander Beast
Wu SpySoldierHuman SoldierHuman Soldier Rogue

Comprehensive Rules Changes

What are the Comprehensive Rules?Magic is complicated. No, really. When you have over 9,000 interchangeable game pieces, you get some freaky interactions. The Comprehensive Rules cover everything the game has ever come up with, from basic game play structure, to every keyword ever, to entire pages dedicated to single bizarre cards (hello, Mindslaver!) The Comprehensive Rules are, well, comprehensive... but they're also obtuse, unfriendly, and looooong. They're not intended to be a player resource—they're a judge resource, a rules guru resource, and a place to store definitive answers. In fact, I recommend never reading them. For a much friendlier rulebook that is intended to be a player resource, check out the Rules Page and download the Basic Rulebook (2MB PDF), now with an appendix on planeswalker rules. It doesn't have sections about phasing or subgames... but you'll never miss them.103.4a-c
If you play Show and Tell, each player may choose a card in his or her hand, then all the chosen cards are put into play at the same time. Do you have to show each other player the card you choose as you choose it, or is it enough to say "I pick this one" while pointing to the back of a card in your hand? The rules were unclear; they're being changed to make it evident that the latter method is okay.

This rule said that if an Aura is coming into play by any means other than being played, and the effect that's putting it into play doesn't specify what it will be attached to, the player who's putting it into play gets to decide. This is counterintuitive with Oblivion Ring, for example. If my Oblivion Ring removes your Aura from the game, and then my Oblivion Ring leaves play, your Aura would return to play under your control—but I would decide what it's attached to! The rule is changing so the player who will control the Aura when it enters play gets to decide what it's attached to.

This rule is being slightly reworded to make it look less like a replacement effect. It's not a replacement; it's a thing you always do because it's always true.

The first exception listed in this rule doesn't apply to static abilities, and the rule will spell that out.

If you read this rule literally, the game's first upkeep step would never end. It's being modified to reflect reality.

This rule is being reworded so that it's clearer what Master Warcraft does when the active player has the option to attack a planeswalker. (First, the person who played Master Warcraft chooses the complete group of creatures that are going to attack. Then, for each of those creatures, the active player chooses who or what it's going to attack.)

This rule is getting changed to match the new 308.2a.

310.4b, 413.2a
Last known information is used to determine all relevant information about an object that's left play, not just its characteristics. Because these rules said "its last known information is used to determine its characteristics," that implied that no other information could be determined this way. The last part of the sentence has been deleted to broaden the rule.

This rule is being reworded for clarity and specificity.

This ability stated that "drawing a card is never considered an impossible action." And then a certain Morningtide card came along... The intent here is that if your library is empty, you can still make the choice to draw a card, even though it's seemingly impossible. (This is an exception to normal "what's impossible" scenarios; for example, sacrificing a creature is impossible if you have no creatures in play.) Other things can (and will) make drawing a card impossible, however, and this rule isn't meant to preclude them. Also, the incomprehensible parenthetical example in this rule is being changed.

This rule discusses what happens if an "as long as" duration ends before the effect that cares about it even starts. However, it was overly specific about the window of time, and there were still cases in which an "as long as" duration could end before the stated window began. So the rule's being broadened.

The word "prevention" was used twice where the word "effect" would be more correct.

This rule has been clarified to remove potential ambiguity concerning when copies cease to exist.

The definition of "cost" is being broadened.

The rule for prowl is being added.

The rule for reinforce is being added.

"Mode" is being changed to "modes" due to the Lorwyn Commands.

This rule has been changed to match the new 420.5j.

This rule governs what happens if you want to name a split card for a "name a card" effect. It's being expanded to specify that an object with either of those names (such as a spell on the stack that's half of the named split card) is considered a match for that name.

The second instance of "permanent" should be "card." Also, this rule and 508.3 are getting some editing to make them easier to read. (The jarring phrase "flip permanent" is getting the boot.)

This rule is being added to specify that you can name a "flipped" name (such as Nezumi Graverobber) if an effect asks you to name a card.

Creature type list
Anemone and Gremlin are out. Hyena is back in.

Latest Feature Articles


January 24, 2022

Where to Find Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Previews by, Wizards of the Coast

It's time for Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty previews! To help our readers and preview seekers, we've created this handy guide to preview season. January 27 at 9 AM PST is when everything begins...

Learn More


January 21, 2022

Boseiju Reaches Skyward by, Emily Teng

In the heart of Towashi is Boseiju, the oldest living tree on Kamigawa and the only remnant of Jukai Forest left within city limits. Boseiju Reaches Skyward | Art by: Zezhou Chen At th...

Learn More



Feature Archive

Consult the archives for more articles!

See All