Guilds of Ravnica Oracle Changes

Posted in News on September 28, 2018

By Eli Shiffrin

Oracle Changes

Teferi, Hero of Up to Two Lands (Functional)

Even though the card functions perfectly well within the game rules, Teferi's unusual untap ability has caused some consternation in competitive tournaments. Not everyone realizes that you can't untap something that's already untapped, and resolving misplays around Teferi aren't easy for tournament policy. Policy tried to bend around Teferi, but that would have resulted in a policy that applied to one card or had awful side effects. Looking over the options, we concluded that adding the words "up to" to Teferi's first ability reduced arguments and confusion and made the card work the way the vast majority of players believe it does.

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria was:

+1: Draw a card. At the beginning of the next end step, untap two lands.
−3: Put target nonland permanent into its owner's library third from the top.
−8: You get an emblem with "Whenever you draw a card, exile target permanent an opponent controls."

New text:

+1: Draw a card. At the beginning of the next end step, untap up to two lands.
−3: Put target nonland permanent into its owner's library third from the top.
−8: You get an emblem with "Whenever you draw a card, exile target permanent an opponent controls."

Circu, Who Stopped Being Weird (Functional)

When Circu was first printed with "remove the top card of . . ." in two of its abilities, it just wouldn't fit if we had to say "target player's library." The solution was to target the library. That was an ingenious fix for a card text fit problem, but we quickly agreed not to target zones again—"target library" versus "target player's library" was subtle enough that not everyone believed there was actually a difference. When exiling became a thing in Magic 2010, Circu's text would fit if it were targeting the player, but there just wasn't any pressing reason to change the card; it wasn't seeing play competitively, and while we still saw the occasional rules question come up about it from casual players, it wasn't a big deal.

Then Circu snuck into the Dimir Guild Kit! This was the perfect opportunity for Circu to line up with the other cards that affect a player's library. This change is functional in cases where the player has hexproof, but for the most part, it's not a change you'll notice in normal play.

Circu, Dimir Lobotomist was:

Whenever you cast a blue spell, exile the top card of target library.
Whenever you cast a black spell, exile the top card of target library.
Your opponents can't cast spells with the same name as a card exiled with Circu, Dimir Lobotomist.

New text:

Whenever you cast a blue spell, exile the top card of target player's library.
Whenever you cast a black spell, exile the top card of target player's library.
Your opponents can't cast spells with the same name as a card exiled with Circu, Dimir Lobotomist.

Tamping down Trample (Non-Functional)

Continuing some reminder text cleanup, we spotted some more cards with trample whose reminder text was slightly outdated. They've all been updated.

It should go without saying, but changes to reminder text aren't functional changes.

For example:

Groundshaker Sliver was:

Sliver creatures you control have trample. (If a Sliver you control would assign enough damage to its blockers to destroy them, you may have it assign the rest of its damage to the player or planeswalker it's attacking.)

New text:

Sliver creatures you control have trample. (A creature with trample can deal excess combat damage to the player or planeswalker it's attacking.)

Any Time (Non-Functional)

Experimental Frenzy pioneers a new template for looking at cards "any time." Previously, we made that reminder text. Now it's just redundant rules text that takes up less space than the reminder text did! Sometimes redundancy is awesome. Sometimes.

This change was issued retroactively to five cards: Keeper of the Lens, Lens of Clarity, Sphinx of Jwar Isle, Vizier of the Menagerie, and Precognition Field. As an example of the change:

Precognition Field was:

You may look at the top card of your library. (You may do this at any time.)
You may cast the top card of your library if it's an instant or sorcery card.
3: Exile the top card of your library.

New text:

You may look at the top card of your library any time.
You may cast the top card of your library if it's an instant or sorcery card.
3: Exile the top card of your library.

Let's Do the Wurm Warp (Non-Functional)

Once upon a time, phasing—

Hey, don't run away yet!

Okay, for those of you who are still here. Once upon a time, phasing caused a zone change. We had a pile of rules to pretend it wasn't a zone change, but it was. One templating rule is that zone change triggers for when an object itself changes zones use "when" rather than "whenever." When phasing changed to not be a zone change, that meant that "When this thing phases out" was universally changed to "Whenever this thing phases out," but Warping Wurm was phased out when this happened and wasn't affected by the change. It took a while to notice the Wurm-shaped hole in reality, but now that we've seen it, we used our high-tech phase stabilizers to fix that wording.

Warping Wurm was:

Phasing (This phases in or out before you untap during each of your untap steps. While it's phased out, it's treated as though it doesn't exist.)
At the beginning of your upkeep, Warping Wurm phases out unless you pay 2GU.
When Warping Wurm phases in, put a +1/+1 counter on it.

New text:

Phasing (This phases in or out before you untap during each of your untap steps. While it's phased out, it's treated as though it doesn't exist.)
At the beginning of your upkeep, Warping Wurm phases out unless you pay 2GU.
Whenever Warping Wurm phases in, put a +1/+1 counter on it.


Introduction
Comprehensive Rules Changes
Oracle Changes

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