Oracle Changes

Posted in News on September 27, 2019

By Eli Shiffrin

Xantcha, Who Stops Being Weird (Functional)

Well, no, Xantcha is still weird. Just not weird in the way it used to be. Previously, Xantcha's enters-the-battlefield replacement effect created a control-change effect instead of simply having it enter under a player's control. Captive Audience came along with a new wording with a functional difference: because there's no "gains control" effect to end, if a player who controls Xantcha and Captive Audience loses the game, Captive Audience is exiled but Xantcha goes back to its default controller.

After Pendant of Prosperity came out, two cards used the streamlined wording, so we decided Xantcha should follow them instead of being a rebel. For the storyline fans out there, you know how wrong Xantcha being conformist is, but gameplay really does have to win out over story sometimes.

Xantcha, Sleeper Agent was:

As Xantcha, Sleeper Agent enters the battlefield, an opponent of your choice gains control of it.
Xantcha attacks each combat if able and can't attack its owner or planeswalkers its owner controls.
3: Xantcha's controller loses 2 life and you draw a card. Any player may activate this ability.

New text:

Xantcha, Sleeper Agent enters the battlefield under the control of an opponent of your choice.
Xantcha attacks each combat if able and can't attack its owner or planeswalkers its owner controls.
3: Xantcha's controller loses 2 life and you draw a card. Any player may activate this ability.

Noblesse Oblige (Functional)

We've got new creature types! Peasant, Sculpture, Mouse, Warlock, and Noble.

Of these, only two have been issued back to old creatures. One creature became a Warlock (Dread Warlock for . . . obvious reasons). Nothing became a Peasant or Mouse, and the one creature that could have become a Sculpture did not—we decided that Sculpture is only going to be called out for Doomed Artisan, and while changelings are by nature also Sculptures, we're not going to put that on a type line.

Nobles are the big one. Doug Beyer put a lot of thought into Magic's peerage and decided that the creature type would be given retroactively only to creatures that had no other "job" or "class" creature type—that is, royals who previously did nothing. Darien and Brimaz, Kings of Kjeldor and Oreskos respectively, are already quite accomplished in their fields, so they don't become Nobles. Non-aristocratic nobility didn't get the Noble type; sorry, Goblin King, Sliver Queen, and Prince of Thralls.

Cartel Aristocrat is one special case. The Orzhov aristocrats are creatively the nouveau riche more than titled nobility. It'd be defensible to make it a Noble, but we decided it shouldn't.

The other is Vampire Aristocrat. After some deliberation, that one's in the rebellious-scion trope space enough that Doug decided it should get the Noble type in addition to Rogue.

Note that these rules are only how we applied errata: Future Nobles may have multiple classes or be totally arbitrary, but that'll be printed on the card.

The 20 new Nobles:

How Many Targets (Functional)

Dwarven Song and its friends from Legends went from a whole paragraph of text to one simple sentence. However, along the way, one little detail changed: They went from targeting "one or more" target creatures to "any number of" target creatures. We've restored the printed text's counting system to start at one.

Dwarven Song was:

Any number of target creatures become red until end of turn.

New text:

One or more target creatures become red until end of turn.

The Grand Calcutron (Functional)

Here's one of the strangest Oracle updates to date. The Grand Calcutron was intended to be playable as your commander for an Order of the Widget silver-bordered Commander deck. One glance at the text box says there's no way "The Grand Calcutron can be your commander" would fit on the printed card. The initial solution was to just say that this is true in its Gatherer rulings, but that's more arbitrary than we like Gatherer rulings to be. So, this is not what we would ever do with black-border cards, but for silver-border, we decided to add the ability in Oracle so that the ruling isn't entirely baffling. Though maybe baffling would be more appropriate for the Order of the Widget . . .

Again, please note that this is not something we intend to do in black-border Magic. We recognize that this is a fairly extreme change to the card text, and even then, it's only happening because the "can be your commander" ruling has existed for the card's entire life. Sorry, Nephilim.

This-Spelling the Myths (Non-functional)

A number of cards that care about what mana was spent to cast that card or what cost was paid to cast it have changed to use "this spell" instead of the card's own name. I wouldn't even mention it here except to point out that none of these changes are functional changes, so don't worry if you see it.

Eat Your Veggies (Non-functional)

Three cards in Throne of Eldraine leave off their Food reminder text so they can fit within the text box, but they regain it in Oracle to be helpful. Oko, Thief of Crowns, who is a planeswalker; Curious Pair, who has an Adventure; and Feasting Troll King, who just has a ton of other words. Your printed card isn't wrong, this is just in Oracle for easy reference if someone goes to look up what a Food token is.

Damage Instead (Non-functional)

We hit upon a new template for cards with a self-replacement effect to deal an alternative amount of damage. You've seen it in Throne of Eldraine on Slaying Fire—check it out on old cards, like Cackling Flames. This isn't a functional change; you can't change where the damage is going or anything.

Cackling Flames was:

Cackling Flames deals 3 damage to any target.
HellbentCackling Flames deals 5 damage to that permanent or player instead if you have no cards in hand.

New text:

Cackling Flames deals 3 damage to any target.
HellbentCackling Flames deals 5 damage instead if you have no cards in hand.

Comprehensive Rules Changes
Oracle Changes

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