Ravnica Allegiance Oracle Changes

Posted in News on January 22, 2019

By Eli Shiffrin

Oracle Changes

Ajani's Pride-may-te (Functional)

Ajani's Pridemate was originally printed under a tournament policy where missing any trigger, no matter how beneficial, always resulted in a Warning. Multiple Warnings would upgrade into a Game Loss. To avoid the problem, many cards with strictly beneficial triggers had those triggers made optional—it doesn't count as "missing" a trigger if it's a "may," you just chose not to do the thing.

Then trigger policy changed. Nowadays, missing beneficial triggers doesn't get you a penalty, you just don't get the benefit (there's some nuance to this, but I'm leaving it simple here). We've left the cards that received "may" under the old policy alone under the general Oracle policy of minimizing functional changes, so Ajani's Pridemate was printed in Core Set 2019 with its "may."

Ajani's Pridemate has since become heavily played in a popular Standard deck, and that deck's inclusion in the upcoming Challenger Deck series became the place to print the card with errata to remove the option, making the card look and read better on paper and improving the life of digital Magic players everywhere. There isn't an Oracle update scheduled for small supplementary products like Challenger Decks, and given the options of adding one or changing the card early, digital was the deciding factor and we're releasing the card's updated wording a little early.

No other cards are changing under this evolution of Oracle policy at this time; if cards printed under old tournament policy are reprinted, we'll consider changing them on the new printings. The timing on this card's change is a fairly special case.

Ajani's Pridemate was:

Whenever you gain life, you may put a +1/+1 counter on Ajani's Pridemate.

New text:

Whenever you gain life, put a +1/+1 counter on Ajani's Pridemate.

Lions and Tigers and Flagbearers, Oh My (Functional)

The Zendikar Oracle update many years ago changed the Flagbearer ability from a very unusual trigger to a more streamlined (but still unusual) target selection requirement. It left out one little thing: As printed, Flagbearers only affect spells and abilities your opponents are casting and activating, but the Oracle text looked at all spells and abilities. But where in the world would an opponent be choosing targets for my spell or ability?

Cuombajj Witches, that's where.

Both showing up in Pauper (the "commons only" format) has led to this strange issue being discovered, so now I've fixed it.

Flagbearers were all:

While choosing targets as part of casting a spell or activating an ability, your opponents must choose at least one Flagbearer on the battlefield if able.

New text:

While an opponent is choosing targets as part of casting a spell they control or activating an ability they control, that player must choose at least one Flagbearer on the battlefield if able.

Transguild Courier's WUBRG Indicator (Functional? Barely?)

Sphinx of the Guildpact is an artifact that costs generic mana but gets to be all colors, calling back to Transguild Courier. Transguild Courier received an update in Innistrad to use the then-brand-new color indicator technology rather than text to grant its colors, so this meant it was time to design a five-color color indicator to put on Sphinx of the Guildpact.

As it turns out, just putting the words on the card is a much better option. Transguild Courier is reverting to its printed text, sans reminder text.

Transguild Courier was:

[This space intentionally left blank.]

New text:

Transguild Courier is all colors.

Lord of Atlantis Gets into Commerce (Functional… Kinda)

When tribal was introduced, everything that affected the power/toughness of a set of creatures referenced by subtype (like Lord of Atlantis affecting Merfolk) received errata to affect subtype creatures instead (like Lord of Atlantis affecting Merfolk creatures). Merrow Commerce wouldn't get +1/+1 anyway, since it's not a creature.

Back in Shadows over Innistrad era, we decided to stop adding the "creature" and start removing it when cards were reprinted that were never printed with "creature" in the text. Lord of Atlantis recently had a promotional printing, so boom, no more creature! Merrow Commerce can gain islandwalk now.

Lord of Atlantis was:

Other Merfolk creatures get +1/+1 and have islandwalk. (They can't be blocked as long as defending player controls an Island.)

New text:

Other Merfolk get +1/+1 and have islandwalk. (They can't be blocked as long as defending player controls an Island.)

Planeswalker Reminder Text (Nonfunctional)

Two planeswalkers (Narset Transcendent and Domri, Chaos Bringer) do something special. They use block-specific keywords in their abilities! We don't like reminder text on cool mythic planeswalkers, so they aren't printed with reminder text. Narset is greatly appreciative because her ability probably wouldn't even come close to fitting with reminder text. Most likely, if you encounter one of these planeswalkers, you've probably already encountered other cards with the keyword anyway, so the reminder text isn't super helpful.

However, Oracle has no constraints on text length, so we can give them reminder text for their keywords in Oracle.

Creating Marit Lage (Nonfunctional)

Dark Depths becomes the second card to use the new legendary token template featured on Verix Bladewing. We're not propagating the template back to every legendary-token maker just yet, but the new template has had a generally positive reception so far.

Dark Depths was:

Dark Depths enters the battlefield with ten ice counters on it.
3: Remove an ice counter from Dark Depths.
When Dark Depths has no ice counters on it, sacrifice it. If you do, create a legendary 20/20 black Avatar creature token with flying and indestructible named Marit Lage.

New text:

Dark Depths enters the battlefield with ten ice counters on it.
3: Remove an ice counter from Dark Depths.
When Dark Depths has no ice counters on it, sacrifice it. If you do, create Marit Lage, a legendary 20/20 black Avatar creature token with flying and indestructible.

Time Spiral Zones (Nonfunctional)

For reasons we may never know, Time Spiral reversed the order of "their hand and graveyard." We switched them back to the standard order, but let's keep an eye out in case there's a temporal anomaly causing this.

Time Spiral was:

Exile Time Spiral. Each player shuffles their graveyard and hand into their library, then draws seven cards. You untap up to six lands.

New text:

Exile Time Spiral. Each player shuffles their hand and graveyard into their library, then draws seven cards. You untap up to six lands.

Crazed Firecat and the Tense Verbs (Nonfunctional)

While looking at Mirror March, we realized that it's pretty ambiguous whether you do the thing separately after winning a flip, or simultaneously en masse after you're done flipping. It's always been the latter, so we used the past tense to make it a little clearer and made that change to Crazed Firecat, too.

Crazed Firecat was:

When Crazed Firecat enters the battlefield, flip a coin until you lose a flip. Put a +1/+1 counter on Crazed Firecat for each flip you win.

New text:

When Crazed Firecat enters the battlefield, flip a coin until you lose a flip. Put a +1/+1 counter on Crazed Firecat for each flip you won.


Introduction
Comprehensive Rules Changes
Oracle Changes

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