01/25/2012 Feature: "Dark Ascension Update Bulletin"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Feature Article, which goes live Wednesday morning on magicthegathering.com.

Since you mention the card, how come the Oracle text of Nafs Asp does not match its most recent printed wording?  There are certainly many more out there from 4th edition than the original Arabian Nights printing, and I thought that "most recent printing" is the normal rule of thumb for what the card should do now (if we were going by original intent, Winter Orb would still shut off while tapped, etc).


Nafs Asp is a much more interesting card when it can deal potentially recursive damage, as anyone who lost to it in the old Shandalar game may remember.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
My Decks
These are the decks I have assembled at the moment:
Tournament Decks (4)
Kicker Aggro (Invasion Block) Sunforger/Izzet Guildmage Midrange (Ravnica/Time Spiral/Xth Standard) Dragonstorm Combo (Time Spiral/Lorwyn/Xth Standard) Bant Midrange (Lorwyn/Shards/M10 Standard)
Casual Multiplayer Decks (50)
Angel Resurrection Casual Soul Sisters Sindbad's Adventures with Djinn of Wishes Sphinx-Bone Wand Buyback Morph (No Instants or Sorceries) Cabal Coffers Control Zombie Aggro Hungry, Hungry Greater Gargadon/War Elemental Flashfires/Boil/Ruination - Boom! Call of the Wild Teysa, Orzhov Scion with Twilight Drover, Sun Titan, and Hivestone Slivers Rebels Cairn Wanderer Knights Only Gold and () Spells Captain Sisay Toolbox Spellweaver Helix Combo Merfolk Wizards Izzet Guildmage/The Unspeakable Arcane Combo Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and his Wizards Creatureless Wild Research/Reins of Power Madness Creatureless Pyromancer Ascension Anarchist Living Death Anvil of Bogardan Madness Shamen with Goblin Game/Wound Reflection Combo Mass damage Quest for Pure Flame Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle/Clear the Land with 40+ Lands Doubling Season Thallids Juniper Order Ranger Graft/Tokens Elf Archer Druids Equilibrium/Aluren Combo Experiment Kraj Combo Reap Combo False Cure/Kavu Predator Combo Savra, Queen of the Golgari Sacrifice/Dredge Elf Warriors Eight-Post Sneak Attack Where Ancients Tread Zur the Enchanter with Opal creatures Tamanoa/Kavu Predator/Collapsing Borders Esper Aggro Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and his Darksteel Reactor Theft and Control Unearth Aggro Soul's Fire Vampires Devour Tokens Phytohydra with Powerstone Minefield Treefolk Friendly? Questing Phelddagrif Slivers Dragon Arch Fun I'm probably forgetting a few...
Immediate issue with Orcish Mine.

"When the last ore counter is removed from Orcish Mine, destroy enchanted land and [Orcish Mine deals 2 damage to its controller]."

I'm the controller of Orchish Mine, so I take 2 damage? It should read "... deals 2 damage to that lands controller." 
Immediate issue with Orcish Mine.

"When the last ore counter is removed from Orcish Mine, destroy enchanted land and [Orcish Mine deals 2 damage to its controller]."

I'm the controller of Orchish Mine, so I take 2 damage? It should read "... deals 2 damage to that lands controller." 


The templating for a card that deals 2 damage to its controller is just "CARDNAME deals 2 damage to you," so the wording should be fine.
I agree that Orcish Mine should be updated for clarity.  The original wording includes "that land" instead of "its," so it should be updated to match.
In my first update (the Scars of Mirrodinone) we gave ..."Veteran's Voice, Krovikan Plague, and Nature's Chosen a new template to keep the ability on the Aura. We missed these two cards, probably because they enchanted lands. Oops! We'll bring them in line with this update.

New Earthlore wording:


Enchant land you control


Tap enchanted land: Target blocking creature gets +1/+2 until end of turn. Activate this ability only if enchanted land is untapped.



Thank you.

The "enchanted creature gains "{T}:..."" wording always seemed like a clunky workaround. It wasn't until now that I also notice the similar update to Nature's Chosen. Both of changes make me a lot happier than a wording change to a fifteen-year-old card probably should.
Re Ancient Ziggurat and friends: Cheap Ass would like a word with you about casting multiple spells with a single mana.
Re Ancient Ziggurat and friends: Cheap Ass would like a word with you about casting multiple spells with a single mana.

I would have mentioned Mana Reflection instead.

But I can understand why they might not care about that admittedly corner-case interaction.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

We had quite the interesting debate about whether an attacking creature is in a band with itself. After discussing Camel, Albert Camus, and Candace Cameron, we decided it was.



It's just the way you look at the statement. 
all creatures attacking in "a band with Camel"
all "creatures attacking in a band" with Camel 

Take this statement:
All persons in a car driven by Timmy are immume to damage done by deserts

All persons in "a car driven by Timmy"
All "persons in a car" driven by Timmy

You wouldn't say that Timmy is in a car with himself, but he is a person in the car he's driving. You also wouldn't say that Timmy is driving persons (literally) and the statement is looking for such persons that happen to be in a car. 

So I wouldn't say that Camel is affected because he is in a band with itself, but because he's a creature in the band.
I don't understand why the activation restriction is needed on Earthlore and the like. Tapping the enchanted permanent is a cost, so of course you can't activate the ability if it's already tapped. Numerous abilities use "tap another permanent" as a cost and don't specify that the thing being tapped must be untapped to be tapped... What abuse is this preventing exactly?
You're right.  That extra text does nothing.  I'm not sure why it's not in parentheses and italics, since it is effectively reminder text.

Blaze of Glory


Similar to what we did with Acidic Dagger, we're making a small timing adjustment on this card. Now you can cast it during the beginning of combat step as well. It may not help you draw first, but it might help you draw first blood.


New Blaze of Glory wording:


Cast Blaze of Glory only during combat before blockers are declared.


Target creature defending player controls can block any number of creatures this turn. It blocks each attacking creature this turn if able.




How exactly can we play it in the beginning of the combat step, when the spell targets a creature defending player controls? There is no "defending player" until attackers are declared in the declare attackers step, right?
Defending player does exist even at beginning of combat:


506.2. During the combat phase, the active player is the attacking player;
creatures that player controls may attack. During the combat phase of a two-player game,
the nonactive player is the defending player; that player and planeswalkers he or she controls may be attacked.


507. Beginning of Combat Step

507.1. First, if the game being played is a multiplayer game in which the active player's opponent's don't all automatically become defending players,
the active player chooses one of his or her opponents. That player becomes the defending player.
This turn-based action doesn't use the stack. (See rule 506.2.)

(Edited)
We will endure.
Re Ancient Ziggurat and friends: Cheap Ass would like a word with you about casting multiple spells with a single mana.

I would have mentioned Mana Reflection instead.

But I can understand why they might not care about that admittedly corner-case interaction.

It's hardly a corner-case interaction when the Mana Reflection is in the same block as Primal Beyond, and in the same Standard as Ancient Ziggurat.

I'm pretty sure "frequency of play" isn't a criteria by which most of these Oracle changes are made, anyway.

My issue with this change is that it's listed as "nonfunctional," yet it appears to have a real effect on the functionality of these cards.

Additionally, I never had an issue with the wording of these cards. "Spells" plural is refering to the type of cards which are castable by this mana, not the specific spell which ends up being cast by it. The new wording is overly specific and begins to invite questions from new players like, "do I have to name the spell I'm going to cast when I make the mana?"
This may not be the right platform for this, but I have not been able to get an answer:

If a permanent in play becomes an aura, can you have it enchant an appropriate permanent?  I know the rules cover auras entering the battlefield, but what if they are already there?

Specifically, what happens if Soul Seizer transforms in a way other than it's own ability?  Say it became Human, and Moonmist was cast?

I was asking because I was hoping it would be un the update.

Thanks.
I'm pretty sure "frequency of play" isn't a criteria by which most of these Oracle changes are made, anyway.

My issue with this change is that it's listed as "nonfunctional," yet it appears to have a real effect on the functionality of these cards.

Don't worry, it doesn't affect the functionality. If you make two Primal Beyond mana with Mana Reflection, you can use it on two different spells.

English used in card templating often reflects frequency of play, and a certain amount of literal incorrectness is acceptable if it sounds better in the normal case. One example is that the target of Unsummon might never have been in its owner's hand before, but you still "return" it there. Another example is that Aether Membrane will still return a card to its owner's hand if it stops being a creature after Ather Membrane blocks but before the end of combat, despite saying "return that creature".

A perfect parallel to Primal Beyond is Splinter Twin, which says "That token has haste. Exile it at the beginning of the next end step." However, with Parallel Lives in play, both tokens will get haste and both will be exiled.
This may not be the right platform for this, but I have not been able to get an answer:

If a permanent in play becomes an aura, can you have it enchant an appropriate permanent?  I know the rules cover auras entering the battlefield, but what if they are already there?

Specifically, what happens if Soul Seizer transforms in a way other than it's own ability?  Say it became Human, and Moonmist was cast?

I was asking because I was hoping it would be un the update.

Thanks.

This doesn't need an update--the existing rules cover it just fine. If something already on the battlefield becomes an Aura, and it's not already attached to something, that permanent is put into the graveyard, just like any other unattached Aura on the battlefield.

So if the Seizer is transformed through pretty much any means other than its own ability, it'll end up in the graveyard because it's an Aura that's not enchanting anything.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

I also am unhappy with the allegedly "nonfunctional" rules text changes to Ancient Ziggurat, Pillar of the Paruns, and Primal Beyond.

Even without Mana Reflection out, Ancient Ziggurat still produces enough to mana to cast -TWO- Little Girls, and I'd like the rules text to remain as is to reflect that.  As mentioned already in this thread, the new wording makes at least one question more likely to be asked by new players.

And with Mana Reflection out, Pillar of the Paruns can produce enough mana to cast two creatures.  Hybrid mana one drops exist you know.  And don't tell me there aren't one drop elementals like Spark Elemental for Primal Beyond to be used on.


Overall, I think the new wordings would be confusing, unintuitive, and restrict the cards' useage in an unnecessary way.

It's not like they were broken as it was/is.  They're still good, but it's not like they're often seen in top decks, and I think the new wording alters the functioning, even if only in corner cases, involving a certain card or uncards.


In the interest of the cards being more useful, fun, functional, intuitive, more true to their currently most-recent printed wording(s), and less-confusing, I request that they be un-errata'd, and use a wording something like "spend this mana only to cast creature spells" (In the case of Ancient Ziggurat) and similar, but appropriate wordings that allow for the mana the lands produce to be used for the casting of multiple spells of the appropriate variety in the case of Pillar of the Paruns and Primal Beyond.
Un- cards like Little Girl don't exist as far as the rules are concerned, so they're not relevant.

As for Mana Reflection, I see three possibilities:

1. It's actually an intentionally functional change that was listed on the wrong page.  The mana can no longer be used for multiple spells.

2. It's an unintentionally functional change.  The possibility of Mana Reflection wasn't considered, and they actually don't want that interaction to change.  In this case, they'll either pull the errata before the update goes live or reverse it next update.

3. It really is a nonfunctional change.  There are many cases where singular vs. plural is just a stylistic choice without actual gameplay meaning.  Gush still works if the two Islands have different owners, Hoverguard Sweepers still works if the two permanents have the same owner, and Geist of Saint Traft still works even if there are multiple tokens (due to Doubling Season).  I think this is most likely.

I don't think we should jump to the worst conclusion about this.
Yeah, say you add 2 mana with Ancient Ziggurat. Then spend the first on Llanowar Elves. Are you spending it to cast a creature spell? Yes, so condition satisfied. Then you spend the second on Avacyn's Pilgrim. Are you spending it to cast a creature spell? Yes, so condition satisfied.
@Adeyke:  On the subject of Un-cards, many players still play with them, and often have fun with them.  Besides that, this change was listed as nonfunctional (Which Wizards should probably clarify, and explain why it's true, if it actually is.), so I think they should be taken into account here.
Consider how this rule interacts with cards like Hall of the Bandit Lord: If you have Reflection out, this rule would require to use both mana produced on a single creature. If you can't, the mana's rider is wasted. The same is true of Boseiju, Who Shelters All, but even worse is Untaidake, the Cloud Keeper, where the restriction would prevent you from dropping two different legendary creatures, regardless of whether you controlled Mana Reflection.
"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
This may not be the right platform for this, but I have not been able to get an answer:

If a permanent in play becomes an aura, can you have it enchant an appropriate permanent?  I know the rules cover auras entering the battlefield, but what if they are already there?

Specifically, what happens if Soul Seizer transforms in a way other than it's own ability?  Say it became Human, and Moonmist was cast?

I was asking because I was hoping it would be un the update.

Thanks.

This doesn't need an update--the existing rules cover it just fine. If something already on the battlefield becomes an Aura, and it's not already attached to something, that permanent is put into the graveyard, just like any other unattached Aura on the battlefield.

So if the Seizer is transformed through pretty much any means other than its own ability, it'll end up in the graveyard because it's an Aura that's not enchanting anything.



@zammm, Thanks.  I couldn't find the relevant rule(s) in the Aura/Enchantment section of CR.  But finally got to it in the SBE.  -_-
[obvious fishing for followers]As my Twitter followers already know[/obvious fishing for followers], the Pillar of Paruns family of changes was indeed nonfunctional. The restriction applies to each mana individually, not collectively. You can spend the mana on different creature (or whatever) spells.
[obvious fishing for followers]As my Twitter followers already know[/obvious fishing for followers], the Pillar of Paruns family of changes was indeed nonfunctional. The restriction applies to each mana individually, not collectively. You can spend the mana on different creature (or whatever) spells.


Excellent clarification, but how does one read this from the phrasing without having to parse it in an unusual way? How does one refute a judge's interpretation without, say, an example in the rules? (the same situation that leads to adding the [unnecesary, but useful] rule for creatures with undying having +1/+1 counters and -1/-1 counters on them at the time they go to a graveyard).
"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
@Adeyke:  On the subject of Un-cards, many players still play with them, and often have fun with them.  Besides that, this change was listed as nonfunctional (Which Wizards should probably clarify, and explain why it's true, if it actually is.), so I think they should be taken into account here.



People play with Un- cards, but the rules don't support them, and many Un- cards intentionally violate the rules.  Consider, for example, reminder text.  It has absolutely no rules significance, so adding or removing it is always a nonfunctional change... except if you consider Duh.

Playing Un- means that you reject the need for the rules, so you can't expect them to still help you out.
Is there any reason that all of the Kjeldoran Soldiers were errata'd to be Humans, but the Soldiers generated by Kjeldoran Outpost weren't also granted to be Humans? You'd think if Kjeldor is full of Humans, that the Outpost would spit out 1/1 Human Soldiers. I guess this would also be true Darien, King of Kjeldor. Similarly, why isn't the token generated by Kjeldoran Home Guard a Human Deserter?
Is there any reason that all of the Kjeldoran Soldiers were errata'd to be Humans, but the Soldiers generated by Kjeldoran Outpost weren't also granted to be Humans? You'd think if Kjeldor is full of Humans, that the Outpost would spit out 1/1 Human Soldiers. I guess this would also be true Darien, King of Kjeldor. Similarly, why isn't the token generated by Kjeldoran Home Guard a Human Deserter?



Because tokens usually have only one type. Elspeth, Knight-Errant doesn't make humans. Conversely, the Innistrad token makers like Gather the Townsfolk don't make Soldiers.

Which I think is a mistake, but it's their current policy.  
Is there any reason that all of the Kjeldoran Soldiers were errata'd to be Humans, but the Soldiers generated by Kjeldoran Outpost weren't also granted to be Humans? You'd think if Kjeldor is full of Humans, that the Outpost would spit out 1/1 Human Soldiers. I guess this would also be true Darien, King of Kjeldor. Similarly, why isn't the token generated by Kjeldoran Home Guard a Human Deserter?



Because tokens usually have only one type. Elspeth, Knight-Errant doesn't make humans. Conversely, the Innistrad token makers like Gather the Townsfolk don't make Soldiers.

Which I think is a mistake, but it's their current policy.  


Lorwyn Block showed that tokens with two types do not make the game more problematic or difficult to understand. Token generators that could adapt to different deck structures simply made them more interesting, such as Preeminent Captain in soldier decks that only tangentially featured some Kithkin, where Field Marshall etc. could be used to pump those creatures regardless. This de-emphasis that occured immediately after Eventide indicates a severe disconnect from the Grand Creature Type Update, suggesting further than it was publicity, not mechanical interconnectedness, that prompted the Update. Their "current policy" is one of flux and dissension, and someone else's opinion is controlling the current direction.
"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
Is there any reason that all of the Kjeldoran Soldiers were errata'd to be Humans, but the Soldiers generated by Kjeldoran Outpost weren't also granted to be Humans? You'd think if Kjeldor is full of Humans, that the Outpost would spit out 1/1 Human Soldiers. I guess this would also be true Darien, King of Kjeldor. Similarly, why isn't the token generated by Kjeldoran Home Guard a Human Deserter?



Because tokens usually have only one type. Elspeth, Knight-Errant doesn't make humans. Conversely, the Innistrad token makers like Gather the Townsfolk don't make Soldiers.

Which I think is a mistake, but it's their current policy.  


Lorwyn Block showed that tokens with two types do not make the game more problematic or difficult to understand. Token generators that could adapt to different deck structures simply made them more interesting, such as Preeminent Captain in soldier decks that only tangentially featured some Kithkin, where Field Marshall etc. could be used to pump those creatures regardless. This de-emphasis that occured immediately after Eventide indicates a severe disconnect from the Grand Creature Type Update, suggesting further than it was publicity, not mechanical interconnectedness, that prompted the Update. Their "current policy" is one of flux and dissension, and someone else's opinion is controlling the current direction.



Lorwyn is not exactly a good example in the category 'does not make the game more problematic or difficult to understand'. It kinda is the direct cause of New World Order. The entire game was de-emphasized after Eventide. 
Is there any reason that all of the Kjeldoran Soldiers were errata'd to be Humans, but the Soldiers generated by Kjeldoran Outpost weren't also granted to be Humans? You'd think if Kjeldor is full of Humans, that the Outpost would spit out 1/1 Human Soldiers. I guess this would also be true Darien, King of Kjeldor. Similarly, why isn't the token generated by Kjeldoran Home Guard a Human Deserter?


Because tokens usually have only one type. Elspeth, Knight-Errant doesn't make humans. Conversely, the Innistrad token makers like Gather the Townsfolk don't make Soldiers.
Which I think is a mistake, but it's their current policy.  


Lorwyn Block showed that tokens with two types do not make the game more problematic or difficult to understand. Token generators that could adapt to different deck structures simply made them more interesting, such as Preeminent Captain in soldier decks that only tangentially featured some Kithkin, where Field Marshall etc. could be used to pump those creatures regardless. This de-emphasis that occured immediately after Eventide indicates a severe disconnect from the Grand Creature Type Update, suggesting further than it was publicity, not mechanical interconnectedness, that prompted the Update. Their "current policy" is one of flux and dissension, and someone else's opinion is controlling the current direction.


Lorwyn is not exactly a good example in the category 'does not make the game more problematic or difficult to understand'. It kinda is the direct cause of New World Order. The entire game was de-emphasized after Eventide. 


I think that Lorwyn Block has become a red-headed stepchild of sorts, introducting a functionality that was recursively added to the game (multiple creature subtypes matter) but then ignored after the fact. We still have to deal with the effects, but the cause is now essentially ignored. This also means that other types of cards that could care about creature types and further intereffectiveness of various cards (such as Goblin Lackey + Boggart Shenanigans) would be left to the wayside, because they would not pick up on it later except to detail a rather horrible and over-weighted creature type.

Since Lorwyn, creature-type matters effects have not only been emphasized, Tribal has been used, but never employed in such a way as to matter recursively: further cards from Magic's past don't matter. In this way, the GCTU was essentially forgotten, much as a publicity works project or stunt meant to engage the public in thinking their actions and wishes mattered. That project, and the laypublics involvement, should have shown to MTG R&D that Triba;l is both popular and materially affects the game in ways that only matter to two subsets: 1, the players who like it, and 2, the guys who have to figure out if the addition of a pair of words on the type line makes the game "too wordy." In response to the second, I can only say (as I have before) that the loss of Tribal and its accordant subtype framing the card could merely have influenced the design of the card, and no further. It would have enabled more fun for some players, and have NO relevance to those who didn't care about it.

The final element of this, and MaRo's response to Tribal lovers, was that "what cards would we put it on?" That's a good question. The first is: any and all token makers. The second is: any cards that produces or references in its name or other [non-flavor] text a token or a creature type. Third is: references to a creature type would gain a potential "enemy" type when such is required, much how Eyeblight's Ending is an Elf card and references non-Elf types.

Zombie Apocalypse is the cardholder for a card that should have been Tribal Sorcery - Zombie, and indeed the other three big token makers, Army of the Damned and Moan of the Unhallowed would have qualified. Intangible Virtue would not, because it doesn't necessarily care about Spirits, while Gather the Townsfolk would have Human as a Tribal subtype, and so forth.
"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
I don't understand why the activation restriction is needed on Earthlore and the like. Tapping the enchanted permanent is a cost, so of course you can't activate the ability if it's already tapped. Numerous abilities use "tap another permanent" as a cost and don't specify that the thing being tapped must be untapped to be tapped... What abuse is this preventing exactly?


I also do not understand this.  Anyone know what's going on here?
It's not there because it needs to be--it doesn't. Presumably, it's just intended to make things clearer, the same way that cards like Nullmage Shepherd say you need to tap "untapped" things, even though it's redundant.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

Yeah it's much clearer. If I can target a tapped creature with Gideon's Lawkeeper, it's better to say I need untapped creatures for a cost. 
I still hold that it should be reminder text, though.  Unlike Nullmage Shepherd's "untapped", the Earthlore restriction is its own complete sentence.  It would be simple to just surround it in parentheses and italicize it.
Well, perhaps I was incorrectly confused.  It looks like all card, which have a cost that includes tapping a card other than themselves, specifically state that the card being tapped must be untapped.  For example, see Chosen of Markov.
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