Clockwork Beast

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Clockwork Beast's Oracle text doesn't match its printed text.

1) The printed text says that it can never have more than seven +1/+0 counters on it, a wording that Rasputin Dreamweaver uses in Oracle. The current Oracle for Clockwork Beast changed that to say that its activated ability can't put more than seven +1/+0 countes on it. This changes its interaction with a few cards.

2) The Oracle wording for the activated ability says you may put "up to X" counters on the Beast. The printed wording just says "Put X +1/+0 counters on Clockwork Beast."
Rules Advisor
There are probably a couple thousand cards whose Oracle text doesn't match the printed text.  The Oracle text is considered the most up-to-date, and is the text you should use.
The current Oracle text for Clockwork Beast is a functional change from its latest printed wording. From what I understand, that's against current policy. The first ability had to change from "When this enters the battlefield" to "As this enters the battlefield" in order to work properly, but its most recent printed wording is supported by the rules.
Rules Advisor
Going by Fifth Edition as the last printed text, the restriction is part of the activated ability. It also must match Clockwork Avian, Clockwork Steed, and Clockwork Swarm.

I prefer the restriction being part of the ability that adds counters, and I think Rasputin Dreamweaver should work the same way. Then they can remove the rule and the state-based action that they added just for that card.

New Rasputin Dreamweaver wording:
At the beginning of your upkeep, if Rasputin started the turn untapped, put a dream counter on it unless Rasputin has seven or more dream counters on it.
The most recent printing of all the cards mentioned in this thread are in Masters Edition sets on Magic Online. Those sets count.

Del Laugel

Editing manager, Magic TCG

The most recent printing of all the cards mentioned in this thread are in Masters Edition sets on Magic Online. Those sets count.


Fair enough.

I've seen this policy before. I wonder - could you elaborate on why MTGO-only releases like that do in fact count? Because the motivation for following "most recent printing" seems to be that new players might find a second-hand card somewhere and have to guess what it does. MTGO doesn't have that problem because the fixed wording can be rolled out to all cards in all players' collections instantaneously. It also doesn't have an image on Gatherer to act as a static copy of the bad wording.
If MTGO sets do "count" for wordings, why was Winter Orb changed from the way it had been working for 17 years?  I don't think you can say that the MTGO wording "counts" for Clockwork Beast, but somehow not for Winter Orb.  Obviously it doesn't seem to count all that much.  That being said, I think Clockwork Beast is fine as is.

On the note of Rasputin Dreamweaver, I agree that removing the rule created just for this card and giving him an alternative wording like Clockwork Beast supported by the printed text would be preferrable to keeping him as is.  We can't have cards unintentionally making whole sections of the rules for themselves just because of someone's interpretation of the old text.  Mindslaver getting it's own rule is one thing, but no one set out to do "something crazy" with this guy back then.   Sasaya, Orochi Ascendant is another one with an unintentional rule created for her that could be cleaned up.

(P.S. I still think Winter Orb decision is absolutely incorrect and the only errata decision of the past few years I very strongly disagree with.)
The following is an excerpt from the discussion that preceded the Oracle team's decision to consider MTGO printings when making decisions about the Oracle wording of a card.


In some real sense, the Oracle update is to benefit the people who play with our cards, especially the consumers of the game.  Our MTGO consumers are such people.
 
When a card is changed (especially an old one), many paper players continue playing as if there was no change to Oracle.  MTGO players have a very different experience.  At some point the game server is updated to reflect the new Oracle text, and the cards in their decks do something different than they used to.
 
One way of thinking about it is the card does what it says it does.  But I used to have a card in my collection that said something else, and its behavior matched the text that was displayed at that point.  If we accept the "it does what it says" model, then it seems my collection is not so stable.  This can be a significant negative to the online collectible experience.  This is enough of a negative that it should be reflected in our meetings (when the online and physical release dates are significantly different, not the normal few weeks).



MTGO printings are now one of the many factors that the Oracle team considers when deciding what a card's Oracle wording will be. Those factors will be weighted differently for different cards.

Winter Orb is a simple and exciting card that will continue to appear at kitchen tables as people discover (or rediscover) the Magic game and acquire the physical collections of their friends and relatives.

The Clockwork creatures are simply a mess. "Lost counters" are flavorful but ambiguous. The design teams for both Fourth Edition and Fifth Edition were liberal about making functional changes to reprints. Doubling Season now exists. The Oracle team has spent enough time looking at these cards over the years, and there's no perfect solution. At this point, they are what they are.

Rasputin Dreamweaver will never be printed anywhere except Legends and MTGO. It's somewhat appealing as a commander. The similarity of one of its mechanics to a mechanic found on a cycle of artifact creatures in different sets was considered, but it didn't override other factors.

Del Laugel

Editing manager, Magic TCG

Thanks for the response, Del, I appreciate your explanation.
Yes, thank you very much for the insight. That makes a bit more sense now.