Magic: The Gathering Rulings & Errata - Sept. 2003

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This document should hopefull clarify some of the problems we've been having the past couple months:

_Magic: The Gathering_(R) Rulings & Errata
A Summary of Recent Rulings
September 2003
Compiled by Paul Barclay and Jeff Jordan


* Orcish Spy (Portuguese)

The Eighth Edition card Orcish Spy was mistranslated into Portuguese. Its reminder text says "(Put those cards back in any order.)" The reminder text should be "(Put them back in the same order.)"

The _Oracle_(TM) text of Orcish Spy is:
Orcish Spy
Creature -- Orc
{T}: Look at the top three cards of target player's library.

* Llanowar Behemoth (Japanese)

The Eighth Edition card Llanowar Behemoth has a typographical error in Japanese. Its ability reads "+1/+ until end of turn"; it should read "+1/+1 until end of turn."

The Oracle text of Llanowar Behemoth is:
Llanowar Behemoth
Creature -- Behemoth
Tap an untapped creature you control: Llanowar Behemoth gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

* Merchant Scroll (Japanese)

The Eighth Edition card Merchant Scroll was misprinted in Japanese. Its type line reads "Merchant Scroll"; the type line should read "Sorcery." Merchant Scroll is a sorcery and should be played as such.

The Oracle text of Merchant Scroll is:
Merchant Scroll
Search your library for a blue instant card, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.


The July 1, 2003 version of the _Magic_(R) Comprehensive Rules includes an error in the section about continuous effects. The rule for applying layers of continuous effects (rule 418.5a) caused control-changing effects to interact incorrectly with type-changing effects. The corrected version of this rule is as follows:

418.5a The values of an object's characteristics are determined by starting with the actual object, then applying continuous effects in a series of layers in the following order: (1) copy effects (see rule 503, "Copying Objects"), (2) control-changing effects, (3) text-changing effects, (4) type-, subtype-, and supertype-changing effects, (5) all other continuous effects, except those that change power or toughness, and (6) power- or toughness-changing effects.
Inside each layer, apply effects from characteristic-setting abilities first, then effects from all other abilities. For power- or toughness-changing effects, apply changes from counters after changes from characteristic-setting abilities. See also the rules for timestamp order and dependency (rules 418.5b-418.5g).

* If a single ability creates multiple different effects and those effects could be applied in more than one layer (such as an ability that creates effects that set permanent type, color, and power/toughness), apply each of the effects in the appropriate layer.

* The revised rule means that nearly all continuous effects work as players expect them to.

* Some effects, such as Humility's effect, have been clarified by this change. Humility doesn't affect any type-, supertype- or subtype-changing effects at all, so the scenario of Opalescence + Opalescence + Humility, which had been really confusing, is now simple to handle. Opalescence creates a type-changing effect. Humility creates an "other" effect and a power/toughness-changing effect. Opalescence's effect is always applied before Humility's effects. As a result, all enchantments are 1/1 creatures with no abilities if Humility and one or more Opalescences are in play.


A number of minor changes were made to the Oracle card reference in conjunction with the release of the Eighth Edition core set and the July 1 Comprehensive Rules update. (Note that all the English-language Eighth Edition cards match Oracle at this time.)

1) The wording for all cards with the kicker ability was changed from "if you paid the [cost] kicker cost" to "if the [cost] kicker cost was paid." This clarifies the interaction of those cards with control-changing cards.

2) The template for adding colorless mana to your mana pool has changed from "add one colorless mana to your mana pool" to "add {1} to your mana pool."

3) The template for adding colored mana to your mana pool has changed from "add one green mana to your mana pool" to "add {G} to your mana pool."

4) The rampage ability now triggers when the creature becomes blocked, not when it becomes blocked by two or more creatures. "Rampage [X]" means "Whenever this creature becomes blocked, it gets +X/+X until end of turn for each creature blocking it beyond the first." This doesn't significantly affect what the rampage ability does.

5) Coercion and Mind Slash have been lined up with similar cards, such as Duress and Lobotomy. They now say "Target opponent reveals his or her hand," not "Look at target player's hand."

Target opponent reveals his or her hand. Choose a card from it. That player discards that card.

Mind Slash
{B}, Sacrifice a creature: Target opponent reveals his or her hand. Choose a card from it. That player discards that card. Play this ability only any time you could play a sorcery.

6) Mask of the Mimic has been changed to say "nontoken creature," not "creature card in play."

Mask of the Mimic
As an additional cost to play Mask of the Mimic, sacrifice a creature.
Search your library for a card with the same name as target nontoken creature and put that card into play. Then shuffle your library.

7) Death Pit Offering's comes-into-play ability has become a triggered ability.

Death Pit Offering
When Death Pit Offering comes into play, sacrifice all creatures you control.
Creatures you control get +2/+2.

8) Thieves' Auction's wording has been clarified.

Thieves' Auction
Set aside all nontoken permanents. Starting with you, each player chooses one of the cards set aside and puts it into play tapped under his or her control. Repeat this process until all those cards have been chosen.

9) Tombstone Stairwell now destroys all tokens it put into play, without specifying the creature types of those tokens. This makes the card work sensibly with Artificial Evolution.

Tombstone Stairwell
Enchant World
Cumulative upkeep {1}{B}
At the beginning of each upkeep, if Tombstone Stairwell is in play, each player puts into play a 2/2 black Tombspawn Zombie creature token with haste for each creature card in his or her graveyard.
At end of turn or when Tombstone Stairwell leaves play, destroy all tokens put into play with it. They can't be regenerated.

10) Volrath's Shapeshifter has been changed from a copy effect to a characteristic-setting effect. This fixes many of its strange interactions with other cards and rules.

Volrath's Shapeshifter
Creature -- Shapeshifter
As long as Volrath's Shapeshifter is in play and the top card of your graveyard is a creature card, Volrath's Shapeshifter has that card's name, mana cost, color, types, supertypes, subtypes, power, and toughness. It has that card's abilities in addition to its own.
{2}: Discard a card from your hand.

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