Magic 2013 Update Bulletin

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Oracle Changes

 What is Oracle?  

Magic is a game made up of more than 12,000 interchangeable pieces—the cards. Over the years, we've felt the need to update the wordings of older cards, because we've introduced a new keyword, or a card was printed with a mistake, or we have a clearer wording for what a card does, etc. Rather than sneak into your room at night and change your cards with a magic marker, we keep a database of the "modern wordings" (what the cards would say if we printed them today) of every tournament-legal card ever printed. These wordings are considered the official wordings of the cards, and accurately reflect their functions.

You can access a card's Oracle wording by looking it up in Gatherer.

Grizzled Wolverine

Interpreting the printed card's activated ability as a triggered ability is reasonable, but it also introduces two notable functional changes. First, the printed wording's requirement of a creature being assigned to block Grizzled Wolverine was lost. Thanks to cards like Dazzling Beauty, a blocking creature isn't required for Grizzled Wolverine to become blocked. Second, its former Oracle text behaved differently when multiple combats were introduced, allowing the ability to trigger more than once a turn. So, we're going to go back to an activated ability with enough restrictions to mirror the original printing as closely as we can.

New Grizzled Wolverine wording:
{oR}: Grizzled Wolverine gets +2/+0 until end of turn. Activate this ability only during the declare blockers step, only if at least one creature is blocking Grizzled Wolverine, and only once each turn.

Dark Sphere

The printed card prevented damage, as you would naturally expect a Dark Sphere to do. The previous Oracle wording instead halves damage, which would be fine if the card were called Light Sphere, but it's not. Welcome back to the dark side, Mr. Sphere!

New Dark Sphere wording:
{oT}, Sacrifice Dark Sphere: The next time a source of your choice would deal damage to you this turn, prevent half that damage, rounded down.

Mishra's War Machine

I'll be the first to admit that this card's Fourth Edition change to suddenly care about whether damage was dealt to you when determining if it should tap or not is a little strange. However, it is the most recent and most prevalent printing of that card, so the Oracle wording should respect that.

New Mishra's War Machine wording:
Banding (Any creatures with banding, and up to one without, can attack in a band. Bands are blocked as a group. If any creatures with banding you control are blocking or being blocked by a creature, you divide that creature's combat damage, not its controller, among any of the creatures it's being blocked by or is blocking.)
At the beginning of your upkeep, Mishra's War Machine deals 3 damage to you unless you discard a card. If Mishra's War Machine deals damage to you this way, tap it.

Goblin Flotilla

This card is receiving a minor nonfunctional change. We're changing the template we use for a triggered ability that triggers each combat by being a little more helpful and saying "at the beginning of each combat." Previously, they just triggered "at the beginning of combat."

New Goblin Flotilla wording:
At the beginning of each combat, unless you pay {oR}, whenever Goblin Flotilla blocks or becomes blocked by a creature this combat, that creature gains first strike until end of turn.

Nether Void

Ah, Nether Void: provider of fun Magic since the days of Legends. Its ability triggers whenever a player casts a spell but asks its controller to pay an additional {o3}. Thanks to Commandeer, these two players may not always be the same. In the Eye of Chaos does a similar thing and refers to "that player," and I think this card should follow suit.

New Nether Void wording:
Whenever a player casts a spell, counter it unless that player pays {o3}.

Wall of Caltrops

The printed version of Wall of Caltrops, in addition to having awesome flavor text, pretty clearly said Wall of Caltrops had to join with one or more other Walls in order to gain banding. So... let's do that.

New Wall of Caltrops wording:
Defender (This creature can't attack.)
Whenever Wall of Caltrops blocks a creature, if at least one other Wall creature is blocking that creature and no non-Wall creatures are blocking that creature, Wall of Caltrops gains banding until end of turn. (If any creatures with banding you control are blocking a creature, you divide that creature's combat damage, not its controller, among any of the creatures it's being blocked by.)

Sewers of Estark

The printed wording of this promo card says "during combat," which is a little ambiguous. It could be interpreted as "during combat this turn" or "during this combat," but we're going with the latter.

New Sewers of Estark wording:
Choose target creature. If it's attacking, it's unblockable this turn. If it's blocking, prevent all combat damage that would be dealt this combat by it and each creature it's blocking.

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