The Kitchen Table #201 — Retconning Magic

Read Abe Sargent every Thursday... at StarCityGames.com!
I am writing today’s article about some issues that I have with recent changes that Wizards have made, or chosen not to make, in light of Tenth Edition, Master’s Edition, and more. That’s all and well and good… however, Wizards had to go and change the nature of this article between its writing and its publication. I wrote about topics that have a resolution already. Well, some of them at least. That’s okay, because I can highlight some changes n places where they matter, and you can read my false predictions…

I am writing today’s article about some issues that I have with recent changes that Wizards have made, or chosen not to make, in light of Tenth Edition, Master’s Edition, and more.

That’s all and well and good… however, Wizards had to go and change the nature of this article between its writing and its publication. I wrote about topics that have a resolution already. Well, some of them at least. That’s okay, because I can highlight some changes n places where they matter, and you can read my false predictions. It’ll be cool. New comments coming after the writing of the initial article are in italics.

Before we get into all of that, however, let’s head into the normal Abe in London section. This week it’s a little bit long. Don’t worry, I didn’t skimp on the meat of the article, which still chimed in at ten pages. The Abe in London section is four pages, so if you are not interested in the Exploits of Abe, then slide on down to the part where it says “Begin Actual Article.”

Abe in London part VIII

Hello, and welcome to the next Abe in London. Allow me to catch you up on the happenings at the greatest city I’ve ever been visited.

Have you ever been listening to one of your favorite songs and you totally realize that, for the first time, it is speaking right at you? I was riding the subway replacement bus to the prerelease and listening to my MP3 player. I was suddenly struck by a certain song that I’ve had for years. I was moved to tears on this bus. I bet everybody thought I was crazy.

The song was Jubilation (This Thing Called Life), by Anything Box.

With lyrics such as “My name is all I have for an offering,” and a chorus that goes, “when you feel stranded, don’t take for granted, this thing called life,” I’m sure you can see why I was especially touched. That it came out of nowhere on my MP3 player with hundreds of songs, at just this time… that’s crazy.

Today (Sunday) I was surprised, because we had a Farmer’s Market here on the High Street in Walthamstow. It was a small sad little thing compared to the typical street market that we normally have — it was only ten booths. One booth butchered a pig and roasted it on the street. They cut off the meat and put it on a bun, along with some grilled onions. How much for this delectable and unusual fare? Two pounds a sandwich! It was among the best pork I’ve ever eaten.

If anyone thinks that London is an unfriendly place, allow me to set them straight. I thought London to be one of the warmest places I’d ever been when I visited previously. That’s one reason why I wanted to come here — it felt warm, inviting, and like home.

In the past week, there have been two groups of people who have rallied to help find me lodging. Professors at Middlesex University have been really pushing contacts to the next level, and I am still getting e-mails from various people. Some of these contacts are simply bad timing. One, for example, is leaving his flat in a month and said I could have it, but that obviously won’t do.

I’ve also had Magic players at the prerelease try to get me help. Even Craig gave me an offer of his spare room in Leeds (although that’s simply too far away to be feasible, I still appreciate the offer). [To be honest, I was simply looking for card-sorting slave labor — Craig, joking of course.]

This week has been the biggest emotional roller coaster of my life. There are times when I know that I am going home. The chances of something breaking my way are so unlikely that nothing will change. Then, on Thursday night last week, my Internet popped back up after being down for a week. During that time, I got an e-mail with a new website I hadn’t tried. That website had a bunch of places to go to, and over the next five hours, I poured over every positing I could find. I was re-energized.

On Wednesday afternoon, I was so sure that I was going home that I bought a digital camera and began taking pictures, much like a tourist. I also bought souvenirs for friends. By Thursday night, I was refreshed and ready to tackle the new problem.

Between late Thursday night and Friday day when I continued my Internet explorations, I must have sent out thirty e-mails to various places. I sent them all over. Beggars can’t be choosers, so any flat in my price range, available now, and near a tube station got an e-mail.

I figured that this shotgun approach might be my best chance.

At the prerelease, fellow writer Rich Hagon even went so far as to contact family on my behalf. Between the warmth of the Magic community and the warmth of Middlesex, you could begin to tell that people really cared. This is London, ladies and gentlemen.

On Sunday, it began to seem like the eleventh hour. By Monday night, I would know if I would be going home earlier Tuesday morning and calling it quits, or sticking around.

I received an e-mail from a gentleman with a flat right here in Walthamstow. It seems that a professor at school talked to an MA student, who then talked to a friend who had a flat for renting. Now, it didn’t have many of the things I was looking for, like Internet access and a group of people with whom I could socialize. It was also just above my max budget. Yet, despite all of that, it was a place. I called him up and we met at his place on Sunday evening. I told him I was interested but he told me that some others had come by to take a look at it, and a lady was already interested. However, I thought we hit it off smashingly, since I managed to get in how my landlord screwed me and I needed a place badly. He also mentioned that he went to church, and we talked about that for a while. I figured that he’d choose me because we had enough in common that he would feel comfortable with me in the house.

I asked if he could contact me later that evening if there was a resolution. I was so close. I waited for his e-mail, clicking refresh every ten minutes.

At 8:49pm, my wireless went down.

Now, it was almost 9pm on a Sunday night. There was nowhere to go for Internet. The cafes were closed. This was possibly the worst timed connection downtime of my life. I was jamming F5 as quickly as my hands would manage. Reload. Reload. Reload.

9:04 pm. Fifteen minutes flew by. I decided to get some fresh air. I grabbed my stuff and went for a walk to clear the air and my angst. I grabbed a Coke with Orange from a local cafe that was still open. I took a couple of pictures of Selbourne Walk and headed back.

I arrived back at 9:42 pm. I checked, and the Internet was back up. I hit F5 over the mailbox page, and up came a new message. It was from him.

I clicked the e-mail, and it came up.

I literally could not bear to read it, so I closed my laptop for a few minutes and paced in a circle in my room. In two days, I’m either in London or in America. My dream is saved or forever gone. All of my sacrifice may come down to this one e-mail from this one stranger in Walthamstow. One simple little e-mail with one simple little sentence. I’ll even quote it for you:

“I am sorry to tell you that I have let the room out to the other person.”

I wept. Welcome to my roller coaster.

However, after Sunday, there comes a Monday. There was a small chance that things would come through, no matter how distant it may have seemed.

Every moment on Monday was a struggle with the clock. 10am, nothing. 11am, nothing. Noon, still nothing. 1pm however, brought an e-mail. It was from one of the people that I had e-mailed on Thursday night. This was a person with an immediate space.

I opened it with vigor. It told me that the room was no longer available.

2 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm, 5 pm all pass by. Landlords have gone home and offices have closed. Now, only a private renter or a group of flatmates can save me. 6 pm comes and goes. I decided to grab some food.

For what may be my final meal in London, I swing by Rice N’ Spice. If you remember from last week, I told you how this was a great place, with an Arabic staff and an owner or manager who dresses in full Islamic dress. They’re very friendly to me, well above the expected. I have Chicken Curry. My final London meal?

I arrived to find 28 Arabic people milling around, eating, and waiting for food. The place is popping. And yet, despite being the odd one in the restaurant, I felt perfectly comfortable there. The place was very busy. It took ten minutes for me to get to order, because of the crowd. The manager apologized to me, because someone quit on him that morning so things were a little slow. He set out a plate of dates and apple slices for anybody in the restaurant to take. A small bowl is beside the plate for the date pits. I have my first date. Tastes kinda off for a fruit. I don’t have another.

There was an opening for a job. If I could find a flat, I could apply here for a position. I sat down to eat at the place, and during my wait and dinner, not a single person came in who wasn’t Arabian.

I finished my chicken curry and complimented the meal. It was very tasty.

7:37 pm.

I arrived back at my flat to find no last-second e-mails. There was no call from the governor to save my life.

Six years in Michigan, and I left with a lunch, a Magic night, and a kiss.

Twelve days in London, and I left with a dinner, a prerelease, and a tear.

There is some symmetry there.

Why am I going home? Couldn’t I find some temporary accommodation until more permanent accommodation arrived? Sure. This was a financial decision. In order to come to London, I took out $28,500 in loans. I can cancel the $20,500 from Sallie Mae without paying a cent extra if I go home before school begins. I have an $8,000 loan that I have already deposited, and I can pay that back right now with a 3% reimbursement fee, or 240 dollars.

If I delay going home for another month, if I decide to leave, then I will have used my loans to pay for an additional month of flat hopping plus half of my tuition for the year, which would be about $9,000-$10,000. That’s how much it would cost me to stay for another few weeks.

How much have I paid so far? $2000 to the school to secure my placement. Almost $1000 in plane travel. $725 for my laptop. Almost $600 for rent for two weeks. About $200 in living expenses and things I needed when I arrived, like soap, a fan, blankets, and food. Around $100 in miscellaneous expenses, like my subway fare or things I bought to take with me. $100 for a digital camera and memory stick.

In all, I’ve shelled out around $4750 with an additional fee of $240 to pay back my loan, which I would owe eventually anyway. That’s around five thousand dollars that I have invested. And in a month, I’d have invested another nine or ten thousand dollars in books, cell phone, rent, and tuition.

In life, you have to know when to not throw good money after bad. Don’t be the gambler who expectedly lost at blackjack for an hour, so decided to gamble even more money to win it all back. Know when to say goodbye.

Yes, this is the end of a dream. But, my life goes on, and you’ll still see me writing this column from week to week, so don’t fret. For those I met in London, from Matt and Klaude to Rich and Martin and many more, have a great time! You really do live in the greatest city I’ve ever been visited.

Begin Actual Article

Aura of Silence

I was confused for the longest time, and I shared my confusion in the previous series regarding Aura of Silence. Aura can be the banner of my confusion, although we will move on to other cards in a bit.

Aura of Silence was initially printed in Weatherlight, with the phrase “target opponent.” It clearly only worked on one opponent in multiplayer, and would be stopped by effects like Ivory Mask.

Then, at some point in time, the Oracle changed it to “your opponents.” Who knows why? Maybe they wanted to give Aura of Silence more umph in multiplayer. Maybe they decided that Ivory Mask was too good against it and they wanted it to get around the Mask. I don’t know if anyone still working at Wizards even knows.

The result was that you had a card with an Oracle wording that worked on all opponents when it said target opponent on the card.

Then they printed the foil promo with the new wording.

Wizards says that they have a policy of changing cards to their original wording and intent as they get around to them. They also state that sometimes they will go with a card that has more versions of one wording in print over another wording, even if that was not the original wording, like Relic Bind.

Relic Bind was banned in early Magic tournaments, because as printed, you could enchant a Basalt Monolith and keep tapping and untapping it with its own mana, thus killing your opponent with the Relic Bind. Later they decided to errata Relic Bind to only be playable on opponent’s artifacts. It was printed in a main set with the new wording, and thus there were more versions of the new wording that the old, so they agreed to not change it back to the original intent.

This gives us three operating principles:

1) Change cards back to original intent as much as possible. If rules have changed since the introduction of the card, then change the card to do what it originally did (see Mistform Wall or Master of Arms as examples).

2) When a card has more versions in print of a different wording, the most common cards in print dictate the status of the card, even if they came later.

3) Wizards can’t do this great Oracle change all at once. They have to do it over time, as they get to it.

With these principles in mind, what form should Aura of Silence have had in 10th? Because it had more versions in print of the original wording than the promo version, they should have gone back to the old wording, principle #2 agrees with an old wording. Principle #1 obviously agrees as well. Principle #3 points out that as a card that sees reprinting, this is the perfect time to make the change.

So why is the Aura of Silence in Tenth continuing to use the “your opponents” wording?

They can never go back to the original wording now, because Principle #3 will now take into account the new 10th Edition cards.

You have to believe that at some point in time, they had a conversation about Aura of Silence’s wording when considering whether or not to include it in 10th. Now it will have the new wording for the rest of the life of the card.

They were inconsistent in regards to their principles. In my opinion, they screwed up.

This is not the only place. Today I want to talk about the Auras of Silence of Magic. Cards left behind by policies and changes made recently by the powers that be.

The Zombie

In comics, there is a phenomenon where writers will often go back in time and rewrite a character’s background. This is referred to as a retcon. Some writers retcon a character by adding more or fleshing out issues, like J. Michael Strycynski did with Spider-Man, and that is fine. Other writers will rewrite whole swathes of the character, and change things around in terrible ways, like Brian Michael Bendis.

It seems like some of the recent changes are like comic retcons. If I create a format called Before Ice Age and Fourth, and the only cards allowed were pre-Ice Age and pre-Fourth versions of cards, I want to get a format similar to the one in which I played.

Now, I understand that the rules of the game have changed, so things like the damage prevention step and interrupts are different. I’m comfortable with my format having these rules-based changes. These are good retcons.

What I don’t like are the bad retcons, that change the interaction between cards.

As of the Masters Edition Oracle change, The Fallen is now a zombie. Before I talk about this decision, allow me to state for the record that I am totally okay with type revision in those cases where the previous type was very specific and poorly chosen. Brothers of Fire and Sisters of the Flame are classic examples, as is Uncle Istvan. Brothers of Fire are now becoming human shaman, which makes sense to me. I have no problem with this.

Here is the creature type principle, as I understand it:

4) When Wizards gets to it, they change obscure creature types into supported types in order to revamp the type line.

Changing The Fallen to zombie is a bad retcon. Why? Well, at the time The Fallen was printed, there was already a lord for zombies in print, named Zombie Master. Don’t you think that they might have intentionally chosen to make The Fallen not a zombie so it wouldn’t gain swampwalk and regeneration? Even if they didn’t discuss it, it was an impact of The Fallen.

Now, if I have a The Dark-Revised draft, the draft will play differently because the card’s type has changed to a relevant type at that time.

Imagine if they had changed Brothers of Fire to goblins. Now The Dark drafts which are chock full of cards like Orc General, Goblin Caves, Goblin Shrine, and Tividar’s Crusade would be different. It would be wrong, in a way totally different from changing the rules of the game would be wrong.

What would I have made The Fallen? I would have left Khabal Ghoul as a ghoul, and made The Fallen a ghoul. Black could use a nasty undead creature that is not a zombie (they’ve gotten too ubiquitous). Maybe they’ll want to print a set with a bunch of ghouls in a year or two. Besides, if they keep changing ghouls to zombies, eventually Scavenging Ghoul will be zombie-ized. Then they will be telling us that the original set included two zombies for Zombie Master when it didn’t.

Here’s where one of my predictions came true. Scavenging Ghoul was zombie-ized in the latest Oracle revamp for Lorwyn. I stand by this crucial point. There are creature types like ghoul that are separate and distinct from current types. By retconning all ghouls into zombies, they not only create combos that did not exist before in sets with draft and such, but they also prevent themselves from having a ghoul block in the future. Suppose they want to revisit an Arabian theme at a later time and feature ghouls. Are they then going to go back and rechange the ghouls that were zombie-fied back to ghoul status? I doubt it. In fact, they will probably steer clear of something flavorful like ghouls altogether, using another name for them. Or they will call them ghouls but give them the zombie creature type. Very boring.

Why did Cyclopean Mummy become a zombie? It’s the same issue for The Fallen, only worse, because there is no way you look at a card with mummy in the title and think, that’s a zombie. Again, what if they wanted to print an Egyptian themed set in the future and have more mummies. That seems very possible, since they haven’t done Egyptian Magic yet. Now what? Make them all zombies despite having mummy in the title? Change it back? What harm was it to have Cyclopean Mummy have the mummy type? Again, I can understand wanting to change Uncle Istvan, but this is going too far the other way. It’s homogenizing Magic. The world is more complex than this taxonomy.

And my example of changing The Dark drafts by adding a goblin came true, by making Goblin Rock Sled a goblin, but at least I can understand that change.

Where Did my Nomad Go?

I always thought that nomad was a flavorful creature type. What happened to it? The reprint of Avalanche Riders in Time Spiral proved that nomad is still a supported type. Nomads give a different flavor to Red creatures than the typical goblin, orc and barbarian.

They recently gave creature types to the man-lands from Legacy when introducing them in Tenth. Why is Ghitu Encampment a warrior?

The Ghitu are a classic tribe of nomads. They have the nomad type. Ghitu Fire-Eater? Nomad. Ghitu Slinger? Nomad. Avalanche Riders? Nomad.

When it comes time to make Ghitu Encampment a creature, why give it warrior over nomad? What’s wrong with nomad? Again, this is a mistake, in my opinion, and it can never be changed back to the way it was.

Want to know something else that would have made great nomads? Erg Raiders. They got rid of the raiders type, which is sad because it was flavorful, but I understand it. Instead, they are now human warriors. Wouldn’t nomads have been cooler? Look at the picture, and tell me they don’t look like a band of marauding nomads, traveling through the desert and raiding caravans.

To prove it is still supported, Pradesh Gypsies were made nomads. Scavenger Folk should have been nomad-ized as well.

The Phasing Issue

When Mirage was released, phasing was changed to no longer trigger “leaves play” triggers, like it has always done before. Therefore, combos that used to work under the old system were taken away.

Wizards has had a tradition of fixing cards that can be fixed when the rules allow, and restoring them to their original intent.

Take a look at Ertai’s Familiar. It had a leaves play ability that triggered when it phased. Because phasing no longer triggers the leaves play cause, they added an “or phases out” section to the card in order to keep its original functionality.

What about Floodgate? Phasing out a Floodgate was a classic strategy when Mirage block was released, and I remember putting Vanishing on a Floodgate in a draft. When Wizards updated Mirage, why didn’t Floodgate get a similar errata? The draft format online no longer has that combo — and this is a sad thing to me. I cannot build the same deck I used to, because Floodgate didn’t get “or phases out” added to the rigger conditions.

I can think of two other cards printed in sets with or just after phasing. Thalakos Seer doesn’t draw you a card when you Reality Ripple it. Second, the in-block combo with Revered Unicorn, which was quite good in multiplayer, no longer works.

The Guardians of Magic

I came across this next issue when doing my article involving the creature type guardian. Remember that Ivory Guardian is a pseudo-lord for guardians, so this is pertinent from a mechanic point of view.

Why did they change Illusionary Wall from a wall to an illusion wall? Why is Goblin Wizard now a wizard in addition to being a goblin? There is a final principle for us to discuss.

5) Wizards of the Coast prefers that if the creature type is in the name that it is in the type line as well.

This principle appears to be evident when viewing cards like Centaur Archer, which is gaining the archer creature type.

Why are guardians hosed? Here is a short list of guardians that do not have the guardian creature type. You’ll note that some of these were recent printings.

Guardian of the Guildpact
Sanctum Guardian
Guardian of Solitude
Hikari, Twilight Guardian
Guardian Idol (doesn’t have a creature type)
Oriss, Samite Guardian
Lotus Guardian
Henge Guardian
Spectral Guardian
Nemata, Grave Guardian
Guardian of Vitu-Ghazi
Wirewood Guardian
Opal Guardian

Do you know how many guardians there are in Magic? Ten (eleven if you count Mistform Ultimus). There were three in Odyssey Block, and that’s the last printing of a guardian. If you add these thirteen cards to the previous ten, you get twenty-three guardians in Magic, and now we are on our way to a decently sized tribe. Come on, Wizards, use principle #5 and get us some more guardians!

This is a sad day. Wizards nuked the guardians as a type with the Lorwyn errata, and in so doing, also neutered the underpowered Ivory Guardians with the claim that Goblin Balloon Brigade shouldn’t work on all Goblins, so Ivory Guardians shouldn’t work on all Guardians.

I thought Wizards wanted to re-establish the original printing of the card. Ivory Guardians pumped more than itself, and that was the cool part. If you think no one is building decks with Guardians, just look at my own deck from a few weeks ago. Besides, this was hardly a broken lord, like GBB would have been if it worked for all goblins. It was flavorful, and one of the first lords to exist outside of the traditional tribes, and now they nuked it, making it only help itself. That’s just unproductive. There was no reason to even get rid of the tribe. Guardian fits alongside Human or Spirit just fine.

I Need a Hero

Speaking of an issue, what ever happened to Benalish Hero? They have changed Benalish Hero from the hero type to human soldier. But hero is still on every other hero. So, for the time being, Benalish Hero will not be a hero, but Kjeldoran Warrior will remain so. As will Beast Walkers.

This matters. Look at Aysen Crusader. It pumps with the presence of heroes. It is a pertinent creature type. They’ll probably change it to human knight from crusader, but what will it get pumped by? Soldiers? Knights? Warriors? Any of those three creature types will have a high number of options to pump the Aysen Crusader, and it suddenly gets a lot more powerful than it previous was.

We could have solved the hero problem is the same way I propose that we solve the guardian problem. Add hero to a small number of creatures like Tahngarth, Reborn Hero and Intrepid Hero. If a card has hero in the title, give it the hero subtype. From Devoted Hero to Lin-Sivvi, there are less than ten additional heroes I would add. It’s not enough to cause major issues but just enough flavor to continue to support Benalish Hero and Aysen Crusader.

The Coming Storm

Here is another card that could be restored to its original wording — Aether Storm. Aether Storm was one of many cards that used to fail to work with artifact creatures. You played them in a deck with artifact creatures so that you could play your creatures but your opponent couldn’t play hers until she paid life for the Aether Storm.

Remove Soul would not counter artifact creature spells, but there are so many copies of the new wording that they could not go back without violating Principle #3.

Other cards that work similarly against summons but not against artifact creatures included Feroz’s Ban, Soul Barrier, Withering Boon, Brand of Ill Omen, and much more.

The only Oracle-ization that is needed for these cards is to include the word “nonartifact” before creature in their text, and they are restored to their original intent.

Here’s the interesting thing — some cards already got that. Invoke Prejudice used to read that it affected summon spells, now it reads nonartifact creatures. You have to be consistent. They either all have it or none of them should have it.

WOrbs and HMines

This is a much older issue, but I still have it. When 6th Edition rules changes came around, they fixed so many things that were wrong with the game, and I appreciate them for it. However, they removed a rule that artifacts tapped were turned off. This understandably upset a lot of people, because a lot of decks were built around the rule.

To make these people happy, classic cards like Winter Orb and Howling Mine, that were in people’s decks, were Oracled to turn off when tapped. I’m not sure why they got rid of this rule, but it hosed one of my decks that used Well of Knowledge to draw a lot of cards, then tap it so my opponents could not. They changed my Well of Knowledge and neutered a deck that I had built.

I was truly pissed off, and honestly, I have never forgotten that deck. In my opinion, Wizards should never make a similar error. Casual players shouldn’t have their decks neutered by rules changes. A casual player should not have to show up at another person’s house or at FNM with a deck that they love and have played for a while, and worked within the rules of the game, only to find out that their deck no longer works.

Wizards could have left the artifact rule in, or Oracled all pre-6th artifacts with the “while untapped, this artifact does blah” stuff in order to keep their own functionality.

In fact, in order to restore pre 6th artifacts to their original intent, is Wizards going to make my Well of Knowledge deck work again? After all, Principle #1 seems to indicate that they should. Once you’ve errata’d Master of Arms, don’t you have to continue with Well of Knowledge and every other artifact with a static ability?

In fact, the Well of Knowledge issue is my major issue with a lot of these new changes.

Say Goodbye to the Leper

This is a wholly new issue that I am adding here. Abu Jafar, we will miss your leperness. Why did Abu Jafar, this measly 0/1, kill creature when in combat with them? Look at the type line, and you see leper. Without that, how will people ever know? Goodbye leprosy.

I’m also sad to see townsfolk go away. There were several townfolk, and I liked that we would occasionally play with Tragic Poet and Icatian Moneychanger. I even built a deck around townsfolk once for a Deck a Day.

Oh, and by the way, I do not believe Grandmother Sengir actually was a vampire. Wasn’t she Ravi, a planeswalker who went mad and was adopted by the Sengirs?

Oh, and using the Brine Shaman rule they stated (that if a creature has a supported type in its typeline, in this case cleric, the new creature types should be additions not subtractions), Storm Shaman should still be a cleric. Would you change that to Human, Cleric Shaman please? Shouldn’t Pit Spawn be a Beast Demon under this rule as well? Mana Leach should also still be a worm. Coiling Woodworm should still be an insect. Leashling should still be a golem. I’m sure there are more out there.

Look at my 7th and 8th Edition Western Paladin and tell me that’s a zombie again. That’s a silly Oracle change.

The Issue

Does it seem to anybody else like Wizards policies in this regard are inconsistent?

Returning cards to their original wording is praiseworthy, and I’m a fan of the idea, I just feel that the implementation has a few issues.

I like the streamlining and cutting of obscure creature types. I don’t mind Brothers of Fire losing the brothers type and gaining something pertinent. Uncle Istvan can lose his type and it’s okay with me.

It just seems like these two principles are clashing heavily. Restoring cards to their original function while changing creature types from or to pertinent types is ridiculous. (A pertinent creature type is one where at least one card in the game uses that creature type for something).

You can’t do both. One will win out, and it appears that changing creature types is interfering with the restoration of card to original intent, because it was not the original intent of Magic that creatures from The Dark and Arabian Nights get the zombie type in order to work with Zombie Master. That was not how the cards worked, and that was not the intent of the card.

These are mostly cards that I came across in the past month. Who knows how many Aether Storms and Auras of Silence are out there? I suspect that Wizards needs to make this one massive project, when one or a team of people just dive into Magic’s past and make one errata, all at once.

And to be fair, they did just that with creature types. That’s praiseworthy.

Shouldn’t there be some creature types that have just a few creatures in them, but are flavorful and have potential, so we leave them alone? I understand changing The Fallen’s type, but do we have to make them all the major tribes and then move on? Can’t we leave some types with potential and flavor like ghouls? What’s next, making spiders insects? Making hellions beasts?

Before I go, I wanted to leave you with a few questions I still have.

Why is Phyrexian War Beast becoming a beast, Clockwork Steed a horse, Clockwork Swarm an insect, Henge Guardian a dragon, but Dragon Engine is not becoming a dragon?

Isn’t making Thunder Spirit an elemental just going overboard a little too much? Is everything with an elemental-ish theme going to be similarly changed? Sky Spirit? Kami of the Waning Moon? Tradewind Rider?

How come the Mirage and Visions updates didn’t fix a lot of these issues in Mirage and Visions? Seriously, how hard would it have been to have been Withering Boon work on just non-artifact creatures, for example?

Some of these issues are not easy, and I understand that. However, enough of these issues are so long standing that I would like to see a resolution. Ah well. Join me next week, when my article will overview some of the top Lorwyn cards for Five Color.

Until later,

Abe Sargent