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Ten Cards That Have Changed May 12, 2012

Posted by James in : all, game rules , trackback

In this piece I will discuss ten cards that were changed. There are some cards that have been literally made to do different things than they did originally. Some of these cards used to be much more powerful, and others have been made to be better than they once were.

1. Camouflage


Camouflage originally let you shuffle your creatures and turn them face down to make sure the opponent doesn’t know how to block your creatures properly. However, Camouflage currently has the following oracle text:

This turn, instead of declaring blockers, each defending player chooses any number of creatures he or she controls and divides them into a number of piles equal to the number of attacking creatures for whom that player is the defending player. Creatures he or she controls that can block additional creatures may likewise be put into additional piles. Assign each pile to a different one of those attacking creatures at random. Each creature in a pile that can block the creature that pile is assigned to does so.

In other words Camouflage now says the opponent has to block your creatures at random. The main difference between the original intent and what the card does now is that the opponent used to be able to decide if their creatures would block as a group. It no longer allows the opponent to make that decision.

2. Flying Carpet

flying carpet

Flying Carpet used to be terrible because it was destroyed if the creature it effects is destroyed. Then the Sixth Edition reprint in 1999 did away with that drawback for pretty much no reason other than to make the card slightly more playable.

3. Castle


Castle didn’t originally give a bonus to untapped attacking creatures, but now it does. The Sixth Edition reprint completely changed the card to make sure Castle is a great combo with vigilance.

4. Howling Mine

howling mine

All artifacts used to turn off when they were tapped, and Howling Mine was a great combo with Icy Manipulator as a result. You’d tap it during your turn to make sure it doesn’t effect your opponents. Then the rules were changed when Sixth Edition was released so that artifacts no longer turned off when they were tapped — but Howling Mine was given an errata to still turn off when it’s tapped (just so the Icy Manipulator combo would still work).

5. Static Orb

static orb

This story is a lot like the story of Howling Mine. Static Orb was a great combo with Icy Manipulator back when tapped noncreature artifacts lost all abilities. You’d tap it during the opponent’s turn to make sure it doesn’t effect you. Once that rule was revoked Static Orb was given an errata to still turn off when it’s tapped (just so the Icy Manipulator combo would still work).

Winter Orb was also given this errata at the time, but that errata was reversed in May 2011.

6. Goblin King

goblin king

When Magic was first made and you got one of these, what would you think it did? Give itself a bonus? Bingo. That’s exactly what many people thought it did. I don’t know if that’s what it did in official tournaments or not.

According to a 2005 “card of the day,” Thrull Champion was the first champion (lord) that shared a creature type with those it improves. I disagree. Look at the Alpha Goblin King. It’s a Goblin.

7. Waylay


Waylay originally gave you three 2/2 creatures that died at the beginning of your end step. That meant you could play it during the opponent’s end step and attack with them during your turn. It was like a white Ball Lightning.

Right now Waylay has an errata. The current oracle text says the following:

Put three 2/2 white Knight creature tokens onto the battlefield. Exile them at the beginning of the next cleanup step.

The cleanup step is after the end step. You can cast Waylay at the end of turn, but it will still die before your turn.

There are some people who want Waylay to return to the glory days, and erratas that existed to stop powerful cards have been removed in the past. That means Waylay has a good chance of becoming a powerful card again in the future at some point. (Perhaps when M20 comes out.)

(There was also a moment in time that you could only cast Waylay during combat.)

8. Orcish Artillery

orcish artillery

The Alpha Orcish Artillery costs one red mana to cast less than the Beta version.

9. Orcish Oriflamme

orcish oriflamme

Orcish Oriflamme was one of the first restricted cards in January 1994 because the Alpha version only cost 1R (rather than 3R, like the Beta version). Perhaps one day Wizards of the Coast will reprint it with a low cost once again.

10. Rukh Egg

rukh egg

Rukh Egg originally gave you a 4/4 flying creature whenever it went to the graveyard from anywhere and it was one of the first restricted cards in January 1994 as a result. Perhaps one day the errata will be lifted and it will become among the most powerful cards once again. It was changed to only give you a 4/4 flier when it dies in August 1994.



1. Sam - April 17, 2013

Am I missing something with the Camouflage one? It seems that the only difference is that the blocking groups are assigned randomly, rather than the defending player assigning them to facedown attackers they don’t know the identity of. You seem to claim, though, that the defender can’t choose to have their creatures block as a group now, which is clearly not the case, as that’s the whole point of the piles.

2. James - April 17, 2013

Sam, I thought it was saying you need to have one creature in each pile if possible. Do you have a reason to think that’s not the case?

3. Oliver - April 19, 2013

Yes, piles can be empty (See Fact or Fiction).

4. James - April 19, 2013

One possibility is that you can have an empty pile if you have nothing to put there that will block. Otherwise it can’t be empty.