Magic the Gathering

Guildpact Card Wordings

Yesterday the FAQ for the upcoming Magic expansion Guildpact was released. I had a bit of time today and I came across two card wording that I don’t like:

    1. The FAQ entry for Goblin Flectomancer says:

      Goblin Flectomancer


      Creature — Goblin Wizard


      Sacrifice Goblin Flectomancer: You may change the targets of target instant or sorcery spell.

      • The ability can target any instant or sorcery spell, even if it has no targets.
      • If the spell has multiple targets, you may either change all the targets or none of them. Each target is treated individually, and must be changed to a different legal target. For example, Seeds of Strength targeting Atog (target #1), the same Atog (target #2), and Scryb Sprites (target #3) can be changed so it targets the same Scryb Sprites (target #1), Eager Cadet (target #2), and Alpha Myr (target #3). If changing one of the targets would be impossible, then you can’t change any of the others.
      • If a spell has a variable number of targets (such as Electrolyze), the number of targets chosen can’t be changed.

      While I think that the FAQ is in fact correct and consistent with other rulings, I wonder how I should explain to players that they have to change all targets if they choose to change one. It seems very unintuitive to me. Why couldn’t it just have been worded “You may change any of the targets …” or something like that?

    2. The FAQ says this about Predatory Focus:

      Predatory Focus



      You may have creatures you control deal their combat damage to defending player this turn as though they weren’t blocked.

      • When Predatory Focus resolves, you choose whether to use its effect or not. If you choose to use it, all your creatures will deal their combat damage to the defending player this turn whether or not they become blocked. You can’t have any of them deal combat damage to creatures that block them. If you choose not to use its effect, nothing happens.

From the way the card is worded it sounds as though you can choose which creatures deal what damage. Why “may”? I think “Creatures you control deal their combat damage to defending player this turn as though they weren’t blocked.” is much clearer and works nearly the same way the current wording does. Why whould you choose to play this if you then choose not deal damage to the player?

Magic the Gathering

Templating and “that card”

From today’s Ask the Judge:

Q: At the end of my turn, if my Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker is still in play, a land that went to my graveyard from play as a 1/1 creature due to Living Plane does not come back into play, does it? It says “creature card” on Shirei, which makes me suspect.

A: This land card will still be returned to play. Rule 404.4c says: ‘A delayed triggered ability that refers to a particular object still affects it even if the object changes characteristics.’ When Shirei’s ability says to return that creature card, it means that you return to play that card regardless of card type it is. This happens because that triggered ability that returns that card to play is a delayed triggered ability.

Here is the current oracle text of Shirei:

Whenever a creature with power 1 or less is put into your graveyard from play, you may return that creature card to play under your control at end of turn if Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker is still in play.

I think that the question shows a problem with current templating. As the submitter of the question points out, the term “creature card” leads you to assume that only creature cards can be returned to play. While the rules make it clear that this is not the case, as Chris points out, it’s still a violation of the rule that cards should be as clear as possible. In my opinion “that card” would be more concise and not in any way less clear to newer players.

I’m a little undecided what to do about permanents, though. See for example Through the Breach:

Put a creature card from your hand into play. That creature has haste. Sacrifice that creature at end of turn.

Say you put a creature card into play with Through the Breach. You turn the creature into an Enchantment using Soul Sculptor. You will have to sacrifice the Enchantment, although it isn’t a creature anymore because of rule 404.4c. In this case it is not a good idea to have the oracle text read: “… Sacrifice that permanent at end of turn.” The problem here is for newer players to understand the term “permanent”.