Thursday, 29 August 2013

Oracle Review - Aladdin's Lamp and Library of Leng

Welcome to the first Oracle Review from Arabian Nights. I didn't review every card in limited and unlimited edition, but let's face it - the Oracle wording of Air Elemental is not particularly worth paying attention to. That's especially true when Magic's first expansion has some very ugly wording just waiting to be considered. I'm not totally sure I'm done with limited edition yet, but these two cards begged to be reviewed together.


Aladdin's Lamp
For a ten mana artifact, you may be confused about why you don't just get to keep all the cards.  At any rate, here is the Oracle wording:
{X}, {T}: The next time you would draw a card this turn, instead look at the top X cards of your library, put all but one of them on the bottom of your library in a random order, then draw a card. X can't be 0.
You're supposed to take
those out of the deck.
This wording is a significant functional change to the card that seems totally unjustified. The original text says you draw X cards. Merely looking at them is a pretty big difference. Imagine I play Aladdin's Lamp, untap, activate the lamp for 6 and activate my Words of War 5 times. Looking at the original wording it would appear I should get five uses of Words of War and then draw the top card of my deck. This new wording doesn't do that at all.

And what about miracles, they trigger only off the first card you draw in a turn. The Oracle text lets you miracle any card in the top X cards of your library. The original wording suggests you should only get to Miracle the top card.

But what can be done? Let's set Aladdin's Lamp aside for a second and think about Library of Leng.

Library of Leng
The icy desert plateau of Leng, which no healthy folk visit and whose evil fires are seen at night from afar, seems like an odd place to build a library. Surely the nitrous fumes rising from the black stairways guarded by winged diorite lions that lead to the lower gulfs would be bad for the books. Not to mention that Leng is surrounded by impassable mountains or that it is regularly visited by the formless abominations from the moon. There better be a really good reason to go to this library.

Oh, a one mana artifact that removes my maximum handsize!
You have no maximum hand size. 
If an effect causes you to discard a card, discard it, but you may put it on top of your library instead of into your graveyard.
Look at that replacement effect. If you would do X, do X, but do something different. It could simply say that if you would discard a card you can put it on top of your deck, but the original card implied you were still discarding it. If you put it on top of your deck, Megrim still triggers against you. Madness probably doesn't work so great but that's just a problem with casting spells from hidden zones.

Personally I would have worded this slightly differently, saying "If you would put a card into your graveyard as part of discarding that card you may put it on top of your deck instead." But I think their wording might be superior.

So decades after its printing the library is properly madness inducing, with an appropriate amount of method in that madness. I give this Oracle wording...



Aladdin's Lamp Again
Aladdin's Lamp needs to take a lesson from Library of Leng. There is nothing wrong with replacing an effect with another effect and also replacing that effect, or part of it, with another effect. If you can replace putting a card into your graveyard as part of discarding then you can replace putting a card or a group of cards into your hand as a result of drawing them.
{X}, {T}: The next time you would draw a card instead draw X cards but instead of putting them into your hand, choose one of the cards drawn in this way and put that card into your hand. Then put the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order. X can't be 0.
That is a proper wording for Aladdin's Lamp. To be even more true to the original, I'd even prefer:
Whenever you draw a card, if Aladdin's Lamp is untapped, you may tap it and pay {X} where X cannot be 0. Effects that would reduce the cost of activated abilities of Aladdin's Lamp also reduce the cost paid in this way. If you do then instead draw X cards but instead of putting them into your hand, choose one of the cards drawn in this way and put that card into your hand. Then put the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.
You may imagine that this will be snap zero-star rating, but frankly this just doesn't raise my ire the way some of the other wordings have. A card that no one should ever play is functionally different than it should be in a few narrow cases? It's bad, but I'm not angry about it.  I give this wording...

How generous!

No comments:

Post a Comment