Thursday, 22 August 2013

Oracle Review - Time Twister, Time Vault, Time Walk

Despite doing three cards today, I expect this review to be one of my shorter ones. Here are all the limited edition "Time" cards. Each of them has an Oracle wording that is simple and yet remarkable.

Time Twister
That they put "leaving all cards in play where they are" in the original text suggests that they thought this card was going to be really confusing. Let's take a look at the Oracle:
Each player shuffles his or her hand and graveyard into his or her library, then draws seven cards. (Then put Timetwister into its owner's graveyard.)
This is all pretty simple, right? But what happened to that bit about starting a new graveyard  and a new library from the original card? Shouldn't this wording be something more like:
Create an additional library and graveyard zone for each player. Each player shuffles all cards in his or her hand, old graveyard and old library into his or her new library. For the rest of the game, players use their new libraries and graveyards in place of the old ones. Each player draws seven cards.
No, it should not be like that at all.

I would easily hand this wording two stars for being perfect-but-uninteresting if it weren't for that reminder text. It's a little odd to add reminder text to a card that pre-dates reminder text for a wording that will only appear in an online database, and I can only think they did it as a nod to the words on the original card that reminded you that Timetwister became the first card in your new graveyard. Because of this flourish, I give this wording...

Time Vault
Time Vault somehow became the biggest rules nightmares of all time. The question of when you actually untap Time Vault plagued rules team after rules team. At one point the timing rules for Time Vault essentially won a tournament in which Time Vault itself was not legal - it is probably the only card that can claim that.
Time Vault enters the battlefield tapped.
Time Vault doesn't untap during your untap step.
If you would begin your turn while Time Vault is tapped, you may skip that turn instead. If you do, untap Time Vault.
{T}: Take an extra turn after this one.
But none of that is really all that complicated at all. A replacement effect for beginning a turn may be unusual but it isn't complex. What is really remarkable is the number of Oracle wordings that this card has been through. To finally hit upon something so nice to look at is a feat.

Time Vault was also at one time a recipient of a "power level erratum." It was a dark period where they altered the wording of some cards to avoid powerful interactions with other cards. So it's also a delight to see Time Vault restored to it's proper glory. I give this wording...

Time Walk
Before reading the Oracle wording, go back up and read the original Alpha wording again.
Take an extra turn after this one.
Time Walk isn't the only card that was perfectly wording in Alpha, but it is impressive that it is among them. Even Stone Rain has needed a wording update from the Oracle.

For getting it perfect, Time Walk gets...

What a glorious day!

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