Thursday, 12 September 2013

Oracle Review - Personal Incarnation, Jandor's Ring

Today a mismatched pair. On one hand, a card with simple enough rules but a crazy turn of phrase in the wording and on the other a card with a simple enough wording and a crazy rules result.

Personal Incarnation
I do find it a bit sad that Personal Incarnation was a victim of versioning. Like Gaea's Liege a bit of fun was lost as they clarified what they meant from version to version. Well, maybe it's for the best in this case. The game doesn't really know who the "caster" of a card is, and even if we put that in the rules, I'm not sure that would make the card closer to the original intent. Sure, it's not theoretically impossible that you cast a personal incarnation that you don't own, but on the other hand there are even more ways to put one into play without casting it, in which case it's abilities would do nothing. Anyway, on to the Oracle text:
{0}: The next 1 damage that would be dealt to Personal Incarnation this turn is dealt to its owner instead. Any player may activate this ability, but only if he or she owns Personal Incarnation. 
When Personal Incarnation dies, its owner loses half his or her life, rounded up.
So first, let's talk about what I don't like about this wording. No printing of the card had the damage redirection ability as an activated ability, and I don't care for it becoming one. An effect could increase the cost of activated abilities and you'd have to pay to use it. A Personal Incarnation could be equipped with Illusionist's Bracers to strange effect.

I'd personally prefer that the activated ability be a replacement ability that lets you replace damage to the incarnation with damage to you. Because of that, you'll see I won't give this wording a great rating.

On the other hand, the fact that it is an activate ability means they got to write, "Any player may activate this ability, but only if he or she owns Personal Incarnation." Wow! Any player may use the ability as long as they are the one and only player who is allowed to do so.

Anyway, fun aside, I think they messed this one up a bit, I'm giving it...

Jandor's Ring
Another terrible artifact from Arabian Nights. If this cost two and had no activation cost then it would be worthy of consideration in limited. Oracle doesn't say anything too different than the original card:
{2}, {T}, Discard the last card you drew this turn: Draw a card.
But the kicker is when you look in the rulings section you can find at the bottom of Gatherer.
If you do not have the card still in your hand, you can't pay the cost. There is currently no way to prove that it was the card you drew except to get a judge or 3rd party involved, or to put cards you draw aside until you decide whether or not to use this.
Yeah, this card doesn't work and they can't make it work. Instead of trying to find a way to make it work, they just make a ruling clarifying that it doesn't work. There is another ruling that says, in a round about way, that if you draw a bunch of cards at once you'll have to make sure you keep track of the order you drew them in if you want to use the ring, since you can only use it on the last one.

To me, this wording has chutzpah. Forget the rules, do what the cards says. I give it...