Sunday, 29 June 2014

Oracle Review - Evil Eye of Orms-By-Gore and Ivory Gaurdians

Neither of these cards is terribly interesting from a wording perspective, but they share a certain point of interest, one for the better and one for the worse.

Evil Eye of Orms-By-Gore
I've loved this card for a long time, but will I love what the Oracle team did with its rules text? Let's look and see:
Non-Eye creatures you control can't attack. 
Evil Eye of Orms-by-Gore can't be blocked except by Walls.
So that doesn't look very different  from the original card at all. "Can only be blocked by walls" was modernized to "can't be blocked except by Walls." The only other change was from not allowing your non-Evil Eye attacks to not allowing your non-Eye to attacks. But considering there was a move from multi-word create types to single word create types, this isn't even really a change, is it?

Fifth and Sixth Edition Printings
Let's look at other printings of the eye. Fifth edition was before the creaturee type redo, so it was still an Evil Eye and it still stopped any of your creatures that was not an Evil Eye from attacking. In sixth edition when they made the shift to single types, Evil Eye of Orms-By-Gore didn't become an Eye, but instead became a Horror.

But look at that text as well. The second paragraph says "Except for Evil Eye of Orms-By-Gore, creatures you control can't attack." But in Magic the name of a card doesn't mean cards of that name, it means the card it is actually printed on. So with this wording, if you have two of this create in play, neither can attack, since each says, "Except for ~this~, creatures you control can't attack."

Obviously they corrected this, but to correct it they decided to go back to the eye having a meaningful creature type. So they gave it its own special type. "Eye" and even printed a friend, the Evil Eye of Urborg. A card that originally meant to refer only to itself got to pair up with another card and be friends because that's what Magic is all about: forward compatibility.

The brief flirtation with being a Horror and having a non-functional wording - which I think was errata'd at the time but I can't quite remember - was a bad time for the Evil Eye, but it was neatly corrected. As a result, I am pleased with Evil Eye and give it:

I mean, to be fair, I think these corrects were made
when Time Spiral was printed, not in some moment
of Oracle revolution. If I suspected it was the Oracle
people reassigning the creature type, I'd give it three
stars for sure. This is too long for a caption.
Ivory Guardians
Now it should be evident that this review of Ivory Guardians will have something to do with a defect in its creature type. What could it be? Well, let's first take a look at the Oracle text because we do that.
Protection from red 
Creatures named Ivory Guardians get +1/+1 as long as an opponent controls a nontoken red permanent.
You can see that in this case, they went with "Creatures named" and referenced the card name. This would have been another option for the evil eye - they could have said, "Creatures named Evil Eye of Orms-By-Gore you control can't attack" and the multiple eye problem would be solved. In the Evil Eye case it was a good thing they didn't, and instead used creature type, because it allowed another Eye card to be printed. With Ivory Guardians they didn't maintain the "Guardian" creature type and so removed any possibility of this card interacting with a card from the future. Instead, Ivory Guardians are now Giant Clerics.

If that were all I think I'd have to give this wording two stars because it's not really the fault of this wording what they did with the creature type. Plus, for a card will never see play, the ability to interact with other cards that may never exist isn't a big deal.

But they didn't only cut off the possibility of future interactions, they eliminated one that already existed. If it's too small, click on the Guardian Beast image and see what creature type it was printed with. Yes, if your opponent had a red permanent and you controlled an Ivory Guardians, your Guardian Beast would have been 3/5 were you playing at the time Ivory Guardians were first printed.

Instead, Guardian Beast is now a "Beast" and is not at all a creature named Ivory Guardians and it doesn't get the benefit. I understand that in the creature type revision there were some cases where cards ended up interacting a little differently, but these were generally cases where interactions were added not taken away. To take a creature type that had meaning and eliminate it completely seems very unfair to the Guardian Beasts who really just want their +1/+1.

I am forced to give this unfortunate Oracle text:

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