Friday, 8 August 2014

Takklemaggot Clarification

I consulted some rules experts on Takklemaggot. Here's Eli Shiffrin from Cranial Insertion:
Thanks for writing in. Abilities can be linked to abilities that granted the former ability to an object, and I suspect that logic is what's being brought in here - but I'm also positive that Takklemaggot is a weird old card and would not be used as precedent for anything whatsoever in modern development technology. :)
I tried to further clarify is this related to rule 607.1a - you'll recall it says that "An ability printed on an object within another ability that grants that ability to that object is still considered to be “printed on” that object for these purposes." - and he told me:
It was intended for Animate Dead: It has an ability printed on it that grants Animate Dead an enchant ability that is linked to that ability that returned the creature that it's allowed to enchant. It's a real headache to parse, yes. :) It'd still be a tenuous connection to Takklemaggot, but justifiable.
So I thought, that's fine but it's not quite exactly what the rules say. A tenuous connection isn't a literal reading. So I wrote into Wizards for customer support and got the following:
My best reading of the rules and gathered sources is that 607.1 governs. If one ability "causes...players to be affected and the other directly refers to [that] player[]," then "these two abilities are linked." In Takklemaggot's case, a player has to make a choice, then the upkeep trigger refers to that player. 
Given that Takklemaggot is one of the top five or so longest Oracle texts (behind Dance of the Dead and Garruk Relentless/Garruk the Veil-Cursed but ahead of Illusionary mask), it might be that text on Takklemaggot normally spelling out how those abilities are linked was shortened for reading clarity over 607 clarity.
Well that doesn't sound right to me at all. That quotation from 607.1 seems to leave out a key bit, you know, "printed on the card." Also, I don't understand why an Oracle text would be abbreviated. My proposed wording is much longer and more complicated, but it's a database of cards, they can put whatever they want in there.

If you've read my review of Mishra's War Machine then you know I have a great deal of self-confidence when it comes to my ability to interpret the rules better than the rules team because of mistakes they made in 1994. And, after all, if I didn't think I had something to contribute to the rules then why would I be reviewing Oracle reviews?

So I remain unsatisfied with the official explanation. I appreciate the attempt to make the wording work as it is, but I just don't think it does. My rating stands at one star.

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