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5th Edition Flying Carpet 6th Edition Flying Carpet

Apparently there was a period in Magic's history when cards received significant "errata" between printings — not just templating updates or clarifications, but straight-up changes to what the cards do.

The most recent example I can think of is Loxodon Warhammer, which officially has lifelink even though the original printing had the triggered-ability version (like Spirit Link), due to some messiness with the redefinition of lifelink while the card was reprinted. Most of the others are significantly older.

Without looking up every single card a player plays in Gatherer, is there a quick way to figure out which cards are likely to have Oracle text that wildly diverges from what's printed on them? (For example, are there certain old-timey abilities that got errata-ed away en masse?)

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Not a complete answer, but this article is interesting and has a lot of big hitters described: wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtgcom/daily/af127 –  ire_and_curses Feb 22 '13 at 16:52
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The past few rules managers have been strongly opposed to functional errata, so there should be few or even no cards left that have functional errata unless the card was actually put in print with the conflicting wording, in which case most recent printing wins. Illusionary Mask is the last one I can think of and was "recently" returned to its "intended" functionality. This bit of trivia does nothing to help you identify them without the oracle of course... but it does mean the list is pretty small. –  Affe Feb 22 '13 at 23:04
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There aren't many cards in magic that have actual so-called "power level" errata that fundamentally changes what they do, with the exception of the ones that were reprinted in physical form with new wording. However, there are a few things that make you think "Hey I should check the oracle" because it may not be entirely clear how it was updated to work in modern rules.

1) Wording that would generate a really weird replacement effect, may now be a trigger:

e.g., Black Vise There are obvious patterns to a lot of them, like with this one "if during upkeep" will generally become "at the beginning of upkeep" but then there are ridiculous things like Animate Dead that will you never ever "get right" trying to infer current functionality. So the presence of what would be replacement effects if playing it literally as written is a good cue to check the Oracle.

2) Does it target? Use of the word target is inconsistent on pre-6th edition cards. If it just says "opponent" or "player" something you should check if it's "target" or "choose."

3) Creatures with only a "Class" and Artifact Creatures with no creature type. e.g., if you see "Summon Warrior" it is likely now an "Elf Warrior" or "Goblin Warrior" or whatever as appropriate. Artifact Creatures cards with no subtype will also have one in the Oracle (mostly "Construct.")

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+1 great indications that a card might have errata. You might also want to include that cards printed after 2006 are unlikely to have functional/power level errata and will play as written, "Mark Gottlieb is a strong, strong believer that cards should have functionality that matches their printed intent as often as possible." –  user1873 Feb 23 '13 at 5:10
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No, I don't see how that would be possible by looking only at the card.

The example you cited is an example of the main reason reason why - the old version of Flying Carpet has been perfectly functional and would be today with updated wording. OTOH there are the occasionally uber-complex cards of yore made compatible with today's rules and wording but with the same functionality, so a card's complexity or lack thereof is no indicator.

If you are looking for a list of obsolete terms and common text blocks that have been replaced by new key words, i.e. for functionally equivalent replacements, you could start with the CompRules glossary. Repeatedly used but now obsolete terms and keywords have been preserved and marked with (Obsolete). Many new, currently valid keywords that have been introduced over the years are actually just shorter replacements for commonly used abilities like e.g. Reach, Shroud, Hexproof, but are not so easy to identify without experience.

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Even if the older version is still perfectly coherent under today's rules, though, it'd be useful to know something like "They took the 'bury' clause off of a bunch of faux-Equipment cards during the Sixth edition changeover." General patterns that tell you whether a card is likely to have been affected. I don't know if those patterns exist or not, that's why I'm asking -- but I think just saying "The old card could still be playable" doesn't answer that. –  Alex P Feb 22 '13 at 14:45
    
@AlexP You specifically asked for cards that had their functionality, not only their wording changed, because I would wager that the majority of all cards got such an errata at some point. There is no functional difference between for example "bury target creature" and "destroy target creature. It can't be regenerated", so I assumed it was out of the scope of your question. –  Hackworth Feb 22 '13 at 15:19
    
I think we're talking past each other a bit. Please re-read my comment: I'm talking about removing an entire functional clause, not changing the wording of "bury." –  Alex P Feb 22 '13 at 16:28
    
@AlexP Then what is wrong with the original, first paragraph of my answer? There is no such list AFAIK, and for the reasons I mentioned, you won't be able to deduce whether or not a functional errata has happened to any given card without looking at its current Oracle wording, because there is no pattern I'm aware of. Significant changes of functionality are pretty rare anyway, exactly because you can't deduce them from the card alone, unlike mere wording changes, and usually happen for balance reasons, see for example the Phyrexian Dreadnought odyssey. –  Hackworth Feb 22 '13 at 16:48
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