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In the Dominaria rules update, they got rid of the planeswalker redirection rule, where non-combat damage dealt to a player could be redirected to a planeswalker that player controlled. As a result of this a number of cards (such as Lightning Bolt) have been given errata so that they can now deal damage to planeswalkers.

Obviously the current oracle text is the source of truth for which cards can and can't deal damage to planeswalkers now, but is there a simple set of rules for which cards were changed so that you do not need to look this up every time in casual play?

  • I was sure there was another good/related question that may or may not be a duplicate, but I'm having trouble finding it. One issue that was addressed by the question I'm thinking of that's missing here (and maybe this is just fine; maybe this thing belongs as a separate question), is about how 2 cards printed with the same wording will now have different oracle texts depending on if they were printed pre or post Dominaria. – GendoIkari May 4 at 1:21
  • For example, Gravitic Punch fits your criteria #2, but you cannot target planeswalkers with it, because it was printed after Dominaria. – GendoIkari May 4 at 1:26
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The Dominaria Frame, Template, and Rules Changes article has the set of rules they used to decide which cards to errata (under the "Planeswalker Redirection Rule" section). To summarize:

  1. "target creature or player" --> "any target" (ex. Lightning Bolt)

  2. "target player"/"target opponent" --> "target player or planeswalker" (ex. Lava Spike and Jeskai Charm). Exception: the text is unchanged if the amount of damage is calculated by using information about that player or objects they control (ex. Sudden Impact or Jovial Evil)

  3. Everything else has not changed, except for Vial Smasher the Fierce, which can optionally damage any planeswalker that player controls.

Spells that deal damage to a player and then do something else to at least one permanent that player controls (like Bonfire of the Damned) have been additionally patched: “that player controls” → “that player or that planeswalker’s controller controls”.

These rules do not apply to cards printed in or after Dominaria. For example, Gravitic Punch cannot target planeswalkers as it was printed post-errata. You can tell that a card was printed before Dominaria if it meets one of these criteria:

  • It has a copyright date of 2017 or earlier.
  • It was from the Rivals of Ixalan set, which has the set code RIX and this set symbol: RIX set symbol
  • It was from the Masters 25 set, which has the set code A25 and this set symbol: Masters 25 set symbol
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    If this is supposed to be a complete "simple set of rules for which cards were changed", you should address the fact that cards printed in or after Dominaria do not have these errata. – murgatroid99 May 7 at 17:05
  • For illustration as to why murgatroid99's point is important: these cards can't hit planeswalkers but a naive reading of your answer might suggest they can. – doppelgreener May 7 at 18:03
  • I don't think that just saying that the rules don't "apply to cards printed in or after Dominaria" really solves the problem. The stated goal of this question and answer combo is to have a simple way of knowing when and how you can determine what the real text of a card is without looking it up. If you don't provide a simple way of determining whether a card was printed in or after Dominaria without looking it up, that requirement effectively invalidates the rest of the answer because it means that you don't actually know when to apply the rules. – murgatroid99 May 7 at 18:57
  • @murgatroid99 any suggestions? – Zags May 7 at 19:02
  • The simplest solution is probably to look at the copyright date and if it's 2018 you check the expansion symbol against a memorized list of expansion symbols of sets printed before Dominaria that year. The downside is that this requires memorizing more arbitrary information and paying attention to two parts of the card that are otherwise irrelevant. – murgatroid99 May 7 at 19:07

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