In the last decade, in particular since Magic 2010, functional or power level errata have been almost completely absent from the game. It's easy to be nostalgic about how some cards worked a few years, or decades, back. Remember in 2005 when Brass Man still could be untapped as many times as you wanted during upkeep? I used to have a sweet deck built around him with Quicksilver Dagger, with a Mind Over Matter / Dagger combo as eventual wincon. Or in 1999 when you could cast Waylay during the opponent's end step and basically play it as an upgraded white Ball Lightning? It used to be one of the best decks at the Pro Tour. I think that the most odd corner case for me was when I played casually against a man called Flax during Gothcon 2011, and he asked me if we could play using the late 1999 Phasing rules (which I for some reason was well versed in). He played a sweet Floodgate/Vanishing combo in his deck, and if you know what both those cards do without a google check, you're probably in too deep. We have rose-tinted glasses when it comes to our pet decks.
But walking down the path of power level errata could lead to a slippery slope. People have different ideas of what's fun and when errata is needed. Winter Orb Parfait won the 34-player n00bcon 4 without power level errata on the card. Mirror Universe combo placed in the top4 of the 55-player BSK 2015 tournament. Falling Star is a very quirky card, but playing it as written hasn't been a problem yet. If we started doing errata it's hard to find where to draw the line, and players would regardless have to learn an additional set of rules or corner cases.
Anyway, this is not about ranting on errata; this is about ranting on the printed text. I think it was a good thing that WotC started to remove power level errata in 2006. If a novice picks up a card and reads it, it should work as written, they argued. But there are some cards from 93/94 that really don't play as written, even if we adhere to the current comp rules. The cards where "written intent" and the ambiguous wording of the mid 90s meet. Some are pretty funny. Lets delve down :)
|This looks terrific!|
But the Relic Bind then? That one got errata as well, and was printed with new text in 4th Edition 1995.
|This looks terrible!|
See, in the mid 90s we didn't really care for grammar, rules or consistent use of vocabulary. We listened to Melvins while sacrificing cards from our hand and discarding cards from the battlefield. Have you noticed that Bazaar of Baghdad doesn't say that you "draw 2 cards" in its text or that the Alpha version of Birds of Paradise just says that you'll get one mana, not that it can be of any color? That was just how we rolled. It was a rad time.
Hey, remember how we just talked about how we often used "destroy" instead of "sacrifice"? Well, this one actually worked:
|No, not Reflecting Mirror. We used small bodies of water as mirrors in the 90s. Luxury, we though.|
|Actual facial expression of people playing against this card.|
|"Attack with Digging Team". "I block". "You can't". "Oh. OK, I take one." "You take two."|
I recently got my hands on two Masks, and just thinking about these interactions is reason enough for me to put the Masks in a deck. Yeah, I know that face-down creatures are just lame 2/2s without text with the current rules, but it might still be amusing enough. And it's not strictly bad in combination with creatures with upkeep costs, like Djinns and Efreets.
|This might have been the face-down card two pictures up. Also the first price in a tournament in Quebec this weekend!|