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Jeff Zandi is a five time pro tour veteran who has been playing Magic since 1994. Jeff is a level two DCI judge and has been judging everything from small local tournaments to pro tour events. Jeff is from Coppell, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, where his upstairs game room has been the "Guildhall", the home of the Texas Guildmages, since the team formed in 1996. One of the original founders of the team, Jeff Zandi is the team's administrator, and is proud to continue the team's tradition of having players in every pro tour from the first event in 1996 to the present.


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This Space For Rent

The Southwestern Paladin

Lost in Translation
Fun With Magic’s Japanese Flavored Champions Block
by Jeff Zandi  - 2.11.05

When you play a lot of Magic, it’s easy to forget how oddly the cards are
worded. Champions of Kamigawa may have introduced Arcane as a spell subtype,
but the wording of Magic cards has been an arcane language ever since the
beginning of the game. When I first heard about Champions of Kamigawa, I
thought it was an interesting choice for Wizards of the Coast to base a
year’s worth of their card releases (Champions and Betrayers and the third
expansion of the Champions block that comes out this Spring) around the
Japanese culture. This may not have been a completely revolutionary move on
Wizards’ part. Mirage, after all, included a very definite African flavor.
In the case of Mirage as well as Champions and Betrayers, the back story of
the set is certainly not intended to reflect any actual historic culture
here on earth, but simply a flavoring from something we have some
familiarity with mixed up in the completely unearthly world of Magic: the

Years ago, when Wizards of the Coast began translating Magic cards into
other languages, I treasured any opportunity to get my hands on cards
printed in other languages. There was something very exciting to see
something that you love in English produced in other languages. I think I
was proud to know that the game I loved was SO POPULAR that people wanted to
play the same game in their own languages all over the world. When the first
cards were printed in Japanese, Fourth Edition I believe, the cards stunned
me all over again. Since I don’t speak or read Japanese, seeing cards with
titles and text boxes filled with Japanese printed characters was like
seeing a card with no text at all. Suddenly, card art popped out at me that
I had hardly paid attention to before. This was especially true of less
powerful cards, because I was no longer capable of associating a card’s art
with the card’s comparative playability. This was incredibly liberating and
a completely different from the sensation of seeing Magic cards in the
previously produced non-English languages of German and French, which look a
lot like English. I haven’t seen any Japanese edition Champions of Kamigawa
cards yet, but I think it will be the most interesting set to see printed in
the Japanese language.


As regular readers of this column know, I like to find new ways to have fun
with Magic cards. Native Americans were famous for using every part of the
buffalo that they hunted. They ate the meat, they used the skin to make
clothing and the bones to make tools. I like to think that I “use the whole
buffalo” when it comes to Magic: the Gathering.

This week’s game demonstrates the problems associated with translating the
very unusual language of Magic rules from one language to another. I take
the text from a Champions or Betrayers card and enter it into a translation
program, translating the exact English Magic wording into Japanese, and then
translate the Japanese version of the text BACK into English. The results
are always interesting to say the least. The point of this exercise is
certainly not to make fun of any world culture. This exercise, in a funny
way, shows us the importance of the exact wording of Magic cards, and also
reveals how deeply embedded Magic terminology is in all of our heads. If you
want to play the home version of today’s game, you can find the translator
algorithm that I used at www.systransnet.com.

In each case, the format is the same: Card Name followed by English Actual
Magic Text followed by a blank line and then the TRANSLATED TEXT. Remember,
the translated text is not in Japanese (a lot of us wouldn’t be able to read
it if it was) but English translated into Japanese translated back into


When this blocks or becomes blocked, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

This in order to be obstructed, it obstructs, or when becoming, it
obtains +1/+1 to end of revolution.

Splice onto Arcane
As you play an Arcane spell, you may reveal this card from your hand and pay
its splice cost. If you do, add this card’s effects to that spell.

Because incomprehensible spelling is done, it makes this card from
your hand clear, can pay the cost of splice. In order, to add the
effect of this card to the spelling.

Return an unblocked attacker you control to hand: put this card into play
from your hand tapped and attacking.

Reset the attack person who excludes the disturbance which is
controlled because you transfer: Obtain this card your and the play
from attack which are hit.

Soulshift X
When this is put into a graveyard from play, you may return target Spirit
card with converted mana cost X or less from your graveyard to your hand.

When this enters into the graveyard from the play, it can reset the
target spiritual card of the cost X or less of mana which from your
graveyard was changed into your hand.


Shimmering Glasskite
Whenever Shimmering Glasskite becomes the target of a spell or ability for
the first time in a turn, counter that spell or ability.

Whenever Shimmering Glasskite becomes the target of a spell or ability
for the first time in a turn and counter that spell or ability.

Sakura-Tribe Elder
Sacrifice Sakura-Tribe Elder: Search your library for a basic land card, put
that card into play tapped, then shuffle your library.

Senior person of Sakura race of sacrifice: The card to the play
hitting the basic land card which is placed search your library which
your library, then is mixed.

Devouring Rage
As an additional cost to play Devouring Rage, you may sacrifice any number
of Spirits. Target creature gets +3/+0 until end of turn. For each Spirit
sacrificed in this way, that creature gets an additional +3/+0 until end of

The thing of the play you shirk and many of mind you can make sacrifice
as an addition cost to the rage which eats. Any target creative things
obtain +3/+0 to end of revolution. Like this if it does, with any the
creative things obtain addition +3/+0 to end of revolution because of
each mind which becomes sacrifice.

Tap: Frostwielder deals one damage to target creature or player. If a
creature dealt damage by Frostwielder this turn would be put into a
graveyard, remove it from the game instead.

Faucet: Frostwielder copes target creative ones or one damage to the
player. When the damage which copes by creative ones due to
Frostwielder this revolution enters in the graveyard, from the game
remove that to substituting.

Shinka Gatekeeper
Whenever Shinka Gatekeeper is dealt damage, it deals that much damage to

When being the damage where the gate turn of Shinka copes, with
anytime, to thing many it is damaged copes your.

Goblin Cohort
Goblin Cohort can’t attack unless you’ve played a creature spell this turn.

The group of small demon when this it does not turn, cannot attack the
spelling of creative ones.

Phantom Wings
Enchanted creature has flying. Sacrifice Phantom Wings: Return enchanted
creature to its owner’s hand.

There is flight in creative ones which are fascinated. Wing of
illusion of sacrifice: The return fascinated creative ones in the hand
of the owner.

Blind with Anger
Untap target nonlegendary creature and gain control of it until end of turn.
That creature gains haste until end of turn.

That Untap target nonlegendary creative ones and profit control to end
of revolution. Any the creative things obtain the hurrying to end of

Thief of Hope
Whenever you play a Spirit or Arcane spell, target opponent loses one life
and you gain one life.

When mind doing incomprehensible spelling, the target opposite person
loses 1 life with anytime, obtains the life of 1.

Innocence Kami
Whenever you play a Spirit or Arcane spell, untap Innocence Kami.

When mind doing incomprehensible spelling, with when, the innocence
Kami of untap.

Honden of Cleansing Fire
At the beginning of your upkeep, you gain two life for each Shrine you

In beginning your maintenance, 2 lives for each shrine which you
control are obtained.

Ember-Fist Zubera
When Ember-Fist Zubera is put into a graveyard from play, it deals damage to
target creature or player equal to the number of Zubera put into all
graveyards from play this turn.

Burning pouring fist Zubera when entering into the graveyard from the
play, target creative ones or the damage to the player which are equal
to the quantity of Zubera which enters into all graveyards from the
play this turns copes.

Mending Hands
Prevent the next four damage that would be dealt to target creature or
player this turn.

It is hurt, prevent next 4 this it turns copes in order to designate
creative ones or the player as goal.

Okiba-Gang Shinobi
Whenever Okiba-Gang Shinobi deals damage to a player, that player discards
two cards.

When Okiba one group Shinobi the damage to the player coping, with
when, unnecessary thing 2 cards of that player.

Soulless Revival
Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.

Return target creative thing card to your hand from your graveyard.

Destroy target land or nonblack creature. It can’t be regenerated.

Destroy the target land or creative ones of nonblack. As for that it
is not possible to play back.

Moonlit Strider
Sacrifice Moonlit Strider: Target creature you control gains protection from
the color of your choice until end of turn.

Sacrifice Moonlit Strider: Control profit protection from color of
your selection to end of target creation thing revolution.

Minamo’s Meddling
Counter target spell. That spell’s controller reveals his or her hand, then
discards each card with the same name as a card spliced onto that spell.

Opposite target spelling. As for the controller of spelling his/her
hand it makes clear, and it abandons each card of the card and the
thing same name which are connected to that spelling.

Commune with Nature
Look at the top five cards of your library. You may reveal a creature card
from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of
your library in any order.

Look at 5 cards on your library. It makes the creative thing card from
among those clear, can insert in your hand. Make the remainder the
bottom of your library from any order.

Kodama’s Reach
Search your library for two basic land cards, reveal those cards, and put
one into play taped and the other into your hand. Then shuffle your library.

In the play where your library you search 2 basic land cards, makes
those cards clear, and in your hand and other things is recorded one
inserting. Then mix your library.

Sift Through Sands
Draw two cards, then discard a card. If you played a spell named Peer
Through Depths and a spell named Reach Through Mists this turn, you may
search your library for a card named The Unspeakable, put it into play, then
shuffle your library.

Pulling 2 cards, then abandons the card. When the spelling where Peer
Through is shown depth is done and spelling the range this revolution
is shown through the fog, your library which the card which expression
it is not is shown and searches then is mixed to the play that thing
can your library enters.

Eye of Nowhere
Return target permanent to its owner’s hand.

Return target perm to the hand of owner.

Crushing Pain
Crushing Pain deals six damage to target creature that was dealt damage this

As for crushing pain 6 damage to target creative ones which are the
damage which this it turns copes it copes.

Hearth Kami
X, sacrifice Hearth Kami: Destroy target artifact with converted mana cost

X, sacrifice furnace Kami: Destroy the target man-made work of the
cost X of mana which was changed.

Ninja of the Deep Hours
Whenever Ninja of the Deep Hours deals combat damage to a player, you may
draw a card.

Ninja of transaction of deep time the damage to the player when
fighting, can pull the card with anytime.

Takenuma Bleeder
Whenever Takenuma Bleeder attacks or blocks, you lose one life if you don’t
control a Demon.

If the ogre is not controlled, when losing 1 life of attack or block
of the breeder resistor of Takenuma, with when.

Horobi’s Whisper
If you control a Swamp, destroy target nonblack creature.

When mud area is controlled, destroy creative ones of target nonblack.


Just for fun, I tried to think what it would be like to have to play with
cards with this double-translated text on them. There are a few cards that
still seem to make sense. It’s no coincidence that these are generally cards
with very short text. Eye of Nowhere and Horobi’s Whisper are good examples
of cards that translated well back and forth. I really love that Hearth Kami
destroys the “man-made work of the cost X”. The text that will make you most
want to jump off of a tall building is Sift Through Sands, which starts off
telling you to “Pulling two cards, then abandons the card”. Minamo’s
Meddling is surprisingly clear after the double-translation…at least when
compared to the already-confusing English text.

Just keep an eye on your opponent when he has Ninja of the Deep Hours in
play and make sure he doesn’t try to “pull the card with anytime”!

As always, I’m interested in what YOU think!

Jeff Zandi
Texas Guildmages
Level II DCI Judge
Zanman on Magic Online



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