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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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
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)
Japanese culture. This may not have been a completely
revolutionary move on
Wizards’ part. Mirage, after all, included a very definite
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
here on earth, but simply a flavoring from something we have
familiarity with mixed up in the completely unearthly world
of Magic: the
Years ago, when Wizards of the Coast began translating Magic
other languages, I treasured any opportunity to get my hands
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
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.
FUN WITH MAGIC CARD TEXT TRANSLATION
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
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
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
algorithm that I used at www.systransnet.com.
In each case, the format is the same: Card Name followed by
Magic Text followed by a blank line and then the TRANSLATED
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
LET’S START WITH THE NEW CARD ABILITIES
When this blocks or becomes blocked, it gets +1/+1 until end
This in order to be obstructed, it obstructs, or when
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
Because incomprehensible spelling is done, it makes this
your hand clear, can pay the cost of splice. In order, to
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
controlled because you transfer: Obtain this card your and
from attack which are hit.
When this is put into a graveyard from play, you may return
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
target spiritual card of the cost X or less of mana which
graveyard was changed into your hand.
SELECTED CHAMPIONS AND BETRAYERS CARDS
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
for the first time in a turn and counter that spell or
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
hitting the basic land card which is placed search your
your library, then is mixed.
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
as an addition cost to the rage which eats. Any target
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
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
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
remove that to substituting.
Whenever Shinka Gatekeeper is dealt damage, it deals that
much damage to
When being the damage where the gate turn of Shinka copes,
anytime, to thing many it is damaged copes your.
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
spelling of creative ones.
Enchanted creature has flying. Sacrifice Phantom Wings:
creature to its owner’s hand.
There is flight in creative ones which are fascinated. Wing
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
loses 1 life with anytime, obtains the life of 1.
Whenever you play a Spirit or Arcane spell, untap Innocence
When mind doing incomprehensible spelling, with when, the
Kami of untap.
Honden of Cleansing Fire
At the beginning of your upkeep, you gain two life for each
In beginning your maintenance, 2 lives for each shrine which
control are obtained.
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
graveyards from play this turn.
Burning pouring fist Zubera when entering into the graveyard
play, target creative ones or the damage to the player which
to the quantity of Zubera which enters into all graveyards
play this turns copes.
Prevent the next four damage that would be dealt to target
player this turn.
It is hurt, prevent next 4 this it turns copes in order to
creative ones or the player as goal.
Whenever Okiba-Gang Shinobi deals damage to a player, that
When Okiba one group Shinobi the damage to the player
when, unnecessary thing 2 cards of that player.
Return target creature card from your graveyard to your
Return target creative thing card to your hand from your
Destroy target land or nonblack creature. It can’t be
Destroy the target land or creative ones of nonblack. As for
is not possible to play back.
Sacrifice Moonlit Strider: Target creature you control gains
the color of your choice until end of turn.
Sacrifice Moonlit Strider: Control profit protection from
your selection to end of target creation thing revolution.
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
Opposite target spelling. As for the controller of spelling
hand it makes clear, and it abandons each card of the card
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
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
among those clear, can insert in your hand. Make the
bottom of your library from any order.
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
those cards clear, and in your hand and other things is
inserting. Then mix your library.
Sift Through Sands
Draw two cards, then discard a card. If you played a spell
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
Through is shown depth is done and spelling the range this
is shown through the fog, your library which the card which
it is not is shown and searches then is mixed to the play
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 deals six damage to target creature that was
dealt damage this
As for crushing pain 6 damage to target creative ones which
damage which this it turns copes it copes.
X, sacrifice Hearth Kami: Destroy target artifact with
converted mana cost
X, sacrifice furnace Kami: Destroy the target man-made work
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
fighting, can pull the card with anytime.
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
of the breeder resistor of Takenuma, with when.
If you control a Swamp, destroy target nonblack creature.
When mud area is controlled, destroy creative ones of target
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
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”.
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
As always, I’m interested in what YOU think!
Level II DCI Judge
Zanman on Magic Online