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Chinese misprint gives new MTG card a major power boost

With rules as complex as they are in MTG, a small error can make a big difference – as this mistranslated Magic: The Gathering card proves.

MTG card Market Gnome hidden behind a surprised Twitter emoji

A Magic: The Gathering fan online has spotted a mistranslated MTG card from the new Lost Caverns of Ixalan set, and the wording error comes with a significant boost in power. Redditor Sirongkaxiu shared the Chinese version of Market Gnome via social media on November 15, saying “There is a significant mistranslation in the Chinese translation of Market Gnome.”

The English-language version of the card says: “When Market Gnome dies, you gain one life and draw a card. When Market Gnome is exiled from the battlefield while you’re activating a craft ability, you gain one life and draw a card”. According to Sirongkaxiu, “dies” has been mistranslated as “enters the battlefield”.

We at Wargamer don’t speak Chinese, so we can’t confirm the mistranslation ourselves. However, if you look at other Chinese cards that use the phrase “enters the battlefield”, you’ll notice a lot of similar characters.

Two Chinese MTG cards, one with a mistranslated description

There are other cards that legitimately give you a life when they enter the battlefield. Spirited Companion and Inspiring Overseer both saw plenty of play for this exact effect. The difference is that these cards cost more to play – two and three mana respectively.

Getting an extra life, card draw, and a middling toughness artifact creature for just one mana is bordering on ridiculous. The value for mana has risen massively based on one changed phrase.

The comprehensive rules for Magic: The Gathering state that the Oracle card reference should be used to determine a card’s wording. (If you’re not familiar, the Oracle is an online database that clearly documents the wording of most MTG cards.)

Reddit post about MTG card Chinese mistranslation

This means that, while the card is misprinted, the correct version found in the Oracle should still be adhered to in tournaments. No mega-buffed Market Gnomes here, says Wizards of the Coast.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a misprinted Magic: The Gathering card. Human error is almost inevitable, and little mistakes crop up all over the place (check out this Mask of the Jadecrafter, for example). Still, it’s fun to imagine a world where the alternate, misprinted cards were allowed into play.

For more of the latest Magic news, here’s everything coming up next in the MTG release schedule. And, for digital trading card game fans, here’s the latest on MTG Arena codes and MTG Arena decks.