Within The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, there’s certainly a lot for MTG players to enjoy. The new preconstructed decks, for instance, offer a great deal of fun, even if they’re not all perfect. Alongside a compelling Limited environment and plenty of constructed staples, this new set really has it all.
Beyond just being fun to play, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan also boasts one major improvement. After literal years, a major translation error that has plagued MTG has finally been resolved. At the same time, however, the set still manages to slip up and have a mistranslation or two.
Despite the set having been released for some time, recently, u/Jug_or_not_ took to Reddit to complain about Wilds of Eldraine. Specifically, Jug_or_not_ wasn’t best pleased about a German translation error they had noticed. Found on Goddric, Cloaked Reveler this mistranslation actually nerfed the card rather significantly.
As u/Jug_or_not_ points out in their post, Goddric, Cloaked Reveler features the mistranslation of “permanents” as “bleibende Karten”. Unfortunately, in German, the direct translation of this means “permanent cards” which isn’t exactly the same. Unlike the broader classification of permanents, permanent cards don’t include tokens.
Within Commander, this is quite a big problem for German fans of Goddric, Cloaked Reveler. Rather than being able to utilize the deck’s suggested Treasure Token focus, they’re left looking for other options. After all, since Treasure Tokens aren’t permanent cards, they don’t work with their Celebration ability.
Thankfully, while this quirk is annoying in Commander, it’s not the end of the world in Standard. Typically, within current Red Deck Wins lists, there are very few token generators. In fact, the only one that tends to see play is Squee, Dubious Monarch . While this lack of Standard tokens has limited the mistranslation’s effect, obviously, it’s still not perfect.
Worse than this issue just being on Goddric, Cloaked Reveler, according to MTG players, this issue has persisted for years. Affecting countless cards, German MTG players have effectively been plagued with numerous nerfed cards. As a result, many German players reportedly just use English cards instead, to avoid this error.
Good News or German Players!
Technically, while the mistranslation is obviously annoying, it has never actually nerfed any cards. This is thanks to every MTG card using its Oracle text when it comes to rules and interactions. While this technically helps to keep things running smoothly, it doesn’t exactly clear up any confusion. After all, you shouldn’t be expected to research every single card you’re playing with or encounter due to the card potentially functioning differently than how it reads.
Knowing this, Wizards of the Coast often endeavors to fix mistranslation errors when they appear. Thankfully, this is exactly what Wizards has done for The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. At long last, permanents and permanent cards are two different things in German! This can be seen on Zoyowa lava-Tongue and Stalactite Stalker.
To use the German cards for a moment, Zoyowa Lavazunge now simply uses the word “Permanent” for permanents. Meanwhile, Stalaktiten-Pirscher continues to use “bleibende Karten” since that’s already the correct translation. By now having two separate words, Wizards can ensure the translation is always correct.
While this change to only German MTG cards may not be the most major in existence, it’s nevertheless a positive. After all, Magic should ideally be as accessible as possible, with no differences between cards in any language. Thanks to this wording change, we’re now one step closer to having this always be the case.
Good, But Not Quite Perfect
Unfortunately, while Wizards did take one major step forward with The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, there were still some translation errors. Thankfully, only a pair of these have cropped up so far, so it’s definitely not the end of the world. Especially since one of the two errors is totally harmless in the grand scheme of things.
Discovered during the set’s spoiler season, in German, Skeleton Crew has the wrong name. Rather than being translated more faithfully as Skelettbesatzung, Wizards instead chose to translate the card as “Minimalbesatzung.” In case you don’t speak German, this translates to “Minimal Crew,” which has the same rough meaning, but without the punny nature.
While a unique name might be harmless, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan does have one gameplay-changing mistranslation. Found on Market Gnome, the Chinese variant of this card features quite a bizarre error. Rather than Market Gnome’s effect triggering when it dies, as it should, the Chinese variant triggers upon entering the battlefield.
Considering how different these mechanics are, we’re not entirely sure this is just a simple mistranslation error. Whatever the reason, however, the results are the same, as Market Gnome is surprisingly strong as a result. One white mana for card draw, life gain, and bonuses when crafting? What’s not to love?!
Ultimately, while you might want to play with the Chinese Market Gnome, the rules won’t let you. Instead, as we’ve mentioned before, as a rules level, each card uses its Oracle text, in order to ensure everything works. For better or worse, this means every misprint shouldn’t really change anything, it just causes a lot of confusion…