Goblin King: The Magic Lord That Went Through Some Royal Revisions

Illus: Phil Foglio

Few Magic: The Gathering cards have gone through revisions over the years as drastically as one of the game's original cards: Goblin King.

But, then, there is Goblin King, which kicked off a 12-year back and forth over what the card is actually meant to do.

Costing three mana (1RR), this goblin creature gave goblins in play mountainwalk and +1/+1, except it didnt. The wording was weird. As originally written, Goblin King also gave itself that bonus.  And it stayed that way through its printing in Unlimited.

To fix this, Wizards of the Coast made a huge erattum on its Revised printing

In Revised, Goblin King’s type became Lord, and everything seemed to be fixed. That ,is until 2005 when enough people realized it was odd that the king of the goblins wasn't, well, a goblin.  (A complaint seldom heard about the movie Labyrinth.)

Their solution? The addition of one word.

"Other" was added into the card's rules text, thus changing the card to say “Other Goblins get +1/+1 and have mountainwalk.”

This change took effect in Ninth Edition and it has been the card's official wording ever since.

And, interestingly enough, when Wizards of the Coast released its highly criticized 30th Anniversary Edition, which was basically a collectible re-release of Magic's original set at a premium price, they used the modern text of Goblin King rather than its original.

Not so authentic to the original, is it?

Evan Symon

Evan Symon is a graduate of The University of Akron and has been a working journalist ever since with works published by Cracked, GeekNifty, the Pasadena Independent, California Globe, and, of course, Magic Untapped.