Oh! I see.
TODAY ON AN EXCITING EPISODE OF "JAMES INVESTIGATES RULES HISTORY"...
This appears to be what we in the rules-history biz refer to technically as "a screwup."
Here's the part of the story you all know: the original
black-border and WB-Alpha Premiere printings of Firestorm read as follows:
All Away Team members with INTEGRITY<5 are killed unless thermal deflectors present. Discard dilemma.
Over the next year, there were some, ah, shall we say, challenges
involving the details of the timing rules. One thing led to another, and Decipher ended up updating the text on both Emergency Transporter Armbands (to prevent it being used mid-dilemma) and Firestorm (to allow ETA to work just for this dilemma) in the Beta printing
. The new wording was:
All Away Team memebrs with INTEGRITY<5 are killed unless thermal deflectors present OR Away Team escapes using emergency transporter armbands. Discard dilemma.
No, they didn't capitalize either of those card titles, grah, 1995 card standards, I know it made sense at the time.
In 1999 (I think
when Glossary 1.6
was released, but it may have been earlier), Decipher issued another errata to Firestorm. It read:
Firestorm - Errata:
Kills all Away Team members with INTEGRITY<5 This replaces the errata from the Beta print run. The old text referring to Thermal Deflectors is redundant because that event specifies that it nullifies Firestorm.
unless thermal deflectors present (but Away Team may escape using Emergency Transporter Armbands). Discard dilemma.
I can't tell whether this errata was ever actually printed. Decipher ran on the Magic: The Gathering system of errata, where it would print errata in the Glossary and expect you to find it there, and only actually put errata on a card
if the card was reprinted. Firestorm was included in Trouble With Tribble Starters in 2000, but what I do not
know is whether any of those cards were reprints, or just leftover WB-Beta Firestorms from the Decipher warehouses. So it's possible that TwT Firestorm had the correct text, possible it didn't, possible some do and some don't.
But, as of 1999, that was the legal text of Firestorm.
Okay, now we run into the problem.
Early in the days of the Continuing Committee (I have dated it as 2008 in the system, but I'm not actually certain when it happened or who did it), the Continuing Committee went through Glossary 1.8
, found all the errata listed in there, and put it on high-resolution cards. Thus was born the first errata file.
Whoever did this did the game a tremendous service. That hi-rez errata file was a leaps-and-bounds improvement over the old "better check the Glossary to remember what the new text says" system, especially once Deck Builder came on the scene.
But it seems that not everything was done perfectly when this file was generated, because Firestorm was reprinted with this text (the text currently on the errata image of the card and
in the card database):
Kills all Away Team members with INTEGRITY<5 unless thermal deflectors present (but Away Team may escape using Emergency Transporter Armbands). Discard dilemma.
This restores the redundant text that Decipher had removed in the 1999 errata, but keeps the rephrasing of the second clause that Decipher imposed in the 1999 errata. Honestly, it feels like a typo. I can't find any record of anyone intending
to overwrite the 1999 Firestorm errata with a new errata... but it does seem like that's what happened. It's an erroneous errata!
(Someone around in 2008-2010, feel free to correct me if I'm getting any of this wrong.)
So good call, winterflames. Something was indeed wrong here.
I'm inclined to say that the 2008 errata reprint was a new errata of the card, restoring the thermal deflectors text that Decipher had removed. I think I'll update the errata database accordingly.
But I will also take note of this whole tangle for clarifying errata purposes. Don't be shocked if there's another further erratum to Firestorm a little while from now!
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