Over the weekend, a quiet but notable change happened with the world's biggest trading card game, Magic: The Gathering, as errata has been issued on a number of cards updating them, and in some cases slightly changing how they played.
All of these errata were related to two specific mechanics: Surveil and Landfall. The reason for the errata is that Studio X has decided to promote the mechanics to deciduous status, which Head Designer Mark Rosewater has described as, "mechanics that aren't quite evergreen but are still mechanics that designers have access to in any set where they want to use them." Other deciduous mechanics include Cycling, Sagas, and Vehicles.
When making this change, they decided to also go back and errata all the cards that had the mechanic's rules just written out. For useful mechanics like Surveil and Landfall, before they are either deciduous or evergreen, they are sometimes used in sets that don't have them as a major mechanic by writing out the rules text. For example, the Magic card Consider previously said: "Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card into your graveyard. Draw a Card,", and now reads as "Surveil 1. Draw a Card.", because the text of the first part is the same as the rule text for Surveil.
The change was confirmed by Mark Rosewater on his blog, along with him providing the reason for the change as mentioned above. It is also important to note that only cards that were worded exactly the same as the mechanics are being so updated. Cards that were very similar but had any differences are not being changed.
The impact this has on other cards varies between the two mechanics. Landfall is what is known as an ability word, which means that it is essentially just a label. It carries no rules weight, and the errata of the term Landfall into those cards essentially just adds cohesion to Magic: The Gathering in general by having all of the cards with the same terminology. Surveil is a keyword ability, which means it can be referenced in rules, and trigger various cards. This means that the just under 20 cards that were changed with this, can now trigger cards that care about when you Surveil like Disinformation Campaign, and Dimir Spybug.
This could actually have some potential impact on competitive events, especially in Pioneer, as some of the Surveil payoff cards are efficiently costed, but was lacking strong enough cards with Surveil to be considered. Now, Surveil is on already played cards like Consider, and Search for Azcanta, as well as some other potentially playable cards.
While not a huge change overall, it does depart some from Wizard's standard policy of no functional errata which seems to be more bent these days. More creature-type updates (like with Phyrexian), the companion errata, and others show that this is an area that they are more willing to tread into than in the past, although they are doing so with caution and concern about errating too much based on Mark Rosewater's comments.