Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,
On Monday, DCI (the organized play sanctioning body of Wizards of the Coast) much anticipated update to the Magic: the Gathering Banned and Restricted list was posted to the mothersite. Likewise in similar fashion, MTG Commander (dot net), provided an update to their banned list for Commander (EDH) format. To our knowledge DCI typically defers to the MTGComm list.
Essentially the following summary is provided -
Modern - Deathrite Shaman is banned. Bitterblossom and Wild Nacatl are unbanned.
Standard, Legacy, Vintage - No changes
Commander - Sylvan Primordial is banned.
As we here at MTG Realm are essentially standard fans who occasionally dabbles in Modern and Commander, we can't really say we have any strong feelings either way (as opposed to the June 2011 ban announcement of Stoneforge Mystic - we were inconsolable for a few short weeks). We strongly suspect a link with the unbanning of Bitterblossom and the release of the new Modern Event Deck. In fact our error back in early January in this post seems oddly prophetic now. Weirdness! Anywhoos - scroll down to the bottom for the full re-broadcast of those original announcements.
At this time, some frivolity from MTG Realm on Tumblr as it relates to the B'n'R update:
From the Mothersite:
Explanation of February 3, 2014, B&R Changes
Different flavors of black-green decks have recently been among the best-performing decks in Modern. These decks play many very efficient ways to trade cards one for one with their opponents, such as Thoughtseize, Inquisition of Kozilek, and Abrupt Decay. Strong mana acceleration helps these decks trade one for one efficiently enough that they can keep up with the other decks in a large format such as Modern, but normally playing mana acceleration comes at the cost of playing cards that are less powerful in the late game. Deathrite Shaman, however, is powerful at all stages of the game. Having a strong attrition-based deck as a large portion of the metagame makes it difficult for decks that are based on synergies between cards instead of individually powerful cards. We believe that removing Deathrite Shaman from the format will leave more room for future innovation.
At the time Wild Nacatl was banned, we hoped that this would allow room for other aggressive decks to shine. Artifact-based aggressive strategies have remained popular and a few other aggressive decks have emerged, but the Zoo decks eventually disappeared as a result of the ban and nothing else emerged as a viable traditional aggressive deck. We expect that with the return of Wild Nacatl, those decks will return as a viable option.
At the time of Modern's inception, the dominance of Faeries in Standard was at the front of our minds. Therefore, we took the conservative approach of including Bitterblossom in the initial banned list. After observing the evolution of the Modern format, we feel that it is of an appropriate power level to compete with the other powerful strategies in the format.
From MTG Commander . Net
It's been almost a year since the banned list for Commander was altered, as we feel the format continues to grow, games are reasonably diverse where their players want them to be, and we want to keep the banned list as short as practical.
That said, there is one card which has drawn an increasing amount of ire over the past year. We feel Sylvan Primordial is causing far more problems than its contributions justify, and that the format will be better off without it. It meets many of the heuristic markers for a banned card, insofar as it invalidates many other creatures as search targets and causes arguments about whether its use is degenerate or reasonable. It can be easily accelerated into on turn 4 or 5 (before players are expected to have extensive defenses or threats online), at which point it turns a reasonable ramp deck into uninteresting games.
If the card was just a big ramp, or just utility destruction, or just spot land destruction, it would likely be fine but by combining both factors it becomes ubiquitous, frequently overwhelming, and repetitive. After some debate in previous seasons, the committee members all voted in favour of removing it from the format.
It is probably a great time to get in to Modern format as WotC appears to be supporting this very nicely. We suggest you drop over to MTG Mint Card to pick up the singles you need to get that list off the ground and on to a game table.