The Pre-Ban Glance

Wizards of the Coast always has a way of drawing us in; they know exactly how to hook us for the next round of cardboard addiction. Many players I find are just itching for the newest summer set (ie. Conspiracy, Modern Master, Eternal Masters, etc.). Some players find the most exciting time to be when the newest set and spoilers are released. This always gets the most creative deck builds rolling out. Both of those are exciting and are things I myself look forward to, but there is one thing I look forward to and even dread above both of them:

The B & R Announcement.

The B & R Announcement is the official Wizards of the Coast ban list for all formats. The reason this is the most exciting time is simple: there is almost nothing that affects the way a format functions as a whole like the ban list. Case and point is from the last ban list announcement back on January 18, 2016. Only Pauper and Modern were affected by the latest ban hammer.

Pauper’s ban was Cloud of Faeries, this banning was an attempt at lowering the power of blue within the format by just a small amount. Their specific reasoning was that nine of the top ten most played cards were in fact blue cards. As it stands the top four decks Delver, Temur Tron, Stompy, and Affinity. Also it stands now that Cloud of Faeries was added, only seven of the top ten cards are blue.

Modern’s ban shook the very pillars of the format when the ban hammer fell upon Summer Bloom and Splinter Twin. The reason this affected the format in such a manner is that unlike Pauper, whose sole ban really only affected its top performing deck that remains in that seat, Modern’s top four performers at the time of the ban were Affinity, Junk, Bloom Titan, and Splinter Twin.

Summer Bloom
This card allowed a deck to abuse the fast mana to such an accelerated rate that it consistently put out a turn two Primeval Titan, which followed normally with a turn three kill. That fact in itself broke Wizard’s vision of the format and made it a prime target. I am surprised Bloom wasn’t banned before when they had the chance at the previous B & R Announcement.

Splinter Twin
Splinter Twin was the shock ban. If you asked anyone a year ago decks to expect in Modern, it didn’t matter what kind of gauntlet you threw together in preparations of the Modern event, you would automatically suspect Splinter Twin and Affinity as decks to prepare against. Splinter Twin could easily be considered one of the formats most recognizable decks and it followed every rule to the absolute letter. It could not win before turn three, it was not oppressive, and the format had such a large diversity. My article isn’t about the past bans however; it is about what we can look forward to in the next ban list.

The Eldrazi Menace

As of right now it has become blatantly obvious that this deck and all its variants are extremely oppressive. Out of the top twelve decks in Modern based off of winning game percentage, Eldrazi holds four different variants in the top twelve. Those four variants of a single deck hold a combined total of 30.07% of the winning meta. That’s almost one in every three decks! What makes this deck so oppressive  is that it has reached levels of dominance that hasn’t been seen since PT Berlin in 2008 when Elves dominated the format. Glimpse of Nature was to blame for that event.

The blame for this monstrosity happens to be in the form of three different cards. First is Eldrazi Mimic. This card copies the power and toughness of a colorless creature that comes into the battlefield. Combine that with the following: Endless One, Thought-Knot Seer, Drowner of Hope, World Breaker, and my personal favorite, Reality Smasher. This deck is nothing but threat after threat. Mimic plays a huge part in what makes this overpowered.

Second is the lands that are available, Eye of Ugin, some may argue with it but I feel this is the less dangerous threat than its partner in crime. Eye of Ugin allows you as a player to cast Eldrazi spells at least two turns before you are supposed to be able to cast them. The speed boost from the Eye is completely daunting. That kind of unchecked power is the same as letting Storm have Seething Song, or Rite of Flame. The next menace is the one I feel should be the most feared is Eldrazi Temple not only does it do essentially the same thing as Eye of Ugin, but it also allows me to activate an ability of my creature for two less. Unless they plan on constantly turning out modern bomb after modern bomb in each new release, something has to be done about this issue.

2016-03-20_01

One thing I have left out of this article and I will make it brief is the probability of something getting unbanned. These happen to be your magic unicorns that exists in the game. Since Modern has been released, seventeen cards have been placed on the ban list that started off with twenty three banned cards that never saw Modern play upon original release. Between 2011 and 2016, seventeen cards have been added, and yet only four have been unbanned.

My suggestion for people is to pick up the following cards: Stoneforge Mystic, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Bloodbraid Elf, and Sword of the Meek. All four has been rumored as being released for the Modern format. I can’t put stock in rumors, but I can say I am taking the opportunity to pick up at least the Bloodbraid and Sword while they are still below five dollars.

In conclusion:

  • I hate that Twin was banned.
  • Eldrazi is oppressive and needs Temple and Mimic banned.
  • Go to your local card shop and raid all the Bloodbraids and Swords you can find before they shoot up.
  • For those of you who follow my advice and do this and turn profit congratulations if I am right.

If I am wrong I will happily see anyone on April, 5th and pick up at least two playsets of Bloodbraid Elf and Sword of the Meek if you are willing to part with them, but only two playsets.

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