Greetings Disciples of Bolas!
This week’s column is all about trying to predict if there will be changes to the Modern B&R list, hence the name Future Sight.
The current Modern metagame
Many of the currently well performing decks are either very fast creature based decks (Naya Burn, Affinity, Dredge), midrange decks (Bant Eldrazi, Jund, Abzan), or creature based combo deck (Company, Evolution, TitanShift, Infect, Knightfall, Death Shadow Aggro).
The smallest of the decks that are on this list are non-blue control decks.
UW Control and Grixis Control are the only ones that are on this list. Certainly the unbanning of Ancestral Visions has certainly helped the situation of control decks in the format, but it hasn’t completed solved the problem for them just yet.
The other oddity that I see is that aren’t any spell based combo decks like Storm anywhere.
This leads us to the topic at hand which is, will there be any unbannings coming at the end of September?
Below is the current B&R list for Modern:
Dig Through Time
Eye of Ugin
Glimpse of Nature
Green Sun’s Zenith
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Rite of Flame
Seat of the Synod
Sensei’s Divining Top
Tree of Tales
Vault of Whispers
Let’s discuss which ones can be safely unbanned and which ones are too dangerous to unban.
The artifact lands allowed for the original Ravager Affinity deck to return to playability. Now Affinity is still a very explosive and dangerous deck and these would make that a larger problem.
Change of unban: 0%Birthing Pod
Right now there are a number of creature based combo decks, both fast and midrange style, in Modern. While this deck was extremely consistent during its last run in Modern, it is possible that this card could be looked at to be unbanned but this style deck doesn’t need a lot of help at the moment.
Chance of unban: 10%Blazing Shoal
Unbanning this card would lead it right back into the deck that got it banned, Infect. That is a deck that is still very strong in the format.
Chance of unban: 0%Bloodbraid Elf
Now this is a card that once continued the 2-for-1 machine known as Jund. Four mana spells that don’t take over the game are usually not played in Modern. Could BBE be a safe unban? The only card that truly would worry me with it being a problem is Ancestral Visions. The only downside is that we already have a suite of powerful midrange decks.
Chance of unban: 35%Cloudpost
We already have the Tron lands in the format. They have been a format staple despite having their other engine, Eye of Ugin, banned. While I believe that this could be a safe unban at this point, this archetype doesn’t really need it right now.
Chance of unban: 20%Dark Depths
Now Dark Depths is an interesting card to talk about here. There are a couple of cards in Modern that make this card borderline broken (Vampire Hexmage, Thespian’s Stage). There are many ways to deal with the Marit Lage token including Path to Exile, Liliana of the Veil, Repeal, Vapor Snag, etc. What makes me worry about this card is the deck from the last Extended environment that got it banned, Thopter Depths by Gerry Thompson. With Thopter Foundry and Sword of the Meek unbanned, I’m not sure you’d want this card unbanned but it certain shift the metagame.
Chance of unban: 30%
Control decks need something to continue to grow their market share of the Modern format. Dig is banned in Legacy so I definitely think it is a no go here. That leaves the other 3 cards; Deathrite, Jace, and Stoneforge. Deathrite Shaman would slot back into Elves and Jund right now but it would also help many control decks too. If Stoneforge came off the B&R list, then Batterskull would have to go on the list as that interaction would be too good. That leaves just Jace to talk about. There are a few powerful planeswalkers played in Modern: Liliana of the Veil, Karn, Liberated, Nahiri, the Harbinger, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. I realize how powerful Jace is and I also realize how dangerous he is but having Jace in Modern would certainly help control and give them a difficult choice with Nahiri.Dread Return
With the return of Dredge in Modern already, you don’t want to unban this card and give them any more gas.
Chance of unban: 0%Eye of Ugin
I’m not even going to try to make a case for this card.
Chance of unban: 0%Glimpse of Nature
Glimpse is only played in one major deck and that is in Legacy Elves. While creature based combo decks don’t need a lot of help currently, I believe this is a safe unban.
Chance of unban: 50%Green Sun’s Zenith
Green Sun’s Zenith is a strong tutor card. I like this card and doesn’t see it as a problem. The card isn’t abused in Legacy and isn’t run in that many decks either. I feel the card could be unbanned but I’m not sure if R&D will unban it simply because this archetype doesn’t need a boost.
Chance of unban: 15%Hypergenesis
Suspend and Cascade have always had a overpowered relationship. I’m afraid this one will have to stay on the bench.
Chance of unban: 0%Mental Misstep
I’m not even going to try to make a case for this card. If it is too powerful for Legacy then it’s a no go in Modern.
Chance of unban: 0%
The spell based combo decks have fallen off recently. I look at this list and I think that one of these cards could safely be unbanned but anymore could be problematic.Punishing Fire
This is another control based card that ended up on the B&R list due to the power of its recursive nature. There are a ton of creature based decks right now (both aggressive and midrange) which this card can be an option against those decks. The danger here is that it is far too easy to recur and Jund is already a strong deck in the current format.
Chance of unban: 10%Second Sunrise
Eggs is a combo deck that Wizards R&D doesn’t want to see back in Modern due to its NPE nature. That means this card is out.
Chance of unban: 0%Sensei’s Divining Top
With Entreat the Angels, Terminus and Counterbalance in the format, putting the Top in Modern would be a total mistake. Now, I agree that there should be more of a control deck in the format which would allow more combo decks to be safe to allow in Modern but this one would be a nightmare. Beyond that, the Top slows games to a grinding halt.
Chance of unban: 0%Skullclamp
I’ve personally seen what this card can do. When an aggro deck out draws a control or combo deck, something is wrong.
Chance of unban: 0%Splinter Twin
After examining this ban, I understand why it happened. Since the deck was a combo control deck, it could switch rolls really easily. That wasn’t the only problem. The deck was very consistent which lead players to take up the deck, increasing its share of the metagame to unreasonable amounts. I’m not sure what would happen if it was unbanned. Being an enchantment makes it easier to deal with but the control shell that it is in makes the deck hard to deal with as a whole. I’m going to list this in the dangerous area.
Chance of unban: 10%Summer Bloom
I’m not convinced that banning Summer Bloom was a good thing. The deck was difficult to pilot. Personally, the card that should have been banned was Hive Mind. I’d like to see the cards swapped but my guess is that R&D doesn’t agree.
Chance of unban: 5%Treasure Cruise
If it is legacy banned, there is no way it should be unbanned in Modern.
Chance of unban: 0%Umezawa’s Jitte
The Jitte dominates creature based decks in Legacy. The deck that gets to their Jitte first and gets it active is a huge favorite in creature on creature matchups. Considering the current Modern metagame, unbanning this card would be a mistake.
Chance of unban: 0%
Now, one last caveat, it is certainly possible that we see a banning at some point of something like the Delve cards, specifically Become Immense. It is certainly strong at the moment.
Next week I’ll go over my picks for eternal formats from Kaladesh.