Good day, and welcome to another installment of Making It In Modern!
About a month ago, I went over four cards that I thought would be the most likely cards to be unbanned in the Modern format. It was a very divisive article, and I got a lot of feedback from it…which was excellent! I figured that since I wrote about cards that could be brought back into the format, I might as well touch on some cards that could be hit by the ban hammer in a future announcement. As before, these opinions I will be expressing are my own based on tournament finishes and how the cards themselves play in game.
Before I get into the list, I want to preface by saying a couple things. Although I am saying that these cards can be banned, I am not saying specifically that they are deserving of being banned. Just because I am saying they are most likely to go, I am not saying they will get banned now, or in the future. I am shedding light on the topic to give you my opinion so you can have a different view point and maybe be a little more prepared in the chance that a card is indeed banned.
Bans are usually announced due to certain decks warping the Modern format in a way that makes deck diversity drop: Whether it be wiping out whole archetypes as far ascompetitive play is concerned or just taking up too much space in the metagame, bans will happen to figure out a way to bring the power level of a deck down by a stretch without totally destroying the deck. Although I believe that Modern is in a great spot right now and I don’t think a ban is necessary at the moment, there have been calls for bans on certain cards and I can see why. I do want to make a quick note of Burning Inquiry as an honorable mention for now. I don’t see it close to a ban, but I could see it happening eventually. Inquiry not only allows for some degenerate turn one Hollow Ones in the BR and Mardu Hollow One decks, but it also on occasion completely hoses your opponent’s hand since it is a symmetrical draw and discard. Now that that is out of the way, here are the four cards that I feel have the most likely chance of seeing a ban in the near future.
Street Wraith is on this list as a one of two cards that could see a ban in a certain circumstance. If Street Wraith is banned, I don’t see the number three card on this list getting a ban, and vice versa. Street Wraith has been a staple in Living End decks for quite a while without much of a fuss being made about it. It wasn’t until Death’s Shadow decks started popping up in 2016 that people started taking offense to the card. Being able to cycle in for two life in the Death’s Shadow is not a downside, since the goal of the deck is to get a large Death’s Shadow on the battlefield as soon as possible by losing as much life as possible without losing the game in the process. You essentially draw a card for free. Street Wraith became a little more degenerate with the printing of Hollow One. In the RB and Mardu Hollow One decks, you can enable turn one castings of Hollow One by cycling a Street Wraith in conjunction with casting a Faithless Looting on turn one, making any Hollow One in your hand a free cast. Although very rare, its not impossible to have four Hollow Ones on the battlefield before your opponent even takes a turn. Furthermore, Street wraith gives the deck some free discard fuel for Flameblade Adept and Delve fuel for Gurmag Angler. Overall, in the right decks, Street Wraith allows you to play a 56 card deck if you run a playset in it. This is why I think it has the possibility of seeing the ban hammer.
As stated in the Street Wraith section, I do not see Simian Spirit Guide getting a ban if Street Wraith is banned. The two cards do similar things for certain decks and I just can’t see a world where both are out of the format. The reason that I think Simian Spirit Guide would get a ban is simple, it is free mana. The fact that Chrome Mox is banned in Modern, but Simian Spirit Guide is legal shows a lot of inconsistencies in the Research and Development department. These cards themselves aren’t overpowered cards of course, but these cards enable some things that probably shouldn’t exist in Modern. Simian Spirit Guide is used mainly in prison style decks to cast cards like Chalice of the Void or Blood Moon a turn earlier than they normally should. It is also used on occasion in some Eldrazi Tron decks to throw out an early Chalice as well. Being able to push these cards out early can lead to some very non interactive game play for the one staring down these permanents. The degenerate nature of fast mana was the reason why Chrome Mox was taken out of the format, yet why do we still have the Spirit Guide legal if it does essentially the same thing?
Ancient Stirrings was honestly going to take the number one spot, but after thinking about it, another card is a bit more of an enabler than Ancient Stirrings is. The reason that I would think Stirrings would get a ban is because it does a lot of what Ponder does for specific decks, but better. Being able to dig five cards deep in order to find a colorless card for one green mana is very powerful. The fact that a colorless card can mean an Eldrazi spell, an artifact spell, or a land can give you so many options for the decks that can abuse it. Green Tron, Lantern Control, and Krark Clan Ironworks decks are the most notable users of Ancient Stirrings. In Tron, Stirrings in good in the early game to find a Tron land and also good late to find a threat like Karn Liberated or an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. It is also very good in all stages of the game for Lantern Control and KCI by finding missing lock pieces for the former and missing combo pieces for the later. I feel the general consensus of opinions is that playing against Lantern Control is a pretty miserable experience and the same can be said to some degree of KCI. Tron comes and goes as the boogeyman in the format, sometimes looking unbeatable. If Wizards wanted to nerf these decks at all, an Ancient Stirrings ban would do the trick, but probably would wipe out KCI and Lantern.
1. Mox Opal
Mox Opal is the card that I think would be most likely to see a ban from the Modern format. Mox Opal can be seen as degenerate for doing what Simian Spirit Guide does in some of the decks that Ancient Stirrings is in. As stated before, Mox Opal kind of lands in the same space that Simian Spirit Guide and Chrome Mox reside in, and the same talk of inconsistency in bans can be referred to here. Mox Opal isn’t necessarily a free activation, because with Metalcraft, you need to have three artifacts on the battlefield to activate its mana ability. Metalcraft is very easy to turn on though in any artifact based deck. Free artifact spells, such as Ornithopter or Memnite in Affinity or Mishra’s Bauble in Lantern Control can be used to turn Mox Opal into a mana producing artifact very early. KCI is the other deck that is able to abuse Mox Opal and has been putting up great results in larger events. Matt Nass just took down the Modern GP at GP Vegas and he took down the previous Modern GP, both with KCI. There were also three other KCI decks in the top 16 of GP Vegas. I personally think that Mox Opal should not be hit, however. I think that Affinity is a perfectly fine deck for Modern, and I would hate to see it take a hit because of other offenders that may get pushed out one way or another.
So that is all I have for you today. It was nice to be able to get to explore this side of the topic, since I had previously wrote about cards that we could see introduced into the format from the ban list. I want to know what you think! Do you see any of these cards potentially being struck down by the ban hammer or do you think any other card might get hit? Let me know by commenting below or giving me a follow on Twitter @T2TKS to let me know. Also don’t forget to give us a follow @MTGDecktechs and give us a like on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MTGDeckTechs/. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I will see you next week!