APRIL 24, 2017 BANNED AND RESTRICTED ANNOUNCEMENT

Announcement Date: April 24, 2017

Standard:

No changes

Modern:

No changes

Legacy:

Sensei’s Divining Top is banned.

Vintage:

Gitaxian Probe is restricted.

Gush is restricted.

Effective Date: April 24, 2017

Magic Online Effective Date: April 24, 2017″

Legacy

Sensei’s Divining Top is banned.

I advocated this change last year, after GP Prague, sparking a vigorous discussion alongside the counterpoint “Don’t Ban Miracles” from Brian De Mars.

We covered a lot of the details then, but what changed in a year?

To be honest, the biggest changes were that Wizards printed cards to effectively combat Miracles in Leovold, Emissary of Trest and Sanctum Prelate and little else, so why this decision now?

I guess it was because of Eternal Masters—Wizards didn’t want to ban a card that you could open in their recent Draft set. Or perhaps it was that they wanted to see how Conspiracy 2 would impact Legacy and didn’t see much difference, as Miracles held its position both online and in real life.

Did we really need a Top banning?

That question is hard to answer. Looking only at gameplay, it was a frustrating deck to play against, and one that pushed many decks out of the format. But it was also the pillar of Legacy, the glue that kept the format from being overwhelmed by turn-1/2/3 combo decks, making the format healthier than Modern.

There also monetary damage—lots of Legacy players only own one deck that is worth thousands of dollars. By banning Top, you ban a whole deck, and hit a huge number of people right in the pocketbook. Unlike other formats, I think this is one of the main reasons you should ban very little in Legacy, and a good rule to stick to.

What will happen now?

All the decks that had a poor Miracles matchup like Elves, Delver, Ad Nauseam, and combo decks in general will benefit from this. All the decks that had a good Miracles matchup like Eldrazi, 4c Control, 4c Loam, and midrange in general will lose a lot of their strength, since the format will become more unfair, and playing a slow game plan or one without Force of Will will be a huge misstep.

Julian Knab is probably the best Elves player around, and he’s been hoping for this ban for ages, so I would refer to his latest Eternal Weekend Top 8 list:

Elves

Julian Knab – 5th Place Eternal Weekend Paris 2017

4c Czech Pile has been covered pretty heavily recently, and its best quality was a good matchup against Miracles, being made up almost entirely of card advantage cards. Its lack of a clock, however, is its main weakness against combo decks, making its cousin, Delver, way better in a format without Miracles.

Czech Pile

Ondrej Strasky

Vintage

 

Gush is restricted.

Gitaxian Probe is restricted.

Like I said in my last article, I really hoped that this wouldn’t happen.

Latest big event: Eternal Weekend 2017 in Paris. There were 4 Thorn of Amethyst decks, and only 2 Gush Mentor decks. And we got this ban list? What in the world?

Even online, Ravager Shops was 26% of the metagame, and Mentor was only 18% of it according to MTGOGoldFish.

I just can’t understand the need to restrict two cards!

I can understand hitting one: Gush, since Mentor could still be reasonable without it, despite being obviously weakened by that. But also Probe? Wouldn’t it be easier to just restrict Mentor and call it a day?

I guess they want Vintage to be even less interactive than what it already is with Shops, Dredge, and Oaths. I’m disappointed by this restriction, because I liked Vintage and loved how Mentor games played out, and I’m not sure it can still be a deck with the explosiveness of playing Mentor into some free mana spells.

Hail to the new king:

Shops

Aurelio Crespo – 2nd place Eternal Weekend Paris 2017

I truly disliked these bans and restrictions, because they hit the two most expensive formats, formats where people invest lots of money and want to just play with their cards on the occasional weekend, and now suddenly lose their deck along with hundreds of dollars.

Mostly, I thought the formats were balanced and fair. We’ll have to see whether this new ban list changes or improves that.