Delving WIth Devin: To Ban or Not to Ban, Part 2

Welcome back everyone to part two of “To ban or not to ban”, that is the question. Before we get to the modern banned list, I thought I would do a complete standard meta game breakdown for you!

Its such a relief that Felidar Guardian was banned, as playing against a four drop that can end the game on the spot was a real downer. that being said, the meta game looks a lot more fun now that you can safely tap out on turn 4 without some hungry jerk spoiling your afternoon.

Bu we have lots of cards to cover so lets jump right in!

Dread Return Why is Dread Return banned? Dread Return is a key piece to any legacy dredge deck, as it’s basically a free roll to turn your free creatures such as Narcomoeba and Prized Amalgam into fatty creatures of your choice. Not to mention that when you sac the creatures, it triggers all of your Bridge from Belows to create numerous more zombies. So how would this card effect modern? It would basically push dredge from tier 1 into its own class, similar to eldrazi winter. Dredge decks would be re-constructed to include this card and the Bridge from Belows, and the power level would of through the roof.

Should they un-ban Dread Return? I feel like dredge is already quite strong, and its ceiling is already quite high, and unbanning Dread Return would just be making an already strong, degenerate, non-interactive deck even more powerful. I don’t think that Dread Return would add anything constructive to the format. Verdict? Stay Banned.

Eye of Ugin Why is Eye of Ugin banned? Speaking of Eldrazi winter, Eye of Ugin is one of the many enablers that enabled modern to curl up and die for several months not so long ago. Eight “sol-lands” were legal for only one tribe. Imagine the power of sol ring, and then imagine only one deck being able to run not four, but eight copies. Somehow other decks playing basic land and saying go, we’re living in a nightmare where Thought-Knot Seer and friends were the boogey man.

Should they Un-ban Eye of Ugin? As mentioned above, modern basically died when this card was legal, as the influx of newer, cheaper Eldrazi broke this card in half. This card was fine when the only Eldrazi cost 10+ mana, as a 20% reduction in mana cost isn’t that impressive, however when it is reducing a cards mana cost by 50-100% that is where the problem lies. Either this card needs to remain banned, or all the lower cost Eldrazi need to ┬ábanned, and I think that Eye being on the banned list is the smaller price to pay. Verdict? Stay Banned

Gitaxian Probe Why is Gitaxian Probe banned? Probe is a very powerful card. This card literally does it all, while on the surface not appearing to be game breaking. So what does this card do, it just cantrips, right? Well, it does cantrip, but it also: fills the graveyard for delve cards, delirium, snapcaster flash backs, etc etc. It gives you 100% information of the opponents hand, which gives stronger players who are better able to use that information a massive edge in planning out the remainder of the game. It also can be cast by paying just 2 life, so it is free from a mana perspective, and with cards such as Death’s Shadow legal, paying the 2 life can actually be a massive benefit. The card also increases redundancy in your deck, and allows you to hit cards in your deck more consistently.

Should they Unban Gitaxian Probe? Probe is one of the most recent card to hit the modern banned list, and given how it effects how games are played out, and that it can be played in literally any deck, I feel that it is fine to remain banned. There is no feeling worse then to be trying to out play your opponent, trying to hide information about the contents of your hand so they over extend or what not, and then they just go, pay two life, and ask, what you got? Verdict? Stay Banned

Glimpse of Nature Why is Glimpse of Nature banned? Again we can look to legacy to see why a card might be banned in modern. Glimpse is a mainstay in Legacy elves, allowing the deck to have explosive turns, sometimes drawing their entire deck as early as turn two or three (which leads to a kill). This type of explosiveness was viewed as being too powerful for modern to handle at the time that it was banned.

Should they Un-ban Glimpse of Nature? This is an interesting question, and I feel like this card is very boarder line. Normally if a card is boarder-line it should probably just remain banned as it’s only a matter of time before it is broken. However I would like to see how this card would play out in the format, as the elves deck is missing some other key components that the legacy version has access too (Cradle, Natural Order, Green Sun’s Zenith). Before they un-ban this, some testing should be done to see if the card actually breaks elves or not, as elves is basically only a deck because of Collected Company, and Glimpse of Nature doesn’t play particularly well with Collected Company as they don’t interact with one another. without extensive testing though, I feel this card should remain banned, but it is very close! Verdict? Stay Banned

Golgari Grave-Troll Why is Golgari Grave-Troll banned? Dredge was tearing up the modern scene, and dredge has a very strong game one vs most decks in the format. People don’t like to have to dedicate that many sideboard cards to any one particular matchup, so the people called for something to change! The Grave-Troll took the brunt of the hammer, as it was the most powerful dredger.

Should they un-ban Golgari Grave-Troll? Dredge was actually a reasonable deck with Golgari Grave-Troll until Cathartic Reunion was printed. This card allowed dredge to discard two cards, and then dredge basically half of their deck with any reasonable luck. Golgari Grave-Troll was strong, however it wasn’t broken until the Cathartic Reunion was printed. I feel that one of the two needs to be banned, however I would prefer it be the Reunion. Verdict? Unban

Green Sun’s Zenith why is Green Sun’s Zenith banned? This card is a perfect example of a card that is insanely powerful. Turn one? its a Llanowar Elf by searching for a Dryad Arbor. Turn 7? It’s a Primeval Titan. This card has such a low floor and such a high ceiling of power level, not to mention that it is basically a tutor for any silver bullet creatures such as Scavenging Ooze when you need it. If it were legal, it would basically be an auto-include 4-of in any green creature deck.

Should they unban Green Sun’s Zenith? Green Sun’s Zenith would make green creature decks way too consistent, and allow them to search out the perfect answer at any point of the game. This card has a similar problem as Birthing Pod does, making games play out in the same way, and adding way too much consistency to the decks running it. Verdict? Stay Banned

Hypergenesis Why is Hypergenesis banned? One word, cascade. The decks that would be possible if this card were to be unbanned would be very one dimensional and busted. Putting Eldrazi into play on turn 3 or 4 is probably something that shouldn’t be happening. We will leave that for standard!

Should they unban Hypergenesis? This difference between Hypergenesis and Living End, is at least graveyard hate can interact with what Living End is doing. With Hypergenesis however, the player basically needs to either kill you before you cascade into it, or have a counter spell up at all times to prevent you from dumping a bunch of fatties onto the board. I don’t feel Hypergenesis would be adding anything to the format. Verdict? Stay Banned

Jace, the Mind Sculptor why is Jace, the Mind Sculptor banned? Jace had just finished dominating standard when modern was created. Jace was very expensive, and turn-out to magic events was on a downswing due to it being purely Jace mirrors. Wizards was scared that if Jace were legal, he would warp the format and people wouldn’t want to play.

Should they unban Jace, the Mind Sculptor? Modern has come a long way since Jace was first banned. Blue is seeing very little play in the format, and the colour definitely isn’t dominating. Tapping out for four mana at sorcery speed can often cost you the game, as often times you will get combo’d, or just outright killed by massive Death Shadows and Tarmogoyfs. (thats if the Jace hasnt been Thoughtseized away by that point.) There are other powerful 4 mana planeswalkers that haven’t made massive dents in the format, Nahiri and Gideon come to mind. I feel that unbanning Jace could give blue to kick start that it needs to make control a viable option. Verdict? Unban

Mental Misstep Why is Mental Misstep banned? Mental Misstep is a 3-4 of in Vintage magic, and it is banned in Legacy, as well as modern. It is very efficient at doing what it does, and every deck basically would need to start off with 3-4 copies of this card in order to be competitive. One good thing about this card, is it mitigates the disadvantage of being on the draw, as being able to Mental Misstep a discard spell or a Goblin Guide on the draw is alluring.

Should they un-ban Mental Misstep? This is the type of card, where if there was a restricted list, I would like to have around as a one of. I feel that having it be either zero legal of four legal, zero is the better option. As all decks would have to run four copies, and it would come down to who drew more Mental Missteps and who forced through a threat first. Verdict? stay banned

Ponder / Preordain Why is Ponder / Preordain banned? At the time of the bannings, there were a few dominant decks, Storm and Splinter Twin being the two main culprits. These cards increased the consistency of these decks to a level wizards thought was inappropriate.

Should they unban Ponder and or Preordain? With storm being basically dead (small resurgence with Baral‘s printing) and Splinter Twin being literally dead, coupled with blue being pretty nerfed, I feel that unbanning one of these two cards could be an option to help improve reactive consistency, as finding sideboard cards is very important in the format. I feel unbanning only one is a fine option, and probably Preordain is the one that is fine to be unbanned as it is slightly less powerful. Verdict? Unban Preordain

Punishing Fire Why is Punishing Fire banned? Punishing fire combos with Grove of the Burnwillows to create a constant stream of creature removal. This combo is just too strong for modern, as even in legacy it can be degenerate and lock out several creature based decks.

Should they unban Punishing Fire? Punishing fire would simply be too degenerate alongside Grove of the Burnwillows and push out the ability to play creature decks. Punishing Fire being on the banned list is best for the formats diversity. Verdict? Banned.

That brings us to the end of this weeks article, do you agree or disagree with any of my assessments so far? Post in the comments. See you next time!

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