Delving with Devin: To Ban or Not To Ban Part 3

Welcome back to the third instalment of “To ban or not to ban”. Lets Delve right in!

Why are Rite of Flame/Seething Song banned? When modern was first introduced, Storm was one of the big decks of the format. Wizards feels that spell based combo doesn’t make for very exciting feature matches, as people have a hard time following whats going on. This gives you the perfect storm for wizards to continually ban cards that support the archetype. It makes you wonder, if wizards really just wants storm to die, why not just ban all the cards with the key word storm on them?

Should they un-ban Rite of Flame/Seething Song? If we’ve learned anything in the 25(ish) years of Magics existence, it’s that fast mana can do broken things. Given this, I feel that Rite of Flame is fine to remain on the banned list. Verdict? Stay Banned

Why is Sensei’s Divining Top Banned? The top was originally banned to save time at events. People dislike when events run long, and top was the easy scape goat to blame for this problem. The real problem, is people playing slowly! (Editor’s Note: Maybe certain authors on this website play a little too slowly) Not remembering what cards they play, not sure what they’re looking for, peeling one card off the top of the deck at a time in a dramatic sequence as if its the last card they will ever draw. Slow play not being enforced. All of these things are the true culprit for events running long. If you’ve ever seen stronger players use this card, it takes less time then some players take to play a land.

Should they un-ban Sensei’s Divining Top? While I feel that top isn’t the reason events run long, I feel like the world is not ready for this card on a whole. Players will still play slowly, and still be unsure what they are doing, and people will still complain about top being the problem. I don’t think its worth the hassle. Verdict? Stay Banned

Why is Skullclamp banned? What is the best equipment ever printed? is it Umezawa’s Jitte? Is it Batterskull? Good guesses, but you guessed wrong. This card is even banned in legacy where Jitte’s can run free. This card simply represents a ridiculous amount of card advantage. If you thought Treasure Cruise was a lot of cards, you haven’t played this card with small creatures such as Lingering Souls or just your basic 1/1 for 1 with upside.

Should they Unban Skullclamp? As fun as this card can be in cube, unfortunately constructed magic would make it too easy to build around this card. The first player to get an active clamp would just run away with the game so fast the opponent would still be scratching their head. This card is simply busted. Verdict? Stay banned.

Why is¬†Splinter Twin banned? It wasn’t that long ago that infinite Exarchs were dominating the format, forcing players to run a critical mass of removal that could tag the 1/4 at instant speed. Wizards tried to print the answers for this card, Abrupt Decay, Rending Volley, etc etc. In the end, Wizards wanted to spice up the modern pro-tour, and they¬†didn’t want a second pro tour in a row to be won by Splinter Twin/Exarch Combo. They wanted to show case the Eldrazi menace from the newest set. And show case they did!

Should they un-ban Splinter Twin? Splinter Twin policed the format while it was around. It set constraints on certain decks, however those constraints created some breathing room. All decks needed to run some number of removal spells to be viable, in order to deal with the risk of Splinter Twin. Without Splinter Twin in the format, combo decks can get away with running no removal whatsoever. Banning Twin allowed decks like dredge to cut their Lightning Axes and Abrupt Decays from the main deck and become much quicker and more streamlined. Tron also received a new 15 card sideboard. Splinter Twin kept non-interactive decks in check, which in turn allowed interactive decks to thrive, such as Jund. This is obviously a large topic of discussion, but ultimately the Splinter Twin banning was a controversial one. Overall, I feel if Twin remains banned, then cards such as Preordain and Dig Through Time could be un-banned as I mentioned in previous articles, so ultimately with that in mind, I think Spinter Twin should remain banned. Verdict? Stay banned.

Why is Stoneforge Mystic banned? Stoneforge Mystic has a similar story to Jace the Mind Sculptor. Stoneforge Mystic had just finished mopping up standard for its duration, and people were tired of the little squire who could. Stoneforge Mystic was immediately banned as the card advantage and instant speed Batterskull was viewed as too powerful at the time.

Should they un-ban Stoneforge Mystic? Fast forward 7 years, and modern is a completely different landscape. Stoneforge Mystic, at best, provides an additional card and a 4/4 vigilant creature by turn three. What other things are happening in modern by turn three? I’ll let you fill in that blank. Should they un-ban Stoneforge Mystic? Considering how much more powerful the cards are in modern, and how many main deck answers there are to the power of Stoneforge, I feel like this card is a completely fine card to un-ban. Batterskull is outsized by virtually all threats played in the format, (Tarmogoyf, Tasigur, Gurmag Angler, Death’s Shadow). Batterskulls germ token is also killable by Fatal Push, Abrupt Decay, Path to Exile, and the Batterskull itself is killed by Ancient Grudge, and Kolaghan’s Command. Stoneforge Mystic feels like its a very fair magic card, in a world where unfair things exist. Is Stoneforge Mystic good? Will it see play? yes. Ban worthy? Probably not. Verdict: Un-ban Stoneforge Mystic.

Why is Summer Bloom banned? It feels like there is a theme here with fast mana. Summer Bloom in combination with the bounce lands was a broken interaction, especially when you add in Amulet of Vigor, getting insane amounts of mana very early on in the game, to hard cast Primeval Titans to get even more insane amounts of mana, often killing on turn 2 or 3 by giving the titan haste.

Should they Un-ban Summer Bloom? Much like most of the fast mana effects on the banned list, they just enable broken interactions while not giving the opponent the opportunity to interact. Because of this, Summer Bloom should remain banned. Verdict? Stay banned

Why is Umezawa’s Jitte banned? Umezawa’s Jitte is a very polarizing card. It crushes any creature match-up, while being pretty useless vs combo decks. Creature match-ups devolve into who equips and connects first with their Jitte. Add in the fact that Stoneforge should be unbanned, and this card gets even more busted when it can be tutored for.

Should they unban Umezawa’s Jitte? Stoneforge Mystic being unbanned is in the balance of this card remaining banned, as Stoneforge having two premier tutor targets would be too much for the format to handle. Not even considering Stoneforge Mystic though, this card is just way too powerful and makes creature match-ups less interesting, and all about who resolves their Aetherworks Marvel first, err, Umezawa’s Jitte first. Verdict? Stay banned.

That brings us to the conclusion of part three of “To ban or not to ban”. Do you disagree with any of my diagnosis? Please post any comments below! Check in next week when I Discuss which cards should be added to the banned list, and what my total banned list would look like if I made all the calls!

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