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  1. https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/news/january-15-2018-banned-and-restricted-announcement-2018-01-15 For those who don't want to click the article, here are the changes. Attune with Aether Rogue Refiner Rampaging Ferocidon Ramunap Ruins I will write up my thoughts probably tomorrow around noon eastern, assuming work doesn't get in the way (will edit this post with the details instead of creating a new topic). You can click the link if you would like to read WOTC's explanation of the bannings. In my write-up, I will also include a list of decks that are playable in standard now. More details to come later. ------ update 1/16/2018 ------- To be honest, I actually think that this was a very healthy ban. ON ENERGY: The energy mechanic cannot be interacted with from a reactive standpoint (aka opponents can't do anything about it), however proactively it can produce so many subtle advantages that add utility in all sorts of matchups. Most midrange decks that did not use the energy mechanic would lose out against energy builds because of all of the exchanges the deck could make. Virtual card advantage was being created by energy sinks such as Whirler virtuoso (allowed profitable trades in creatures while producing evasive threats), or rogue refiner (3 for a 3/2 body that draws a card is very efficient already. adding 2 energy is just a bonus). Being able to attune for a land on turn 1 gave energy decks almost no mana trouble, and also turned 4 of your basic lands into energy counters. your top end involves a 2 mana creature that gets better if you draw it in the late game, as well as a hexproof creature to counter the control matchups. Having attune to fix your mana also meant that your top end could include planeswalkers of any color, and cards like The Scarab God. The fact that the deck can play U effectively means that you get access to counterspells, black and red give you great removal. Green gives you super powerful creatures. Assuming you can figure out the right mana base, you can change the energy list week to week depending on the metagame. The deck was so configurable, that other decks began having to rely on sideboard cards in the mainboard in order to make an attempt at fighting back. ON MONO RED: While the ramunap red deck may have struggled a bit with energy due to whirler virtuoso making infinite blockers and longtusk cub getting too big to get under, the deck was very, very efficient and way to fast for other decks to compete. (Still had a somewhat reasonable matchup against energy as well). Ramunap red was the deck that was winning most leagues and the most PTQs on Magic Online. Rampaging ferocidon gave you reach against the tokens decks when they began going wide, and prevented the white based control decks from gaining life from Approach of the second sun or Fumigate (When fumigate resolves, ferocidon would still prevent the lifegain even if it is getting destroyed). Rock based midrange decks could not go over the top of these decks unless you were playing a strategy involving winding constrictor and walking ballista. Lands are normally poor topdecks in the lategame. With your mana-base being focued on Ramunap Ruins, you wanted to draw lands all the time so that you had the option of popping lands to deal two damage. It gave the deck extra outs to close games in situations where lands would normally not win the game. Your outs turned from burn such as chandra, lightning strike, shock, hazoret, glorybringer to all of those plus any lands you draw. With energy being gone, I can easily see mono red being the best deck in standard. I think the hits to the red cards were preemptive bans, because mono red mirrors would be everywhere, and that is very poor for coverage. (that being said, there aren't many standard events coming up soon outside of one SCG open. It is modern season for a few months due to the next PT being modern). ------------- Where does this leave us? --------------- The format just blew wide open. I think the general public will start off by trying to play UW Approach decks or God Pharoah's gift strategies. These are proven decks that work, and they can remove fringe cards from their lists that were being used strictly against energy. This opens slots up in the lists for other options. I think early on, some GP grinders and some pros will begin looking at Sultai Constrictor or BG constrictor decks. Winding constrictor is still one hell of a card, enabling a lot of things. With the release of Rivals of Ixilan, they introduced many powerful explore cards, one of them being a 1GG 2/1 that explores twice when it enters the battlefield. I can easily see a Constrictor deck go turn 1 land, turn 2 winding constrictor, turn 3 Jadelight ranger. This line gives you the following options: Draw 2 lands (super psuedo courser of kruphix type of effect). Digs you deeper into the library, you won't miss land drops later, and you have a 2/3 body and a 2/1 body on board Draw 1 land and get 2 +1+1 counters on Jadelight Ranger (1 for its explore ability, another for winding constrictor). leaves you with a 2/3 body and a 4/3 body on turn 3, with one additional card in hand, and potentially knowing your next card on top of the deck due to explore. Draw no lands, get 2 explore triggers meaning you get 4 +1+1 counters on the ranger. (you also get a potential 2 cards deeper into your library if you do not like your draws) This leaves you with a 2/3 body, a 6/5 body, and at most two looks into your library. I think brewers have the ability to solve the Pirate Aggro/Tempo deck or the Dinosaur Ramp deck, just may take some a few online events or SCG opens. I don't honestly know if merfolk will be feasible or not. Lots of synergy, but lots of underwhelming cards. That being said, lots of super interesting cards that have potential as well. I don't really know. Mono red is still a deck, just won't be as desert based. It might even turn into the Big Red deck with chandra's and glorybringers. UB control is still a real deck as well. Put up great results at worlds, kind of got hated out by the changes people made to their energy decks. Search for Azcanta is still very good, and the spells UB boasts are still very powerful. ------------------------- Personally, I think I am going to start off on some kind of constrictor strategy. The strategy is not exactly 'unknown', but I do think it could be very consistent and powerful. My local group will start testing a bunch of stuff soon. Will post more here once I start getting actual decklists.
  2. Standard: No bans Modern: No bans Legacy: Sensei's divining top banned Vintage: Gitaxian probe restricted, Gush restricted Discussion about it here, if you would like. SCG is offering full refund or card + store credit for anyone who preordered the new counterbalance to foil out their miracles decks. Good job SCG.