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NetRepTodd

MTG Banned / Restricted list 1/15/18

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NetRepTodd    202

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.

Edited by NetRepTodd
didn't have time to include thoughts yesterday. I did today.

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Schism    986

Without going too deep into it I really haven't had too much interest in standard lately. Even with this round of banning's I doubt I see myself playing standard seriously until at least GP Seattle in April. Modern is the most enjoyable format for me in Magic ATM and I'm looking forward to the results of PT Rivals.

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+Gemstone Mine    2590

it's also worth noting that they intend to drop a modern banned list next month

 

 

highly likely serum visions bites it. maybe an unban or two, like stoneforge.

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Schism    986

I would think Opt would go before Serum Visions but I don't think either would get banned tbh. 

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+Gemstone Mine    2590

i'm using wizard's extreme hatred of cantrips in modern (especially in storm) to justify it

 

mark my words, either serum visions or thought scour gets banned, prob visions.

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+Urthor    10202

wtf it's Modern, supposed to be the headline format, and they're banning out Cantrips??? It's supposed to be an unlimited format not Standard

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+Gemstone Mine    2590

it's not supposed to be an unlimited format, that's legacy/vintage. It's supposed to be a relatively inexpensive eternal format.

 

the format when you get to do zany shit but without the price of paying for reserve list cards.

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NetRepTodd    202

Updated the OP to include my thoughts, as well as what I think the metagame will look like once rivals is fully released.

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»Audioslayne    909

I would be willing to bet large amounts of money neither serum/thought/opt get touched.  They are not nearly problems.  If storm is to get hit they'll either just bite the bullet and ban grapeshot, past in flames, or baral.  I don't think storm will see a ban.

 

In my mind the most likely ban candidates are Mox Opal/SSG (mox moreso due to Lantern), Blood Moon (blood sun makes this a possibility but still unlikely), or street wraith (given general ban philosophy).  I don't think modern will see a ban, but potentially an unban.  If there is a ban it will specifically target lantern.

 

Back on topic to standard, I've had time to test 3 decks so far: Grixis midrange, mardu vehicles, and every flavor of GPG you can imagine.  Grixis midrange tested 'fine'.  I didn't feel like I was every playing an unwinnable matchup but temur energy this is not.  Fairly certain this is the best Scarab God shell and will likely be a player moving forward.  The removal suite + siphoner were really what seemed to be the most powerful thing this had going.

 

Mardu tested very well.  Hazoret has always been powerful but with the absence of the reach the ramunap deck previously had I think this becomes the better shell for him.  Unlicensed is still one hell of a removal spell, and aggro is never a bad place to be at the beginning of the format.  This may be my week 1 deck, though I expect the format can adapt to make things worse for it I would not be surprised if this is just the defacto aggro deck of the meta.

 

GPG tested... familiarly.  It's an unforgiving deck with lots of microdecisions ending up mattering.  Yet there are also still games where you're just a terrible midrange deck and don't ever get to commit to your "combo" plays.  I think I like the refurbish builds more than the gate builds, being that you're not trying to fool anyone about what your gameplan is.  You're not playing subpar black two drops to curve out into your three drop, you're just digging and executing the combo when time allows, and your cleaner mana allows you more opportunities to play gearhulks/fumigates main to just stem the bleeding, given that your combo usually just ends the game.  While combat celebrant seems to be vastly 'cute' I think the biggest takeaway from that version of the deck is vizier is insane in this deck.  I've won so many games just copying glorybringers, scarab gods, verduous,  etc that the opponent is clocking me with just by having vizier in hand/yard.  Also this effectively doubles the amount of 2nd angels you are playing which is very important, as the second angel is usually where your advantage becomes insurmountable.  

 

In class so post was kind of rushed.  Glad to elaborate/answer questions on builds.

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NetRepTodd    202

Looks like temur energy is still a deck.  just a little bit slower.  Jadelight ranger is a fantastic replacement of rogue refiner.  Go back to playing 3 color and you have a pretty solid midrange deck.  A few temur energy lists are putting up 5-0 results on magic online.  Also, Efro posted about one of the lists on channelfireball.com today.  It is worth taking a look at.  Very similar to a list i played at an scg IQ back in november.

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Schism    986

I agree with audioslayne. I can also see a possible opal/ssg ban since I've felt like they've needed to go for years now. As much as I don't care for blood moon it is a necessary evil as long as tron is a deck in the format.

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+Gemstone Mine    2590

if wizards was going to axe mox, they'd have done it by now tbh. Affinity's presence on the format has remained more or less constant for the past...... god it's actually been a long time.  Same with tron (tbf tron is better than it's been since the old days of straight g/r tron, but it's not exactly dominating the format).

 

The only real line of reasoning that might lead to affinity/tron getting hit boils down to 'we decided that there are too many sideboard check decks in the format. we're going to forcibly remove some', and I don't see that happening.

 

 

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