Punishing/Grove is likely to get banned.

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As in thread title.

Punishing Fire + Grove of the Burnwillows goes in the two decks that have been regarded as top dogs for a while now, with Worlds confirming their position in the metagame. This despite the fact that these decks have very different game plans. Looking at how the format has been managed so far, it seems very likely to me they will ban one piece of the combo.
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Rofl, this is despite the fact that CFB's Zoo lists were skipping punishing/grove entirely for stuff like snapcaster and geist? I think you need to look at those lists again.

Also, and I've said this over at MTGSalvation as well, people need to take a step back a realize that it's more likely that control cards are going to be UNBANNED as opposed to banning pieces of Zoo. Punishing Fire/Grove of the burnwillows isn't even a key component of Zoo, in fact that's exactly why WotC wanted to establish a banlist that allows zoo to succeed - Zoo is a baseline deck that's pure efficiency. There's no degenerate combo in zoo, nor are there unanswerable threats.

I would sooner put money on control cards coming off the banned list before we see any piece of Zoo getting put onto the banned list.

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Rofl, this is despite the fact that CFB's Zoo lists were skipping punishing/grove entirely for stuff like snapcaster and geist? I think you need to look at those lists again.



Heh. But why skip Grove when you can play it alongside Snapcaster.

www.mtgdecks.net/decks/view/22449

www.mtgdecks.net/decks/view/22421

I wasn't just talking about Zoo, I didn't even mention it by name. I was talking about how Punishing/Grove fits into almost any game plan. And so far they've been banning cards of this caliber.

Personally I hope that Tom LaPille's departure paves the way for a shorter banlist. But judging by how things have been unfolding so far, I'm not optimistic.
In Legacy, Blue is the best color. Let's punish blue, in Modern. And they listened!
I honesty have always thought this combo was horribly overrated. Three mana for 1 damage profit just doesn't seem good to me, even if repeatable.
the reason it works so well is because of a few things. the cards work individually as a slightly weaker incinerate that repeats against life gain and constructed playable mana fixing that only slightly helps your opponent in two colors that can easily make up for it with their superb ability to dish out damage.
once you get one of each card, they allow you to knock out one weak blocker a turn. this allows you to get in with one more creature. if it only deals one more damage, you have card advantage. if it deals more than that, you pull forward in the race much more quickly.
if your opponents have big creatures out, this makes every attack difficult to block as your opponent knows you can knock out anything that ends up with less than three left. this will repeat every turn so they have to keep making bad blocks to keep field presence.
if you get a second grove or a second fire, you can double up every turn and when you can't afford to double up you can return both to your hand for a measely two red.
when you need four damage, you can just return it, then next turn cast it, tap grove and cast it again.

sorry about the grammar, I am on my phone.
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Rofl, this is despite the fact that CFB's Zoo lists were skipping punishing/grove entirely for stuff like snapcaster and geist? I think you need to look at those lists again.

Also, and I've said this over at MTGSalvation as well, people need to take a step back a realize that it's more likely that control cards are going to be UNBANNED as opposed to banning pieces of Zoo. Punishing Fire/Grove of the burnwillows isn't even a key component of Zoo, in fact that's exactly why WotC wanted to establish a banlist that allows zoo to succeed - Zoo is a baseline deck that's pure efficiency. There's no degenerate combo in zoo, nor are there unanswerable threats.

If the bans in the past made sense I would agree with you, but I don't have faith in wizards to make a rational ban/unban.  Clearly some things need to be unbanned, but we have never gotten any indication that Wizards has the vision to do that.  Punishing Fire is so easy to deal with and is far from ubiquitous, so banning it would set an even worse president than they already have.

That said, I do not even try to guess what they will ban anymore due to the absurd bans so far.
I honesty have always thought this combo was horribly overrated. Three mana for 1 damage profit just doesn't seem good to me, even if repeatable.

OMG...someone who agrees with me.  I have been saying the same thing for months @ MTGS, but I get a lot of condescending replies about how I don't "get it".

I run it in legacy, it's definately solid. Infinite removal is pretty much nuts. It allows you to kill things early on without having to sandbag good removal for bigger scary guys later down the road. On the play it kills Nacatl, and on the draw is can kill Quasali pridemage and Heirarch, but doubles up later on. It makes Pestermite virtually useless in Twin combo decks.

It's not "3 mana for one damage", that's the worst possible outcome for the combo. Only once the game stalls out do you start grinding away their life total, but additional copiies of either piece speed up this clock. Most of the time, it's just lots of removal, it allows you to ruin their board position so much, that the pinging for one can end up as a viable way to win since you've got the ability to keep the field clean.

I don't think it's necessary to describe why having virtually infinite removal is bad. In control decks with lots of mana, they can get some serious value from the combo that out-values pretty much everything in the format.
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It's not "3 mana for one damage", that's the worst possible outcome for the combo. Only once the game stalls out do you start grinding away their life total, but additional copiies of either piece speed up this clock. Most of the time, it's just lots of removal, it allows you to ruin their board position so much, that the pinging for one can end up as a viable way to win since you've got the ability to keep the field clean.

I undersatand what it does, and how it is very useful, but not how it is such a big thing that it is ban worthy or even a combo you would splash for.  The only games I have lost due to the combo have been when I am running a deck that was not well built/tuned.  It is a tool, and can be annoying if you are unprepared, but it is still only a tool.


Most people in the UK are playing the combo now, from zoo, to 4 colour gifts and twin. It invalidates anything X/2 or smaller, making decks like Boros completely unplayable.

Does it need to be banned? I'm not really sure to be honest. It's one of the best things you can do in the format to point where aggro combo and control are running it. It isn't massively destructive to the format because it goes in a lot of decks, but it is one of the best things you can do in modern. The point comes to whether something that most decks are using is too format defining to be allowed to exist. It does mean that a control deck can't rely on cards like Vendillion Clique, Snapcaster Mage and others to win the game for you since your opponent will eventually draw their fires and stop you. Control does need a helping hand a bit in the format I think.

Some of the stuff on the banned list does seem a lot worse than punishing fires combo, which alone adds validity to the banning arguement.
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I run it in legacy, it's definately solid.



QFT. People are splashing red in G/W Maverick just to be able to use Punishing Fire. This despite that in Legacy people play many more outs to it, manabases need to be more resilient, creatures are generally bigger, and many decks don't care at all about a recurring Shock.

If they do ban it, in a way it would be a bad precedent, as it would establish that repeatable removal is banworthy, even if it's just a recurring Shock. One could then make a strong point that Vedalken Shackles is likewise banworthy, which sounds a bit ridiculous. (And Jace and Bitterblossom would probably stay on the banlist forever.)

EDIT:

Patrick Chapin suggested today in an article (to which I don't have access) that Punishing Fire and Wild Nacatl should be banned. While I doubt that Wild Nacatl will be banned, I believe the likelihood of Punishing/Grove getting banned has increased significantly just because of his "hawkish" stance.
In Legacy, Blue is the best color. Let's punish blue, in Modern. And they listened!
Hey!  Guess what everybody!  Punishing fire is now banned!  There's no telling what WOTC is gonna bann next.
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Hey!  Guess what everybody!  Punishing fire is now banned!  There's no telling what WOTC is gonna bann next.



When a card is so good that every deck should be running it and it completely miss-shapes the format, then it should be banned.

I'm getting sick of so many people who have no idea about a format banging on about the bannings.
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Hey!  Guess what everybody!  Punishing fire is now banned!  There's no telling what WOTC is gonna bann next.



When a card is so good that every deck should be running it and it completely miss-shapes the format, then it should be banned.

I'm getting sick of so many people who have no idea about a format banging on about the bannings.



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Told you.

Anyway, just because Punishing/Grove left the format, a lot of cards which didn't use to see much play have become more usable:

Planeswalkers in general, especially Liliana

Discard: Blightning, Liliana again

X/1 and X/2 "Fish" : Vendilion Clique, Dark Confidant, Mirran Crusader, Merfolks, Tidehollow Sculler, Meddling Mage

By extension, equipment has also become better.

In Legacy, Blue is the best color. Let's punish blue, in Modern. And they listened!
I don't want to get in to the same arguments that I have elsewhere, but when has it been a bad thing to have to sb in answers to deal with threats? Heck, just build in some Ghost Quarter or Tectonic edge, but apparently interacting with other decks should not be a requirement of Modern.
I don't want to get in to the same arguments that I have elsewhere, but when has it been a bad thing to have to sb in answers to deal with threats? Heck, just build in some Ghost Quarter or Tectonic edge, but apparently interacting with other decks should not be a requirement of Modern.


I don't think anyone is arguing that the combo was not easily dealt with. The problem was that the combo was format-defining. Every deck had to be built around it to be viable, and many of the top-placing decks were running it, and I would imagine that percentage would only have gone up if the combination remained legal. It's the basic Jitte problem. During its time in standard, many decks ran Jitte because it was the best answer for an opposing Jitte. When a card is being played by more than 75% of the competitive metagame, they have to ask if the format would be healthier without that card. In this case, I think they made the right choice.
I don't want to get in to the same arguments that I have elsewhere, but when has it been a bad thing to have to sb in answers to deal with threats? Heck, just build in some Ghost Quarter or Tectonic edge, but apparently interacting with other decks should not be a requirement of Modern.


I don't think anyone is arguing that the combo was not easily dealt with. The problem was that the combo was format-defining.

I'm sorry, but I just do not see how a card can be format defining and easy to deal with at the same time.  More damage is done to the format when players are forced to build and play themselves out of such situations as Punishing Grove.  That promotes good playing and is better for the format. 


The combo isn't that easily dealt with. You can't Surgical Extract/Extirpate it if a player is smart enough, and the fact that one of the combo pieces is a land makes it more difficult, since Ghost Quarter puts you behind in terms of card advantage)trying to shut down a CA engine by throwing away CA is not good). And the decks running it often have dig like the UR decks, or Knight of th Reliquary to find the land. Also, the other piece is effective on it's own.

Because of this combo, decks couldn't play 1-2 toughness creatures without CIP abilities, which had a pretty devastating effect on the format.
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The combo isn't that easily dealt with. You can't Surgical Extract/Extirpate it if a player is smart enough, and the fact that one of the combo pieces is a land makes it more difficult, since Ghost Quarter puts you behind in terms of card advantage)trying to shut down a CA engine by throwing away CA is not good). And the decks running it often have dig like the UR decks, or Knight of th Reliquary to find the land. Also, the other piece is effective on it's own.

Because of this combo, decks couldn't play 1-2 toughness creatures without CIP abilities, which had a pretty devastating effect on the format.

Devastating?  I think you exaggerate that, just a bit.

Besides, from what I have read that last thing most people think needs to happen to this format is for it to get more strong combo decks.  Ghost Quarter is loss of CA, but Tectonic edge is not, and if you are running Punishing Grove you will have more than 4 lands in play so that you can repeatedly activate it durring your turn.  I also think that a little CA in exchange for nullification of repeated removal is a fair trade.  Sometimes you need to take a small hit to keep hitting, yourself.

I played almost every day, and I never had a problem with the Punishing Grove combo because I took it in to account when I built my decks, and not by excluding 1-2 toughness creatures the did not have a CIP effect.  Things like Relic of Progenitals belong in SB to deal with graveyard strategies, and even after the ban there are plenty of them.  

Once the Groves player gets 3 mana, they can kill an x/2 every turn in theory. Which means you need to wait for them to make another land before edge works. And every turn they get +1 card advantage.

Yes, I had a deck that ignored groves to a degree, but it didn't stop the fact that it made so many strategies and cards(which have been constructed staples in the past) unplayable.

If you were aiming to win the game with x/2's, then your deck didn't work. Every competitive player I know agreed with the banning since they found it was the dominant force in the format, along with nacatl by a long way.
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I'm excited by the ban-work they're putting into modern; particularly the last two.

I've got a ton of ideas I've been building at home for the upcoming modern ptq in Nashville on 3/3 and I'll probably start posting them in the next day or so for feedback.

Teaser (some new, some not new at all):

Golden Aggro

Death Cloud

The Sham

Orzhov Control

Most of these decks (except Sham; it's awesome) were just barely not strong enough to fight Zoo with Nacatl and P-Fires. Now I think they have something worth investigating.

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