03/20/2012 Feature: "March 20, 2012, DCI Banned & Restricted List Announcement"

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This thread is for discussion of this weeks's Feature Article, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
make set revolve around B/W tokens ban best cards for it in block ?
Wow, really.  Thanks for screwing up my plans for PT:AR,,,,
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Now you just get to choose what color to splash while playing humans. red for burn or green for gav township and mayor. Hooray, format diversity.
I agree with banning Lingering Souls. It was kind of becoming the "play it or lose" card and Wizards played it safe and nipped it in the bud.

I disagree with Intangible Virtue...but for selfish reasons. It killed my burgeoning B/W vampire deck using Bloodline Keeper and Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
Wait, I'm confused... People actually play block constructed? Since when?
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Wait, I'm confused... People actually play block constructed? Since when?

Since always, but I think it's probably played more online.
I get the feeling there's something that they arn't telling us because it concerns as of yet 'un-released' cards.

Perhaps there are cards in Avacyn Restored that would just push a token strategy too far for block constructed. If my guess is correct then it would mean there are cards outside of Innistrad Block, that would help keep any new super token strategy from going over the top.

Erik has clearly communicated why they banned them. Why can't I just take things for face value???
A weak block gets curbstomped by Zerg Rush?
No freakin way!

Seriously, what happened? 
Lack of cheap sweepers? Not enough cardboard weenies?
There are a few roadblocks you can throw in the way of these spirit token decks (Blasphemous Act, Sever The Bloodline) but the problem is that as soon as you wipe them out, they have a whole new set of mid-size flying vigilant tokens within a turn or two.

With the next couple Pro Tour events being Block Constructed, it was best to nip this now before we have another Tempered Steel environment.
I get the feeling there's something that they arn't telling us because it concerns as of yet 'un-released' cards.

Perhaps there are cards in Avacyn Restored that would just push a token strategy too far for block constructed. If my guess is correct then it would mean there are cards outside of Innistrad Block, that would help keep any new super token strategy from going over the top.

Erik has clearly communicated why they banned them. Why can't I just take things for face value???

Won't Avacyn Restored count as its own block? So Avacyn Restored cards couldn't affect Innistrad Block Constructed, could they?
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
I get the feeling there's something that they arn't telling us because it concerns as of yet 'un-released' cards.

Perhaps there are cards in Avacyn Restored that would just push a token strategy too far for block constructed. If my guess is correct then it would mean there are cards outside of Innistrad Block, that would help keep any new super token strategy from going over the top.

Erik has clearly communicated why they banned them. Why can't I just take things for face value???

Won't Avacyn Restored count as its own block? So Avacyn Restored cards couldn't affect Innistrad Block Constructed, could they?



It only is its own block for Sealed Deck and Drafting.

Block Constructed, it's still Innistrad, just like Rise of the Eldrazi.

I honestly don't see the need for Intangible Virtue to go. It seems to me that Lingering Souls is the card that keeps that strategy on the top.

Also, I wish Wizards would learn from their earlier mistakes for once. When you make cards that are so obviously good, bad things can only happen to the format. Huntmaster of the Fells is next, as far as I'm concerned.
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While I have never played the format or ever seen it played it does not surprise me that Lingering Souls is banned.  I expected it to cause issues in standard due to the already good number of token creating and support cards available so I am not surprised it did hurt block constructed where the sheer number of tokens would be very difficult to answer.

I am also not surprised by the banning of Intangible Virtue.  Even without Lingering Souls token based strategies would still be quite effective as they can both attack and block and be much stronger in the process.
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A weak block gets curbstomped by Zerg Rush?
No freakin way!

Seriously, what happened? 
Lack of cheap sweepers? Not enough cardboard weenies?



No, they made WAAAY too many token-making cards. It was as if they ran every gamut of instant to sorcery 1-2-3-4 mana creatures or spells that make 1-2 tokens. It becomes utterly ridiculous, compared to the way they made Rav tokens. Indeed, one of the problems was both the relative costs of the token makers and the number of cards making tokens relative to the set (pushing token making production as it was intended to be a viable draft option, pushed support with Intangible Virtue (a card that couldn't be printed without "token" on it normally, and apparently not even WITH it!)). The average cost of cards making tokens in Ravnica Block was over 5 mana (running 5.6, in fact) while in Innistrad Block this number is MUCH lower at 3.5 (and I'm not even taking into account Avacyn Restored]. The number of cards making tokens compared between the two blocks is 36 (RAV-GPT-DIS) to 32 (INN-DKA), which represent 5.5% and 7.5%, respectively; assuming Avacyn Restored provides NO token makers -- an unlikely assumption -- this number will drop to 4.8%, which is almost the same (5.5%).

The details are below:

Ravnica Block
Creatures making tokens: 19
[mana cost range of creatures making tokens: 1-0 2-6 3-2 4-5 5-5 6-2]
Other permanents making tokens: 7
[costs of other permanents making tokens: land [5-1], 1-0 2-1 3-0 4-0 5-3 6-2]
Instants/Sorceries making tokens: 10
[mana cost of spells making tokens: 1-0 2-0 3-3 4-3 5-2 6-1 - 10-1]
Total: 36
statistics:
White: 7; Blue: 3; Black: 3; Red: 1; Green: 10
WU: 2; BR: 1; RG: 1; GW: 5[6 including land]
UR: 1; BG: 1; GU: 1; BRGW: 1
distribution in total colors: W, 14; U, 7; B, 6; R, 5; G, 19
distribution in costs: 1-0 2-7 3-5 4-8 5-10[+1] 6-5 10-1
average cost of token-makers: 5.47
Relative to Block count: 651 total (5.5%)

Innistrad Block:
Creatures making tokens: 14
[mana cost range of creature making tokens: 1-1 2-2 3-3 4-5 5-2 6-1]
Other permanents making tokens: 8
[mana cost range of other permanents making tokens: 1-1 2-1 3-0 4-3 5-1 6-1]
Instants/Sorceries making tokens: 10
[mana cost range of spells making tokens: land [3-1], 1-0 2-1 3-4 4-1 5-2 6-0 7-0 8-1]
Total: 32
statistics:
White: 12; Blue: 5; Black: 7; Red: 0; Green: 4; colorless: 2
WU: 1[2 including land]; UB: [1]; RG: 1
WB: 1, [1]; BG: 1, [1]
distribution in total colors: W, 14[+2]; U, 7[+1]; B, 8[+2]; R, 1; G, 6[+2]; cl, 2
distribution in costs: 1-2 2-4 3-7 4-9 5-5 6-2 8-1
average cost of token-makers: 3.5
Relative to Block count: 666 total [422] (4.8% [7.5%])
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The biggest difference is that Spirits fly and sapprolings don't. Also there is a spirit lord and there is in no sapproling lord - at least I don't think so.
The biggest difference is that Spirits fly and sapprolings don't. Also there is a spirit lord and there is in no sapproling lord - at least I don't think so.



There are many ways to create and eat saprolings, but the closest to lords I see in gatherer are Nemata, Grove Guardian and Pallid Mycoderm.
Thelonite Hermit and Verdeloth the Ancient also boost Saprolings, but none of those were in Ravnica block.
I should be more specific - there are no saproling lords in Ravnica block.
Wow, this got to page 2 without anyone quitting the game or declaring WOTC evil Illuminati or declaring "the Death of Magic is nigh".  Are the doomsayers sleeping or something? 
I don't see how this could be taken as anything but a positive, they saw there was an oppressive problem in a format, and they banned a card, bottom line. Research and development can only test at a certain scale and balance accordingly, so after seeing these cards become too good in block they banned them. It's a testiment to how useful modo can be when analyzing tends in the meta game and stop bad things from happening before they even happen. It's called intellegence, the US government does it, why shouldn't Wizards do it? I have a optimistic outlook when it comes to future state of formats (especially standard) where I don't have to worry about future Caw-blades or jace/sculpters to ruin, not just my FNM, but now the Pro Tours and the new and excellent live coverage. 
how can this banning be taken as a positive???  Banning something is never a positive thing.

It goes to show that people at wizards are just not testing enough.  Wake up, wake up!!!  Stop playing EDH and test more for formats you put out.
I would rather see them print a few overpowerd cards and then banning them we they become overpowered and problematic than always getting underpowerd or non innovative cards.
Eh, Crossbow, the closest thing I've got is "It's a little perturbing to me that there's a lot of banning going on lately."

But that's less about this ban (it seems to make sense, though I don't play block) and more about a trend. And I certainly don't think them being bannier than makes sense to me will kill the game OMG.

I fail at doomsayerdom. Sorry!
Here's the rub with banning "freshly printed" cards: Wizards has a two year process in which they develop the upcoming sets. How much more time do you need to study the interactivity of cards within a set or block?
I can see the conversation now: 
"Sir, this may be a problem in the future..."
"Oh, don't worry. We'll just issue a banning notice to fix it."
"But Sir, the set won't be out for some time. We can fix it now."
"Carry on, Soldier..."

There is balance within the block already. It just comes in the form of unpopular cards... Divine Reckoning, Blasphemous Act, Curse of Death's Hold, and Sever the Bloodline are the sweepers. Point destruction comes in the form of Tragic Slip, Urgent Exocism, and Victim of Night.     
Wow, this got to page 2 without anyone quitting the game or declaring WOTC evil Illuminati or declaring "the Death of Magic is nigh".  Are the doomsayers sleeping or something? 

Because, you know, Block Constructed.
It's going to get maybe two events worth anything, then mostly disappear.

how can this banning be taken as a positive???  Banning something is never a positive thing.

It goes to show that people at wizards are just not testing enough.  Wake up, wake up!!!  Stop playing EDH and test more for formats you put out.



Clearly you didn't even read what I had to say, except for the first line. They can test all they want, do you really expect them to test ont he scale of something like modo? Of myabe you think they should have "beta tests" for sets on modo, just so they can test on a huge scale..but then spoil the set for everyone and give a lagre base of players a clear advantage over the field. You would have to be either blind or ignorant to think that in the game of Magic, there is a way to iron out every crease and make sure no cards become oppressive in every format. Especially since all the formats are so vastly different. I honestly don't care at all about block, but I do care about standard, and I am EXTREMELY happy that Wizards has decided to be proactive and ban things quickly before they ruin the experience, instead of sitting back and watching everyone moan and sulk over their stale format. Making sure that the formats are fun and dynamic and diverse is the only way to make sure that Magic lives on and continues to thrive.
Of maybe you think they should have "beta tests" for sets on modo, just so they can test on a huge scale..but then spoil the set for everyone and give a large base of players a clear advantage over the field.

When the set is spoiled early, pretty much everyone has access to that same information, either from accessing the spoiler directly, or from perusing the printout that inevitably gets passed around the local FLGS soon afterword.

The better reason to avoid public beta, is to evade the "OMG they ruined it!" nerdrage that accompanied pretty much every Invitational Card, when the card that actually gets printed is utterly kneecapped when compared to the design submitted.
No Doomsaying about this because they're uncommons, so no real damage is being done to people's wallets.  Also, no one actually likes playing the deck because it's not very fun (well, other than Hellrider).

That said, the only thing that really shocks me about this is the fact that they banned it this early.  Usually they wait until absolutely everyone hates a card with a passion before banning it.  This time they're actually taking steps to keep the format healthy BEFORE people start quitting.  Good sign.

I'm disappointed that they ever printed Lingering Souls in the first place, though.  I mean, they knew flashback was powerful card advantage, and they knew tokens were a real deck.  So what was the mitigating factor that they thought would make it okay to print a 4-for-1 for 5 mana over two turns that makes fliers?  I mean, that card is independently very, very good, so what was the thought process that led to them putting it onto a block with both tribal support and token support, and almost no real hate?
I get the feeling there's something that they arn't telling us because it concerns as of yet 'un-released' cards.

Perhaps there are cards in Avacyn Restored that would just push a token strategy too far for block constructed. If my guess is correct then it would mean there are cards outside of Innistrad Block, that would help keep any new super token strategy from going over the top.

I've got to agree here.  Yes, four vigilant 2/2 fliers for a total 7 CMC is a deal.  But over the course of the game, is that any worse than something like Bloodline Keeper or Thraben Doomsayer paired with Parallel Lives and/or Virtue?

The explanation doesn't sound right to me.  If Wizards is worried about variety in gameplay, why not ban Delver as well?  Being popular shouldn't be reason enough to ban the card.  Yes, I'm sure there are many sheep players that think they have to play the cards listed in Top Decks.  But there are just as many players who can be creative and don't feel the need to follow the big names.
Who cares. No one plays block for fun. Pretty much the only people who play block are tournament players getting ready for some random PTQ involving block.
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Of maybe you think they should have "beta tests" for sets on modo, just so they can test on a huge scale..but then spoil the set for everyone and give a large base of players a clear advantage over the field.

When the set is spoiled early, pretty much everyone has access to that same information, either from accessing the spoiler directly, or from perusing the printout that inevitably gets passed around the local FLGS soon afterword.



Er, what? A beta test (which was meant in it's original context to be ridiculous, because it is) would include all the cards from the entire set and would be months before release during the research and development stage. Your talking about set spoliers, which happen a week (or maybe two) before the set is released, and don't show all the cards until the set is about to be released. Not only that, everyone has access to this information at the same time, as opposed to beta testers who would undoubtedly spoil the information LONG after the have gained their advantage. Also such things usually include a nondisclosure agreement, which everyone knows wouldn't really stop the set from being spoiled anyways. The point I was trying to make is that, from now until the end of Magic time there will be bannings to help keep formats from becomming stale AND THATS A GOOD THING. People who end up saying this like "Well they obviously didn't do enough testing, get your act together Wizards" are being either very cynical and unrealistic, being trolls or just simply don't understad how these things work. I'm sure they knew that these two cards had good synergy and were powerful together, but so do many many other cards in the format. It just turns out that people felt the need to abuse this certain achetype because it was simply just better than the others. However, I also agree with people who say that there might be something we havn't seen yet from AR, which means not only are they being SUPER proactive, but also doing exactly what the haters say they arn't....testing.

I can understand, to a point. They are cheap and powerful spells that can win a lot of games against much more expensive and rarer cards. It makes people mad when I beat their $300 deck with my $30 deck. Keeping people happy (and buying) is important to Wizards so I understand the move. Still, banning one or the other would have had the same effect of crippling that build. In fact, restricting Souls would probably have sufficed.
The explanation doesn't sound right to me.  If Wizards is worried about variety in gameplay, why not ban Delver as well?  Being popular shouldn't be reason enough to ban the card.  Yes, I'm sure there are many sheep players that think they have to play the cards listed in Top Decks.  But there are just as many players who can be creative and don't feel the need to follow the big names.



Here's the thing.  In the top 8 Standard decks at the most recent SCG event, there were 0 Delver of Secrets.  None.  Yes, UW and Esper Delver decks of various sorts are still a big part of the metagame - but they're a part of an almost surprisingly diverse metagame (6 solidly different archetypes in that top 8) with plenty of balance among decks.

Now contrast that against the most recent ISD events on Magic Online: while the Premier events have a little bit more diversity, roughly half or more of the 3-1 or better decks in every single daily event start '4 Intangible Virtue, 4 Lingering Souls'.  It's certainly possible that WotC acted hastily here and that the format would have shaken itself out in time, with the typical rise of decks built to prey on the token decks - but 'X or anti-X' isn't a diverse metagame either, and I think WotC is particularly worried (strange as it may sound) about the complete and utter evaporation of Blue from the environment. It's well and good to say 'players should learn to innovate and not be sheep', but the point is that the deck is winning with a consistency that's unhealthy for the people who do want to innovate.

I have to agree that this is a very agressive banning, one that might not be strictly necessary - but I think that especially in an environment as short-lived as Block Constructed is, it's actually much better for WotC to err on the side of agression in managing the metagame, because if they decide that Lingering Souls is just a flash in the pan in Block and they turn out to be wrong, they won't get another meaningful chance to fix it.
Since the three block decks i have consist of playsets of both Virtue and Lingering Souls, i'm done with block. I enjoyed playing those decks and no they weren't over opposive as many think. They printed cards to contend with both of them. I'm not going to be forced to play without them or choose to make another deck. I'm done with block, good luck to the new favorite decks of the format hopefully you don't play to well or they may ban some of those cards as well.
I would think they prioritize Standard testing and balance over Block. If they did realize Lingering Souls was a problem for Block then they could have made it more expensive, but I personally would rather have the aggressive costing so that the card is powerful in Standard even if it means a ban in Block. Of course I might have different feelings if I played Block.
I would think they prioritize Standard testing and balance over Block.

Seconded.
Block is only a useful format roughly half as long as any given Standard, if even that.
Who still plays Masques Block, or even Scars Block?  How often do Block events even appear?

Standard is the primary draw, and Limited is what Wizards wants to be the primary draw.  Block is just a niche format, or rather, seventeen niche formats.

I think that the Wizards standard for banning is when they see me put together a deck on MTGO and then order some cards for it to play live, they ban the primary cards in the deck.

From my post to the Block Constructed forum:

And everything online now is RW with [c]Hellrider[/c]. I just put together a BW token deck a few days ago and ordered some cards for it yesterday (thanks Wizards!). Over the past couple of nights I played it online and out of the 15 or so matches that I played (both tournaments and casual/tournament practice) exactly TWO were not RW with Hellrider. So much for diversity. So, should Hellrider be banned now? If you want to ban cards to promote diversity then I'd say that 13 out of 15 decks using the same exact card/strategy isn't very diverse.

I think WotC is particularly worried (strange as it may sound) about the complete and utter evaporation of Blue from the environment.



If they're so concerned about blue not being played then they should give it a useful counterspell in the block. Something with a CMC of less than 3 would be nice, since most of the aggro decks already have a potentially game winning card out before you can get to 3 mana. Using Silent Departure isn't useful since it's horrible against the various token generators and you can't use it until turn 4 if you're going to keep up mana to then counterspell.

It's hard to create a UB control deck, when most cards in the block are resilient to removal (between undying, flashback, and token generators). Sever the Bloodline tries to fix the problem, but it's just not enough. If my opponent casts Lingering Souls and Gather the Townsfolk then it's going to take 11 mana for the Sever the Bloodline to eventually clear the board (or 8 mana and two cards... and I've only got 4 of those in my deck vs. 8 token generators minimum in my opponent's deck). By then much damage will have been done and any smart player will have likely restrained from overextending and will simply flashback the Lingering Souls or cast another one which they've had sitting in their hand.

Curse of Death's Hold looks like it was also an attempt to make control at least mildly possible, but at a hefty 5 CMC it usually just means that all of those tokens are now 1/1 vigilance instead of 2/2 (or 2/2 instead of 3/3).

While Lingering Souls is definitely overpowered (just look at Gather the Townsfolk for comparison), the problem isn't just with that one card, it's that Wizards never created any good counter-strategy cards. I'm not just talking about "must counter lingering souls", but controllish cards for any of the aggro decks in the block (see "Undying v. Brimstone Volley"). Wizards has specifically said that they don't like to make controlling decks to prevalent because the people who play against them don't think it's fun to not be able to do what you want to do. Getting counterspelled is frustrating for players. They went too far off the other end though, and this is what they got for it.
I'm amazed all the discussion revolves around the block bans right now. Those seem very sensible and were a good move on WOTC's part.

I'm more astounded at "Modern... no changes." THAT is a big deal. Nothing, nadda, zip. No new bannings. The least stable format in existence with all these scary regular bannings that kept shaking it up and making it supposedly a terrible long term investment that nobody would want to play... well, now it's healthy, stable, and diverse. No centralizing deck or strategy. I'm really happy about that.
The reason they banned it is cause of things like this...

turn one: land
turn two: land, intangible virtue
turn three: lingering souls
turn four: intangible virtue, lingering souls flash, swing for 6
turn five: swing for 12, land end of opponents turn midnight haunting...

I do this all the time and it sucks that much more if you are not prepared for it. There is not enough kill to deal with that much comming at you so fast in block constructed.

It gets even worse if your running Sorin, Lord of Innistrad and Bloodline Keeper with spirts as back up. I know I had two keepers flipped , sorin, intangible virtue, sorins emblem and 3-5 vamp tokens out in a block constructed game and swung for a whole bunch of damage with lingering in the grave for backup. 

I understand why they did it i just don't see innistrad block constructed at this point in time having anything worth playing now.
Heh. Most succint banning explanation ever.

Apparently this block needed Corrosive Gale more than Scars of Mirrodin.
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