Modern Banned list

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I've been away from MtG for awhile. I'm not "back" exactly but I did want to look into this new format to see what is interesting about it. It's clear there was a need for a format beyond extended but not legacy back when I was a player I asked for this and I'm excited to see it and look forward to digging out some of my olderish cards to join in this new format. With that said I've got a few questions about the banned list. It seems really long for such a format. I realize decks like dredge, fairies and artifacts deserved some hate so I can understand the bannings of many of these cards but some of them aren't making a whole lot of sense. For example the counterspell that costs 1 mana or 2 life to counter a CMC 1 spell.... what does the banning of this card do for the format?

Just reading through this forum there are multiple threads calling for more bannings. I am not really asking for more or less banned cards. I guess better players than me will help define the format and which cards are deserving of the bans but I am worried based on the banned list that they're being too liberal and that it may turn into a Yu Gi Oh banned list. Please help me understand that all of these bannings are necessary (or are there some which are excessive).
Don't be too smart to have fun

They're trying to curtail the format and make sure they control it well. They have stated some clear objectives, they don't really want people winning before turn 4 reliably; they want a balance between archetypes; and they don't want the format to just mirror legacy but being slightly weaker.

As for Mental Misstep, when this card came out, it ruined legacy. They had to ban it there, and they didn't want every deck in modern running four(which they probably would).
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Cyrus hit the main points.  I would just like to add that Modern is extremely new (I think it's coming up on being one year old).  So it is still very much a work in progress.

Also, unlike Legacy, Modern is missing a lot of the get-out-of-jail "free" cards (like Force of Will), so they had to be very careful about what kind of combos they let live in the format.  That explains a lot of the list by itself.

Finally, in the early stages of the format, a deck would dominate a tournament, then the next tournament would be overrun by the same deck.  After this goes one for a few months, the DCI would decide that something would need to be banned to keep the format alive long enough to keep people interested.  What keeps Legacy fairly ban light (they're even unbanning things) is that the format has enough interest that if something comes out that completely dominates for a few weeks, someone is going to brew up a deck that beats that.  Modern didn't have the kind of dedication (and probably still doesn't).

Basically, the reason the ban list is so extensive is that the DCI wants to protect such a young format.  Eventually, bannings will slow down and potentially cards will be unbanned in the future once the format matures.  Until then, the format is completely wide open and brewers have free reign.

As for Mental Misstep, it definitely wrecked Legacy.  Basically, every deck ran it as a 4-of because the list had 1-drops they wanted to protect or there were 1-drops that you have to counter (like Entomb).  Every deck list began with "4x Mental Misstep", and that was unhealthy for the format.  It's not nearly as important in Modern (fewer game-breaking turn 1 plays), but the DCI didn't want to take the chance it would ruin the format.  It's entirely possible they might revisit it in the future, but I doubt it.
I'm not familiar enough with modern but from the matchups I've seen mental misstep wouldn't have the same impact in modern as it did in Legacy.

Thank you for your insight. I'm hoping that Modern does well as it seems like a fresh new face to the tournament formats that might bring me back to competitive MtG. I am sure that over time they'll determine which cards are truly deserving and which can potentially be removed from this list.
Don't be too smart to have fun
Look at the decklists for the MTGPC. There are 52 Lightning Bolts, 50 Tarmogofys, and 36 Snapcaster Mage.
That means 13 of 16 decks at the PC were playing Bolts. Same number for Tarmogoyfs, and 10 decks with Snapcaster.
That doesn't include counts for Path to Exile, Vendilion Clique, or Geist of Saint Traft. Almost every one of these decks looked like the exact same bland deck. I have a feeling this is what Modern is going to be for the future, which means it will never replace Legacy like Wizards wants it to.

(at)MrEnglish22


Although, because it's a smaller tournament and small sample size, each group of four(roughly) was on their team deck, and most of them admitted they wouldn't play these lists at a PT or GP, because the field would be more diverse.
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Look at the decklists for the MTGPC. There are 52 Lightning Bolts, 50 Tarmogofys, and 36 Snapcaster Mage.
That means 13 of 16 decks at the PC were playing Bolts. Same number for Tarmogoyfs, and 10 decks with Snapcaster.
That doesn't include counts for Path to Exile, Vendilion Clique, or Geist of Saint Traft. Almost every one of these decks looked like the exact same bland deck. I have a feeling this is what Modern is going to be for the future, which means it will never replace Legacy like Wizards wants it to.



I think you're making my argument for me. By banning so many cards there is less deck variety. Would all 16 players go pick up a dredge deck if golgari grave-troll or dread return were legal? I doubt it but I wonder how different the tournament would look if dredge had a place?

I've only started playing modern recently but I really like it so far and I just hope they're letting players figure things out rather than going heavy on the bannings which is my fear.
Don't be too smart to have fun
No, they wouldn't pick up dredge. It just means people need to include Relic of Progenitus/Tormod's Crypt etc etc in the sideboard.

Also, same bland deck?

Jund isn't the same bland deck.
Shouta's deck is by far the most innovative thing I've seen out of this format.
Zoo?

Just because they share some cards doesn't mean the plan is the same. 
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Look at the decklists for the MTGPC. There are 52 Lightning Bolts, 50 Tarmogofys, and 36 Snapcaster Mage.
That means 13 of 16 decks at the PC were playing Bolts. Same number for Tarmogoyfs, and 10 decks with Snapcaster.
That doesn't include counts for Path to Exile, Vendilion Clique, or Geist of Saint Traft. Almost every one of these decks looked like the exact same bland deck. I have a feeling this is what Modern is going to be for the future, which means it will never replace Legacy like Wizards wants it to.


I think that's just a little biased by the fact that you picked three of the best cards ever printed in their colors.  Any deck that even splashes red is going to run Bolts, just because it's an amazing card.  Same with Goyf and Snapcaster; seeing them in a list doesn't mean it's all the same deck, it just means that those people started with the best cards in the format and built from there.
I'd also like to add that Wizards doesn't want Modern to replace Legacy.  Part of the reason why the banned list is so extensive is because Wizards didn't want Modern to be "Legacy-lite".  What it was meant to be is an eternal format that newer players can get into fairly cheaply and easily (because all the cards can be reprinted), old Standard decks can survive (Affinity,  Tron, some others) and one that is open to innovation (most of the best decks haven't been around for more than one major tournament).

To add to what JBTM said, there's also something to be said for the fact that the format is incredibly new.  When a format is new, the best performing decks aren't really fine tuned lists.  They're decks that rely on the overall highest power level available.  With the format only being a year or so old, the decks that have unusual interactions or that are built more on synergy simply haven't had enough time to be fully tested and tuned.  The difference bewteen only a few different 1-ofs and the tweaking of numbers have a huge impact on the ability of a list to put up big tournament results.

I will als add that the tournament was a little different as well.  With the format being based on teams, most players are going to take the safe route so that they don't cause their teammates to lose out early.  Which means more of the staples get played than in a typical tournament.
Snapcaster mage is a more powerful card than most of the modern banned list.

The only reason it is not banned is because its not part of a combo deck, and because it is a creature.
With the format only being a year or so old, the decks that have unusual interactions or that are built more on synergy simply haven't had enough time to be fully tested and tuned.


Not to be grim or anything, but unfortunately the evolution of these "unusual interactions and synergy" won't happen. Why take the time to do such things when designs of newer cards clearly dictate what is the best card for a particular slot? If can make a red mana and you are not running Lightning Bolt, it is because there is something wrong with your brain, not because you are building synergy, testing, and tuning. The same goes for Snapcaster, Tarmogoyf, Path, and others.

And the banned list is too darn long to get anything "unusual" going.

 

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How;s a 2 drop 1/2, Flying broken? What am I missing?
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Well, we all know DCI just picks cards out of a hat and slams the ban hammer on them. I see where MM would be a problem though, I just don't see where dread return is an issue especially with all the grave hate now. Anyways I remember when I was working on hulk/flash the same week flash got banned and literally I was like WTF instead of banning the broken card you ban the card that nobody EVER played with, but yeah luckily I was able to sell the flashes back as much as I bought them for. I dunno though guys this was one reason I left magic in the first place next to job issues and the shop I went to shutting down, plus all my friends hated playing against dirty kitty, sunny side up, trainwreck, T1.5 vial gobbos, scepter/chant, Aluren, etc... =\
With the format only being a year or so old, the decks that have unusual interactions or that are built more on synergy simply haven't had enough time to be fully tested and tuned.


Not to be grim or anything, but unfortunately the evolution of these "unusual interactions and synergy" won't happen. Why take the time to do such things when designs of newer cards clearly dictate what is the best card for a particular slot? If can make a red mana and you are not running Lightning Bolt, it is because there is something wrong with your brain, not because you are building synergy, testing, and tuning. The same goes for Snapcaster, Tarmogoyf, Path, and others.

And the banned list is too darn long to get anything "unusual" going.

 



lava spike and splicing can be pretty funny 3 mana for 5 damage with the right cards
My problem with the modern banlist wasnt the cards they banned, but the reasons given for their banning. Like in the article banning mental mistep, they basically said it stops t1 aggro plays like wild nacatl that win aggro players the game. At the time Nacatl was not banned. I heard that and it felt like they basically were saying we want an aggro deck in every top 8. and thats not how magic is supposed to go. The players and their choices should decide that, not the Company with their banlists. Same with Affinity lands. Affinity is a very easily beaten deck, if you have the forsight to prepare for it. If you ignore it, you will get blown out. Thats on the players. By banning lands, you basically say to players, you dont need to worry about fastest affinity, just get ready for fast affinity. which isnt so bad. Not complaining about robots(my modern deck) mind you, just an example.
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Hate me if you want, but this is what I would do for the modern banned list:

Ban:

Hypergenesis - obvious
Skullclamp - obvious
Stoneforge Mystic - too strong with jitte in the format
Dark Depths - too fast of a combo to interact with
Cloudpost - Generates too much mana too quickly
Narcomeoba - main dredge enabler
Heritage Druid - main elfball enabler
Cranial Plating - enables fastest affinity kills
Grapeshot - Main kill card for storm
Blazing Shoal - fast combo card enables turn 2 wins

What I would not ban:

Artifact Lands - no reason to ban 5 cards over 1
Jace the Mindsculptor - amazingly strong card, but overrated for modern, no FOW backup
Ancestral Vision - Slow draw engine
Bitterblossom - Slow token producer
Rite of Flame + Seething Song - Without Grapeshot, only weakened storm variants exist
Sword of the Meek - Slow, easily interacted with combo
Green Sun's Zenith - Joke of a ban
Bloodbriad Elf - Not nearly strong enough to be banned
Ponder + Preordain - Not necessary if you ban the combo win cons outright
Glimpse of Nature - not as much of an enabler as Druid
Golgari Grave Troll + Dread Return - Dread Return is weakened tremendously without moeba
Jitte - Possibly borderline, but i think its ok to test out
Chrome Mox - Costly mana acceleration
Punishing Fire - Solid answer to fae which would be strong with these bans
Mental Misstep - strong answer to Delver/Zoo
Sensei's Divining Top - format should still be fast enough to compensate for this card slowing down games


There it is, only 10 cards banned, mostly aimed at offing the fastest combo decks.
You realize Citadel is safe because it doesn't produce colored mana?  If you unbanned the 5 that actually can give you colored mana, you'd get a return of Affinity, a deck that caused people to leave the game in droves.

Ponder AND Preordain might give combo too much on an edge.  I'd probably leave one of them banned.  Ponder would probably still be banned due to it's "Shuffle" clause, which can slow games down if done frequently.

Misstep should always be banned.  Aggro would play it MD just to answer other Missteps.

Glimpse is still a huge CA enabler.

As far as Dredge goes, there still are Bloodghasts around.  With Fetchlands it'd be really easy to mill 3 Bloodghasts into the yard with some Bridge from Belows, play a Fetch, landfall in the Bloodghasts, sac them to Dread Return for say Flame-Kin Zealot, then with that on the stack, crack the fetch to get all those back into play before Zealot makes it's appearance.  With 2 Bridges that's 10 3 power creatures (thanks to Zealot) suddenly in play.

Punishing Fire with Grove of the Burnwillows equates to unlimited burn.  Any deck with Red would play both as 4-ofs, because what Red deck doesn't want to always have removal?  I would totally rock out with a Pyromancer's Swath combo deck built around Fire + Grove.  3 mana, 4 damage to anything every turn without fail seems good.

JtMS is still too strong.  He's just too much on his own, him in any Blue deck just makes the deck better.  Who doesn't want a free Brainstorm every turn?  Of have the option to Unsummon the other guys bomb?  Or to manipulate the top of the other players library?  AND he can be a win condition?

I don't like playing against Thopter Foundry + Sword of the Meek.  1 mana for 1 life and a 2/3 flyer is pretty rediculous, once the combo's online, you just play Draw, Go and make a bunch of token every turn and just burry people in CA.  Foundry makes them go in Blue so they already have the control they need, they can go Black for more control and use Dimir Infiltrator as a tutor for their pieces.

I'm pretty sure banning Grapeshot makes storm mostly unviable.  To risky to try to go off with Ignite Memories and Dragonstorm would likey be just too slow.

Wizards really needs to print some good control spells to help keep combo in check.  FoW does this in Legacy/Vintage.  Maybe some kind of soft-counter equavalent?  Pitch a Blue card, pay 1 life, counter target spell unless it's controler pays .  Or a modified version of Disrupting Shoal, with X being how many Blue mana symbols are in the exiled card's casting cost.  But that would be rather hard to write simply.
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I would like to see Flusterstorm reprinted in a standard set, since Commander and Planechase products aren't legal in Modern. Frankly, Wizards probably knows we need answers, and they'll be lurking in DGM, M14, and/or Friends Block.

I did like Valakut's unbanning though. It definitely gave me faith that the banlist won't only get bigger.
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If I were to revise my original banned list, I would probably now go with:

Plating
Skullclamp
Hypergenesis
Dread Return
Glimmerpost (to allow Cloudpost to come off)
Grapeshot
Dark Depths
Blazing Shoal

Elves probably aren't even that broken, just run sweepers like Pyroclasm. Stoneforge - creature or artifact removal. Remember, the only goal here is to prevent turn 3 wins. Everything else is irrelevant.

I wish they could just up the life totals up to 30, but alas
^Pretty sure this is trolling.
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If it's not, it shows a terrible understanding of the effects of all those unbanned cards will have on the format.

I'm willing to give the benifit of the doubt and assume it's not trolling. 
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^Pretty sure this is trolling.

Nope, it would be glorius. Not unlike old extended which was an awesome format.

Like the extended when thepths was the only deck?

Or like legacy where every deck was runnign 4 misstep?

Or like PT Phily where the whole tournament was a massive joke. 
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Would DRS even be playable if they banned Fetchlands? That'd probably make Nacatl unbannable too. Maybe even Top (not really).
Would DRS even be playable if they banned Fetchlands? That'd probably make Nacatl unbannable too. Maybe even Top (not really).

If you banned the fetches you could unban Nacatl but really nothing else immediately.

I don't think its worth it, as much as I dislike the impact of fetchlands on the format as a whole.

Like the extended when thepths was the only deck?

Or like legacy where every deck was runnign 4 misstep?

Or like PT Phily where the whole tournament was a massive joke. 

Probably most like legacy with the 4 missteps. It wouldn't be like thepths because dark depths is banned even in my banned list.

I doubt it would be like Phily either because i tried to ban only combo cards and keep all the control cards.
I would like to see the arti lands unbanned actualy as they enable a lot of things other than affinity to be viable. Obviously other parts of affinity would have to be banned. 
I would like to see the arti lands unbanned actualy as they enable a lot of things other than affinity to be viable. Obviously other parts of affinity would have to be banned. 

Simple, Mox Opal and Cranial Plating for the 5 artifact lands
I would like to see the arti lands unbanned actualy as they enable a lot of things other than affinity to be viable. Obviously other parts of affinity would have to be banned. 

Simple, Mox Opal and Cranial Plating for the 5 artifact lands



Arcbound Ravager would be your biggest fan, and I and many others would likely have horrible flashbacks to Affinity VS Hate Standard every time we play against an Affinity deck.
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Is there any reason why the mana spells (rite of flame and seething song) were banned instead of the actual cards with storm? 

Storm cards have no real competitive use outside of one turn kills, whereas the mana spells can ramp into  many different things, such as the all-in red combo deck.

Does wizards must hate fast mana effects? 
They wanted to make sure it was extermely difficult to win before turn 4.  That's the only real reason.
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Too much fast mana makes things stupid, you give people the resources to have that much mana early on, and they'll do something horrible with it.

For years they considered Hypnotic specter too powerful because it was owning people on turn one off a dark ritual..... It's easy to work out the faulty logic there.......

Anyway, the only thing that needs unbanning is blossom for now, and deathrite needs to get itself banned. 
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Many people have sunken a lot of money into their decks for Modern, probably cringing as their wallet gets lighter, just to have an important card get banned and lose the cemistry of their entire deck... and sometimes a chunk of their investment.
 
I hope they never ban any of the sac-lands (Misty Rainforest, etc), tarmogoyf, or any of the other cards like those. It would result it many players losing hundreds, maybe even $1000 bucks (if you play Zoo and run a full set of most of the above lands + tarmogoyf) worth of value overnight. That's why bane rumors scare me. (I have a zoo deck, and it was hurt by the Bloodbraid Elf bane... not to mention Wild Necatl, which was banned some time ago.)

I can totally respect opposing Arguments, but I feel for all those who saved up for a long time to get into the format just to lose out on some of their investment. I can see why they banned Jitte, and a few others, but I would like to see Bitterblossom and Wild Nacatl return... Bitterblossom never even got a shot! 
 
I would like to see the ban-list shink each year, instead of grow. 
   
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What we really need in modern are budget dual lands that dont suck.

I dont want to shell out for all the fetches + all the shocks. Granted, the shocks are seeing some nice reprints now, but the fetches aint even in modern masters. Those will retain their high price for a long time to come.

If we could have some nice uncommon duals that dont etb tapped i would be fine. Entering tapped is just too big of a hindrance for a lot of decks, especially aggro.
There's always painlands.  I imagine they're cheap enough now since the new core set lands have replced them.  I remember gladly taking 1 damage from my land of for the first couple of turns to cover my mana fixing.
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There's always painlands.  I imagine they're cheap enough now since the new core set lands have replced them.  I remember gladly taking 1 damage from my land of for the first couple of turns to cover my mana fixing.

Yeah, I forgot about the painlands. I think they are a great budget land cycle to run. Not quite as many interactions as the shocklands, but still good enough since they give you of two colors as early as turn 1.