Banned List Speculation

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It's about that time again, so I thought I'd kick off a discussion on what people are thinking will happen with the banned list for Modern.

I don't think anything will be added.  Nothing is dominating, except for Jund, which is the definition of fair.  If anything, Bloodbraid Elf could be banned because it's the only card that won't impact other decks at all, but it's not going to happen.

As for unbannings, I think something is going to get let back in.  Judging from past unbannings, it's usually something that creates a whole new archetype that is missing.  Last time, it was Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle being unbanned, which created a control-ish deck with a combo finish, but wasn't actually strong enough to change the metagame.

In addition, Modern Masters could be a hint as well.  It would be a good chance to unban something, then immediately provide additional supply of that card.  I think that if they do unban something, it's likely to be present in Modern Masters, leading me to believe that any potential cards from pre-Zendikar are more likely to be let back into the format.

So with that in mind, here's what I wouldn't be surprised to see unbanned:

Wild Nacatl:  It shouldn't have been banned in the first place.  Plus, there needs to be another aggro deck in the format to pressure Jund.

Ancestral Vision: A decent option for a control deck, which the format desperately needs.  I don't think there's much to be worried about in regards to cascading into it, which is the only way the card isn't fair.

Bitterblossom:  In the old days, Faeries did a decent enough job of providing resistance to Jund, but that can't happen in Modern because of this being banned.  In addition, Zealous Persecution sees enough play that the tokens can be defeated fairly easily.  On top of that, there's Abrupt Decay to answer it as well.  I think there have been enough cards printed that can deal with Bitterblossom that it would be safe to unban.

Jace, the Mind Sculptor:  Just because control needs a boost.  Of all my picks, this is the least likely.  I don't think the DCI wants a $200+ (which it would be if it were Modern legal) card in the format.  I don't think it would be a problem because it's fairly slow and can easily be pressured.  I don't really think it will happen (though I hope so, since I've got 4 for Legacy) because of Modern Masters.  If Masters went through Worldwake or Rise of the Eldrazi, I would be a lot more confident that JtMS would be let back in.

Some cards I've heard talk of being unbanned that would be a surprise to me if they were:

Preordain:  As far as I've seen so far in the PTQ season, it's been combo vs. Jund.  I don't think the DCI wants to destablize that dynamic, and Preordain would drastically improve combo decks.  In addition, it doesn't add any new archetypes to the format, which seems to be the DCI's goal with previous unbannings.

Umezawa's Jitte:  No way in hell.  The card is just too insane.  Given that there are already a ton of creature decks in the format, it would be omnipresent if it were legal.  In addition, Jund can't be given another tool to undo all the damage the deck does to itself or else the current aggro decks couldn't even attempt to keep it in check.

The Artifact lands:  This is another one that doesn't make any sense.  Affinity is already extremely powerful, and it really doesn't need a boost.  Unbanning these cards could let a Thirst for Knowledge control deck happen, but it's just too dangerous.
It's funny, at one of the shops in town we were discussing the banned list and a lot of the same sentiments were shared. The only place where there were arguments were over Bitterblossom and Preordain. The only reason Preordain was argued was because one guy was confident that either Preordain or Ponder would get unbanned and we unanimously agreed we'd rather have to deal with Preordain than Ponder. The argument for Bitterblossom was that it offered chump blockers for days, which would limit a lot of decks.

Another card that was discussed was Mental Misstep. Unfortunately, I had to step to the restroom so I missed the discussion/reasoning on that one. Food for thought regardless though.

I wouldn't mind seeing Bloodbraid get banned, but I don't see it happening. Cascade is powerful and Jund rarely whiffs so it's a pain to manage, but it's not grossly overpowered to the point of banning in my opinion.
Nacatal, Bitterblossom and Visions could do with unbannings.

Dark Depths also could be unbanned IMHO, as well as Chrome Mox (though my reasons for wanting Chrome Mox are entirely so I can use them in a port of Dragon Stompy I've been working on almost obsesively for the past month and a half).

I'd be curious to see what would happen if Top got unbanned though.  I think Counter-Top would be an interesting deck ATM.
My Decks
Standard: BR Aggro Burn RDW Modern: Dragon Stompy Burn Fae Tempo Zoo Cherrios Legacy: Zoo Dragon Stompy Pauper: Slivers Landfall EDH: Sliver Overlord
1000th post on 2-1-10. 5000th post on 1-21-13.
With the printing of Illness in the Ranks, I could see Bitterblosom getting to come back to Modern.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

Another card that was discussed was Mental Misstep. Unfortunately, I had to step to the restroom so I missed the discussion/reasoning on that one. Food for thought regardless though.



Based on what it did to Legacy, we won't see it unbanned.  Ever.
My Decks
Standard: BR Aggro Burn RDW Modern: Dragon Stompy Burn Fae Tempo Zoo Cherrios Legacy: Zoo Dragon Stompy Pauper: Slivers Landfall EDH: Sliver Overlord
1000th post on 2-1-10. 5000th post on 1-21-13.
They won't unban Mental Misstep because it just isn't good for the format.  Sure, it would reduce the importance of Thoughtseize, Deathrite Shaman, Lightning Bolt and such, but it would almost become required for every deck.  It just doesn't lead to a healthy format.

I don't think Dark Depths would be unbanned because it's simply too hard to disrupt.  Vampire Hexmage can be dealt with, but it's extremely hard to interact with the other half.  Plus, it would break the "turn 4" idea of the format because it is very likely to happen on turn 2 (Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth into Dark Depths into Vampire Hexmage, good game?).  Now, if Wasteland were in the format, it would be fine.

Chrome Mox is also interesting, but I think unbanning it wouldn't be healthy for the format.  There's already enough combo in the format that giving those decks tools to go off one turn faster would be dangerous in a format where counterspells are basically unplayable.

Sensei's Divining Top is never getting unbanned.  It wasn't banned on power level, but for the ability to run tournaments efficiently.  While CounterTop would be sweet and would be the instant jolt control needs, it just won't happen.  On top of that, you'd see what happened in Legacy with Abrupt Decay being printed and released into a field full of CounterTop decks:  more B/G/x decks.  That isn't something Modern needs, as the "only" playable B/G deck is going to be Jund.
Nacatal, Bitterblossom and Visions could do with unbannings.

Dark Depths also could be unbanned IMHO, as well as Chrome Mox (though my reasons for wanting Chrome Mox are entirely so I can use them in a port of Dragon Stompy I've been working on almost obsesively for the past month and a half).

I'd be curious to see what would happen if Top got unbanned though.  I think Counter-Top would be an interesting deck ATM.



I thought they (rules people) didn't like 2-card combos. Having that token on Turn 2, unless your opponent has a bounce effect or path and left the mana up for it, is probably likely game.
Nacatal, Bitterblossom and Visions could do with unbannings.

Dark Depths also could be unbanned IMHO, as well as Chrome Mox (though my reasons for wanting Chrome Mox are entirely so I can use them in a port of Dragon Stompy I've been working on almost obsesively for the past month and a half).

I'd be curious to see what would happen if Top got unbanned though.  I think Counter-Top would be an interesting deck ATM.



I thought they (rules people) didn't like 2-card combos. Having that token on Turn 2, unless your opponent has a bounce effect or path and left the mana up for it, is probably likely game.





They have said  they don't like 2 card combos, so it's probably not going to get unbanned.  However, their feelings aside, I believe there is enough early hate for a token.  Even something like a timely Sudden Shock before they sac the Hexmage can disrupt them.

Plus they won't always get those turn 1 Thoughtseize, turn 2 Hexmage,, turn 3 kill you hands.

I would also love to Gut Shot a Hexmage to force them to pop it, then untap on my turn, Threaten their 20/20 token and proced to kill them with it.
My Decks
Standard: BR Aggro Burn RDW Modern: Dragon Stompy Burn Fae Tempo Zoo Cherrios Legacy: Zoo Dragon Stompy Pauper: Slivers Landfall EDH: Sliver Overlord
1000th post on 2-1-10. 5000th post on 1-21-13.
You're never going to have the opportunity to play a Sudden Shock, Gut Shot or otherwise remove the Hexmage.  They simply play it, it resolves, they sac it immediately and get their 20/20 indestructible flyer.  Why on earth would they ever leave a 2/1 guy in play when they can have a 20/20 indestructible guy instead?

Threatening is fine, but no one plays those cards in Modern.  The closest thing is Zealous Conscripts, and that's basically a million mana when we're talking about a turn 2 combo.

On top of that, even if Threaten saw play, it's 3 mana.  If they're on the play, and you didn't play a mana dork (or don't play them), you still lose.

The only relevant hate for the 20/20 token would be Unsummon effects, which there really aren't any being played.

You can say that they won't always get the god hands, but the fact that the god hands are flat out unbeatable is a problem.  When I start my list with 4x Urborg, 4x Dark Depths, 4x Hexmage, 4x Serum Powder, it's going to be pretty common that I get a turn 2 20/20 or turn 3 at the lastest.
A lot of Dark Depths players I've seen wait until the end of my turn to pop there Hexmage, in order to try to mimimize what I might have on my turn.

As far as my threaten comment goes, I was mostly speaking from my Dragon Stompy deck's persepective.  It's sole purpose is to have the ability to hit 3 mana on turn 1 so I can drop Blood Moon/Trinisphere.  I'd throughly enjoy boarding in some threatens just so I could hold off and hijack their guy if they were stupid enough to pop their Hexmage on their turn 2.

There's plenty of hate for the token, but since it doesn't need to be played, it's not played.  And thanks to Urborg, every deck can run Geth's Verdict SB.

And speaking as some one who has drank a lot of Serum Powders looking got ideal hands, it doesn't always pan out.

But Wizards isn't likely to unban Dark Depths so this whole discussion is moot.
My Decks
Standard: BR Aggro Burn RDW Modern: Dragon Stompy Burn Fae Tempo Zoo Cherrios Legacy: Zoo Dragon Stompy Pauper: Slivers Landfall EDH: Sliver Overlord
1000th post on 2-1-10. 5000th post on 1-21-13.
Do you realize how unlikely it is to get dark depths, hexmage, and urborg in your opening hand?  It's like 5%. 

Why does everyone think I'm phantom lancer? QFT:

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139359831 wrote:
I hope all this helps you to see things in a greater light—and understand that Magic: the Gathering was really created by extraterrestials using Richard Garfield as a medium. The game itself reflects the socio-psycho realtivity between living beings, and the science that takes precedence over them—to define reality for them all (like telekinesis, weather, scientific reaction, phenomenon, ingenuity, how the brain works, etc.). I'd also bet there is an entity floating thousands of miles above us, looking down on the current state of game, shaking its fist like... "Wtf are you doing?! You're getting it all screwed up!". Awkward—to be evolved, and yet still subject to the ladder that is the concepts of the game. In this case, misconception, corruption, and deception. With the realities of each color becoming distorted (through oblivious designers), leading the game to reflect a false state of reality that warps the understanding that other people have about those things. For example, people thinking that white could be anything except pure good. This shouldn't be too far off though, I mean...Magic is designed based on reality after all, so that entity (those entities) should be subject to those things. Anyways, I guess when you're busy doing space stuff you can't always be around to ensure quality control. It's no wonder they choose Garfield, they're so much alike; that's exactly what happened to him and Magic.
166199665 wrote:
omg snortng so much febbdelicious /intocixated in rl