Shadows Over Innistrad Update Header

With every new Magic: The Gathering (MtG) set re­leased by Wizards of the Coast (WotC), there also comes changes to its Banned and Restricted list, which gov­erns the cards one can­not play in for­mats like Modern, Legacy, and Vintage.  Changes to this list can re­al­ly wreck a player’s day – some­times the bans are mi­nor, like the ban­ning of Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time in Modern and Legacy, and their re­stric­tion in Vintage; oth­er times the bans are ab­solute­ly crip­pling to cer­tain decks, ren­der­ing them com­plete­ly un­playable, such as the case with Birthing Pod, Splinter Twin, and Summer Bloom.

Reactions to the Banned and Restricted have been mixed in the past, es­pe­cial­ly for the re­cent ban­nings of Splinter Twin and Summer Bloom, which WotC say they did to “in the in­ter­est of com­pet­i­tive di­ver­si­ty” – a some­what hu­mor­ous state­ment in ret­ro­spect, af­ter dev­as­ta­tion that the Eldrazi decks did in not only the Modern for­mat, but in Legacy as well.

Today though, the reign of the Eldrazi decks may be over.

WotC an­nounced to­day that one of the most im­por­tant cards in the Eldrazi deck, Eye of Ugin, was to be banned from Modern.  This card was key at every stage of the game, as it pro­vid­ed ma­jor con­vert­ed mana cost dis­counts on al­ready cheap-to-cast cards like Eldrazi Mimic.  It also al­lowed for the cast­ing of mul­ti­ple Mimics a turn, al­low­ing for near-lethal dam­age by turn 2 (turn 1, Eye of Ugin, 3 – 4 Eldrazi Mimics; turn 2, Eldrazi Temple, Thought-knot Seer, swing for twelve to six­teen dam­age).

Shadows Over Innistrad Update Insert

Eldrazi Temple re­mains un­banned, mean­ing that Eldrazi decks may still stick around in Modern, but I doubt they’ll be as ter­ri­fy­ing with­out the abil­i­ty to drop mul­ti­ple crea­tures a turn like the Affinity deck.  The ban­ning also slight­ly af­fects Tron decks, but as they uti­lize the Urza lands to be­gin with, it’s not as big of a prob­lem for that deck as it is for the Eldrazi deck.

Cards that were un­banned in­clude Ancestral Visions and Sword of the Meek, both of which were sold out im­me­di­ate­ly on card mar­kets like TCGPlayer and StarCityGames, fol­low­ing this an­nounce­ment.  Prices on Ancestral Visions were near $50 be­fore it’s sell-out, so if you have a play­set, you’re a lucky per­son to­day.

In Vintage, a key card of the Mishra’s Workshop deck, Lodestone Golem, was re­strict­ed due to its role in cre­at­ing non-interactive games.  I don’t play much Vintage, but it’s easy to see why such a card would be re­strict­ed – get more than one on the board and your op­po­nent won’t be able to keep up.  However, one Vintage play­er on the MtG sub­red­dit page says that the Lodestone Golem re­stric­tion isn’t be­cause of its over-representation in the for­mat, but due to the in­flu­ence of the Vintage Super League, a “com­pe­ti­tion be­tween Magic celebri­ties with match­es played on Magic Online.”

Speculation and re­joic­ing over the end of Modern’s “Eldrazi Winter” are well un­der­way on the MtG sub­red­dit page.

With the last Pro Tour see­ing the fast rise and fall of a deck built pri­mar­i­ly around cards from the newest MtG set, I won­der if we’ll see some­thing sim­i­lar with Shadows Over Innistrad.  Time will tell, but for now we can rest easy, and break out our usu­al Modern decks while the Eldrazi are safe­ly con­tained be­hind the iron bars of the Banned and Restricted List.

Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple art both by James Paick

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