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).
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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