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|From the Vault: Annihilation (V14)||Mythic Rare|
|Vintage Masters (VMA)||Rare|
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2 months ago
8 months ago
Alright, in hypothetical Larryland where I am now in charge of making decisions, here is what I would do
First, establish criteria for the format
Shouldn't be too complicated, as there has already been lots of time spent discussing the format
- Bans should serve to stop certain combos or deckbuilding approaches from swallowing the meta.
- Bans should be justified off of power level for winning, not how fun or unfun the combo or style of deck is to play or play against
- General rules changes about the format should serve to open deckbuilding and allow for more interesting approaches to the meta and winning.
I think a couple rules changes should take place to open deckbuilding and allow more options, and allow cards to work as intended with the commander specific ruleset
- Commanders should hit the graveyard before returning to the command zone. This allows commanders like Child of Alara or other death triggers to actually function as intended while maintaining the command zone. Commanders should have the option of returning to the CZ at will from exile, the graveyard, the library, or a player's hand as an ability that doesn't use the stack, similar to mana abilities.
- Hybrid mana symbols should be perfectly legal as long as the hybrid symbols fulfill a color identity of your commander. For example, Boros Recruit should be legal in a mono-red deck. If a hybrid mana card has a mana symbol in the text box that it outside the color identity, it should still be excluded. For example, if Boros Recruit had a firebreathing ability for in the text box, it would no longer be legal in a mono-white deck.
- Restriction of the command zone to a single card. Partner commanders are still legal, but not legal to run them as partners in the command zone. Having a mix and match color identity and having guaranteed access to two cards at all times over one card is too strong. Bigger color identity means wider pool of cards to pull from, and the partner players are effectively starting with a 9 card hand as opposed to non-partner commanders starting with an 8 card hand.
Bans and Unbans
First, I would unban cards that the RC has banned because they are "unfun" or don't fit the spirit of the format
- Coalition Victory - If you can pull this off and cast the cost, go ahead and win
- Emrakul, the Aeons Torn - This costs 15 mana and channel is banned, this isn't going to break decks at all and most likely will only see play as an Ulamog alternate in Gitrog decks
- Erayo, Soratami Ascendant - This can be countered or removed or smart opponents can avoid triggering it. Once it has flipped, it is still removable although somewhat toxic. It definitely gets good mileage in EDH but people can play around this if they have even half a brain, which is what I would expect from competitive.
- Iona, Shield of Emeria - This is only banned now because Painter's Servant was unbanned. Certainly reanimator Iona strategies can cause problems, but hitting a 2 card combo for a soft lock isn't game shattering unless you are on a mono-colored deck, at which point it just becomes one of the things you must worry about. If Back to Basics and Blood Moon are totally fine for shitting on 3-5 color mana bases, I'm 100% fine with Iona for shitting on mono color decks.
- Library of Alexandria - I have no idea why this is banned in the first place. Most competitive decks are so tight on their land base and won't have a slot for this. Also most competitive decks wish to play spells on turn 1 and 2, which makes it harder to get the 7 in hand for the Library draw.
- Panoptic Mirror - If someone can assemble the ultra fragile Mirror + Free turn spell, and then gets an ENTIRE ROTATION of no one destroying it, I'm 100% fine with them taking infinite turns. Also consider that this combo basically costs to start, 5 for cast and 5 for the free turn. This card is banned because casuals absolutely loathe combos. Its unbanning could make Pox decks somewhat viable in competitive, and would be a boon to stax decks as well
- Primeval Titan - This card is a double tutor on ETB or attack, but its a double tutor for lands. If someone really wants to set up Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth + Cabal Coffers + Deserted Temple + Inventors' Fair (which fetches Rings of Brighthearth) then more power to them, as it requires either a blink effect or an entire rotation to THEN get the second set of tutors from attacking. Its big value, but honestly no reason for this card to be banned. It costs to cast
- Paradox Engine - the banning of this card made the format worse, as it knocked out tons of viable decks simply because "Too many casuals put down rocks and PE and oops into an infinite". The unbanning of this card opens up the format significantly, and allows weird decks like Hannah, Ship's Navigator or Dralnu, Lich Lord to be viable commanders, although definitely not tier 0 picks.
- Recurring Nightmare - Banned because of griefing almost 100%. Nobody likes being hit by some ETB creature that involves saccing or losing permanents, but it isn't fast enough to warrant a ban. It requires mana, AND a creature on the field, AND a creature in the GY.
- Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary - Selvala is basically a more powerful version of this because of the cantrips and you can play non-basic lands. This would probably become a tier 1 deck by basically copying the Selvala list, but I think the meta would be enriched from adding this as an alternate, similar to how Marwen has added instead of detracted from the meta.
- Sundering Titan - Banned because attacking a player's resources is seen as an unfun way to win. Its expensive to cast and not exactly game shattering when it enters.
- Sway of the Stars - This costs to cast for a weird Timetwister that sets life totals to 7. Sure there is potential for abuse with Suspend cards, but this costs 10 mana. Nobody is going to play this if it gets unbanned.
- Sylvan Primordial - Another board state changer that isn't really going to do as much as it looks when it lands. Sure, -3 permanents on board for opponents and +3 lands is neat, but it costs . Decks would rather win than assemble some blink or recursion loop for this card.
- Upheaval - This is banned almost entirely from a casual and time perspective. It makes games take longer. In competitive though, this card would be used with excess floating mana to THEN rip your combo. Almost definitely wouldn't see competitive play though, and the banning seems silly to me.
- Worldfire - If you can run a wacky suspend deck that abuses this to win, you have my blessing. It also costs to cast so someone will probably just win before you
- Yawgmoth's Bargain - This is a Necropotence that costs with the benefit of no-delay on the draws. If necro is legal, this should be legal.
My biggest reasoning for bans is that some combos are so strong and so hard to interact with that they become the go-to builds for certain color identities. When the optimal way to build 30 different commanders in the same color pairing is Flash Hulk, you have run into a problem.
- Flash - Arguably the worse part of Flash Hulk. Potential for abuse in a post-Hulk world with Academy Rector. This card has the potential for abuse with every single new creature printed. I don't think this card makes the meta more interesting, and I think it pigeonholes deckbuilding into "well why don't you run Flash Hulk, or Flash _". Flash combos are also difficult for other decks to interact with outside of Counterspell, which means when you're building for playing in a competitive meta, you are almost expected to play Blue due to how strong and warping this card is.
- Protean Hulk - Even with a flash banning I still wand this turd of a card gone. Finding hulk, reanimating hulk, and sacrificing hulk isn't interesting. There isn't very much skill there. The decks aren't interesting. There is a combo in practically every color combination for winning immediately after you get a Hulk trigger. It can be viewed as a 6-card into-play tutor, or a 5-card into-play tutor, etc. etc. I don't think the meta is more interesting or better for having this card be legal.
- Demonic Consultation and Tainted Pact - More boring and tired combo archetypes. Once again, tutoring for 2 cards and ripping the Consultation + Oracle combo doesn't really require much pilot skill, and it doesn't make decks more interesting to build. These cards are simply too efficient at what they do, and they are hard for non-blue decks to interact with meaningfully. The presence of this combo and Flash Hulk has basically relegated all stax decks to being tier 2 builds, as they have such an impossible time locking down these combos. The banning of these two cards and Flash Hulk would bust the competitive meta wide open. Also, between these cards or the Laboratory Maniac + variants in the combo, these are the cards that are way way way more degenerate than the other part of the combo.
- Rhystic Study and Mystic Remora - These are annoying and burdensome mono-blue staples that slow gameplay, and are auto-includes in practically any deck that includes blue. They function much better than intended due to the multiplayer nature of the format, and deckbuilding is less interesting and diverse because these cards are legal. They can singlehandedly run away with games when you have a single player in the pod who ignores them, and having your combo shut down because someone draw a Force of Will after getting 6 free draws is frustrating and extremely obnoxious. They also prop up extremely mediocre mono blue decks like Urza, Lord High Artificer and Baral, Chief of Compliance. Once again, I don't really think there is any skill in playing or building around this card, and the power level of "auto-include for any deck with blue" stifles deck building. Blue really doesn't need any help being good in EDH, let alone cEDH.
- Nature's Will and Druids' Repository - Targeted bans for Najeela, the other obnoxious tier 0 commander deck in the current meta. I'm not a huge fan of 1 card combos with commanders, because you always have one of the cards available at all stages of the game, and tutoring + playing a single card once again doesn't really speak to high skill or interesting deck building. The banning of these cards will peripherally splash and hit other decks, such as Edric, Spymaster of Trest, but I'm fine with that. Najeela and Edric will still have other options for executing these combos, such as Sword of Feast and Famine or Bear Umbra, but these are more mana intensive or more fragile combos with lower utility outside the combo.
- Tymna the Weaver - I have already advocated for removing partners from the command zone, but this card is so dummy strong as to be included in the 99 of other decks with some frequency. You can get the draws even if Tymna didn't attack (i.e. it just came in). You can get 3 draws a turn for the same mana cost as Phyrexian Arena, except that if done correctly you'll get the draws before you would get the Arena draws. This card is meta warping, this and Najeela are a big part of the reason the meta is so creature heavy right now. Decks either run this card, or they run ways to handle this card because a Tymna sitting on the board for 1-3 rotations gives such a fat advantage the pilot runs away with the game.
- Timetwister - A card that sees play because you save slot efficiency by spamming TT to create a loop of infinitely recasting spells, plus its a wheel effect for 3 mana that shits on decks assembling combos through the GY with cards. I'm totally hunky dory with high efficiency combos, but losing to a timetwister loop is boring, cumbersome, and takes the pilot 30 years to demonstrate and explain the loop to those who haven't seen it. Combined with the ridiculous price of the card, and the ridiculous powerlevel even outside the combo, this card should go. This is also another card that makes fast mana extremely degenerate, as someone going first and sticking Mana Crypt into Sol Ring into Chrome Mox into Timetwister feels extremely bad, and opponents don't even have the benefit of recurring their starting hand from the GY later on.
- Sylvan Library - The green Rhystic Study. Doesn't make decks more interesting. Doesn't make games more interesting. Its just cheap ways to get cards that becomes more ridiculous in the context of a format where you have double the starting life of the format this was printed for. The auto-include nature of this card means decks open up more when this card is removed.
- Lion's Eye Diamond - No, Razakats is not an interesting combo. No, bomberman is not an interesting combo. These are both degenerate and more shoe-horn "oh I need a combo to win" style combos. Bomberman is extremely degenerate as LED can be recovered in the face of targeted GY removal by simply stacking the Salvager trigger on top of the removal if you have extra floating mana, and pretty much the only way to really stop it is a replacement effect like Rest in Peace. Seeing someone play a bomberman combo then dump mana into their outlet from the CZ (whether it be Thrasios, Triton Hero or Breya, Etherium Shaper) isn't interesting, although I will admit it is fast. This card is much lower on my list of requested bans, but it is still there for how annoying Bomberman and razakats are, plus how easy this makes Doomsday piles.
- Hermit Druid - I want this gone for the same reason Consultation and Pact should go. Boring deckbuilding that becomes "UGx deck can run Hermit and Oracle to win", and thus you end up with twenty different UGx decks that look the same. Once you have seen this combo once, there isn't much merit to seeing it again. This card isn't as bad as Consult or Pact in my opinion, and once again it is a much lower priority for banning than those cards, as it requires a haste enabler to make it truly degenerate, or a way to flash it in at EOT before your untap step.
Cards I would avoid banning
As the title reads, things I think aren't a problem but usually draw comments for bans.
- Cheap tutors like Vampiric Tutor and Imperial Seal - Every single 1 CMC tutor goes to top of deck (besides Gamble and Steelshaper's Gift), which means you're -1 card advantage for casting them. Having the ability to assemble combos or seek a problem solving card doesn't blow the format out of proportion. Having players be able to assemble threats in a timely manner makes the format faster and more interactive. If you see an opponent tutoring, you know to hold up interaction or try to race them. I'm more interested in removing hyper degenerate combos that are hard to interact with or are resilient enough to win through interaction.
- Fast mana like Mana Crypt or Mox Diamond - If fast mana is banned, all decks will require Green for speed purposes from the high amount of turn 1 dorks (read: accelerators) available. Stax would become 100% dead as an archetype with these bans outside of Hatebear builds that include Green.
- Free counterspells like FoW or Pact of Negation - Keeps combo decks in check. Similar to how Force of Will keeps Legacy from being overrun by super speed combos, these cards also keep Commander in check.
1 year ago
Just for reference, this is the entire ban list for oathbreaker.
Ad Nauseam , Ancestral Recall , Balance , Biorhythm , Black Lotus , Channel , Doomsday , Emrakul, the Aeons Torn , Expropriate , Fastbond , Gifts Ungiven , Griselbrand , High Tide , Library of Alexandria , Limited Resources , Lion's Eye Diamond , Mana Crypt , Mana Geyser , Mana Vault , Mox Emerald , Mox Jet , Mox Pearl , Mox Ruby , Mox Sapphire , Natural Order , Painter's Servant , Panoptic Mirror , Primal Surge , Primeval Titan , Recurring Nightmare , Saheeli, the Gifted , Sol Ring , Sundering Titan , Sway of the Stars , Sylvan Primordial , Time Vault , Time Walk , Tinker , Tolarian Academy , Tooth and Nail , Trade Secrets , Upheaval , Worldfire , and Yawgmoth's Bargain .
1 year ago
Making all cards one color has a variety of niche combos that do busted things:
- Painter's Servant + Iona, Shield of Emeria was a spell lock. One of the reasons it was banned in the first place.
- Painter's Servant + Grindstone is effectively, ": Target player loses the game," and can go in any deck.
- Painter's Servant + Hibernation is basically Upheaval , another card banned in EDH. Since this version is so cheap and an instant you can cast Hibernation in response to your own spell, and then win the game with whatever problem creature you have on an empty field. It's also as easy to tutor as Dramatic Scepter.
- Painter's Servant + Deathgrip = Off color repeatable counterspells (there's a green version of this enchantment I can't remember).
- Painter's Servant + Compost = Makes you draw anytime any card touches your opponent's yard.
- Painter's Servant + Animar = Protection from everything.
- Painter's Servant + Teysa, Orzhov Scion = Extra Darkest Hour for sac loops.
Anyway, none of those were the reason Flash Hulk has become more powerful. It's just that Paradox Engine decks were one of the few things in the cEDH meta that could compete with Flash Hulk, so now that it's banned Flash Hulk decks are basically uncontested.
1 year ago
- Upheaval , the deck doesn't ramp hard enough to self-recover
- Mystical Tutor , banned in Duel COmmander anyway
- Steel Wall
1 year ago
1 year ago
Unfortunately, this isn't the place to talk about unbanning cards. Though Cyclonic Rift looks like a one-sided board wipe, the card isn't played as much in cEDH - although it is a bounce spell - most decks would rather use other options ie: lower cost ( Chain of Vapor ) or with the option to also draw cards ( Into the Roil / Blink of an Eye ).
Cyclonic Rift is a very powerful card in casual edh. I would likely only run it in baral, but to each their own. Some staxier decks run it. Upheaval on the other hand is quite unbalanced - and if fastbond was also unbanned - I'm sure that we would see tatyova decks & Gitrog decks on the rise. However - Upheaval is quite rightfully banned (as it's stupid).
Sheldon is the overseer of the list, but it's likely that with all of the new members of the committee for edh that we will see some unbannings, new ideas etc.