Banned cards in casual games

The Kitchen Table forum

Posted on Aug. 27, 2018, 1:15 a.m. by TheNoodler72

Hi I’m new to this forum and magic in general. I just wanted opinions on banned cards in casual play around the kitchen table. I’ve noticed more than half my decks contain banned cards and so do all my playing buddies. Should we limit cards that are banned or continue without regard for rules and formats?

Gandolfini says... #2

No, it will be more fun to use the deck you want to. You can make a deck based around Fastbond or Skullclamp.

August 27, 2018 2:20 a.m.

Kitchen table doesn't need any banned lists. But you absolutely could ban cards from your group if most of you feel like it's necessary.

August 27, 2018 2:35 a.m.

Rabid_Wombat says... #4

Banned cards are cool at the kitchen table but I'd recommend Restrictions are adhered to. For instance:

4x Demonic Tutor and 4x Strip Mine will cause saltiness.

August 27, 2018 4:44 a.m.

cdkime says... #5

Kitchen table is all about building toward your particular meta, and making sure you do not vastly exceed the meta’s power level.

To that end, while ban lists are a good indicator of whether the card is too powerful for the meta, they are not the only factor to consider. Overall, I would argue the deck the card goes in is more important. To provide two examples from my kitchen table:

One deck runs multiple copies of Necropotence, a card justifiably restricted in Vintage. However, this deck wins by a complex, convoluted combo, so even with one of the best draw engines in the game, it still has a speed relative to the other decks.

Compare to a casual graveborn deck I built for my kitchen table, which ran four copies of Dark Ritual, a card that is neither banned nor restricted. However, that deck could consistently field a turn one Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur, shutting down the entire game. Not particularly fun to play against, and I rememoved the deck from my lineup.

If you want more useful rules than “play it by ear,” here are a couple simple ones to follow:

  • Avoid hyper-efficient draw engines, unless your deck has a very slow combo (3+ pieces) as the win condition, and little other interaction.

  • Avoid hyper-efficient mana sources. Even if you have a high curve, stick to other, less efficient mana generators - Dark Ritual, Sol Ring, Mox Diamond, etc. generally put you too far ahead in a casual game.

  • Perhaps this goes without saying, but avoid the Power Nine, ante cards, and Shahrazad. On the other hand, you can probably get away with dexterity cards, which are also banned in every format, though I might ask your other players first.

  • Avoid spending vastly more money on cards than the rest of your meta, not only because this can breed resentment, but also because it is a decent indicator of power level. This goes the same for individual cards - if you spend $20 on a single card, where most players spend up to $5, even if the overall cost of your deck might be the same as other players’, this can still cause issues.

  • Try to keep your mana base in-line with other players. If everyone else is using lands that enter the battlefield tapped, it’s probably not a good idea to show up with a bunch of fetch/shock lands.

I think that covers all the basic rules for building for the kitchen table. Hope some of that helps.

August 27, 2018 8:12 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #6

You can politely agree to not use certain cards, as a truce. But once you start making a progressive banlist, it's no longer "casual" and is now edging on a fully formed format.

August 27, 2018 10:10 a.m.

goodair says... #7

The ban list shouldn't dictate how to build a casual deck, as long as you stay within the power level/budget of the other casual decks your friends play. If one person is winning every match, then chances are everyone else isn't having fun and will want to do something else or just run a card that hard shuts off your deck. That just leads to you have cards that cant be used in constructed formats and sit in your binder/deck that no one wants to play vs. Speaking from personal experience btw.

August 27, 2018 1:47 p.m.

Rabid_Wombat says... #8

cdkime interesting that you say "avoid the Power Nine" which is fair enough if only one deck is running moxen etc.. but what really makes our casual games at the kitchen table shine is that every deck runs at least one Mox and one Black Lotus!!

This gives everyone a chance to re-live the awesomeness that was MtG back in the day :D

August 27, 2018 8:02 p.m.

JRaynor says... #9

Use your best judgement. When we first started playing, a friend bought a 2013 commander deck and was like "Wow this card Sol Ring is really good."

Next time we hung out, he had bought 16 sol rings and put 4 in every one of his casual kitchen table decks. The power difference between his decks and ours at that point was clear even though we had no idea the card was banned at the time, and so he ended up taking them out because games just stopped being fun.

If everyone plays banned cards in a casual fun environment and it's fun, who cares. It's no biggie. If things stop being fun, that's your red flag.

August 28, 2018 12:01 a.m.

Quinnagin27 says... #10

I ruined my casual play group and i regret it everyday. it started out innocent i thought building an extra turn deck would help let me win faster...i was wrong. This made my play group go out of there way to build decks that where so casual hateful people stopped coming. the last nail in the coffin was my anti-tribal deck. Considering most of the group started playing when lorwyn had just released (Have tribal set) mostly everyone decks where tribal. After that day people started to sell magic cards my best friend told me after he played my deck he wanted to quit and so ended my casual magic group.

This did blossom into me wanting to continue playing and be competitive at it selling all my causal decks and investing into modern decks and i'm having just as much fun.

My biggest advice to you is don't do what i did. Just remember you are playing your friends and even though you might think and infinite combo here or a hard lock out of game there might not hurt but it will take a toll on the group. don't make a ban list rather buy and make the decks you want that's what casual is about but if there is something that is making the group bitter or not want to play then i would probably ask nicely to take it out. Have fun and draw well!

August 28, 2018 5:08 a.m.

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