Should Drannith Magistrate be Banned in EDH?

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on July 31, 2021, 9:34 a.m. by DemonDragonJ

Drannith Magistrate is, without question, one of my least favorite cards in the entire game, because it is utterly antithetical to the EDH format, which is defined by having a deck centered on a creature that is always available to be summoned from the command zone. Even worse, it costs a mere 2 mana for such a powerful effect, when I feel that it should cost 3 or even 4 mana.

Ever since it was introduced, practically ever EDH deck that contains white contains it, and it annoys me to no end, especially in one-on-one games, where it is more difficult to remove.

The recent banning of Hullbreacher has me hopeful that the magistrate shall be banned as well, for the health of the format.

What does everyone else say about this? Will Drannith Magistrate be banned in EDH, and what was WotC thinking when they printed that card?

DrukenReaps says... #2

This is a troll, right? Right?! lolz, either way the stats we have suggest it is in about 10% of the decks it could go in.

On just bannings in general I think we would be better off with a banned as commander list and nothing else. Just my opinion though.

July 31, 2021 9:42 a.m.

DemonDragonJ says... #3

DrukenReaps, I assure you that I never troll; I am always serious about every post that I make.

July 31, 2021 9:46 a.m.

TriusMalarky says... #4

Drannith was printed largely to fight companions, the commander angle was an incidental plus.

Here's the thing. It dies to Lightning Bolt , Path to Exile , Swords to Plowshares , Rapid Hybridization , Pongify , Ulcerate , Fatal Push , every wrath, doomblade effect, Oring effect . . . honestly, it doesn't die to Shock , Dead Weight and Gut Shot . It's so easy to kill it's not even funny.

And it doesn't do anything if it immediately gets killed. Hullbreacher was flashed in in response to a wheel, which would mean that the Breacher owner's hand is full, and they have 20ish treasures, and everyone else gets nothing. It has to get answered immediately or else it provides tons of value. Drannith can honestly be answered at the table's leisure, it doesn't provide any value until somebody wants to cast their commander. That is outside of hardlocks, of course.

It's annoying, yes, but unless someone wants to Knowledge Pool lock, and that's really only acceptable in cEDH, it's not a problem. If your deck can't function without your commander, you need to rebuild. If you can't draw a removal spell, run more removal or more card draw.

July 31, 2021 11:43 a.m.

Magistrate simply doesn't do ENOUGH. Your commander's already out? Nothing. Have removal in hand? Nothing. Have a deck that works without your commander (for 3 turns)? Nothing. Banned cards are ones that end games too quickly, or make them impossible to play.

July 31, 2021 12:20 p.m.

shadow63 says... #6

TriusMalarky dies to removal isn't an argument.

July 31, 2021 12:53 p.m.

shadow63 says... #7

I could see it getting the hammer its against the spirit of the format

July 31, 2021 12:54 p.m.

shadow63 I’d be quite interested, if you don’t mind, to hear more about why you don’t think dying to removal is a valid argument! This is a spectacular point of contention that I have yet to be able to grasp entirely...

July 31, 2021 1:11 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #9

The way I see it, the game is about balance and dynamics. It's a back-and-forth tug-of-war. It is akin to Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Does it suck when you are the only control player in a 4-player pod and the other three are massive creature decks? Sure. You feel like the entire game you are essentially "doing nothing" because you simply do not have enough interaction to stop the onslaught. So you sit there and hope nobody sees you as a threat, giving you ironically even less interaction.

Or being a combo player and finding out the other three players are also combo players and now it takes a half hour just to get back to your tur-- annnnd it's gone.

Being able to force in-game restrictions is what Magic is about. Bare in mind players can still cast their removal from their hand to get rid of him. They can still volly an assault to force him into a blocking position. They can still use activated abilities to take him down.

And if all else fails, the table can all agree that this player is a threat until it is removed, and everyone gangs up on that player.

In short, the balance comes from the table, not from what you personally can do.

July 31, 2021 1:14 p.m.
July 31, 2021 1:27 p.m.

Gidgetimer says... #12

Omniscience_is_life: "Dies to removal" is a red herring logical fallacy. The fact that a card can be interacted with another card specifically designed to interact with it has nothing to do with the power level or concerns raised when discussing the first card. If you want to comment on a card not being as problematic as someone else sees it to be provide well reasoned argumentation of your own points, or dispute theirs.

July 31, 2021 1:38 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #13

"dies to removal" is a meme that came from WOTC's power creep. Doesn't matter how powerful something is, it always "dies to removal".

If my opponent has Magistrate out and they are at 19 life, and I have 31 power on the board, something is dying that turn whether it is Magistrate as a blocker or my opponent, who when out of the game removes Magistrate.

Either way, he's gone.

Attacking is a perfectly valid form of removal. If it's off the table, it's removed.

July 31, 2021 1:55 p.m.

Lanzo493 says... #14

That's the funny thing about Drannith Magistrate , TriusMalarky. It doesn't even stop companion anymore. I never even realized that's what its original design was aimed towards. Now it's just a commander and red's version of card draw hatebear. Although the card is strong, I don't really see it getting banned. It is against the spirit of commander in the case that it hates out commander-centric decks, but it also isn't overpowered. It does nothing against commanders that have already hit play. Decks that don't rely on their commander also have no issue with this. Decks that do rely on their commander but still have other stuff to do can at least cope with it in the short term. It's a hatebear that does it's job well. That job is to stall the game. White already has so little going for it that they might not take away any of its strong cards.

July 31, 2021 2:24 p.m.

Lanzo493: it's not against the spirit of commander any more than any other card that can stall or remove a commander.

July 31, 2021 2:35 p.m.

Scytec says... #16

Definitely not ban worthy in my opinion. There are substantially better cards in the hate bears/stax format. It may be super prevalent in your meta for some reason, but I've never even seen it played. It does seem strong, I'm not arguing that, but no where near ban worthy.

July 31, 2021 2:47 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #17

I do think TRC made the right call for Hullbreacher , though.

At least Magistrate let's you draw and cast from your hand. If you can draw a bunch of cards, you're inevitably going to find an answer.

Interestingly enough, despite TRC banning it, WOTC still lists it as Legal in Commander

July 31, 2021 3:08 p.m.

RiotRunner789 says... #18

I think the card reaches the level of annoyance that COULD support a banning. The main problem with banning this card is that it isn't prolific within the community and certainly isn't warping decks around itself.

If you play with a regular playgroup, and it is warping and/or prolific in your group, you can rule 0 ban it.

July 31, 2021 3:16 p.m.

Scytec says... #19

While I'm not a fan of banning in general, Hullbreacher seems incredibly busted. Luckily i was on hiatus when that dropped. Haha. I bet almost every deck who could afford it ran it.

July 31, 2021 3:24 p.m.

RNR_Gaming says... #20

At the end of the day it's a 1/3 for 2 mana. Even if it prevents you from running your commander chances are you have a bear or something else at 2 mana that just runs over it.

July 31, 2021 3:33 p.m.

Yisan says... #21

No. Longer answer, its a creature, the most fragile thing in the game, it's fine. To paraphrase what I've been told after every silly ban " if your table is fine or against it, ban or allow it there"

July 31, 2021 3:33 p.m.

RNR_Gaming says... #22

Also, I'll add it's not a creature that provides instant value like Dockside Extortionist or other crazy etb creatures. Hullbreacher added both static value and reactive value. Magistrate only adds a static value that's not going to be super relevant if everyone pressures them like they should.

July 31, 2021 3:36 p.m.

Gidgetimer but prior bannings (such as the HBer one) are generally targeted at cards that are difficult to interact with—cards that strip resources, for example. Magistrate doesn’t protect itself, only denies one resource—one that probably wasn’t the one that would answer the card anyway—and ergo isn’t on the same level as many of the other cards on the ban list

July 31, 2021 3:46 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #25

I don't think Magistrate and Dockside are even remotely in the same ballpark.

Magistrate denies spells being cast. Dockside is ramp. These are diametrically opposed. Magistrate is resource denial, Dockside is resource acceleration.

Now Dockside to Hullbreacher is close, but again Dockside lacks denial in every sense of its capacity.

I think what made Hullbreacher so dangerous is that it does both, denial and advantage, at the same time. And doing so with the two arguably largest facets in MTG; Draw and ramp.

In my opinion, Hullbreacher should have never even made it out of R&D.

July 31, 2021 4:35 p.m.

RNR_Gaming says... #27

TypicalTimmy - that was the exact point I was trying to make. By static I meant it only provides value when it's on the field; dies to removal is beating a dead horse so I wanted to highlight the fact that it's still just a hate bear but doesn't even have the stats of a bear. It'll be out classed very quickly and in slug fest games it'll more than likely become a chump blocker at some point - considering a lot of people like playing their commander and doing other broken things, magistrate draws a big target on your back and you best be ready to fight tooth and nail to stay alive; also it only leaves salt behind and may not even put you in a winning position.

July 31, 2021 5:47 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #28

RNR_Gaming, I guess I misread your post. Sorry.

July 31, 2021 5:50 p.m.

TriusMalarky says... #29

My earlier argument was not just that it "dies to removal", it was "it dies to removal and doesn't do anything immediately".

If it isn't capable of doing something relevant the turn it comes into play, it's not ever worth banning. Most commanders are sorcery speed, so unless you can flash Drannith in, it's not doing anything the turn it comes into play. Even then, it often doesn't so anything for several turns. Really, it only has about 8-12 possible opportunities for it to do anything at all in any given game. Compare that to Breacher who does something immediately, often something more than simply preventing people from doing stuff, and also is probably going to do something every turn until it leaves play.

July 31, 2021 5:51 p.m.

RNR_Gaming says... #30

TypicalTimmy - no worries lol I'm overly wordy.

July 31, 2021 6:21 p.m.

Gidgetimer says... #31

Omniscience_is_life I'm not coming down in favor of a banning. I was simply explaining why the "dies to removal" argument is not a good one. You asked shadow63 why dying to removal wasn't a valid argument and I was trying to explain why.

Your point about difficulty interacting with cards being one of their considerations is a better point, and one that could be part of a comprehensive argument on why Drannith Magistrate is not worthy of a ban. It is however still just a single criteria they use and far from a good argument on it's own.

For the most part cards banned in EDH either generate immense value immediately or warp the game around themselves. Difficulty of interaction is just a factor that may be able to push a card over the edge after it is already doing one of those things.

Personally I think that speculation on bannings is pointless. I do however like answering questions and helping people understand each other. If someone had instead asked "why do people even make the 'dies to removal' argument?" I would be in here explaining how they are taking it as common knowledge that what advances a card that produces undesirable play patterns but isn't oppressive by itself to the level of a banning is if it is difficult to interact with. And that while this is lazy argumentation, they aren't intending it as the red herring that it is.

July 31, 2021 7:57 p.m.

Gidgetimer thanks for the kind and informative answer, as always :)

July 31, 2021 8:07 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #33

Let's assess it another way:

  • Is it instant speed? No.
  • Is it unable to be countered? No.
  • Does it have Hexproof, Shroud or Ward? No.
  • Does it have Protection or Indestructible? No.
  • Does it have a means to play itself from the graveyard? No.
  • Can it be played from exile? No.
  • Is it a Legendary Creature (Commander replayability)? No.
  • Is it a creature with lots of evasion? No.
  • Is it a creature with a high toughness value? No.

Magistrate is basically a sitting duck. With a 1/3 body, it is almost one of the easiest things to remove in the entire game.

What all of this means is that it is so easy to find an answer for, especially with three players against it, that there is zero reason to ban it. Referring back to my original post, the table will self-correct. They will allow it to sit for some time as it accrues them value for a short period of time (explained below) and when it has served its purpose, they will kill it.

  • How can Magistrate "give value"?

Value. Not advantage. Two seperate things. Consider the following:

  • You have an opponent who plays graveyard tricks
  • You have an opponent who casts off the top of their library
  • You have an opponent who casts cards from other player's zones

Magistrate snuffs them all out. Meaning, you now have opponents who are playing sub-optimally. Thus, they are now in a much slower, far less effective position, meaning they are NOT in a winning position.

Having Magistrate out and letting it live can, in specific circumstances, be beneficial to you - even if you are an opponent it is affecting. For example, if an opponent is playing Muldrotha, the Gravetide , and a different opponent brings down Magistrate, even if you have a Path to Exile in hand, it is MORE BENEFICIAL to not remove Magistrate, as you slow down Muldrotha's player.

  • You may need to correct me, as Muldrotha says "play" and not "cast", but I believe the word "play" was used because you do not "cast" a land. As the nonland card you "play" still goes on the stack, I am willing to argue that it is still "cast" and therefore Magistrate prevents this. So in my personal opinion, Magistrate snuffs out Muldrotha, but I can see how it would be argued otherwise.
July 31, 2021 8:18 p.m.

Scytec says... #34

Muldrotha specifies cast. Lands arent spells and can be played from anywhere still, but you would not be able to take advantage of any of the non-land permanents in your graveyard. From my understanding anyway.

July 31, 2021 8:25 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #35

Scytec, ah I see. It's been a while. I thought she said "play".

July 31, 2021 8:28 p.m.

Scytec says... #36

No worries. I just clicked the card you tagged to check it because i couldn't remember either. :p I love this site. Haha.

July 31, 2021 8:31 p.m.

1empyrean says... #37

I feel like the people who think this card is ban worthy would have found commander unplayable when tucking commanders was a thing.

July 31, 2021 11:10 p.m.

DemonDragonJ says... #38

Wow, I did not imagine that what I imagined as a simple post would start such an intense discussion!

July 31, 2021 11:41 p.m.

I miss the days where cards like this started “Players can’t...” rather than “Your opponents can’t...” The world needs a little more Copper Tablet and Hurricane if you ask me. Sorts some of the badfeels out a little better.

August 1, 2021 11:18 a.m.

FounderX says... #40

I'd rather play against 10 types of Drannith Magistrate type cards, the one Avacyn, Angel of Hope . Drannith is dealt with easily.

August 1, 2021 11:39 a.m.

TheVectornaut says... #41

In a world where few people were sympathetic to mono-colored players when Iona, Shield of Emeria was preventing them from playing almost EVERY card in their deck, I find it hard to imagine they'd be sympathetic enough to players that rely entirely on their commanders when Drannith Magistrate stops them from playing only 1 (or 2) card(s). If the card is pushing people towards building decks that aren't insane combo machines that can't function without a commander, I'd call that a win. Of course, even that is an exaggeration I think. I've literally never seen Magistrate played outside of standard.

August 1, 2021 12:29 p.m.

jaymc1130 says... #42

I feel like Magistrate is a card that really only negatively impacts casual EDH play and could see the RC making a decision based on that if they feel the same way. For competitive play it’s an extremely important and valuable check on the power level of certain decks in the meta.

Narset, for example, is an archetype from a competitive standpoint that has become very well positioned due to Hullbreacher (rip) and OP agent existing. Can’t draw cards? Can’t tutor? Doesn’t matter, I just turn Narset sideways and take all the extra turns. This archetype has seen a massive boost in performance the last 6 months or so because of the impact Breacher and Agent had on the format. Having a card exist that can help put the breaks on such a strategy is very important for format health and this makes Magistrate’s existence critical for the competitive end of the format right now. Other options to fulfill the role do exist (Lavinia, Gaddock Teeg, etc) but having a mono color option available to any white deck has been important for the health of the meta during this time period.

Not a particularly fun card, I suppose, but I can’t see Pleasant Kenobi’s MtG card cameo being detrimental to the format as a whole.

August 1, 2021 2:56 p.m.

Last_Laugh says... #43

I play Drannith Magistrate but I tell people to act as if it says "from hand or command zone". It's a good hatebear that shuts down a lot of strategies but not being able to play your commander is bs and isn't my intent.

August 1, 2021 3:28 p.m.

Snap157 says... #44

Killing a 1/3 that doesn't have any protection shouldn't be too difficult.

August 1, 2021 7:53 p.m.

RambIe says... #45

Fun fact most people that aurgue something isn't overpowered becouse it's in bolt range, will also argue that Lightning Bolt has no place in a competitive edh deck.
I can understand your frustration and wanting a ban, there is no doubt this card is super annoying, and even if you do have removal it's a waist to blow it on drann when there is much bigger threats lurking around the corner
With all that said I could never support banning. It's just not that powerful. Even with a precon you could continue playing around it, and it definitely is not winning anyone any games

August 2, 2021 3:48 p.m.

Jamesgar says... #46

nothing should be banned it takes away from the flavor of the game. sucks if you lose against something but plan ahead and control the game

August 7, 2021 1:42 a.m.

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