Unbanning Biorhythm?

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on Sept. 16, 2021, 12:31 a.m. by brandonplaysmagic

With the recent banning of Golos, Tireless Pilgrim and unbanning of Worldfire, there seems to be a lot of talk amongst content creators regarding other banning decisions.

In this day in age in EDH, would unbanning Biorhythm be an unhealthy, healthy, or indifferent thing for the format?

Personally, I love the card and would love to see it unbanned, but that’s just me.

SynergyBuild says... #2

Indifferent. Tooth and Nail still seems scarier as it can be cast for cheaper (7) and win or nearly win, or one more mana and nearly always win.

September 16, 2021 12:34 a.m. Edited.

SynergyBuild I get that. I feel like the banning happened during a time when the format was less combo heavy, quick, and powerful. Personally, I would love to slate it in as an extra wincon or backup plan for my elfball deck, but I understand why people would be indifferent.

September 16, 2021 12:39 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #4

While I do not personally subscribe to this belief, it's possible that it won't be unbanned due to the unfair power imbalance it has toward control / stax players who often don't run as many creatures. It's a perfectly viable check against those types of decks, but it does unfairly discriminate against them as well.

When am entire deck archetype is undone with a single card, that's a problem.

September 16, 2021 12:47 a.m.

TypicalTimmy do you feel like there is enough protection against an 8 mana value sorcery in those types of decks though? I honestly hadn’t thought that way before and it’s incredibly valid. I’m just wondering if that format had evolved to a point where even stax could still stand up to that card at this point in time.

September 16, 2021 12:52 a.m.

Abaques says... #6

I think Biorhythm would lead to more negative play experiences then Worldfire. Simply put it's more work to make Worldfire work compared to Biorhythm. Resolving Worldfire without the ability to win very quickly just doesn't make much sense. With Biorhythm a lot of decks could feel safer just rolling the dice and as TypicalTimmy said, that could mean a lot of decks would just fold.

If it were unbanned I don't think it would actually see all that much play and I think I could live with it, but I think I'd be happier if they just let it stay banned.

September 16, 2021 12:57 a.m.

Abaques totally fair! Like most players, I get the idea of a card in my head and struggle to see outside of that. Thanks for sharing!

September 16, 2021 1:02 a.m.

SynergyBuild says... #8

Abaques All you need to win with worldfire is enough mana to cast a commander after casting it, a commander that is able to make bodies, have haste, get extra combat steps, or deal damage directly is preferred, and with Jeska, Thrice Reborn being a partner, popular, and an instant win with this after, I don't think worldfire needs really much of any build around.

In other formats you'd need Oblivion Ring, delayed triggers, suspend, or ways to break parity, but not in commander.

Needing to wipe opponents fields or hope they have no creatures seems more difficult then floating mana to me.

September 16, 2021 1:07 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #9

brandonplaysmagic, I mean counter spells? Also naturally increasing the spells value via stax effects.

The way I see it, a player dumping 8 mana into a spell to dramatically tip the scales in their favor is no different than a player slowly setting up combo or stax pieces over several turns. Both are investments, but the former is an investment in the immediate and the latter is an investment in the future.

Ask yourself this, is Biorhythm any worse off than an = Torment of Hailfire? Or a Wave of Vitriol?

What about Ugin, the Spirit Dragon when someone plays a ton of enchantments or creature lords?

Singular cards being checks against entire archetypes already exist and function just fine. That's why I said I am not personally subscribed to this reasoning for the ban.

However, I can see that this would be the reason to sustain it. But if that "is" the reason, then we must logically explore other and similar cards and critique their place within the game as well.

Honestly, I truly feel that the RC have lost their way and have become just a bunch of children who get salty over a card and ban it so they don't have to see it ever again. I'm currently in the boat that the RC should be disbanded and WOTC takes over.

That being said, consider the following:

  • A player who is mono-green and just wants to play dumb creatures is shut out of the game entirely due to an Iona, Shield of Emeria. This promotes negative player experience.

  • A stax player spends 7 or 8 turns building an impenetrable wall of locks only to lose to Biorhythm because they have but 2 creatures on field.

The difference is Iona doesn't allow the green player to play the game, at all. The latter allows the Stax player to do their thing, then fault them for being an - ironically - glass cannon.

Therefore, it isn't about whether or not the card shuts down an entire deck: It's whether or not the deck can be played. Iona shuts down the ability to play the game. Biorhythm does not.

September 16, 2021 1:08 a.m. Edited.

TypicalTimmy I totally get that and I agree that the RC is and has been making some really strange decisions. I just think Rule 0 should be the base of the format and as long as that communication is there, go for it.

September 16, 2021 1:17 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #11

In truth, I think there is a stronger argument to be had to ban Omniscience, because being able to cast every card you've got for free is pretty busted. People can hem and haw all they want about how you need to draw your library and get it into play and blah blah blah, but when those same people complain that a green card does something arguably just as powerful, if not more so, then it isn't so much about the cards as it is the player.

Spells are allowed to be powerful. At 8+ mana, they should be game-winning cards. But when players are fine with Omniscience and Worldfire and Torment of Hailfire but get their jimmies rustled over Biorhythm, then it's no longer about wincons, it's about believing some colors should be superior and others inferior. And that's a toxic mindset to have.

If the RC basically says one color can't have an awesome, epic, powerful wincon but the rest can, THAT is the real problem.

September 16, 2021 1:27 a.m.

Abaques says... #12

SynergyBuild Hey, I'm not saying Worldfire won't lead to some un-fun games. Just that I believe it's easier to just randomly cast Biorhythm than Worldfire.

The scenario that you outlined requires more then just the 9 mana for Worldfire. You'd need at minimum 12 for Jeska. It's another hoop to jump through. Yes there are cards like Mana Geyser that can get a deck there quickly... but it's still another hoop.

With Biorhythm you need 8 mana and a creature on board. It's just a lower bar for when you can pull the trigger. I think if both cards were unbanned, that Biorhythm would lead to more feel bads then Worldfire, that's all.

Honestly both could be unbanned and I don't think it would majorly kill the format. Iona wasn't banned for a long, long time and most people just didn't play her*. I think the same thing will happen with Worldfire and if it were unbanned, Biorhythm. That doesn't mean they are cards that make the game fun for everyone either. I'm honestly okay either way on if they are banned or not. I know I won't play them unless it's in some kind of gimmick deck.

*Just noting that I did see Iona in play once in a 5-player game. And she got cloned twice.... eventually we all agreed to call that game a draw.

September 16, 2021 1:30 a.m.

The thing with Biorhythm is that it will just end the game for a little less than 1 player a game on average, but for some players it'll just do little to nothing. Even when it does end the game, at least is ends it--what I fear with Worldfire is that people will play it without a suitable finisher and everyone will sit around hellbent for 10 minutes.

September 16, 2021 1:41 a.m.

Abaques says... #14

TypicalTimmy, I believe that there are degrees to game winning cards. I think the issue here is really the potential for out of nowhere wins where someone gets a bunch of mana and just wins by casting one card regardless of the rest of the boardstate.

I believe that both Worldfire, and to a slightly lighter degree, Biorhythm, can lead to those states. Worldfire doesn't really care about boardstate and Biorhythm is devastating to several deck archetypes.

You listed Omniscience as being more ban-worthy. I'd disagree in that Omniscience does require card draw to be effective. I have Omniscience in my Jodah deck and I've gotten it out on more then one occasion where it does very little because my hand is almost empty. It can also be interacted with on the field as opposed to requiring a counter-spell to stop.

Torment of Hailfire can certainly lead to some feel-bad losses, but I think its easier to end up in game states where Torment doesn't just end the game on the spot. Unlike Biorhythm it cares about all non-land permanents, making the number of decks that might have enough permanents to survive an X=8 scenario a lot higher. Lifegain decks might be able to just eat the loss. Again, there are just more states where an out of nowhere 10-mana Torment of Hailfire doesn't automatically win the game.

I do get what you're saying, I just think there are some shades of grey that do matter when people talk about some of these win conditions. As I've said before I could take or leave unbanning Worldfire or Biorhythm, but I do believe they are cards that are more likely to lead to un-fun games then most of the other 9-10 mana spells out there.

September 16, 2021 1:49 a.m.

Yisan says... #15

Personally, id rather someone cast biorythm and win then cast worldfire, exile everything but my library and take me to 1 life and then pass. I'm not sure why that's "the type of play we seek to foster" in casual commander.

September 16, 2021 3:04 a.m.

TaQerMTG says... #16

i lost an unbelievable amount of brain cells reading these comments

September 16, 2021 7:20 a.m.

legendofa says... #17

As I remember, a large part of Worldfire's ban was that it was too easy to suspend with Jhoira of the Ghitu alongside another card for that final point of damage, leading to short, non-interactive matches. A large part of Biorhythm's ban was that it provided a reliable way to force a draw or zero-effort win. So Worldfire was a combo card for a specific commander, and Biorhythm was an out-of-nowhere win condition for any green deck.

September 16, 2021 10:46 a.m.

TriusMalarky says... #18

I feel that anything that costs 7+ should be able to just win the game on the spot, given that it can be interacted with in some way.

September 16, 2021 1:03 p.m.

DrukenReaps says... #19

I would rather enjoy seeing it come off the ban list. As far as its impact on the format I feel like there are generally easy to pull off combos. Biorhythm, much like Worldfire, can easily backfire on the caster. If you aren't expecting it that's one thing but if you are expecting it... Rather easy to set up a response imo.

September 16, 2021 3:09 p.m.

Abaques says... #20

TriusMalarky I'm going to strongly disagree with you on that. What you're implying would turn Commander into a ramp race. Every card that can win the game should require some type of positive or negative relationship with other cards in order to bring about that win. Otherwise why do we play the game?

September 16, 2021 3:11 p.m.

shadow63 says... #21

I'm indifferent to them unbanning biorythm. I can see how people would use it to just to be griefers and cause draws after board sweepers or cause a player to lose simply because they have no creatures on board at the time.

But if world fire is ok can we get Sway of the Stars back in the format? WF just seems like a boring card. I've played against it and I've never been excited or impressed by it. It comes down to who can draw a lands and a creature first. Sway already has counterparts in the format

September 16, 2021 4:40 p.m.

TriusMalarky says... #22

Abaques commander isn't already a ramp race? In my experience, the player with the most mana available is the one who is winning. And why is Biorythm different than Craterhoof, Avenger of Zendikar, a big Gary, Bolas's Citadel, Niv-Mizzet Parun . . . Half of commander is big cards that read "answer me or lose".

September 16, 2021 4:41 p.m.

Biorhythm would be fine in commander as many have mentioned it cost 8 mana which is a huge investment. While I think Worldfire will be fine in the format after the initial hype dies down I do feel like it would lead to more feel bads in play.

I imagine worst case scenario with WF is that someone is in a losing position and casts WF hoping to out luck their opponents potentially stalling the game for several minutes without any real progress. Best case after WF is cast they get the quick win that turn. Worst case for biorhythm is that they cause the game to draw after a boardwipe. Best case scenario it wins the game after played. Honestly, with the ideal scenarios for both being equal it comes down to how you would rather a game end in worse case scenarios. Personally, I’d rather have a draw so I can shuffle up for a new game rather than run the gambit of whose top deck is best.

The only major argument I can see against biorhythm is that it basically becomes an auto include in a ton of creature decks whilst WF will likely only see play in certain combo decks or trolly chaos decke

September 16, 2021 5:27 p.m.

Abaques says... #24

TriusMalarky each card you listed requires a more from the board or your hand compared to Biorhythm. Yes they are all potential game winners but they all require you to do more or have already done more then Biorhythm to execute that win. There are degrees of difficulty and I think Biorhythm would be more of an easy-button compared to what you listed.

As for Commander being a ramp race, that's only part of the story. Card draw, synergy, politics, interactivity, flexibility and raw card power all play into winning a game of commander.

September 16, 2021 7:38 p.m.

Gleeock says... #25

Healthy. Unbanning in general is healthy. Let playgroups exhibit self-control.

September 16, 2021 10:32 p.m.

davidsays1 says... #26

I have lost to Omniscience, and i have lost to Biorhythm, but i don't think the unbanning of Worldfire is a huge deal. I think it will 100% lead to a bigger increase of people using Teferi Protection or more tutors to find Teferi Protection which means white will see more play.

September 17, 2021 6:53 a.m.

plakjekaas says... #27

Ban Cyclonic Rift when you unban Biorhythm, just like Golos, Tireless Pilgrim was banned along with unbanning Worldfire. So the ubiquitous asymmetrical boardwipe at instant speed doesn't curve right into the win

September 17, 2021 10:59 a.m.

jaymc1130 says... #28

wait a minute...

Golos got banned? A 5 mana artifact creature plus a land tutor that isn't even the highest win rate 5 color commander?

What. The. Actual. Fuck.

Worldfire and Biorhythm seem like extremely odd things to unban as they are exclusively casual cards that are not playable competitively and do things all casual players dislike and that's usual the criteria to ban things in EDH rather than unban them. Biorhythm being the more surprising of the two if allowed in my opinion. It's very easy for mono green to come up with that much mana on turn 3 in even casual deck lists.

Golos getting the hammer before any of 1000 other cards is crazy though. That makes zero sense.

September 17, 2021 1:51 p.m.

jaymc1130 it's not all about competetiveness--Golos was fucking with lower-powered creativity, and that's what made him catch the proverbial hammer.

September 17, 2021 2:35 p.m.

Abaques says... #30

jaymc1130 The conversation about Biorhythm being unbanned is entirely hypothetical. Only Worldfire was unbanned.

September 17, 2021 3:19 p.m.

jaymc1130 says... #31

I get that, hence the “if allowed”.

September 17, 2021 3:21 p.m.

jaymc1130 says... #32

Also, @ Abaques

“ What you're implying would turn Commander into a ramp race.”

That’s exactly what EDH is from a fundamental standpoint.

September 17, 2021 3:28 p.m.

jaymc1130 says... #33

@ SynergyBuild

Worldfire with Jeska+Rog pairing in Birgi mono red storm shell? Yay, nay? Guess on more or less effective than standard mono red Birgi? Feels sideways move-ish to me.

September 17, 2021 3:33 p.m.

plakjekaas says... #34

Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger from your command zone is the best followup after a Worldfire. If you're going any kind of competitive with it, that's probably the way, using some Mizzix's Mastery +Entomb combination. I'm not sure it's worth the Ad Nauseamrisks, but I have friends who really want to try and make it work.

September 17, 2021 4:47 p.m.

SynergyBuild says... #35

jaymc1130 I'd love to test that or thrasios/jeska out. Maybe Alena for monored

September 17, 2021 8:52 p.m.

Please login to comment