B&R February 15 2021
Posted on Feb. 15, 2021, 1:48 p.m. by gatotempo
Just wanted to post this to see if anyone had any thoughts. I like banning sanctuary, but I think simian is a bit aggressive and could be more damaging than good. I think blitz is the best deck now, so Leyline of Sanctity gets better.
Welp, bye Neoform Combo, it was fun while it lasted.
... Yhea, I'm switching TCGs.
February 15, 2021 3:34 p.m.
You will be missed
Also--RIP Neoform Combo
You will be missed
February 15, 2021 3:56 p.m.
Yeah... I'm probably going to stick to legacy now if I stay around at all. Unfortunately, my deck gets killed (likely) by the fallout from the SSG ban. On that ban, SSG being hit feels a bit like an over-correction from my perspective, but c'est la vie.
Goodbye to all, hopefully I find something new in the format.
February 15, 2021 4:17 p.m.
I was a little bummed at the DHA ban in legacy, then I remembered one of my favorite modern decks that ran it, UR rhinos! Then someone pointed out to me that the Rhino deck ran SSG. So many decks got hit with the SSG ban: Ad Naus, Rhinos, Oops, Belcher, Neoform, not to mention the random jank combo brews. It feels like that their reasoning was "we hate combo decks and don't want to force everyone in modern to play Force of Negation so SSG is banned."
February 15, 2021 4:39 p.m.
I am glad at the Omanth and Uro bannings but non-aggro decks took a beating in Pioneer if you add that to the Oops All Land! bannings.
Recently, I have steered clear of Pioneer because of the aggro-dominance ( I like combo, control).
February 15, 2021 5:42 p.m.
Link to the announcement here:
February 15, 2021 5:50 p.m.
Meh, I only check these just in hope to see Faithless Looting unbanned.
February 16, 2021 1:32 p.m.
StopShot same, but with opal, twin, and bridge from below as well.
February 16, 2021 4:09 p.m.
Eh, while I'm kinda sad to see Simian Spirit Guide leave the format, I'm not surprised by the decision. While it did help speed up some decks so they could race Burn, Infect, etc. it also allowed for too many decks to break the turn 4 rule of the format. Griselshoal is super janky, but it also dumps out turn 2 wins with the monkey.
Really wish we could get some unbans, though. With no Mox Opal in the format, are artifact lands even that good? Affinity is dead now after being one of the format's oldest archetypes. Are Birthing Pod , Golgari Grave-Troll , and Splinter Twin even competitive in today's environment? Is Punishing Fire even playable? How does Chrome Mox fit into the format since it requires you to pitch a card? It's not like you can jam it into a cascade deck or a deck that can't afford card disadvantage.
Maybe no banlist Modern is the way to go lol
February 16, 2021 4:29 p.m.
I feel like, for all of you complaining, I should point out that Wizards is banning many of these cards because they want to continue printing powerful cards that will probably break these very fun cards.
Yeah, they're dead, but at least we won't have Hogaak again. Probably. If we're lucky.
February 16, 2021 4:37 p.m.
Frankly, I don't want them to keep printing powerful cards like this. I think if you're forced to ban a bunch of stuff every year because you want to "continue printing powerful cards" then you're causing more harm than good. Frankly, every ban in this format equates to money I've essentially just thrown in the garbage. My faith in WotC is at an all time low and frankly I'm at the point where I'm done putting any money into it.
February 16, 2021 10:52 p.m.
@Nemesis I too am almost dreading what series of bans are going to come out following Modern Horizons 2. I’m almost wondering if power creep will ever reach a point where the “broken” cards of today become weak enough to be unbanned like Jace, the Mind Sculptor , Bloodbraid Elf and Stoneforge Mystic .
February 17, 2021 1:04 p.m.
I know some of you in this comment section have played modern at least as long as I have.
WotC has always been strict in enforcing the idea that modern is a “turn 4” format. Winning consistently before then might be competitive, but you should NEVER be investing in fast combo decks if you’re trying to treat your card stock like publicly traded stock.
Regarding other cards like Splinter Twin whose power level people keep questioning, no twin isn’t strong enough to make a dent in modern as far as oppressive decks are concerned. But it is powerful enough that anything in U/R/x is still made strictly better by running the combo. Twin was banned and is still banned because it stifles diversity, not because its “just too good for modern”. Faithless Looting and Golgari Grave-Troll fall in the same bucket as twin here, because they are auto includes for any strategy that even loosely uses the yard (combo, aggro, or control).
As far as magic as a game goes, you have to remember something: WotC isn’t an “experience” machine. They’re not a fun factory. They’re a business. They need to make money. This means that some level of power creep is absolutely necessary to incentivize players to spend money continuously on the game. Failing to do so means you’ll end up like Monster Train and Slay The Spire (good games, but their release cycles are so slow due to balancing that they kind of just fall out of public interest). Despite the power creep, the game must stay balanced and fun to keep players interested, thus the need for occasional bans. And boom, here we are in modern, playing a game where there’s a balance of spending money (but not too much) to keep up, and having fun with the experience.
Summatively: of course they banned some stuff. They’re not perfect. But you shouldn’t be looking at MTG cards as long term investments. Buy bonds for that. Look at them as an expense to have a ton of fun, with the potential for short term capital gain.
February 17, 2021 5:18 p.m. Edited.
My paper decks are Infect, Mono-Black Control, and UW control, so I am fairly happy that I don't have to feel bad about only having 1 paper copy of uro and not playing bant. Otherwise, I think simian and trickery end up hurting more than helping. Trickery was no good, yet a lot of people invested in it. With the new ban system, it's better to just leave cards alone and if they are broken, ban them later than to ban a card that has been released for 14 days and could make a new way to buy into modern on a budget.
February 17, 2021 7:10 p.m.
@DuTogira: You're not really thinking about where Chrome Mox fits into the format vs. Simian Spirit Guide . Simian Spirit Guide is like an uncounterable Lotus Petal that isn't shut off by Stony Silence with the only downside being you can't recur it. Chrome Mox requires you to pitch a card and it's an artifact that has to be activated.
Where does that even fit in Modern? Cascade decks don't play it because Violent Outburst into Chrome Mox is all kinds of feel bad. Storm doesn't really want it because of the card disadvantage. You could do something stupid like Island -> Chrome Mox -> Exile red card -> Goblin Electromancer , but that leaves you with only 3 cards to try and win with (4 on your draw step). They basically have to be Gifts Ungiven , ritual, ritual, Manamorphose . If your opponent Lightning Bolt s the 2/2 or blows up the Chrome Mox , you won't be able to do anything other than cast Gifts Ungiven and pass. Griselshoal is in a similar spot, where it's already struggling to get the combo running. And Urza decks aren't even playing a full set of Mox Amber , so it's not like another mox that struggles to work because 70% of the deck is colorless is adding anything.
So where does that leave Chrome Mox ? Probably in a similar position from when it was in Extended. It gets used like another copy of Aether Vial for aggro decks or another mana rock for midrange. The most likely places you'd see Chrome Mox are in decks like D&T, Infect, Fish, Ponza, and the odd combo deck like Oops! All Spells or Griselshoal.
I'm just speculating and obviously I can be wrong. I think, though, that a more serious question needs to be had regarding Modern's banlist. If we can unban Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Bitterblossom , maybe we need to reevaluate what cards are problematic and what cards are on there because they were too good in Standard, Extended, or previous versions of Modern. We also need to consider which cards are causing other cards to get banned, Urza, Lord High Artificer or Ancient Stirrings being good examples.
February 21, 2021 5:14 p.m.
is different from
Simian Spirit Guide
yes, and frequently worse for an explosive OTK. However, it sticks around to be used again next turn. It’s literally a rock.
I agree that a retrospective on what else might be ok to unban is worthwhile, but the fact that you could list such a significant number of modern decks that might benefit from Chrome Mox (all of which being very fast lockdown/combo/aggro decks) is precisely why the card got the axe. It elevated a lot of strategies from “good” to “busted” because it was the only “free” rock in modern.
February 22, 2021 4 p.m.
Chrome Mox is weird. Will it do nothing or will it break the format? We don't know! And personally, it's a chance we shouldn't take.
There are a lot of cards that are either unplayable or broken. Those are the ones that get banned a lot. Looking at the Modern banlist, literally every card either is just so generically valuable that you run it if you're in the color(s), or they are unplayable without a couple very specific cards. Hogaak? Alter. Punishing Fire? Grove of the Burnwillows. Artifact lands? Mox Opal . . . oh wait that's banned too.
February 22, 2021 4:23 p.m.
@DuTogira Personally, I disagree about Splinter Twin stifling diversity in the Modern meta. Before its ban I was running a homebrew Mardu deck that had an incredibly favorable win-rate against Twin. The deck's win-rates also varied amongst the other decks in the format with its worst matchup being burn. Ever since Twin's ban aggro has swarmed the format outpacing my deck harder than before.
My homebrew deck's most defining piece was utilizing an Evershrike in the graveyard and using a Spirit Loop or Rancor to make it a constant presence in the late game. Graveyard strategies weren't as common back then either as I believe Living Death was the only significant graveyard strat at the time, so most decks wouldn't dedicate too much room to graveyard hate. With Twin gone other faster and more efficient graveyard strategies arose and graveyard hate out of sideboard became all the more frequent which made winning games 2 and 3 much more difficult for my deck. Not only that but those graveyard strategies that couldn't exist with Splinter Twin around ended up getting Faithless Looting banned. As a non-blue deck Faithless Looting was the glue that kept my deck together as getting a certain 5-CMC creature in the grave and an aura in hand is difficult and slow enough as it is. My deck could handle Jund/Abzan's hand disruption and their Scavenging Ooze 's, but with much more graveyard hate, more aggressive aggro decks and no Faithless Looting I would argue banning Splinter Twin killed my deck even though I never used that card in the first place.
I feel the banning has only diversified aggro and phased out slower decks like mine that had better win rates against Twin and BGx. I also think it's a false positive as there have been a huge slew of new modern-viable cards that have been printed since Twin's banning. The format was going to grow regardless of if Twin were to be banned or not, the real question was by how much? I also feel like there have been many more cards printed during this time that could be made excellent sideboard cards against Twin than there have been new cards printed to help with Twin's strategies. I remember the times when Combust was one of the answers used at stopping Splinter Twin and then they printed Rending Volley which took countering the strategy even further. Since then I've seen more and more cards printed in Standard that I feel could further help in keeping Twin in check today more than it ever was before. These are cards printed after it's banning that could be used against it now if it were ever unbanned: Sinister Concoction , Thalia, Heretic Cathar , Unsubstantiate , Spell Queller , Authority of the Consuls , Lost Legacy , Fatal Push , Harsh Mentor , Trespasser's Curse , Tocatli Honor Guard , Rampaging Ferocidon , Kinjalli's Sunwing , Kitesail Freebooter , Cast Down , Assassin's Trophy , Unmoored Ego , Dovin's Veto , Force of Negation , Force of Vigor , Veil of Summer , Fry , Aether Gust , Brazen Borrower , Hushbringer , Deafening Silence , Mystical Dispute , Drown in the Loch , Wilt and Necromentia . I've likely missed a couple more due to how many sets have been released since and there will always be more cards that will be printed in future that can disrupt the strategy too. Since there have been many new deck archetypes that have emerged and been developed and improved upon over the many years in a non-Twin environment I'd like to see how they'd stack against Twin now just to see if it really is still an obstacle.
February 22, 2021 5:23 p.m.
StopShot technically most of those are functional reprints or better reprints of older cards that already existed. Or there are better versions.
But there are three of those that would really be good -- the two forces, and also the black force, and Authority of the Consuls .
The main reason most of those are bad is that Twin will flash in Exarch and tap a land on your end step. This means you basically don't get your third turn if you want to beat Twin.
But the forces mean it doesn't matter -- they literally do not need mana. You just poof their win condition, game over.
Authority comes down turn one and forces Twin to run white or green for enchantment hate.
I do believe Twin would be significantly hurt by these cards, especially because they cannot run FoNe to protect their combo from FoNe. It would also be interesting bc Jeskai Twin would have some more control elements with T3f(which is a buff for twin and also a tool against twin), Path, and Danny Devito( Dovin's Veto ), and they'd also have their own Authority for the mirror.
Overall, I predict Twin coming back would create a Jeskai Twin control deck. Will it immediately rise to the top of the format? Probably. Will it warp the format around itself? Probably. Will it be difficult to beat? I don't know.
February 23, 2021 4:18 p.m.
@TriusMalarky While Twin can force a land to get tapped on turn 3 to prevent 3 mana spells from getting cast you do need to remember doing so leaves the combo piece open to sorcery speed removal such as a Dreadbore , Flame Slash or Declaration in Stone in the first game and in the second and third game it allows cards like Torpor Orb or Blind Obedience to be played - tapping all out to put the combo piece down means you won't have counter-mana up to stop these effects from hitting the board and often the Twin player will instead choose to cast the combo piece on the endstep of their opponent's turn incase if there is a sorcery-speed threat such as T-orb that needs to be countered on their opponent's turn instead. The Twin player will (in most cases) only choose to preemptively tap down the land if they know their opponent is mana-screwed, if they don't have a counterspell in hand or if they know their opponent is running Twin to further stall the opponent's combo. With that said I wouldn't entirely discount 3 mana answers that can be made uncounterable by Cavern of Souls or Aether Vial or 3 mana spells that completely disable the deck beyond repair such as Unmoored Ego if they resolve.
I also think it would be more problematic for Twin decks to also splash in a third color for enchantment removal. One aspect that made Twin decks so oppressive was a solid portion of them would include copies of Blood Moon in the mainboard in order for it to be more difficult for their opponents to interact with their combo. Dedicating to a third color to run Dovin's Veto is going to come with not being able to run Blood Moon while being easier for the Twin deck to also get disrupted by an opponent's potential Blood Moon as well. On the other hand, Blood Moon has also been made weaker in the meta as Cleansing Wildfire and Force of Vigor make effective get out of jail free cards from sideboard.
Plus, I think you're undervaluing some cards in your assessment. Back when Twin was around the only one-mana spells that could remove an endstep flashed-in Deceiver Exarch was Path to Exile , Rending Volley , Vendetta and the ever so infrequent Skred and Lightning Axe and out of those, the only cards that were mainboard worthy was Path to Exile and Skred (which only worked if you were running a niche deck and you were going first with extra technicalities). Fatal Push has had a huge impact on the format being loads better than Vendetta which gives many more decks greater flexibility when holding removal mana up especially in game 1 given how playable it is in the mainboard. There's also Veil of Summer which also deserves mention and while you may see it as a simple upgrade to Autumn's Veil , fundamentally it's not. In the event I toss a Path to Exile or Fatal Push at a Pestermite and the Twin player responds with a Dispel , or as you suggested a Dovin's Veto , if I play an Autumn's Veil (which would effectively counter either counterspell), it would be a 2-for-2 trade. I lose the kill spell and veil to remove the Twin player's combo piece and counterspell. This lukewarm outcome is the reason why Autumn's Veil saw none if any modern play as Silence typically did its job better enough to warrant a splash in white over it in most cases if such an effect was absolutely needed in sideboard. Veil of Summer surpasses both because it has a built in cantrip that turns the interaction into a 1-for-2 trade in your favor and if the interaction happens while your opponent is trying to put a Splinter Twin on the combo piece it becomes a 1-for-3 trade in your favor. Veil of Summer 's value is by no means merely replacing Autumn's Veil or Silence 's role in the format, but more accurately it's replacing the clunkier Krosan Grip and Sudden Death that were typically used against the Twin-combo instead which makes it its own unique answer against the combo in my opinion.
Two more cards that I think also deserve further assessment is Sinister Concoction and Dovin's Veto . To say Dovin's Veto is just an upgrade to Negate I think is an understatement. "This spell can't be countered" is the reason Abrupt Decay was a banger of a card at thwarting Twin's machinations and I think the fact a Dovin's Veto can stop a Splinter Twin on cast makes it good enough to be a Twin-killer too. You suggested Twin might have to go into white to run its own Dovin's Veto es and Path to Exile s but I think the fact this card can also be used against Twin may be a more compelling reason for Twin to splash green over white just to have Veil of Summer as a necessary means to put up with the combined pressure Abrupt Decay and Dovin's Veto would have in keeping Twin in check as the Veil is the only card that can universally counteract both spells. (And even so Veil of Summer isn't a 100% failsafe as it has nothing against Rending Volley .) As for Sinister Concoction , I'm not going to pretend this card sees much Modern play, but this thing is a serious contender at throwing a wrench in Twin's plans and outside of Twin it's not an unplayable removal spell either. The reason why is it works much like your explanation for why Authority of the Consuls works - you can play it turn one and your opponent has no means to remove it without splashing a third color. Now Authority of the Consuls may be the more ideal card to use over it, but if your multicolor black deck can't splash white this is your next best thing and it even has some upsides over Authority of the Consuls . Sinister Concoction may be more fragile to effects like Stifle and Tale's End or effects like Spellskite and Apostle's Blessing , but it makes up for it when enchantment removal is thrown at it, as you can crack it in response to dumpster one of your opponent's creatures, in this case most likely a combo piece, while also rendering the enchantment removal as a waste in the process. This in turn is going to make the Twin player more cautious about playing their combo pieces before drawing into enchantment removal which can potentially delay the Twin player's progress harder than an Authority of the Consuls otherwise would. And if the Twin player doesn't have an answer, you'll always crack the Sinister Concoction in response to whatever creature they'll try to enchant with Splinter Twin to inflict the most damage. Even if you're playing on the draw or you draw into the card later, much like Authority of the Consuls , Sinister Concoction also bypasses quite a couple of Twin's favorite counterspells too such as Dispel , Spell Snare and Remand which is why I think the spell has much merit as yet another Twin-hate specific sideboard card that just wasn’t available to be utilized before in the past.
Lastly, the list I put up above was something I compiled over a quick gatherer search. I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed a few cards that may be just as worthy of discussion on countering Twin as well.
February 24, 2021 2:34 p.m.
StopShot you’re missing the point with the
ban. I 100% agree that we’ve hit the necessary critical mass of “answers” for twin/exarch, such that the deck isn’t ever going to oppress modern again. It’s not THAT good. I don’t think it was EVER that good, frankly, to be considered “oppressive”.
Twin’s problem is that, for the low low cost of 8 deck slots, you get an “I win” button that deploys 1/2 of the combo on an opponent’s end step. What this translates to is “a better wincon for any control deck playing U/R”. The competitors for that wincon are T3feri, Tef5ri, JtMS, Colonade, and just grinding your opponent out with Snapcaster Mage chip damage.
T3feri + Tef5ri are a decent set, maybe good enough to contend with Twin as a wincon these days. If we unban twin... maybe that’s enough to provide U with some wincon diversity. However, when twin was banned, your only “wincon” competition in U/x (literally blue + anything) was just colonade, snappy, and at the time we were desperate enough that Vendilion Clique was a 4-of option. Basically, your control deck was just better if it ran twin, even if the increase in win rate was marginal (<5%). Ergo: twin stifled U/x control deck diversity, because even if you wanted to be in U/W or U/B, the “best” thing to do to make your deck competitive was to just go U/R and play twin. Even U/G didn’t exist, unless you were Tom Ross playing infect.
A retrospective on twin may be ok now, what with all the new walkers, but honestly I don’t think WotC is gonna jump at unbanning it. Now that it’s banned, I’m sure “twin stifles our ability to print new broken cards” is a sufficient token argument to keep it out forever.
March 2, 2021 7:35 p.m. Edited.
I'm not even sure twin falls under the "restricts design space" argument. It's got, what, maybe a couple more cards since it was banned, the absolute biggest being FoNe. Off the top of my head, I can only think of that, Opt, and maybe some random blue or red interaction spell that slipped my mind.
Twin isn't a deck that's gotten anything to push it or make it any better, as the one real buff is also the biggest thing keeping Twin out -- Force of Negation.
And I don't want a Twin versus FoNe meta. That doesn't sound fun.
March 3, 2021 10:53 a.m.
I agree that twin doesn’t seem to be restricting design space. But when it comes to unbannings, JtMS got unbanned to replace twin as a U/x control wincon (because U control sans twin was Tier 3 at best), and stone forge only got unbanned because white was the worst color in modern to run as a main color.
Basically, cards tend to get unbanned when there’s a need for them to support archetypes that struggle without them, and when they’re on a low enough power level that they won’t break modern.
Twin won’t break modern, but the modern meta doesn’t need twin to give U/R a boost either. Those decks are ok without it. So the only thing that unbanning twin really does is make a few players happy, and then impose a design space restriction (however small) on WotC so that twin doesn’t accidentally break anything.
I don’t think WotC will make that trade off, which is why I think the “design space” argument will hold, despite there being little evidence that twin was actually restricting anything.
March 3, 2021 12:51 p.m. Edited.
I think the real argument is that unbanning Twin will add another deck that loses really bad to Force of Negation . . . and Thoughtseize. Instead of helping the format, it'll force competitive decks to maindeck more of the already really good cards.
Where you can still win with pseudorogue brews, you might not be able to if Twin is unbanned.
Just my take, though.