The Exiled of Modern by Alaric Stein
We all got hit by the bombshell of a banned list for Modern last week. Was Wizards of the Coast overzealous with this list? Maybe. Did they want a very different format? Yes. It’s possible that WOTC will change the banned list after PT Philadelphia if they want to use it as one of the formats at Worlds.
[Editor’s note: This article got delayed in the cue. It was supposed to go up shortly after the banning. My apologies]
So, let’s take a look at the banned list and see what is inherently oppressive, what could be unbanned and what cards should be banned in the future.
I personally think this was overzealous, with Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Mental Misstep banned it wasn’t necessary to go this far in attacking Control. I’m pretty sure (and the results from Philly will show if I’m right or not) that the format would be fine with Visions being legal.
WOTC didn’t want a format of Jund and Faeries so while this is going a bit far, I can definitely understand why it was done.
Super aggressive starts with this card can brutal and just end the game if unanswered in the right deck. This might be over the line but I personally think this is fine. Slowing down the format was the goal of the bannings so I can understand the logic on this.
Turn 3 kills after a discard spell? Yeah, I can understand this.
Taking Dredge down a notch (or stopping it from being a deck) is probably a good idea given how powerful and fast it can be. Though you will notice that all the Graveyard hate that exists in Legacy exists in Modern right now so maybe people can just play Crypt, Relic, Trap and others.
Elves had to go. No doubts. I was watching an Over-Extended tournament the other week and Elves seemed like it had access to way too many cards that hindered the opponent while still letting Elves combo out. I mean with Glimpse the deck can win on turn 2. Beatdown Elves is still very viable and could be one of the best decks so it still exists just in a different form.
I personally don’t think this needed to be banned if they were already banning Dread Return. I could understand having this banned with Dread Return being legal but I don’t understand why this should be banned along with Dread Return.
While there were some interesting outs to a resolved Hypergenesis (as @ahalavais suggested on Twitter, Kederekt Leviathan is funny), Hypergenesis is exceptionally powerful and doesn’t create a good atmosphere for Modern.
WOTC wanted a completely different format than before (Otherwise, what would make this better or different from Extended, other than more cards?). Not having Jace opens the doors to a lot of cards.
WOTC wanted a format with many archetypes and Mental Misstep leans on Zoo very hard in the Control matchups. Control already has Engineered Explosives, Academy Ruins and Vedalken Shackles to help deal with Aggro so I can understand banning this.
The card is time consuming (for people who aren’t LSV) and makes CounterTop an archetype which is very oppressive if WOTC doesn’t want fast combos in the format. Also, because they banned Misstep, they removed a strong answer to Top which would make it even more oppressive.
Do I need to say anything? This card is banned in Legacy because it’s too good.
WOTC wanted this format not to be defined by Stoneforge into something awesome. This card is played as a 4-of in Legacy decks and the decks are good so it definitely doesn’t work with the WOTC’s idea of what Modern is.
When Thopter Foundry combo was in the “old” Extended, people had to build their decks to beat it. WOTC wants a broad range of decks to be viable where one or two decks define what has to be beaten. The long game that Thopter Foundry has is far too good for this format as was showed in
This card beats creature based decks and if everyone remembers was played as an automatic 4-of in decks during Kamigawa block. Jitte quickly makes games unwinnable in creature matchups and
Again, Valakut, Scapeshift and Primeval Titan would define the format. In order to attract more people, more decks must be viable. Also, with Shocklands, this deck becomes a menace because of the ease of playing a 3rd color at no loss to the deck and getting access to the cards in that color. I’m sure that there is a Gifts Ungiven package that gives the deck what it needs to win.
The last time I played in a format where someone played Affinity Disciple of the Vault was banned. The deck was ok, but was slower than Boros, its creatures were worse than Zoo’s, and it had a worse long game than Thopter Foundry. I personally think that Disciple of the Vault should be banned and the artifact lands should be unbanned. Cards like Kataki, War’s Wage; Hurkyl’s Recall; Creeping Corrosion; and Shatter Storm which wreck it. And this isn’t even counting other cards like Ancient Grudge. Also, the artifact lands are used in other deck such as Tezzeret Control as targets for Tezzeret and Trinket Mage so other decks would benefit from this change in the banned list (no other deck plays Disciple so it wouldn’t affect anything other than Affinity).
Should other things have been banned? I mentioned banning Disciple of the Vault instead of the artifact lands but other than that, I think we have an entirely new format that needs some testing before the ban-hammer knocks anything else into the void.
Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think about all of this and if you have thoughts on what should be banned or unbanned.
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I think they did a pretty solid job with this initial ban list. I would think that it is certainly better to start with more cards and slowly take them off than for them to start light and get burned by brokenness. While that might still happen by something they missed (12 post maybe? who knows) the taking out of the known variables is a much safer long term plan. I agree with most of your comments, although I agree with Golgari Grave Troll getting the ban hammer initially. Ive played dredge from the moment I first saw friggorid, and I know from past experience that you can beat a TON of decks without trying with out dread return. Heck in legacy now you often dont need a dread return to win games same goes for the Vintage versions. Personaly because I am a fan of the archytype I dont want to see it unplayable, but I also fully understand why Wizards would want to keep such a deck out of the main picture. The only other card I am not 100% convinced of banning is Mental Misstep. I understand that it is a sorta warping card and all, and I understand that it kinda hosed Legacy to a certain extent (popularity and card prices started to fall almost immediatly after misstep started being played…true story) However I really think the card is well designed and should force players to build accordingly. Time will tell of course.