On February 15th, Wizards of the Coast released an updated banned and restricted list for Magic. In case you missed it, or are unsure about anything on the list, I am here to give a quick summary of what all this means for the game and the meta.
It is worth noting that there are no changes to the Standard format. The only changes to the game have been to the Historic, Legacy, Modern, Pioneer, and Vintage formats. While all these cards are banned now, don’t toss them out the window just yet. They could always come back in the future once the meta is better suited for them.
In Modern, five cards took the hit: Field of the Dead, Mystic Sanctuary, Simian Spirit Guide, Tibalt’s Trickery, and Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath. The major reason for these bans is to create a more balanced meta, since Uro has been dominating the scene for so long. Field of the Dead and Mystic Sanctuary were often bogging down game times in the middle for control decks, and Tibalt was making Oops! All Spell decks way too powerful.
In Legacy, we only have three cards banned: Arcum’s Astrolabe, Dreadhorde Arcanist, and the infamous Okos, Thief of Crowns. Okos and Dreadhorde Arcanist were limiting the meta with their power level, so they have taken the boot. Arcum’s Astrolabe was also breaking the meta by allowing too much access to colour variation, as well as card draw.
In Historic, only two made the ban list: Omnath, Locus of Creation, and Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath. Both of these cards have seen a lot of presence in the meta, and have become very overplayed, and overpowered.
In Pioneer, five cards were banned: Balustrade Spy, Teferi, Time Raveler, Undercity Informer, Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, and Wilderness Reclamation. Uro has proven to be too powerful for the format (as with everywhere else). Teferi and Wilderness Reclamation have proven to be two equally powerful deck builds, but over stayed in the format. Balustrade Spy and Undercity Informer have been big contenders in the Oops! All Spells decks, making it easy to mill an entire library.
However, there is one silver lining in all these bans. In Vintage, there was one card unbanned: Lurrus of the Dream Den. This card will offer lots of opportunities to new decks (especially our Dimir Rogues friends).
The biggest rule change is the restriction of the Cascade rule. The Cascade rule is as follows:
“When you cast this spell, exile cards from the top of your library until you exile a nonland card whose converted mana cost is less than this spell’s converted mana cost. You may cast that spell without paying its mana cost if its converted mana cost is less than this spell’s converted mana cost. Then put all cards exiled this way that weren’t cast on the bottom of your library in a random order.”
The newest restriction on this rule is in response to the use of double-sided cards. When you activate the Cascade ability and you exile into a double-sided card, you are not able to cast the back side of the card onto the field. Only the front facing card can be cast.
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What kind of cards should you be holding onto to make up your next favourite Magic deck? What decks have been dominating Magic tournaments? Well, Meta-Man has arrived with all you need to know about the Magic meta in January! Let’s dive right into with –
If you want to piss off every Magic player in the world, then this is the route to go. Rogue archetypes in any TCG are a great way to out perform your opponent in unexpected ways. In the case of Magic, control your opponents ability to play creature and non-creature cards while also milling them out of their deck.
The key creatures of this deck are Ruin Crab, Merfolk Wind Robber, Thieves Guild Enforcer, and Soaring Thought Thief. Each one of these you want to max out, allowing you to mill through your opponent’s deck very quickly. Boost Ruin Crab’s Landfall ability by maxing out Fabled Passage to double the mill capability. Add Lurrus of the Dream-Den to give yourself Lifelink and have access to spells from your graveyard.
Non-creature spells are what make this deck really a headache to go up against. Max out Lofty Denial, Heartless Act, Bloodchief’s Thirst, and Drown in the Loch to control every aspect of your opponent’s casting capability. If you really want to focus on the control aspect of the deck, throw in a few Negate‘s or Essence Scatter‘s. However, if you really want to get a rhythm going, switch out the Negate and Essence Scatter to max out Into The Story to draw into more counterspells or into more mill creatures.
You may be tempted to drop an Ashiok into the deck to offer you access to a planeswalker, but that may slow down your end goal. Instead, consider Cling to Dust, Extinction Event, or Lullmage’s Domination to help boost your control game.
There is no better feeling than swarming your opponent and boosting your front line with unbeatable creatures. If you are itching for a battering ram of a deck, then Gruul is the way to go.
As with any red deck, there are the classics – Bonecrusher Giant, Rimrock Knight, Fire Prophecy, and Shock. All of these will help clear your opponents board before you begin to really lay down the heat. You can also consider Embereth Shieldbreaker for an artifact negate and Edgewall Inkeeper to be able to get a bigger draw pool.
Make sure to max out Brushfire Elemental, Kazandu Mammoth, and Scavenging Ooze, to get more creatures on the board. Brushfire and Kazandu will quickly become your most power creatures with their Landfall capability, while Scavenging Ooze is a solid low tier creature to throw out if you need blockers, especially if your graveyard is getting filled with creatures faster than expected. Make sure to max out Fabled Passage into your lands to boost Brushfire Elemental and Kazandu Mammoth’s damage potential.
The cards that truly make this deck are Embercleave, Crawling Barrens, Shatterskull Smashing. Once you are able to equip Embercleave to a creature, you will be tanking most of the creatures your opponent can throw at you. Shatterskull Smashing will give you a huge damage boost if you need to tank something big, and Crawling Barrens can become a 2/2 creature if you want an unexpected defender.
As a last note: one of the most powerful card you can add is Klothys, God of Destiny. Being able to bump your mana pool or your life and deal damage even before you jump into your damage step is INSANE. I’ve seen a lot of decks that throw this in the sideboard, which seems nuts to me. If you can, make sure Klothys is one of cards that makes the cut.
Esper Doom is a fascinating deck, but can be confusing if you don’t know what you’re looking at. The key is being able to put trigger some powerful Saga and Enchantment cards to reduce your opponent’s casting capability.
The four cards that are key to this deck are Yorion, Sky Nomad, Elspeth Conquers Death, Elspeth’s Nightmare, and Doom Foretold. Set-up both Elspeth Saga’s before playing Yorion to be able to be able to trigger the effects twice by blinking them with Yorion’s special ability. Doom Foretold is a great way to either reduce your opponent’s hand size, or to deal damage and get a blocker on the field to defend yourself without having to sacrifice Yorion. Max out Skyclave Appartion and you have a powerful control creature to exile your opponent’s creatures.
Maxing Golden Egg and Omen of the Sea will help keep control of your side of the board. Drop your Golden Egg whenever you are hurting for life or mana, while Omen of the Sea will help offer a little control over your card draw. Throw in some Negate‘s, Eliminate‘s, and Heartless Act‘s to be able to infuriate your opponent with total control of their casting potential.
Know any other cards that would help boost these decks? Let us know in the comments below!
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