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Author Topic: Banning Season II/2014 Announcement as of October 1st, 2014    (Read 3933 times)
Vazdru
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« on: 01-10-2014, 12:02:49 PM »

Valid during October 15th, 2014 0:00 CET until April 14th, 2015 24:00 CET.

Changes to the present list, effective 10/15/2014:

Banned:
   none

Unbanned:
    none

Ban Watchlist:
    * Mystical Tutor

Unban Watchlist:
    * Fastbond
    * Stoneforge Mystic
    * Natural Order
    * Entomb


Single card explanations follow.
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Far below the earth
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In the city of the Vazdru and the Drin
Where the black flame burns inside the palace fountain.
Vazdru
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« Reply #1 on: 15-10-2014, 10:02:43 PM »

Single card explanations

True-Name Nemesis
The community has adapted to TNN. In contrast to what one would think at first glance, games which involve TNN more often than not develop into interesting and interactive games.
Furthermore players have found several good answers to TNN within the large Highlander cardpool. Even Khans of Tarkir brought another one with Crackling Doom.
Overall, the card seems fair in the context of the Highlander metagame and most players share the opinion that TNN should stay in our format.
Consequently we removed TNN from the ban watchlist.

Tolarian Academy
No broken combo deck took over the metagame and Stax did not return as a dominating and oppressive archetype. These were the two dreaded scenarios that might have convinced us to re-ban TA. Instead, the unbanning of the card enriched deck diversity. Among other things it enabled an interesting and new combo strategy (Eggs). Community feedback indicates that almost nobody wants it gone. Consequently, TA is here to stay and removed from the ban watchlist.

Mystical Tutor
MT established itself as a new mainstay to basically every blue based control deck in the format. It has proven to be very strong indeed. Among fetching up powerful finishers like Entreat the Angels, Terminus, Price of Progress, Ruination et al., it can find silver bullet answers, protects against midgame discard and is just overall a very versatile card for the cheap cost of just one blue mana.
We want to further watch MT and decide the verdict on it at a later time.

Entomb
Entomb was banned due to its capability of enabling broken starts on the second turn in Reanimator builds (which were tier 1 rank at the time of the banning). These plays are especially dangerous on the play and usually leave the opponent with very little time to react, since he only has access to very little mana during this stage of the game.
For openers like this to happen, a player would have to have the Entomb in hand, in addition to a second turn reanimate spell (e. g. Reanimate, Animate Dead, Dance of the Dead, Exhume, Life/Death, Shallow Grave or Goryo's Vengeance) which could happen relatively often.
Nevertheless, there are answers to lines like this. Spell Pierce, Spell Snare, Mental Misstep, Swords to Plowshares, Path to Exile and discard spells come to mind.
It should not be forgotten however, that Entomb has other uses as well. It could be used in graveyard based control decks (e. g. Rock style decks with access to Life from the Loam or Recurring Nightare). It could be used to tutor for cards that are enabled by being in the graveyard (cards with Flashback, Unearth and so on). Overall, it might broaden the possibilities of deckbuilding, which is a good thing in itself.
If Entomb was unbanned, its obvious first appearance would surely be in Reanimator and we would have to closely watch the broken opening plays it enables. But if those plays prove to be not that common or turn out to be beatable by today’s decks and if a new deck archetype is given birth by Entomb, then unbanning it would be justifiable. What do you think? We would like to hear your feedback about this topic.

Fastbond
Here is another potentially broken candidate. But upon closer scrutiny, we can see that very many things have to go right for Fastbond to be truly unfair. Even on turn 1, you have to have Fastbond, at least 3 lands and a 2 drop (or more lands and higher drops / a combination of several lower drops) to jump the curve. Your starting hand must have a very specific shape to really make Fastbond broken during the first few turns of the game.
Let’s not forget that we have Exploration legal in our format and basically nobody plays it.
What Fastbond does - and Exploration can only mimic that to an extent - is enabling infinite land drops and recursion with Crucible of Worlds (and Life from the Loam) and fetchlands/sac outlets. This can lead to game ending combos with cards like Zuran Orb, Horn of Greed and so on. But these are three card combos and those aren't really that scary, are they? We dare say no.
Fastbond would be a welcome tool for a possible land-based deck (like “Lands” in Legacy for example). It has good synergy with Gush and Yawgmoth’s Will (“broken” cards in our format which see almost no play, too).
So, in order to provide players with more tools for brewing, we think that unbanning Fastbond would be a good thing. Do you think so, too? Please discuss and let us know what you think.

Gifts Ungiven
We removed GU from the unban watchlist because we felt that, although the card is very interesting and tempting, it would just be too strong in the current meta, mostly due to the increased power level of blue based control. Add to that the fact of Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise being printed and you can see why we deem it too dangerous to unban a card which tutors both of them and even helps to cast them at the same time.

Natural Order
The banning of Natural Order wasn’t too long ago. We nevertheless have a gut feeling that Highlander has changed enough, so NO might not be as oppressive anymore as it was in the past.
Overall power level has risen slightly since then and many cards that answer TNN for example also answer threats that would enter the battlefield via NO.
Running NO versus control was always dangerous because of counterspells. Control nowadays is considerably stronger than it was then and failing to resolve NO might be backbreaking. Nevertheless, providing midrange with a powerful tool might be the right counter to the recently strengthened various flavors of control.
PatternRector has slightly been on the decline lately, but might get invigorated through NO, together with some new additions like Heliod’s Pilgrim.
Do you also feel, that NO would be safe right now? Please tell us your opinion!

Stoneforge Mystic
The argument for unbanning SM is similar to the one for unbanning Natural Order. We have the feeling that through the slightly risen power level SM might no longer be too strong. Not weak, don’t get us wrong here, but not so strong as to still warrant a ban.
Low drops are stronger than they were before (Fleecemane Lion, TNN for example) and answers have gotten slightly better (Reclamation Sage comes to mind).
A conjured Batterskull won’t get through Siege Rhino or TNN. Overall, Equipment has been on the decline lately.
Do think we should give the white little bugger another chance? Tell us!
Logged

Far below the earth
Where the demons hunt the souls of those that sleep
In the city of the Vazdru and the Drin
Where the black flame burns inside the palace fountain.
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