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Author Topic: April 1st, 2015 - Banned List Changes    (Read 3604 times)
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« on: 02-04-2015, 12:16:30 AM »

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

Changes to the present list, effective 04/15/2015:



Ban watchlist:                                                      
Tolarian Academy                                                      
Oath of Druids
Unban watchlist:                                                      
Stoneforge Mystic                                                      
Natural Order

Single cards explanations:

Sometimes we try and see what will happen. Similarly to Wheel of Fortune, which was unbanned back in 2011, Fastbond has never before been allowed into our format. The previous argument against the card was its interaction with Crucible of Worlds and Zuran Orb, which together would generate infinite life and mana. Normally we don't consider three card combos to be competitive, but in this case we understand that in the right deck type, all three cards can be effective enough on their own when drawn without the other parts, for example like in the new Academy/Eggs-combo deck. We expect Fastbond to find its way into various combo shells utilizing Draw-7 effects, Gush, Yawgmoth's Will etc. and it might also create new dedicated Life from the Loam/Land-based builds.
Furthermore, when we considered unbanning Fastbond, we looked at how much Exploration gets played (almost not at all). We then considered corner cases in which a land heavy opener with Fastbond and a bomb would lead to busted starts, but those have to be seen in practice first. Fastbond in a combo deck will create these kind of plays from time to time, but if that will be a disturbing factor remains to be seen.

Tolarian Academy
Tolarian Academy always stays under close observation, as its potential as a key card for non-interactive combo is known.
The game has slowed down with the introduction of the free mulligan and it is not as easy as it was under spoils conditions to sculpt a perfect hand, but with the tutoring power present in the format, building a combo shell around Tolarian Academy is perfectly possible, and we want to see what kind of new archetype this possibly brings forth. Should it be harmful for the metagame, we have to think again about Academy. The latest developments regarding the Eggs-deck demand a reintroduction of Tolarian Academy to the ban-watchlist.

Oath of Druids
Like Tolarian Academy, Oath of Druids is mostly reintroduced to the watchlist because of its enourmous combo potential, especially in decks like Eggs, TPS and maybe Fastbond-Combo.

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.
Running NO versus control was always dangerous because of counterspells. Control nowadays is considerably stronger than it was back 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 and Sidisi, Undead Vizier.
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 as 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.
Anyhow SM would actually be an autoinclude in lots of tier 1 deck (4C Blood, UWx-Control, Jeskai Midrange) and would strengthen their position in the current meta even more. With regards to the meta development we think it isn't the right time to reintroduce SM yet.   

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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