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Author Topic: April 1st, 2016 - Banned List Changes    (Read 4593 times)
Vazdru
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« on: 31-03-2016, 11:59:16 PM »

Valid during April 15th, 2016 0:00 CET until October 14th, 2016 24:00 CET.

Changes to the present list, effective 04/15/2016:

Banned:                                                     
Natural Order
Sensei's Divining Top

Unbanned:                                                      
-                                                     

Ban watchlist:                                                      
Fastbond
Mystical Tutor
Oath of Druids
Mana Drain
Demonic Tutor
Dig Through Time
Tolarian Academy
Yawgmoth's Will
Mishra's Workshop
Tainted Pact
                                             
Unban watchlist:                                                     
Stoneforge Mystic                                                     
Gifts Ungiven
Sensei's Divining Top
Natural Order


Single cards explanations:

Ban:

Natural Order
Unfortunately, Natural Order did not have the positive effect on the format we hoped for. Since its unban, especially lists, which are very present anyway, profited from this card, which in turn lead to the always same game procedures, mainly focusing on Craterhoof Behemoth and Primeval Titan. Also the card's downsides (rather high cmc, the need of sacrificing a green creature, sorcery speed) aren't enough compared to the unmissable influence it has on the game. Therefore we decided to take the card out of the format, despite its short phase of legality.


Sensei's Divining Top
A powerful tool for many decks, which continually smooths draws to a degree like no other card can, while also being almost indestructible.
However, the problematic part of playing this card is the time issue, which it often creates when used repeatedly over a long game. By banning this card, we would like to come to less stressful tournaments and lower the amount of unfinished games, which in turn should create a happier environment for everyone.


Ban-Watchlist:

Fastbond
Fastbond has found a niche in Storm, artifact-based decks and some Oath builds, where its performance is quite powerful. We will have a closer look at the tournament results during the next months in order to exactly value its impact on the meta. If Fastbond continues to be the key for combo decks and pushes those decks above the top, we will put it back to the Banned list in October. However, until now their popularity and tournament performance were within reasonable limits.


Mystical Tutor
Mystical Tutor stays on the watchlist for the reasons already given. Besides the obvious mana efficiency (1-Drop + End of turn option and therefore no loss of mana in player's own turn) and timing (Instant), Mystical Tutor is able to find direct answers (in form of removal, discard, counter) or indirect answers (other tutors). In contrast to his 'siblings' Enlightened Tutor and Worldly Tutor, Mystical Tutor is much more powerful. Like many other tutors too, Mystical Tutor gains more and more options with each new set (e.g. Dig Through Time, Treasure Cruise). Furthermore it enables Miracles like no other card. The potential of this card is undeniable and therefore should be observed.


Oath of Druids
One of the most powerful cards in the format. There are some decks created around this card, but it also demands a very specialized deckbuild. It gives the opponent at least one turn to react to it, which is the main reason to keep this card in our format. Due to its interaction with powerful creatures which could be printed in every new edition and its low casting cost, it has to stay on the watchlist so we can be prepared for new situations.


Mana Drain
This card is uncontested the strongest representative of its kind. Even if it needs more elements to exploit its full potential, it is in the worst case still a Counterspell, i.e. a 2-drop, which cancels the opponent's spell and has no disadvantages.
However, in fact Mana Drain repeatedly and randomly leads to absurd situations, by not only throwing the opponent one turn behind, but by also giving his caster an almost insurmountable advantage through a potent follow-up (especially early in the game). Therefore Mana Drain is often felt as frustrating by many members of the community. Hence the Council has decided to take a closer look at this card.


Demonic Tutor
No other card polarizes as much as Demonic Tutor. Supporters describe it as format defining and as the best answer card available while detractors claim it as the potentially strongest card in the format because it increases the count of each yet so powerful card to two. Demonic Tutor is not only the Swiss army knife against uncomfortable board situations, but also helps to enable those. In fact our statistical analysis has shown that each deck, which plays black, also plays Demonic Tutor. Many decks splash the colour only for this card. Its presence is unusually high for a non-land card. Therefore we will discuss whether Demonic Tutor is a problem.


Dig Through Time
With Khans of Tarkir, WotC released several new and powerful Delve cards, which influence our format decisively. In other formats, DTT (and its sibling Treasure Cruise) are already banned. We therefore decided to give this card special attention.


Tolarian Academy
With the addition of Tolarian Academy some Combo decks like Eggs and Artifact Combo were able to arise. Even if the performance and appearance of those decks is still reasonable, we are well aware of the potential of this card. Artifact-based lists can generate significant board advantages very fast, from which it is difficult to catch up. To what extend Tolarian Academy really influences the format will be observed by us during the next months.


Yawgmoth's Will
Yawgmoth’s Will is a card with outstanding potential, that theoretically benefits not only but mostly Combo lists. Until now, especially TPS and Artifact Combo profit from this card and abuse its possibilities to its fullest. We would like to give more attention to Yawgmoth's Will and will observe its development.


Mishra's Workshop
A "one of a kind" card, which in the early turns gives artifact specialized decks a pretty overwhelming advantage. Mainly in the combination with cards like Trinisphere or potent mana rocks like Coalition Relic, it sometimes works like a 1st/2nd turn win condition and suppresses interaction. We decided to monitor this card very closely in order to keep the environment healthy for players.


Tainted Pact
Tainted Pact - like Demonic Tutor - has the potential to find every card you need and at the same time can be cast as an Instant. Yes, you exile everything until you found what you are looking for and you have to have a "true" Highlander deck - which is a reasonable downside to the card at first glance. But in nearly every case you are looking for a certain genre of cards to tutor for, instead of a specific single card, or you are just looking for the missing winning piece. This again keeps the downside of Tainted Pact modest and can even make it irrelevant altogether. Like Demonic Tutor and Mystical Tutor, this card will be observed more in the future.


Unban-Watchlist:

Stoneforge Mystic
Even if we, similar to Natural Order, have to be afraid that Stoneforge Mystic will strengthen present and popular decks in particular, the wish of the community for this card is a reason for us to think about it more concretely. Therefore, this card also gets a place on the watchlist for cards to be unbanned.


Gifts Ungiven
Gifts Ungiven has been banned exactly four years ago. Although the main-reasons (splashability, combo-potential, one of the best tutors in HL overall) haven't changed, we decided to rediscuss this card because metagame and gameplay has changed alot within the years. Furthermore, one main-characteristic of a banned card nowadays is its cheap casting cost. In fact we have only three cards left with cmc4 or higher: Natural Order, Birthing Pod (Phyrexian mana!) and Gifts Ungiven. It is time to have a closer look at this card again.


Sensei's Divining Top
Sensei’s Divining Top had, independent of the arguments for its ban, indeed positive influences. It enabled some combos and also gave library manipulation to non-blue decks. We like to observe in what kind of way the format profits from the banning of this card and possibly intensify the discussion again at a later point in time.


Natural Order
This card was one of the most powerful cards in the format. Unlike other powerful cards, it doesn't require many deckbuilding changes to most of the decks playing it. We will keep this card on the watchlist for at least one more season to give the community chance to respond to the ban in either positive or negative way.
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