Alex Hamilton: Subtraction of Editions

Casey Laughman   November 17, 2017   Comments Off on Alex Hamilton: Subtraction of Editions

Since Modern has been made a Pro Tour format again people have been wondering what will happen with the banned list. You have probably read several articles advocating for certain bans or unbans; I have seen everything from Bloodbraid Elf to Umezawa’s Jitte.

Something has to be done about Modern. Some players are agitating for bans, whereas others think unbanning is the answer.  I tend to fall somewhere in the middle. Bannings can be used to shake up a stagnant or broken format, like some think Modern is currently. The problem with frequent bannings is that it erodes consumer confidence in singles. This is why I and others have advocated for a rotating banned list. But that argument is for another time.

I am convinced that some kind of ban is needed.

The question is what?

Is it Death’s Shadow?

While widely played and dominant, I am not convinced this card should be banned.

Scapeshift/ Valakut?

This would please me greatly, but I cannot make this argument for fear of bodily harm from my benevolent editor (Editor’s note: Waaaaahhhh the bad man threw me in a volcano).

At this point banning a single card would not shake up the format all that much. So why not something a little more drastic?

Ban 8th and 9th Edition.

Before your collective outrage is expressed, just give me one second.

Here is a list of cards that are played from these sets:

8th Edition 9th Edition
Blood Moon Circle of Protection cycle
Choke Sacred Ground
Worship Exhaustion
Bribery Sea’s Claim
Hibernation Sleight of Hand
Merchant Scroll Phyrexian Arena
Ensnaring Bridge Defense Grid
Boil Urza Lands
Plow Under
City of Brass
Urza Lands

The Argument

For those of you who did not play magic before Magic 2010, all the cards in core sets were reprints, unlike the core sets of recent memory, which were about 50/50. The majority of the offenders in these sets hark from the days of design past when they tried to make the most busted cards that they could. This is not even close to the delicate balance that Wizards attempts to keep with new cards.

The Examples

Blood Moon 

This card is a thorn in the side of any of us who have ever wanted to make a weird 5-color deck in Modern. It stifles creativity and stops people from being able to play Magic.

This is particularity the case when it get accelerated out ahead of schedule. Affinity can easily power this card out on turn 2. And combined with Simian Spirit Guide (who should also be watching his back when a banning announcement is brought up) it could be lights out for anyone’s tournament.

As anyone who is familiar with the “new” format of 93/94 knows, this card is part of many of the red based control decks. This card can go toe to toe with the power 9 in these decks, and this is a format where multiple disenchants are played in the maindecks. This is one of the biggest offenders when I say that a card was not designed for modern Magic.

Now you are probably thinking “Alex, Tron would be out of control.” Don’t worry, dear reader; the Tron lands are in the sets we would be axing.

Urza Tron

These lands are the epitome of fast mana, while not as overtly powerful as Cloudpost. The green versions are insanely consistent and can be downright oppressive to the midrange decks. Again, these are cards that were not meant to be in modern Magic.

While it is sweet that things like Ugin and Karn are seeing play in a format as fast as Modern, when they get ramped out as early as turn 3 or 4 then it is difficult for most decks to keep up.

More messing with people’s lands (Boil, Choke, Hibernation, and Plow Under)

There is a reason they no longer print cards like this. People seem to get very snippy when you mess with their lands. This is something that Wizards has been creeping away from in the last five years. They do still print them, but you have to work for them. You either need to assemble multiple cards (Leonin Arbiter + Ghost Quarter), or there are restrictions (Tectonic Edge), or they cost 7+ mana (World Breaker, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, Karn Liberated).

To be put simply, these cards do not belong in modern Magic. They are relics of a long past age of lawlessness and violence. When people would make bargains with a terrifying deamons or would unleash a flurry of Storms on your opponents. They were not meant to live in our time. So therefore it is time to do something about them.

I say cast out these cursed relics of this violent age! Embrace the new age of Magic. It is an age of robots, tentacle monsters, shadows, merfolk, some collected groups of fellowship, and some very aggressive pushing.

Bonus Unbanning plea…

Dear Wizards,

I know I kind of give you a lot of grief in my articles. However, I just want you to know I really appreciate the job you folks are doing over there. Honestly, you’re doing a bang-up job. So what if a few cats or another terrifying free spell mechanic got past you? You guys are doing a solid A- job. Now about that unbanning in Modern. Since Christmas is coming up soon I was wondering if you fine people would give me a nice present.

Please unban a few cards:

Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Bloodbraid Elf

Green Sun’s Zenith (you can take back our Dryad Arbors, we really don’t play with it anyways)

Preordain (you can take away our Serum Visions, they suck anyways)

I think we will all promise to be good all year if you give us these wonderful presents. Thanks Wizards, keep up the good work, and maybe try not to ruin Standard this next year.

Your friend,

Alex Hamilton

(Unless you are looking to ban someone. Then my name is Justin Brickman)

Alexander Hamilton is a grinder from Chicago who is well-known for his love of Legacy. However, if there is a competitive event in any format in the Chicagoland area, expect him to be there playing Magic and making terrible puns, and not necessarily in that order.