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Wizards announces B/R updates early

First time cards banned in Standard since Jace, the Mind Sculptor

In a surprising announcement, Wizards of the coast announced the update to the banned and restricted list, today, January 9, 2016, a full week early. Not only is the announcement being early shocking, the cards that have been slammed with the ban hammer are just as jarring. Let’s take a look.

Editor’s note: All quotes below are directly from the press release from Wizards of the Coast. You can read the full release, here.

Yes, you read that correctly, we are starting with Standard. Not since Jace, the Mind Sculptor have we seen a card banned in Standard, today they announced three: Emrakul, the Promised End, Smuggler’s Copter, and Reflector Mage.

Emrakul, The Promised End
Although we doubted we would see any bannings in Standard, we always suspected Emrakul would be on their radar. This mighty lady has been making her impact felt on Innistrad and beyond. According to the official statement from Wizards, “Emrakul faced too little resistance and ended games quickly.”

We can’t argue with that. Emrakul has been a beast in this Standard format. I just wish I hadn’t just finished my playset.

Smuggler’s Copter
Played in about 60% of Standard decks, this little looter scooter is one sweet card. Apparently, it’s too sweet. According to Wizards, “Simply put, Smuggler’s Copter is too efficient and shows up in too many decks, diminishing the format’s diversity.”

Reflector Mage
This is the one that surprised me the most. I understand it was super strong when paired with Collected Company but didn’t think it was dominating in Standard, currently. Apparently, Wizards took the chance to ban the card because they felt Blue-White Flash was too powerful and, and this gets me, frustrating. I quote, “Other cards were discussed to check Blue-White Flash, but Reflector Mage came up time and time again as both frustrating and a targeted way to diminish the White-Blue Flash deck.”

I don’t agree with the idea of banning a card because it’s frustrating to play against. It seems to me Reflector Mage was a solid card in the control archetype and this, simply put, hurts control. I am not a control player, but I respect the need for a wide range of deck choices.

We gave our predictions for what might be banned in Modern and, well, we were wrong! Completely wrong, actually.

Golgari Grave-Troll
Wizards does not like Dredge, or so it seems. The state the reason for banning Golgari Grave-Troll is because of the negative impact it is having on Modern by pushing the format to one of a battle between sideboards. Oh, wait. No, they didn’t. They said Dredge is having a negative impact onthe format. Dredge is pushing the format to one of a battle between sideboards, not the troll. They even site the printing of Cathartic Reunion and Prized Amalgam as offenders in helping the deck to make the format unhealthy. They go on to say, “While those cards were discussed, the real offender is the Dredge mechanic itself.”

Sorry GGT, because you have the Dredge mechanic you get to go sit on the banned bench.

Gitaxian Probe
Well, Infect players are screaming right now. So, too, are Jeskai Prowess players. To be fair, the real trouble with this card is its efficiency because of Phyrexian mana. There are other cards that do the same thing, but you have to pay actual mana for them, not life. Efficiency killed this card.

The announcement of this list early is, according to the press release, Wizards has been listening to players regarding the Standard format and have said these cards, in particular, have been pinpointed as making the format less fun.

So kudos to Wizards for listening, but I am not sure they got it right. Also, is this a matter of the squeaky wheel getting the oil? These bans do not go into effect until Jan. 20, 2017.

Wizards also added to this announcement by stating B/R updates will now be announced on the Monday following the pre-release of the new Standard-legal set, with another announcement, also on a Monday, five weeks after a Pro Tour.

Wizards says this gives them more flexibility in keeping organized play healthy and fun.

Not sure I agree. What do you think?

Patrick Cossel is the Publisher of The Forge Herald. He is a writer, gamer, husband, father, and Level 1 Magic Judge. Professionally, he is the Operations Manager for a family-owned newspaper company. He can be reached at pcossel@gmail.com

© 2017, Patrick Cossel. All rights reserved.

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About Patrick Cossel,

I am a journalist and gaming enthusiast.

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