Magic Banned and Restricted List Gets an Early Update

Modern players got an early surprise just a few hours ago. The banned and restricted list has been released two days early. With a modern Pro Tour coming up soon, we knew that there’d be a focus on the modern metagame. The early release of the B&R list may be due to the recent update to the MTGO Beta, which resulted in many players noticing that a few cards were suddenly not legal and taking to forums like Reddit (which is interesting in itself, because while I’m sure they didn’t mean to give out information to a small selection of players early, these players also signed an NDA when they signed up).

The ban that almost everyone has been calling for and expecting has come to pass: Summer Bloom is banned from Modern. There was a definite curve ball in this announcement as well though: Splinter Twin is also banned from Modern.

banned

Wizards of the Coast’s reasons for banning cards are always interesting to read. Summer Bloom‘s banning was pretty stock standard: WotC has stated numerous times that they don’t want games to end before turn four, and Amulet Bloom blatantly broke that rule all too consistently. They mention the crazy seven mana on turn two hands as being one of the major deciding factors. Splinter Twin‘s ban comes from the their belief that the deck reduces diversity in the format. The argument goes that other control decks tended to adopt the Twin combo and hence simply supplant any other deck which could be created. This is similar to the reasons used for the Birthing Pod ban.

There’s some light at the end of the tunnel though, I think. Wizards has had trouble printing decent control cards over the past few years because Twin just sucked them up and didn’t allow them an opportunity to flourish. The loss of Splinter Twin may open up the potential for some proper control decks in the format. We may see decks like Temur Tempo pick back up, or Scapeshift fill the void as the blue-based combo deck. Birthing Pod decks were able to evolve with newly printed cards like Collected Company, and I hope that Splinter Twin decks can do the same. Otherwise, there’s going to be some very, very unhappy (ex-)modern players out there.

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