Magic: The Gathering – They Banned Everything!

I had literally only just finished writing an article about some of the cool things that I enjoyed about standard, only to find in today’s banned and restricted update, that they added Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath!

What has happened to standard? Insert gruff ‘back in my day’ moment, but when I played standard heavily through Innistrad (the first one) and onwards, bans were unheard of, and Stone-forge Mystic’s inclusion was this big deal that people still talked about even though it had just rotated out. This standard format has SEVEN banned cards. What the hell RND?

To really emphasise on this; Standard has seven banned cards in 4 sets. Modern, contrastingly has 41 cards banned from 73 sets. With the average set being 230 cards that means that the percentage of banned cards in modern is 0.002% and the percentage of cards banned in standard is 0.007%.

Okay I know it doesn’t look that crazy when I break it down like that, but considering that it’s 0.005% higher than a set with a card pool eighteen times it size, that makes me think RnD is playing way too fast and loose with the card design.

So let’s have a look at the banlist, and what’s going on with the cards on it.

First up is Cauldron Familiar:

The Cat doesn’t seem that bonkers at first glance, right? But the Witch’s Oven made this card a stupid easy combo, that was pretty strong. Here’s where it gets even better, Cauldron Familiar is actually a combo piece in Aluren, a Legacy deck that goes infinite with the ETB effect to kill your opponent. Here’s a link to an MTG Top 8 Decklist. [Uro also made that 75, but we’ll get back to that]

Fires of Invention

Next is Fires of Invention, which I was expecting to come up empty with it’s uses, but it actually featured in two Modern deck’s as a four-of. Yorion Prime Time, and Temur Taking Turns, and after taking a closer look, you could also use it as a substitute in Living end for As Foretold, if you were looking to make a red white variant that features the new cycling bomb from Ikoria Zenith Flare!

Growth Spiral

Then we have growth spiral, which is kinda nuts in itself. We rarely get a two-mana draw spell that’s any good in standard, but also playing an extra land untapped! Insanity! Proof of which is that since it’s ban 113 Modern decklists have shipped that card in the 75. I even managed to find one vintage deck that plays a set too! [It has Uro too, cards busted, okay?]

Oko, Thief of Crowns

Oko is the baddest boy out, and I’m not even going to elaborate on that beyond this image showing you what format’s the card is banned in.

Once Upon a time

Once Upon a Time, we had balanced cards in standard… and not cards that show up 2005 times in other format top 8’s since it’s printing. When you look at a card and say, “Oh hey it’s Land Grant, but better” maybe you shouldn’t print it. [Although now I have 8 land grant for Belcher, so I won’t whinge too much]

Wilderness Reclamation

I’m going to Leave Uro, for last and spotlight this also ridiculous card. Something so strong that it created a whole archetype of it’s own in other formats based on the huge mana potential it can create in your end step. 1282 deck shipped a four-of Wilderness Reclamation, and RnD was probably thinking it was the equivalent of giving your lands vigilance.

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath

Finally the scary looking Giant of the hour: Uro, Titan of RnD’s Wrath. This guy has shown up in 356 modern decks, 322 Legacy decks, 11 Vintage Decks, and probably countless other things. It goes infinite in Aluren with Cavern harpy (mentioned above) to gain infinite life and draw your entire deck. It’s Explore meets Snapcaster Mage and a whole pile of other commons, that can be returned to play by Sun Titan or dropped into play with a Collected Company. This guy is basically always value, and honestly I’m looking forward to playing a new Aluren list with it included [That’s why I won’t shut up about Aluren]

TL;DR

As I said briefly in my last article, RnD is obviously windmilling their arms into any idea they can get to make Magic not die out, as their once-zealous fan base grows in apathy. Which has seemed to include a few interesting by-products that has caused way more bans in Standard than I think is fair play.

I used to eagerly look at the spoilers for each set to see if some gem was eternal playable. Now I just wait for the Banned and Restricted announcements to tell me.

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