Hey there everyone, and welcome to another banlist article discussion! Earlier this week the banlist changes dropped, and two of my favourite formats (one to watch, one to play) got shaken up massively. As I write this I’m still reeling from what has happened; this comes shortly after the announced addendum to remove the claws from the best deck in standard by getting Protective Services to remove the cats from the format’s most infamous cat lady. Though, let me tell you, I’m excited about the coming weeks as the metas restabilise. This time around, modern got no attention (no surprise there), and though I can’t say much about vintage, I do sincerely hope the changes to Gush and Gitaxian Probe (poor card, two banlists, two smacks with the ban hammer) help that format in the way the other changes might (hopefully).
Felidar Guardian – BANNED. Excuse me while I hold for applause. The change to standard that everyone was hoping for came later than the rest of the announcements; the infinite combo that expertly snuck through R&D finally had the plug pulled on it, as it was shown to have only gotten better with the new set. Taking up around 40% of the meta, copycat combo stifled the slow decks of the format and pressured the aggressive ones, making it difficult to truly diversify the format. While we’re barely a week into the new standard, I have no mind that this was the correct move – just next time it should probably be with the rest.
Sensei’s Divining Top – BANNED. oh boy do I have mixed feelings about this. I LOVED watching miracles play in the same way I enjoyed Splinter Twin (perhaps I’m cursed?); it was a difficult deck to play, but proper mastery and tight play made the deck tough to beat. Looking at the Legacy Metashare this week, the miracles share was getting perhaps too out of control; 13.09% of the meta is estimated to be (or have been) Miracles, completely dwarfing the current second place (Delved with a relatively measly 8.39% by comparison). Top was almost certainly the correct ban to take the deck out of the format, removing the deck’s topdeck manipulation that allowed it to execute locks with Counterbalance, or correctly time Terminus or Entreat the Angels. Whether this was the correct decision or not (as an EDH player cheap tops are always good) is yet to be seen; Miracles is about to leave an enormous void in the format, and rumblings seem to hint that it’s going to be filled with more of the UGBx decks featuring premier banhammer receiver Leovold, Emissary of Trest – but we’ll get to him in his own section.
Leovold, Emissary of Trest – BANNED. I’ll deal with our ban receiver first. Ironically leovold’s price saw a spikehttp://www.mtgstocks.com/cards/31559 this week, most likely related to the banning of Top; but he also took his leave from EDH – much to the relief (or Crazy) or anguish of the EDH community (my personal meta feeling a wave of baleful regret coming off of Yami). I can’t say I’m completely shocked by the loss of Leo, he’s incredibly easy to break (relatively easy to get around too, but I digress); the rules committee doesn’t like that (most of the time), so he had to be taken to the farm up North. While I feel largely indifferent to his loss, I do breathe a sigh of relief that if one competitive commander died for our sins, they might take mercy on others (Leave my GAAIV alone, please).
Protean Hulk – UNBANNED. This was a surprise, straight out of left field. Whether it is for better or worse (I’m leaning for worse), this format’s going to get a whole lot more funky with the Breakable Hulk in it. Being a Boonweaver Karador player myself, I’m looking forward to jamming this in there as an additional way to trigger the combo – one that is tutorable through Summoner’s pact, Green Sun’s Zenith, or Natural Order. All the while, requiring fewer colours to go off (GB, GBU, GBW, GBR, UG, RUG, or GWBU Hulk, coming soon to a kitchen table near you). All jokes aside, this creature is a one card way to set up any combo in the format, and is an accident waiting to happen. While I’m looking forward to giving this guy a chance (he’s broken in competitive but hey, so is Ad Nauseam), I’m pretty sure the Hulk may end up becoming a meta centralizing staple in the same vein as Primeval Titan or Sylvan Primordial – it offers so much raw value, you’re either using it, teching against it or stealing it from another guy. But time will tell.
Whew, what a rollercoaster. What do you reckon guys? Safe and healthy? Disasters waiting to happen? I’d love to know what you think! Also if you like what you see, be sure to drop us a like on Facebook to be kept on the cutting edge of all things Salty. For now though, Unmistakable out.