Hey all! Unmistakable checking in with a ‘Once more and we’ll get it right I swear’ edition of Banlists and you! This time around, there is very little to look at, but it’s a telling change.
If you told me six months ago that I’d spend more time on Banlists and You talking about Standard than any other format, I’d have given you a weird look. But lo and behold, the third consecutive standard ban of this standard season (yep.).
Aetherworks Marvel – BANNED.
Just when we thought standard was done being broken, Aetherworks Marvel (the card that got Emrakul banned) rose from Amonkhet’s mildly unimpactful environment to show Bolas’ pet plane what true power really is. While not overbearing, Marvel imposed an effectual time limit on its games, threatening to end the game unless dealt with almost immediately. While not dominating quite as hard as Copycat (only around 25% of the meta compared to Copycat’s 50% at AER release), Marvel’s high turnout at high level tournaments coupled with it’s unpleasant play patterns when on the receiving end earned it the ban hammer. While necessary, I grow concerned that we as players are becoming desensitized to Standard bannings, and hope that they continue to be treated as a necessary evil, rather than the absolute solution. I also hope that the increase in quality of answers continues (I for one was hopeful that the presence of Manglehorn could attempt to curb Marvel decks, but clearly it didn’t do enough); one of the fantastic aspects of metagaming is finding the ways to deal with the high popularity threats, and dealing with them accordingly. As the pendulum swung in one direction (no grave hate for Delirium in SOI, KLD or AKH), hopefully we’ll find it swing back in the other direction – good answers for solid threats make me one happy control player.
Now, while the Rules Committee were silent on this occasion (besides announcing that no changes would take place until Hour of Devastation, good on you guys), it may be pertinent to discuss potential changes before they happen
Protean Hulk – Reban?
Surely the most controversial unban we’ve seen, I firmly believe this is down to who you ask. In my local meta, the Hulk has found a seat (with me, no less), and continues to put up a decent winrate without being overbearing. With plenty of graveyard strategies to hate on in our meta (Karador, Sidisi, Brood Tyrant, Doomsday, as well as many Snapcasters), there is already an ambient level of Deathrite Shamans, Rest in Peaces, or Ground Seals to keep the Hulk down. In metas where this is not the case (or answers are dialled back), I can see this guy being a problem. Boonweaver Giant enables the same stuff, but isn’t green for the purposes of Green Sun’s Zenith or Summoner’s Pact. This is a huge increase in consistency for the Hulkweaver player. As I said, not necessarily a problem, but tangible enough that the Rules Committee may be holding it in mind.
Ad Nauseam – Ban?
Whenever a Banlists discussion crops up on /r/competitiveedh, this card is always among the most hotly debated cards. When built for properly, this card can easily draw an entire deck – perfect for a combo deck looking to vomit fast mana and combo a table out. I have been on both sides of this card (mostly on the casting side, I’ll admit), and I’ll admit it feels unfair no matter which side you’re on. Drawing so many cards at instant speed doesn’t seem bueno, and it almost singlehandedly enforces black’s dominance as a colour in competitive EDH circles. My main argument against this (for the sake of Zur the Enchanter, Sharuum, and Doomsday decks everywhere) is the deckbuilding restriction imposed on decks that want to abuse this card. Anybody looking to draw entire chinks of their deck look to compound their mana curve to as low as sub 2 mana cost per card. This means that, overall, card quality in an Ad Nauseam deck is much lower than any other deck at the table, elevating it to effective ‘Glass Cannon’ levels. Any interaction that the pilot didn’t account for during the ensuing combo effectively ousts it from the game entirely. For this reason, I believe it’s a necessary evil for the sake of archetype diversity; a world without Ad Nauseam is a world without combo, effectively.
Gifts Ungiven – Unban?
If you had asked me before the Hulk unban what I would have liked to see come off, I would have told you that I am firmly in the #FreeGifts camp. The card, while a combo enabler (a la Protean Hulk. Or Ad Nauseam.), also allows blue-based reanimator decks to fill their yard for cheap. An unban of this would power up certain dwindling archetypes, such as Sharuum combo (I’m pretty sure Yami’s Riku deck could also make use of the increase in redundancy for Intuition effects too) without pushing decks over the top. My one reservation would be the presence of Necrotic Ooze combo decks near the upper echelons of competitive play, but this doesn’t do anything that Buried alive or Intuition already do for the deck. Oh yeah, did I mention Intuition is legal, and not a problem for anybody?
That just about covers this edition of Banlists analysis, guys! What do you think? Marvel was a good ban? Bad ban? Be sure to let me know here or on Facebook! As always guys, thanks for reading, and Unmistakable out.