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Standard bannings!?

June 21, 2011

So, I just (more or less) returned home after a week in Gothenburg and was about to write a little summary from my playing in Nationals and what nod when I was treated with this announcement:

Back in April I wrote an entry about JtMS influence in Standard and how  I thought JtMS wouldn’t not get the axe in Standard. Granted, the fact that New Phyrexia didn’t stir up the format as much as anticipated got me a little more concerned but if you had asked me if I thought JtMS or something else would get banned in Standard two weeks ago, I still would have said no.

These news didn’t come as a total shock however if you are a twitter user, (which I highly recommend you to become if you aren’t if you want to really keep up with news regarding Magic) you could see Aaron Forsythe (head of Wizards R&D) tweet the following early last week:

When I saw that, I reckoned that something would happen the following Monday. The fact that both JtMS and Stoneforge Mystic got the axe was something I didn’t reckon with however.

What do I think about these bannings? Honestly, from my “spike” point of view I was kinda shrugging when read the announcement. Sure, both JtMS and Stoneforge Mystic greatly influenced on what people could play in Standard and still be competitive. But there is definitely more decks out there than CawBlade that can win tournaments in this environment. Vampires took down to SCG Open tournaments and the PTQ before my Nationals was won by a player wielding Boros. He in turn beat a RUG deck in the finals and before that myself playing Pyromancer Ascension in the semis (more on that later). My point is that while CawBlade is/was definitley the defining deck of the format, there was more to it than that. And as I have said before, there is always going to be a best deck. Banning these two cards are just going to change the focus. And from a “skill” point of view, playing CawBlade well takes a lot from the pilot. A lot more than say… Jund from last season. So that is something the previous format got going for it in my mind.

I personally am a little afraid that all summer will be about Primeval Titan and Splinter Twin, which is definitely the initial outlook of the upcoming Standard format. But I hope/think there might be more to it than that. It’s hard to say when such a format defining card like Jace, the Mind Sculptor is no longer with us. There are very powerful cards out there that was previously held back by JtMS, like Phyrexian Obliterator, that has yet time to shine. That will be exciting to find out.

I can’t really tell for sure but I from what I understand the stressing matter of the bannings is that the rein Stoneforge Mystic and JtMS had over Standard since… PT Paris has activley stopped people from showing up at events all over the world. And that is the critical point, no matter what kind of player you are. Hall of Famer Zvi Mowshowitz put it nicely:

Amen. Can’t argue with that.

And oh, before I end this entry I want to make a shout out to the R&D haters out there. I see a lot of people really recent the people at Wizards R&D for making these “mistakes” that leads into “overpowered cards”. These guys at R&D does a hell of a job constantly evolving this game we love so much. Maybe it’s just me but I rather see R&D continuing pushing the edges in order to make the game fun and interesting and sometimes push some cards or mechanics a little too far than not trying at all.

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