How Do You Feel When A Card Gets Banned?

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With Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time making tidal waves in eternal formats, this begs the question: how do you feel when R&D bans a card in your format of choice?

I bring this up in part due to the latest episode of Constructed Resources, wherein Jon and Marshall discuss these two cards with respect to the rest of the banned list. The guys spent some time talking about how, in general, cards that let you cheat on mana are most often the ones banned. For example, if you take a look at the Modern banned list, many of the cards on the list are banned because of their ability to cheat on mana costs or provide mana at too fast a rate (Bloodbraid Elf, Chrome Mox, Rite of Flame, Seething Song, Stoneforge Mystic, the artifact lands, etc.). Far fewer cards are banned based purely on power level (Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Skullclamp, Umezawa's Jitte).

stoneforge mystic

Part of playing Magic is enjoying playing with powerful cards. So when R&D has made a major banning that impacts your favorite format, do you generally react with relief? Or would just assume continuing to play with those powerful cards?

Maybe this is too generalized a question. When Jace, the Mind Sculptor was banned, everybody who owned copies was probably angry and everyone who didn't was thrilled. Obviously, a banning that impacts an expensive card is more polarizing than a banning of say, the Mirrodin artifact lands, which were printed at common. I'm sure a few people were upset at that banning (maybe Affinity was their all-time favorite deck), but for the most part, that has less of a financial impact on the playerbase.

Regardless of particulars, I'm interested in how you generally view bannings. Do you think they represent a failure on R&D's part? Or do you look at it through the lens of wanting to play with good cards, and knowing occasionally some will be too good? Does it all just come down to how much money you lose? When are bannings the right thing to do, and when do they overreach? Share your thoughts in the comments.

5 thoughts on “How Do You Feel When A Card Gets Banned?

  1. I think you have to give the formats a chance to react and adjust to new cards rather than ban them as a knee-jerk reaction. Very, very few cards are released that even have the potential to impact older formats, so when one does get released, it’s only natural that people are gonna try to jam it a lot to see if it is the real deal- how often does a Vintage player get a chance to add something new to their deck? If the new card is not that great, things settle down quickly (e.g., the commotion over Jeskai Ascendancy has already quieted down a bit). If a card is powerful enough to make the cut, then the metagame needs time to adjust. If it turns out that the meta really cannot adjust, then it is time to consider banning a card.

    It’s odd; people complain about old formats getting stale, but when a newly-released card(s) shake things up, people act like the ground is falling out from beneath them. Oh no! Splinter Twin and Birthing Pod may not be the best decks in modern anymore! Quick, ban something and get things back to the way they were so we can start complaining about how stale things are again. 🙂

    Couple of things about that Constructed Resources poscast struck me as odd (though I liked it overall):
    1- They claimed Deathrite Shaman is not a “mana cheater”. However, one of its main functions was as a mana accelerator that enabled a turn 2 Liliana of the Veil while also supporting the mana base for a three-color deck (Jund). I thought they were splitting hairs by leaving it out of the “mana cheater” category.
    2- They cited the number of decks using Treasure Cruise/Dig Through Time as evidence that those cards may need to be banned, but they dd not consider that there are other cards that are also present in a large number of Top 8 decks at every tournament. The first one that jumps to mind is Lightning Bolt. I can’t remember the article/podcast, but someone recently made a case for banning Lightning Bolt in Modern and included numbers 9similar to what was done on Constructed Resources) illustrating just how many copies of LB are found in the Top 8 of every Modern event. I’m not saying I support banning LB, but it’s worth noting that the complaints about Treasure Cruise- it’s cheap, powerful, effective, and splashable- all pertain to Lightning Bolt as well. I don’t think there’s any serious consideration to ban Lightning Bolt- folks are used to it. But Treasure Cruise is the new, popular kid on the block, so it’s causing an uproar. Only time will tell if it really is warping the format or if it’s just a temporary ripple that can be corrected for.

  2. I remember when Tolarian Academy was banned. I didn’t open a lot of packs back then. It became impossible to trade it away, when just the week before it was “worth” $25.
    I called customer service and they let me send it back in for a new booster pack. Regrets.
    Banned cards are a pretty safe place to park money. They just sit there with no chance of reprint, and then one day. BAM Bitterblossom! BAM Metalworker! BAM!

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