On Literally Not Being Able To Even – Banned and Restricted List Update 2015

Are you a Quiet Speculation member?

If not, now is a perfect time to join up! Our powerful tools, breaking-news analysis, and exclusive Discord channel will make sure you stay up to date and ahead of the curve.

OK, the B&R update just went up and it's not quite what anyone expected.





First, some of this doesn't matter. Worldgorger Dragon could be annoying, but I don't think it will be the problem that it was when it was banned a long time ago. The combo deck is not particularly robust or fun to play but some players love it. It's likely fine. Dragon combo can make the game end in a draw sometimes or just get really annoying, but there are annoying combos in Legacy already.

Golgari Grave-Troll being banned in Modern reflected a fundamental lack of understanding about what a Modern dredge deck would need to work on Wizards' part in a lot of views. It's unbanning seems relatively benign. I'm sure the price will go up and I'm sure it isn't deserved. I have a bunch of Izzet Vs. Golgari decks sitting on a shelf and I hope I don't have to pop them just because of this.

Gifts Ungiven being restricted in Vintage was a little silly and with so few decks even running 1 copy, it's good to allow the decks that want to run it the option of running a ton. Vintage didn't need shaken up, but it got it.

On the bans side, holy knee-jerk, Batman. Treasure Cruise wouldn't have gotten more thoroughly erased from history if it had personally pissed off Stalin. A Modern and Legacy ban and a Vintage restriction? Clearly Wizards was tired of those shenanigans despite the card only being allowed in those formats for a short time.

Birthing Pod seems knee-jerk as well. Pod was always a dominant deck in Modern and its banning seems... ill-advised, especially not coupled with a relevant unbanning. No, I don't consider Grave-Troll a relevant unbanning. However, I hope people brew with Troll. There are a few cards that have upside in the wake of this unbanning and QS Insiders were treated to our thoughts on the matter a few minutes ago. Pod leaving opens up a power vacuum in Modern and it's unclear what will fill it. I could see Pod being unbanned soon.

The run-up on Bloodbraid Elf made it seem there was insider info that leaked, but it was actually just hysteria around what people saw as a safe unban. Don't buy into hype, folks, especially speculative hype based on no evidence. I wrote on the Insider side recently about how the tendency for stores to cancel orders on spiking cards means you need to bet your money a week in advance at least. Lots of people bet on Bloodbraid Elf and lost big-time. Let that be a lesson.

Avatar photo

Jason Alt

Jason Alt is a value trader and writer. He is Quiet Speculation's self-appointed web content archivist and co-captain of the interdepartmental dodgeball team. He enjoys craft microbrews and doing things ironically. You may have seen him at magic events; he wears black t-shirts and has a beard and a backpack so he's pretty easy to spot. You can hear him as co-host on the Brainstorm Brewery podcast or catch his articles on He is also the Community Manager at and writes the odd article there, too. Follow him on Twitter @JasonEAlt unless you don't like having your mind blown.

View More By Jason Alt

Posted in Banning, Free, ModernTagged , , , , ,

Have you joined the Quiet Speculation Discord?

If you haven't, you're leaving value on the table! Join our community of experts, enthusiasts, entertainers, and educators and enjoy exclusive podcasts, questions asked and answered, trades, sales, and everything else Discord has to offer.

Want to create content with Quiet Speculation?

All you need to succeed is a passion for Magic: The Gathering, and the ability to write coherently. Share your knowledge of MTG and how you leverage it to win games, get value from your cards – or even turn a profit.

18 thoughts on “On Literally Not Being Able To Even – Banned and Restricted List Update 2015

  1. Rough day for Combo.

    Kinda seems like they just re-set Modern to summer 2014, before KTK came out and when Pod had dropped off since everyone had learned how to prep for it. Guess Splinter Twin players are happy.

    OK, so question just for fun: what would it take for a Magic card to say “draw three cards” and see competitive play WITHOUT triggering the bannhammer?
    –Making the card cost 7U but with Delve was broken.
    –Giving the card U- Suspend 4 was broken.
    –Making the card cost 3UU makes it too durdley for competitive play most of the time.
    So what’s the magical casting cost that would make this happen? UU? 1UU? U- Pay 5 life? U- discard a card? U- discard a U card? U- bounce an untapped land? Or is “draw three” just too powerful to appear on a competitive card and thus Jace’s Ingenuity is about the best we can get?

  2. I’m failing to see how letting it be legal way longer than it should have been according to their consistent philosophy is “knee-jerk”. I think you just feel jerked around BECAUSE it took them so long to pull the trigger. Realistically, Pod players should have been sweating every B&R announcement for some time. It’s weird timing, I’ll give you that, but it’s not especially surprising.

  3. Where is the quality testing in design that allows cards like treasure cruise to come to print. If the card is so powerful that it is banned in nearly every format shouldn’t that have been caught during testing?

  4. Most people, as in over 50% of the people I have spoken to in person and over the internet, felt a ban on Treasure Cruise was likely to happen in both Modern and Legacy. It was more of a split decision on whether Dig Through Time would also go, but felt that if Cruise went it would go as well as a preemptive measure. I think they got those 2 cards perfectly leaving Dig alone in Legacy.

    Pod is a bit more of a surprise, but personally I am relieved. I’m tired of it always being the best deck. It’s been the best deck since Deathrite Shaman got banned, and it’s really hard to interract with because Pod costs 3 to cast but can’t be blown up by Abrupt Decay, and so man of it’s creatures have to die twice and have a lot of incidental value on top of that against various decks.

    3 months was plenty of time to see what Cruise did to the formats. They completely warped around them and lists started maindecking cards just to battle them such as Pyroblast and Chalice of the Void. Yes, the format can adapt to beat these decks, but at what cost? Elimination of many fringe playable decks and playing narrow hate cards.

    Anyone complaining that their foil cruise cards just went down knew that they were getting into a risky investment in the first place, and anyone complaining that they can’t play their favorite 1 of 2 decks that comprised 40% of the metagame just enjoy winning because they have a ton more options than the opponent whether it be repeatable tutoring or having 3 more cards. We now have a more open format that deckbuilders can thrive in where there are more than 3 or 4 decks that can compete. I’m glad to be back to a modern that supports 15 viable modern decks and can see if maybe now Bitterblossom and other recent additions have more opportunities.

    I’m getting messages from players that had left modern due to Cruise because they couldn’t compete with their brews and were no longer having fun. I’ll gladly take those players back that enjoy finding new interactions over the players that complain nonstop and just want to win as much prize money as possible while playing as little magic as possible with the same deck every week.

    1. I agree with and respect everything you mentioned.

      That said. I picked up 2 Bitterblossoms with the intent to find a home for them in control. So long as the top decks in the meta carry Abrupt Decay Bitterblossom will never shine in the modern format.

      At best blossom is a sideboard card and in what deck I have no idea at this moment in time. Virtually any aggro deck you face that you build around Bitterblossom puts on way way too much pressure in 1 drops that require too much set up for blossom to get moving. It either sits in your hand as a dead card while you clear boards at 1 for 1’s waiting to stabilize in order to cast it or you drop it and fall behind to a point where a few burn spells can eat you.

Join the conversation

Want Prices?

Browse thousands of prices with the first and most comprehensive MTG Finance tool around.

Trader Tools lists both buylist and retail prices for every MTG card, going back a decade.

Quiet Speculation