Bannings May Suck, but at Least We Don’t Have to Deal with Errata

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Even when I don't have a lot of stake in a particular banning, as a general rule, I don't like them. It annoys me that formats can just be upended overnight, and it certainly makes me less excited to build an extensive Modern collection, since that's the format most at risk to see even more cardboard become illegal.

That said, at least we don't have to deal with the Hearthstone system of overpowered cards: just changing them. As a pretty casual Hearthstone player, I do not follow tournament results, announcements, or other news regarding the game. I just fire it up a few times a month and see how high I can get in ranked play with minimal effort. This means that every once in a while, I find myself confused when a card I frequently play has been changed. Most recently, it was this:


There's no doubt that Undertaker was previously one of the most powerful cards in the game, and it still is probably pretty good even after this change. But as a player who doesn't follow every little thing about the game, it was jarring to play this for the first time and realize I was not getting a toughness (what's the proper term for Hearthstone? Health?) bonus anymore.

Sometimes it takes seeing something done worse to appreciate what you have, and that's how I feel here. Yes, Hearthstone is a digital game, so it is much more feasible to errata cards there than it is in Magic. Yes, balance issues need to be addressed. And yes, it is nice to have a relatively solved format get shaken up from time to time.

Much as I hate bannings (and to a lesser extent, rotations), they shake up formats in an effective way that doesn't require the permanent changing of a card that may have become iconic in the game. Imagine if instead of banning Jace, the Mind Sculptor from Standard, Wizards just made it a five- or six-drop. All of a sudden, this iconic card would be a completely different animal—and possibly not even relevant anymore.

Blizzard is doing this stuff every few months, and while I understand the need for it, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Kudos to Wizards for: a) Not falling into the trap of issuing functional errata, and b) Establishing a system that shakes up formats often. I may not like every decision the company makes, but this wouldn't be my favorite game if they didn't make a high amount of correct choices. Credit where credit is due.

Have a good weekend, folks!


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Danny Brown

Danny is a Cube enthusiast and the former Director of Content for Quiet Speculation.

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Posted in Banning, FreeTagged

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One thought on “Bannings May Suck, but at Least We Don’t Have to Deal with Errata

  1. Wizards did errata in the past, Time Vault was a good example of errata going haywire (it went like $75-$25-$150 over the course of months due to several different erratas).

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