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Do Eighth and Ninth Edition Belong in Modern?

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Earlier this week Brian Braun-Duin suggested in his article that removing Eight and Ninth Edition from Modern would improve the format. His argument rests on the fact that cards like Blood Moon and Choke lead to completely non-interactive games and that Tron is lame.


It's an interesting argument, but there are a few problems. Part of the issue is that at it's face the argument ignores a lot of sweet cards that are Modern legal. I know that Intruder Alarm, Greater Good, Form of the Dragon, Fecundity, Kird Ape and a number of other Modern legal cards aren't exactly tearing it up right now, but they certainly don't deserve to just be banned.

It's a reasonable point that Eight and Ninth hardly embody the ideals of Modern Magic, but they do have the new card frame, and I have a feeling that you'd have a difficult time explaining that Eighth and Ninth have been removed to newer players, or players that just don't pay too much attention to such announcements.

It makes more sense to me to just ban the list of cards that are actively hated from Eighth and Ninth, but then the argument suddenly sounds kind of silly. The reason being that the individual cards that this move would target aren't currently banned, and the decks that feature them have been in the format for quite a while.

The last point that I'd like to make, is that for as much as I hate Blood Moon, I feel that the Modern format doesn't put nearly enough pressure on non-basic lands. Legacy has Wasteland, and even there people play maybe one or two basics, often incorrectly. How are we going to pretend like the color of your spells matters in a format where you have fetches and shocks and only need to worry about Tectonic Edge and Ghost Quarter?

So, what are your thoughts? Do Eighth and Ninth belong in Modern?

16 thoughts on “Do Eighth and Ninth Edition Belong in Modern?

    1. Modern Masters doesn’t affect the legality/illegality of any cards in Modern. Cards are legal in Modern because they were in a Standard legal set from 8th edition onwards and they haven’t been Banned.

  1. Please don’t make changes.

    personal hate against some decks is a lame arguement.

    This is modern, stupid decks is part of the format. If you change it, new decks will arise. if not tron, it will be cloudpost…

    also, they already banned worldwake, that’s more than enough sets banned in modern.

  2. LSV once mentioned that Modern would be better without fetchlands. I don’t know that WOTC would ever do that, but it’s an interesting thought. It definitely would restrict what you can build and eliminates a lot of what makes mana destruction/denial good.

  3. In due time the format’s going to see an adjustment one way or another. Modern can’t last forever as big as it is, it’s going to become a smaller Vintage/Legacy. So the question becomes – does WotC adjust what’s legal in Modern to manage the scale or come up with (and support) a new format?

    Not that this is happening in the near future, but give it a few years. The arguments for Type 2 and Modern came down to card availability, power and cost. Eventually, Modern will face the same problems. Expect a new cut off.

    1. Correct, Modern will not always be the “newest” eternal format. I think another 4-5 years will get us a new format starting with M15 (card frame change makes this seem obvious). However, given that WOTC has shown its propensity to reprint Modern staples we may need to start taking notice of exactly where these reprints take place. Also, Mark Rosewater has stated many times that eternal formats don’t really affect their decisions on what goes into Standard, so I’m not sure if they are actively “crafting” the next eternal format with their reprint choices. Although, with their 7 year plan I wouldn’t be surprised. Just some food for thought.

  4. modern masters tries to solve the card availability. The reserved list is what screws with legacy and vintage.

    next modern masters will see another slight increase in print run, if this set didn’t fulfill the expected effect on prices.

    banning sets, is certainly not going to help either. it will make other decks more popular, maybe even new ones and eventually create a very high demand for those cards.

    Imagine they ban tron lands somehow, and cloudpost will replace emptiness… cloudposts will be more expensive than tron land in the end. Certainly stimulated with a hype.

    creating holes is not going to solve things. you just create new problems. And nobody will be prepared for it, so it makes things even worse (maybe).

  5. I don’t have a premium membership to SCG so I can’t read his article but I don’t think any changes should be made. I like having cards like Blood Moon around to punish greedy players. There’s not enough nonbasic hate around in my opinion. It shouldn’t be easy to make 3-5 color decks if there isn’t the ability to punish those players for their greedy manabase, otherwise the color pie starts to mean nothing. Similarly, it should be possible to punish people for playing only single colors if you so choose. Cards like Choke and Boil allowed green and red to have something they could attempt to do to stop their opponents at a time when those colors kind of sucked. Decks that are vulnerable to Choke are rarely vulnerable to Blood Moon and the opposite is true. Both of those cards are also vulnerable to any number of counterspells that nobody is suggesting be removed from the format. These checks and balances are what makes Magic such a great game. Every strategy should fall victim to something else no matter how hated it is. Players tend to hate land destruction but resource denial is a tried and true method of winning games. What difference is there really between countering every spell you cast, making you discard all your relevant cards, destroying all your creatures, or destroying or keeping tapped a land that you need for color reasons to cast anything? Each of those control strategies can win the game and each of them has people that love and hate them.

    1. I think several Legacy cards could come over to modern just fine. Wasteland, Port, Back to Basics, and a couple others I believe would be fine. Port and Wasteland would make “Hatebears” tier 1 viable, while Back to Basics would be a fantastic way for decks with blue to hate on nonbasic land support.

  6. This comes off as far more of a personal salty issue from BBD.

    Hating a matchup doesn’t equal ban hammer. As an Infect player, I hate certain cards….they ban worthy? Nope. Just got to play around them. That’s the nature of the game.

    He is also against Bloom Titan along with Tron. Both are good decks, but are they smoothering the format? Each only had 1 in the top 32 of GP Charlotte. Hardly smashing the modern scene oppresively.

    I read more into it as his personal dislike, maybe he should stop testing against CVM so much as CVM did well with it.

  7. Of course there is punishment for running all the fetches and shocks. You take all the damage and lose to burn or aggro or bolt-snap-bolt. It’s the only reason why aggro is viable in Modern. Blood Moon is there to hose decks like Amulet Bloom or Tron; nonbasic lands in general don’t need much more hosing.

    1. This is just patently false. Burn is very beatable even with four-color decks in Modern. The burn hate is very strong in the format if you want to beat the deck and I’ve won plenty of games doing 6-8 damage to myself against the deck. It is a factor, but it’s not a huge one and it only matters at all against that exact deck.

  8. Good to know that BDD subscribes to the current M:tG design theory of “Smash dudes together and nothing else”. Just one more pro who I can completely ignore.

    Not only do I believe that 8th and 9th should stay in the format, I believe that M:tG design should shift back towards those trends, rather than MaRo saying that this that and the other is “too powerful” or “unfun” You know what is unfun? Boring cards. Spoilers that I don’t care about. Magic being less about “magic” and more about combat. Spells are fun. Trying to play around your opponents spells is fun.

    The short-term profits are going to come to an end one day, and Hasbro will dump WotC in a heartbeat.

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