Bans in Modern and Rally in Standard

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I wanted to start off with a little bit about the Modern bannings. I will keep this short as you are most likely sick of hearing about this by now- I mean, it has been, like, three days already. For those who somehow haven't heard, both Splinter Twin and Summer Bloom have been banned in Modern.

Most of us saw the banning of something in the Amulet Bloom deck, people have been calling for it for sometime now. While I'm not sure it was necessarily needed, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it as the deck was extremely powerful.

The banning that did catch people by surprise was Splinter Twin. While I think this banning also didn't really need to happen, I can see why it did. First, the deck was very very popular as far as Modern goes. In a format where the most popular deck is usually under 10% of the metagame, Splinter Twin decks often surpassed that if you combined all the different versions. Also, the deck was easily the best performing deck since the banning of Birthing Pod. For those two reasons- variety and dominance- Splinter Twin got banned.

So where does that leave us? I believe the decks that will have a huge upswing in the short term are Eye of Ugin decks. Whether it is Tron or the Eldrazi Black, I feel like these will easily be the most popular to start off with. This could leave Modern in a very dangerous place, as those decks are both weak to the same style of deck. These deck don't put up much of a fight against very fast aggressive decks or combo decks. So decks like Burn, Infect, Affinity, Storm or Griselshoal get ready, as it might be your time to shine.

Enough about that, let's talk about Standard. I have been doing some testing with the new cards, and while there have been some very fun and close to great decks I have come to the conclusion that Rally still seems to be the best deck in the format. Surprise, right? Due to the Eldrazi, Wizards wasn't able to print a card with an effect like Relic of Progenitus, so the graveyard is a pretty safe place to be. There are cards that can stop creatures from getting into the graveyard like Anafenza, the Foremost, but luckily for us she can either be bounced or killed.

Last week I was pretty excited for the card Matter Reshaper, but what I have learned is that this card is amazing but basically impossible for Rally to put into play. Anytime you draw it you either have to draw a Jace, Vryn's Prodigy // Jace, Telepath Unbound to discard it or you have to find a Catacomb Sifter to get the colorless mana to play it. While these are things you are trying to do anyway, it is a lot of work just to get one of the cards in your deck to work. This and the fact that it messes up your mana base is why I won't be playing it this weekend.

One card that I didn't mention last week that I will be playing is Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim. This card is another sacrifice outlet, a way to gain life, and it's also great in combat. This card helps your Atarka Red matchup by blocking and killing something and turning your Sidisi's Faithfuls into four life when needed. It also does a great job at pushing damage through due to its deathtouch ability. There have also been plenty of testing games where I get a huge Nantuko Husk due to a Rally but I don't get to attack with it so I then sacrifice the Husk to Ayli and gain a ton of life. While it might not come up often, in some of these games I have even gained enough life to use her second ability and exile some stuff.

While my list is in a constant state of change, if SCG Atlanta were today my list would look like this:

Keep in mind this list is still in flux- some of the cards are there because I like the interactions, but they might not be the best choices. An example of this is Ojutai's Command, which is great with Jace or Ayli. The value is huge, and against aggressive decks I'm just not sure how they beat gain four life and bring Ayli back if you have any board presence. Is that good enough? Like I said, I am still testing so I won't know without more info. If I missed something or if you have a sweet idea let me know.

Once again thanks for reading!

Follow me on Twitter @conanhawk

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