Saturday Brief – Summer Bloom and Splinter Twin Banned

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A man can't even have a peaceful Friday night without the entire Magic world exploding due to easily the worst Modern-related announcement in the format's history. Wizards has never made a Modern update or announcement that has forced a "Well then, I really think I'm going to quit" reaction out of me. That is, until last night:

Announcement Date: January 18, 2016

Effective Date: January 22, 2016

Magic Online Effective Date: January 27, 2016

Summer Bloom is banned.
Splinter Twin is banned.

I can't begin to describe the online reaction to this announcement. Or the metagame consequences. Or the implications for Modern as a whole. For now, all I can say is that the anger is more than justified and every single one of you is well within your rights to be furious, send angry emails and Tweets to Wizards, or just pack up and leave the format altogether.

I'll be publishing a more formal Banlist analysis next week, but wanted to put up this article as a place for our users to discuss the update in the comment section. Also, as a place for me to legitimately vent my frustrations with this sickening announcement.


When Wizards announced Modern in their inaugural "A Modern Proposal" article, Tom LaPille promised "As I said, many of you have called for a non-rotating format that doesn't have the card availability problems of Legacy. We propose Modern as that format." That's no longer true today. Although Legacy's card availability issues aren't present in Modern (even if the price tags of many staples suggest otherwise) Modern can no longer truly be considered a nonrotating format. It is now a rotating format where rotations are hamfisted through by banning decisions irrespective of metagame shifts.

This is a disaster for a format that is supposed to engender long-term investment, support, and buy-in from its playerbase. If Modern is the spiritual successor to Legacy, you should be able to buy a Modern deck and play it for years without fearing the deck's sudden banning. You should be able to safely invest your time, money, energy, and general resource with the promise of a long return. Today shows this is no longer the case in Modern. If you play a Tier 1 deck and the deck performs well, it can be banned. This will only heighten the ban mania that characterizes the format

The Modern management consequences are also severe. Since 2013, every single January ban update has featured a Tier 1 ban. Until now, we could write this off as a coincidence. In those previous cases, a deck was legitimately causing problems for the format (Bloodbraid Jund, Deathrite Ajundi, Pod, and Cruise Delver), and that required a January banning to rebalance the format. The Twin banning puts this into new light. Going forward, we are forced to consider the January ban update as the new artificial rotation schedule of Modern. Your Tier 1 deck may always be in the banning crosshairs just to "spice things up" a bit a the next Pro Tour. This hamfisted approach is sure to frighten new players away, terrify old veterans out, and overall exacerbate all the insanity around Modern bans that already existed.

If it sounds like I'm angry it's because yes, I'm angry. I'm mad because I love this format and regardless of the metagame justifications for this banning (which are thin, at best, and arbitrary, at worst), Splinter Twin's demise sends a message to players: Modern is unsafe. Affinity could easily attain Twin-level numbers over the next year. Will Affinity go next? What about when BGx, Tron, Eldrazi, Burn, or any other top-tier deck enjoys a sustained performance streak? Could they get banned too? I've defended Wizards for most of the year and fought Tooth and Nail against ban mania since the format's founding. In 2016, however, the ban mania is no longer just paranoid speculation. It's a real condition that players will need to keep in mind when investing in any Modern decks.

I'll see all of you next week with the proper banlist analysis article, but I'll be in the comments below to discuss this more. How do you feel about the bans? What are you going to do as a result? Are there contributing factors that you think are to blame in the update (the Pro Tour, the new rotation schedule, hype around new sets, etc.)? Or any comments on WHERE THE UNBANS ARE?? Bring it down to the comment section and I'll talk to you all soon.

194 thoughts on “Saturday Brief – Summer Bloom and Splinter Twin Banned

  1. I’ll just copy-paste my comment on the topic:
    “Well, there goes our dream of a stable format kept from degenerating by a number of “format pillars”.
    Modern is unofficially a rotating format, where each rotation takes place before the annual modern Pro Tour. Also, wotc’s stance towards bannings is now harder to rationalize than ever before.

    (This comes from an affinity player, I’ve just lost one of my worst matchups)”

    1. Also, I can’t see how my affinity deck can have any chances of staying in the format for more than a year: up until now I thought snap-bolt decks and powerful hosers out of the sideboard were enough to keep in check what I consider the most intrinsically powerful in the format, but today’s announcement makes it very clear that such metagame-related reasoning means nothing to wotc.
      Sorry for sounding angry, I swear it’s just my love for the format to make me sound like this, I may cool down a bit over the next few days.

    2. Wizard makes a gamble and hopes it pays of. Looking at the response from the community and thinking several scenarios through, it is a gamble with a huge risk with decent reward. I hope, it doesn’t pay off.

      Also, we lost in the last 3 years 2-3 format PILERS, those decks policed the modern format quite well and now, welp poop.


    3. Yep, Modern is officially a rotating format. Except it’s an unpredictable rotation that could hit anything just for the sake of spicing things up and not as part of a regular schedule. This will wreak havoc on players who just want a safe investment, and will ensure ban mania is absolutely insane for the rest of 2016.

        1. Seems unlikely since sword of the meek has been considered safe enough to put in the format and wasn’t unbanned this time around. Wotc seems to want to change the format up through bans rather than unbanning cards that will impact the format.

      1. We will have to wait and see how it pans out, but if banning twin allows them to unban blue and control cards and revive control as an achetype in modern, then this is a step in a long line of many future steps, to grow the format. As Sheridan himself said, one of the biggest fears to unbanning stoneforge mystic, was the real threat thay people would just stick it in twin decks and the already strong twin deck would gain the end game inevitability to break the format. I wish they would have unban stoneforge along side banning twin, but maybe thay happens next unban. We will see as time moves on, but they really should have ban twin a long time ago so people weren’t so attached and didn’t feel so safe behind its long history in the format. If every blue deck is just better by being a twin deck, and they can’t unban any blue or control cards for fear of twin become to strong, then we truly are in the same boat we were with Pod. Can’t print good creatures or pod gets more broken… can’t print to good of blue cards or unban jace or any other good control cards or twin gets more broken. It’s the same dichotomy and double edged sword Pod was. I think everyone is overreacting just because this kinda blindsided them. Let’s see a year from now and a few unbans later if this was actually the right decision. The sky was falling when Pod was banned too, remember that.

        1. Losing twin is actually a good thing for Death and Taxes, since 2 good matchups (affinity and tron) got a relative boost. Adding stoneforge to it right now would make it crazygood. I say this as a dedicated d+t player

      2. Maybe they don’t want multiple formats to be considered “investments”, which drives the price of everything up… in a freakin fun card game! I stopped playing BECAUSE of the mtgfinance “revolution” Sure, magic will always have a certain degree of buy/sell/trade, and its integral to the success of the game. But with so many people focusing more on investing than actually playing and having fun, the cost of decks for potential new players has become a burden. Legacy is the expensive investment-driven format. Stop trying to make Modern the same. Congrats wizards!

        1. But modern was supposed to be a stable format. You could build a deck and not worry about it rotating, which while we aren’t rotating if your deck does well consistently (the dream of any competitive player) then they may ban your deck to encourage diversity. In that sense modern was the finance friendly format (and still is despite) and an investment. Just because your deck only costs 600-800$ rather than 1300-3000$ in legacy doesn’t mean that people will be happy about having to rebuild. And the value of modern cards will only continue to go up as more players play and the older card pools dwindle. That is just how supply and demand work. They could rotate to maintain a cheaper format, but then why play modern over standard?

    4. Yes. I am so looking forward that Affinity ban next year. Then I will just flush my half a year of saving money and trading card to toilet. If they would ban something that would only make the deck worse. But their approach of let’s destroy all the money people spent is seriously scaring me.

  2. I started with modern building storm, then they banned song, then builded eggs, then they banned second sunrise, then i builded bloom and twin, and here we are. What can i do? I mean, the other decks were unfair and all that, but twin? Should i quit? They are playing with my time and my money

    1. I wish I had a way to assure you, but I don’t. If you play a Tier 1 deck, it could be banned just to make things more interesting for a single tournament. Stick with Tier 2 or Tier 3 decks if you want to have a safe investment.

      1. So they basically tell people that want to play Top Decks but also want stability to fuck off? See I lost some value in my Twins today, but that is not actually what pisses me off. What pisses me off that I can’t be confident that the format provides a stable environment. See I could have played Canadian Thresh in Legacy 5 years ago and that deck is still a topdog today and I don’t feel we will get this stability in modern and that just sickens me.

    2. Well, you can still play storm and playing bloom is still possible, just grab a playset of azusa, lost but seeking. It’s slower, but still distinctly a deck.

    1. I am considering a “no more Modern Pro Tour” tag or something similar. If this is the consequence of us getting a Modern PT, it’s way too high and not worth the coverage.

      1. I’m not sure if you’ve seen this tweet, but that’s basically exactly what happened.

        In a sense, I’m getting the feeling that they purposefully went for the highest-profile, craziest out of the blue ban to “punish” us for making them put a modern PT back on the schedule.

        As someone who liked the reactive controlling nature of twin, but not the combo finish, I’m actually cautiously optimistic that the banning could end up being good in the long-term, but they definitely need to get rid of the modern PT and the “rotation” that goes with it for me to have any semblance of security in the format. Just like you, this is the first time I’ve even considering selling off my (15k+) modern collection. I love the idea of modern, but it’s just so unappealing to play right now.

      2. Agreed. When they wanted to take away the modern PT, I didn’t like that. The cost of getting it back is, however, way too high. I vote for the modern PT to be cancelled given that the cost of it is as high as it is.

  3. Well, I just came from prerelease to see announcement of this bullshit level. Summer Bloom is no question, but Twin… It’s too much. I see peolpe all around say they quit playing modern when Pod got banned, but it seems like now there be even more of these.

    I myself play Storm and in our local meta there’s no one plays Twin, but still, looking at things like that is kinda terrifying. What now you can ask? I suppose, some people will tame Kiki-Jiki as new Twin-esc strategy when the others just shift the gears towards Blue Moon or Grixis/Jeskai contril shell. We will see how that things will go. I can’t quit modern though, it’s the only format I find fun playing.

    1. It’s really hard to justify buying into a top-tier Modern deck right now. Everything is in danger of banning just for being good and just because Wizards wants to make things interesting for a single event. This puts us in a situation where investments are dangerous and Wizards doesn’t appear to respect how players allocate resources to their decks.

  4. Someone has to say something positive here so I guess it’ll be me. I can truly empathize with everyone who needs a new deck now. Twin was large percentage of the metagame and probably more consistent than any other deck. However, it really rewarded skill level and that’s a positive thing.

    There are 3 reasons I like this:
    1. I’m a Johnny-Spike. Banning Twin should open up more brewing space in the format. For me personally, that’s a good thing.
    2. This is definitely going to make the pro tour more interesting. The implications of losing Twin will take quite a while to figure out and watching the pros try out their initial interpretations of it will be fun.
    3. If you played Twin you’re out $40. That sucks, but at least there isn’t going to be a price change in any of the other main cards in the deck.

    1. I also am happy with the Bloom ban. At least we got that one right! Furthermore, I think there is a lot of metagame good that can theoretically come out of this, although we need to wait and see how that scenario pans out.

      But the investment and player implications of this are dire. It’s not just losing copies of the enchantment. it’s the fear that your entire strategy and deck can just be banned because Wizards wants to shake things up. This justifies a whole new degree of ban mania and will likely push new and old players out of the format for fear of a ban on something they’ve put money/time/emotions/resources into.

      1. If anything it feels a twin ban respects player investment. While not a true replacement kikijiki still exists, and Except for Twin and deceiver exarch every single other card has TONS of other homes so ur financial implications are wrong. If affinity had say, arcbound banned, i honestly doubt itd stop existing as a deck. At worse fall down to Tier 2.

    2. I dunno how bad this will be for the Twin players.. If you had Twin, you already have Snaps + Bolts + Moons, so switching over to an albiet worse UR+ Control deck shouldn’t be too bad. Losing experience playing the deck (and all the attachment with that) is : (

    3. ” 2. This is definitely going to make the pro tour more interesting. The implications of losing Twin will take quite a while to figure out and watching the pros try out their initial interpretations of it will be fun.”

      Nope – we all know the new meta now – without Twin around Tron will be free to roam as the level 0 deck with Infect and Affinity the Level 1 choices. This is exactly what happened last year when Pod was banned and the PT meta became predictable with Abzan everywhere.

    4. I don’t think this will open up brewing space, though. I think Wizards’ analysis of Twin is fundamentally wrong; people don’t play non-Twin UR decks not because of Twin but because Splinter Twin is the only way to improve the match-ups against fast/big mana decks like Tron or now Eldrazi. You will not win a long game against Tron. That’s why Tron beats Jund and Junk so badly. I’ve played enough times with Blood Moon as Twin to know that Blood Moon-ing them doesn’t meant they’re dead. Further, the baseline against which to win will be what now? Enough lifegain to survive a burn deck? Being faster than Tron getting Karn online? The citing of Shaun McLaren’s Jeskai control deck *two years ago, before Kolaghan’s Command, Treasure Cruise, the banning of Pod, Collected Company, Ulamog, and Gurmag Angler in the format* as if that’s a perfectly viable deck now that Twin is gone shows an incredible naivety.

      The ripple effects mean decks that fought Twin decks like Grixis control, are now worse, as their natural prey is gone. Affinity loses a serious check against its dominance. Burn decks (and I’ll admit I’m biased because I’m not a fan of burn decks) gain a lot of strength. Splinter Twin forced Tron decks to interact with them, not just slam Tron piece after Tron piece into something ridiculous. Fast mana is going to be a serious problem for Modern moving forward. it always has been a problem in Magic, and always will be – the faster the mana the more degenerate things you can do.

      1. For this very reason I will be shocked if Affinity, Infect, Tron and Eldrazi don’t dominate the Pro Tour. If Wizards wants a colorless world they could not have done a better job.

      2. I’m a long time jund players. Your evaluation of the tron/jund matchup isn’t correct. Jund and junk as decks have made large strides in fixing their tron matchup and not having to worry about getting twinned out is going to make this much much better.

    5. As a grixis twin player: No im not down 40$. Im down 60 Euros, because i wont sell my twins for such a shitty price and i have to invest into pricy trapits, jaces and other staples, to transform the deck into something that i did not realy want to play in the first place. And telling people that they can still sell their valluable format staples isnt a good advice either, because you are down 10-50% of the card price everytime you resell your stuff, if you arent engaged into magic finance

  5. I thought long about this, more than 6 hours, going through the consequences of this, from both the metagame changes to the affected on the playerbase but you already addressed the most crucial problem:

    Not a single deck is safe anymore AND we have a “artificial” rotation cycle now.

    All other factors/facts/problems are meaningless, if the spirit of Modern is broken. From the former 4 pilers of Modern (Affinity, Jund (BGx), Twin and Pod) only two are remaining and as it seems like, sooner or later another one will get the axe for the sake of getting a fresh Pro Tour. This is not a format, I want to play, where from the former 4 policing decks (aka pilers) only 2 are remaining. Twin and Jund kept Aggro and Combo in check, Affinity policed anything grindy and slow and Pod kept people honest. Now only Jund and Affinity is left, something which will backfire. So, I see two possible outcomes with this “decision”:

    a) A (or more) new policing deck emerges (Scapeshift is a good candidate for this)
    b) The format crashes big time (Rock – Paper – Scissor system)

    And to be honest, to make this gamble with a very popular format, welp, guess they like the powerball stuff 😉

    Hence: If this is the toll that we have to pay to be on the Pro Tour, no thank you.


    1. I also agree that we could see other policing decks arise and maybe new pillars emerge. That said, you are right to be worried about the implications this will likely have for players who are investing in decks and those who are considering buying into Modern. If format pillars aren’t safe, it’s very hard to invest in Modern safely. You are basically relegated to a Tier 2 or lower deck, and even then, you need to actively root against your deck so it doesn’t rise to Tier 1 and maybe get banned. That’s a serious problem for a supposedly nonrotating format, and I expect it to have dire consequences down the road.

    2. I think the only safe tier 1 deck right now is Burn and BGx. I guess you can’t really ban out Burn (maybe Goblin guides?), and BGx will just find other goodstuff cards to replace whatever is banned. Heck, not even decks outside of tier 1 are safe! Depending on how it develops, it is possible we see an Eldrazi Temple ban.

      1. And than they are banning Goyf/Lilliana/Dark Confidant.

        Yes, BGx is just a deck, which slams the best interactive cards in the respective colours in one deck and try to win with this, but if the the overall powerlevel of the deck is to low, you will lose. And this might/will happen, if they ban something essential from BGx.


    1. Agree. The reasoning seems very thin and I am upset that Wizards doesn’t seem to share the nuanced analysis style many Modern players have themselves.

      1. To me, if they wanted to weaken twin they easily could have. A deceiver exarch ban could of possibly shaken the deck up enough to allow all the lightning bolts in the format to police twin better.

        Right now in modern we have Murderous cut, Terminate, Path to exile, abrupt decay and destructive revelry to fight twin, plus a few more I’m missing. Adding bolt to that by removing exarch could possibly have given decks what they needed to weaken twins share in the meta.

  6. The DCI should no longer be in control of organized play. An independent organism should come and rule formats from outside Wizards and not within Wizards itself.

    I do not agree with Twin banning just after being reprinted in mm2015. its just outrageous.


    BGx midrange player

    1. That’s a great idea. This decision seems overwhelmingly driven by market considerations and trying to amp up Pro Tour diversity, while having very little to do with the real state of the format. It sends a horrible message to prospective Modern players, and I fully expect this to cause major issues down the road as people think about getting into this format.

      1. Extended used to be a community driven format, right? I know it died, but maybe something can rise to the occasion and a new community driven format can spring up? A format where data determines the bans instead of marketing and other subjective things.

        1. Organized play needs to be managed by players for players. If a company is let alone to take such decisions. It is just natural their decision might be biased to sell more product regardless the community. They know we wont stop buying and playing, but we dont necessarily have to accept all their rulings as community.

          Its gotta be hard for twin players to go out of their deck, but as a BGx midrange player, (natural twin enemy) we are going to miss Twin decks a lot.

    2. I feel the same, I’m going to try to organize a group to play modern at my lgs how it should be, with twin as a important part of the format we love. All I could think to do when I woke up and read this was to ask wizards to read this, how one of the men who loves this format most along with many of the people who read this website for the love of modern feel about this. This is wrong and they need to know, I sent this to wizards staff, maro and Forsythe mainly. I can only hope they read it and see how we feel, they have shown that they will respond to pressure in the past when it’s justified. I imagine you’re hammering out an actually data driven article ( how we modern players do) about how this is wrong, and the outcry isn’t just from its pilots, people who will In the short term benifit see this as wrong too as I’m an affinity player.

  7. Wizards as a company has disappointed me over the last couple months. The banning of judges unexpectedly. The communication problems on what a proxy is. And now this. (and other small reason) There reason for this banning of twin are insane. I might be wrong here for saying this (since I have not fully researched this topic) But meta game wise it feels like this second lowest percentage of twin on there. Previously it being when UR delver with cruise was in the format. They are also looking at data from over a year ago to justify this. I also feel like twin is a meta call. And at the pro-tours it did well at it was the right choice for that weekend. It seems like they were not looking at the meta as a whole when they banned this and just the pro-tour. We are not at the overall 10-12% meta of pod anymore. Maybe wizards just hate combo decks. So what do we do now. We all just play affinity and make the meta 50% till something gets banned. But how do you diversify a meta game by just banning cards? Many of the magic cliental don’t play on the pro tour. The basically just said we don’t care about anyone else but the pros. I really do feel like I am about to quite this game. Force of Will seems like a fun and new time sink.

    1. Agree. All of these decisions hint at an underlying mismanagement and hamfistedness that really disappoints me. I have no idea how to tell players to invest in Modern with a straight face. The risks are just so high and it’s impossible to cover those up.

  8. This ban of splinter twin completely upsets me. While it does not directly affect me it took me off guard and a good friend of mine has been playing UR Twin since modern’s inception. It really bothers me mainly because twin was not oppressive to the format. This is coming from someone who plays abzan company where twin is a relatively poor match up. Twin was a deck that while you may not like playing against never felt truly broken or degenerate it just was how modern was. While I can see the argument of there being tons of variations of twin in modern, which is similar to birthing pod before its ban there are many key differences between the two that make this ban much more less justified. Pod forced creature decks to be all be built in a certain way because of its power, which did limit diversity, but it did not also have going for it the necessary policing twin had in the format overall. I think wizards is making a big mistake by banning twin. I really do not like the meta game criteria for banning decks for modern as it in my opinion is the least concrete criteria. Meta games by default shift a lot they are not set in stone, twin was just one of the longest running tier 1 decks in modern and therefore people had the confidence to invest in it and build it. Additionally people are going to build what wins. Therefore whatever wins will always have a large percentage of the meta.

    1. I also dislike the artificial shifts this announcement forces through. Metagames are meant to be self-regulating animals, just as nonrotating formats aren’t supposed to rotate. This ban policy shows Wizards will happily act despite metagame forces and will do so just to push single Pro Tour event. This is bad news for players who want to invest in Modern and put their money into the format, which is bad for longterm Modern growth and health.

  9. I walked away from FNM to this announcement. To say I was blindsided by it could be an understatement. And no unbans to sweeten the deal? My splinter twin deck is now worth pennies (well, not pennies, but still)? I didn’t play splinter twin all that much, but the deck has grown to be the poster-child of modern, and I felt like it was a safe investment just in case the decks I would brew with fell through. I feel like Wizards has just killed the proverbial sacred cow by axing a card that people have been playing in modern since the conception of the format. How could they do this to a card they printed in Modern Masters of all things! Nothing is sacred anymore. And looking at the metagame, it was looking diverse as ever. Twin had no shares of metagame that exceeded Pod. I am just at a loss what to say….

    1. I’m equally blown away, and dare I say “offended”, by the lack of unbans on top of this mindblowing Twin ban. We had such a diverse metagame and Wizards has to go and muck things up just to artificially veer the format to some new diversity. I can’t think of a worse way to drum up interest in Modern and try to encourage players to invest and play.

      1. TBH, with the speculation of a legacy master’s set coming out next year, they intent may well be to push people out of modern toward legacy. Got to sell them cards.

  10. I honestly don’t know if I can stomach this format anymore. This announcement sort of made me throw up in my mouth.

    The Summer Bloom ban, while disappointing, was expected. Amulet won too consistently, despite the fact that it had an extremely high skill ceiling and was a pretty cool deck.

    Twin, on the other hand, kept decks like GR Tron in check as well as some of the other linear fast aggro decks. Without it, we’re going to see a rather linear, non-interactive PT. Control as an archetype is going to be pretty much non-existent at this point. If we got an AV and a JTMS unban with it, control might be able to stick around even with Splinter Twin out of the picture.

    I feel like this is more of a publicity stunt by WotC. Ban a format pillar, don’t unban anything, and all of the attention will be focused on Oath of the Gatewatch. They apparently want their precious Eldrazi decks running amok in the format, and they’re sure as hell going to get that with Twin out of the picture.

    Another thought is that regarding the vocal minority. People were mad that their crappy little midrange/Timmy decks that don’t run removal or counterspells died to Twin, and WotC finally listened to them. If that’s true, that’s pretty pathetic.

    It might be a really good time to head on over to Legacy, since they don’t ban decks there for being good, and most of the games (with the occasional exception of Storm/Reanimator) are very good, actually having interaction between players and rewarding skill, with more than just turning creatures sideways (see modern after this announcement).

    1. If legacy was supported by wizards I would have played it a long time ago but the prices and lack of local support makes that impossible. The non-reserve list legacy format sounds more and more appealing.

      1. “The non-reserve list legacy format sounds more and more appealing.”

        For sure it does. The only reasons to not play legacy are 9/10 times the duals. There is a topic on reddit about Eternal Masters in the fall. Reprinting wasteland, force of will and rishadan port.

        I’m liking the No Reservation format idea, using legacy ban list, most likely

  11. I don’t why I got my hopes up – wizards have disappointed so many times regarding the modern format that I should be used to it by now. Everytime a B&R comes up near a PT everybody get all excited and talks all the possible unbans and how to improve the format. I really thought that this year they would take that extra step and improve the format by unbanning cards instead of keep banning them. I was certain that Stoneforge Mystic was coming off the list as it would push the format over to more fair meta with less aggro and giving white a much needed power boast. I even got my big brother interrested (a long time legacy player) but he have not wanted to play modern before because of the possibility of bans. And as a casual player I dont blame him. If they brought cards back that would mean that they had been going away from the crazy ban mania which surrounds modern and over to a more free modern format. Boy was I wrong. Instead they did the exact opposite thing, banning a format pillar and a policing deck non the less. This means in worst case that now the format will be even more combo, fast aggro, and big mana deck with no interaction as they dont need to pack removal anymore. Now there is nothing to keep it in check as jund have no chance of doing anything against those decks.

  12. Twin has been on my mind lately anyways; its a two card instant kill in a format where most combos need three or more cards. As long as the twin combo exists, none of the other combos are as viable. Wotc basically wants to slow twin down a turn by replacing it with kiki-jiki, which should give other decks a chance to shine

    1. A two card combo is not that easy to pull off when both parts of the combo are able to be interacted with in multiple ways. Compare that to a scapeshift combo, where you have an empty hand and top deck a scapeshift and win on the spot from an angle most decks can’t deal with.

      The combo aspect of splinter twin has diminished since its inception because of the ease of interacting with it. Once you play the most recent versions of the deck, you begin to realize that a turn four combo is actually pretty rare. The power is in the THREAT of a possible turn four combo, which allows your secondary wincons to be more effective.

    2. This is my feeling. It’s very consistent and wins a lot and is not as interactive G1 with an enchantment on a 4 toughness body. It also can wins off an empty board at end of T3 which is a turn decks should not be able to win by consistently. Goryos Vengeance can do this but not with the consistency or 10%+ meta share that Twin can. Wizards is setting the deck back a turn and making it rely on a boltable creature. It will still be a viable deck, it just won’t be format warping anymore.

  13. I think in a purely abstract sense, the format becomes more interesting (at least for some period of time) with Twin gone: if I could push a button to remove Twin and give everyone back the monetary value of their Twin cards, I would. As so often though, even when I agree with their decision I’m confused and dismayed by the reasoning they give. The problem, as you say, is that nobody can really have confidence in any Modern-related investment any more.

    More broadly, I don’t see how the format is sustainable with its current financial situation. Sam Black has written perceptively about novelty in a non-rotating format coming mostly from metagame cycles rather than new cards: Affinity is great one week, then gets hated out to make room for Jund, or Tron, and so on. The problem is that deck choice in Modern tends to be highly illiquid, not just because of personal attachment but because switching decks is so expensive. My chances of doing well in a tournament go down significantly if this is the week people pack their Stony Silences (or Blood Moons, or…), and that’s not a result of poor deck ‘choice’ on my part because it’s not a choice unless I’m very wealthy or well-connected. The most common and sensible approach is to pick a deck and stick with it, but if it does too well by WotC’s poorly defined criteria then I’m left with no deck and no wider experience of the format.

    The Modern singles market also looks increasingly like a perverse anti-lottery: which random staple will become unaffordable this week? If I wait a week too long to buy the set of Voice of Resurgence or Scapeshift I need, that’s it. The Modern Masters sets should have lowered prices and made it clear that the reprinted cards were safe, but they didn’t really do the former and no longer do the latter.

  14. I hate to say it, but this announcement by Wizards is a direct threat to the existence of this website. No matter what players thought of Splinter Twin, it was the card that brought balance to the force. I am afraid that modern is now a colorless format. How uncreative…there are five colors in magic and none are strong enough to see play in an “eternal format.” I do not see how this promotes any kind of diversity. For this website and modern to survive, my suggestion is to get to work brewing all kinds of crazy things that will combat the inevitable spike in Tron, Eldrazi, and Affinity. I want to see a lot of articles and videos on new brews.

    Lastly, I can’t help but think that Splinter Twin’s ban is temporary. This is going to cause a huge reaction and I think it’s going to force Wizards to backtrack.

    1. Like I said above, I’ll be shocked if the Pro Tour isn’t dominated by decks like Affinity that had a bad Twin matchup. I’ll continue to be shocked if they don’t dominate the Modern Grand Prix, leading to Wizards coming back with its tail between its legs on April 4 and correcting their error.

  15. I lost Pod last year and everyone laughed it off. The Pod players warned everyone – they’re coming for you next.

    This year they’ve taken away Splinter Twin. And I’ve noticed some Tron players laughing it off.

    Keep laughing, whatever deck you’re playing – it will be banned because eventually in 49 bans time the 50th best deck in Modern will be banned…

  16. How does this compare to the backlash with the last bannings a year ago?

    I wasn’t around, so I wouldn’t know if Pod needed to be banned, but Wizards is just really dropping the ball with this one. Too bad midterms are next week, now I can’t focus on studying :/

  17. Well, you really can’t be that surprised. LaPille was very frank about what would happen this January. He called the Bloom and Twin ban on the Mastera of Modern podcast months ago, and said point-blank that bans were about “spicing up” the Pro Tour. I actually called the Twin ban months ago, though I kinda thought they’d unban something irrelevant like Sword as a consolation prize.

    You’re a numbers guy, and I don’t blame you for believing WoTC cares about the same data you do. But if you take a step back from all the data and think about how WoTC operates. Your articles, while excellent, always made be roll my eyes because you seemed so assured that WoTC was actually trying to balance the format and actually cared about all the nitpicky guidelines you would lay out in your articles.

    In other words, there’s just logically no way they have the time to care about the intricacies of the format the way you do.

    Turn 4 rule this, meta game percentage that- it’s about the PT. It’s always been about the PT. This proves it.

    Time to sell my foil Jund deck.

    P.S. I nominate Sheridan to take over management of the Modern ban list. Then I might be interested in playing the format again.

    1. Actually, yes.

      I also nominate Sheridan to handle the banlist for modern. He does his homework, shows his work, and makes clear arguments. And we already know he puts more thought into the banlist than the WOTC representatives.

  18. I used to play pod, but when it got banned the criteria for the banning made sense. Wizards will print better creatures and pod could leverage those to their advantage and become more oppressive. So i switched to twin because it was skill-testing, interactive and above all else, fun. I’ve never enjoyed a modern deck as much a twin and I played it for years, slowly mastering it and learning all the in and outs of the deck. One misplay could cost you the game, but if you played perfectly, the deck rewarded you. Twin has been the posterchild of them modern format since its inception and it abided by the turn four rule and was easy to interact with. The ban just seems to me like wizards wanted to “shake-up” the pro tour. They say that twin made other blue-based strategies not as viable, when in reality, those other blue bases decks can’t compete with jund, tron or other fast linear decks. Twin was necessary so you were at least able to present a game winning threat early. Now there’s no reason to even play a blue based deck in modern with all these eldrazi decks and tron running around. What concerns me even more is that wizards is just banning things that they deem too good. What will it be next year? Tron? Affinity? Burn?

  19. I couldn’t agree more with your sentiments!!! I feel like twin is the embodiment of the t4 modern rule and more generally the embodiment of what modern is about, but here we go… It is true that it was pretty dominant with Jeskai control etc. but banning it won’t fix that. Chances are that Affinity (which was already insanely popular) will be statistically just as (or maybe even more?) popular going ahead. More bannings to come! :/

  20. Well, that ruined the start of what was going to be a good Saturday filled with prerelease fun. There were no viable grounds for banning Twin–banning it is tantamount to banning Force of Will in Legacy. I don’t understand Wizards’ reasoning behind this at all, unless it is, as Sheridan suggests, an effort to shake things up just for fun. I love this format and I respect Wizards, but this is, from the looks of things, just a covert and unexplained method of shaking up the metagame. With no more Splinter Twin police, what will happen to the format? Should any fair deck be banned simply because it has a arguably high metagame percentage? The implications for the format are deep, and I sincerely hope that Modern remains a format worth investing time and money into.

  21. I find the banning of Twin completely disgusting. The main problem is that it won’t just affect Twin, it will also have an impact on BGx, which will now be a much weaker deck as it loses to Tron, which will be the top deck going forward.
    I personally have Twin, Jund and Junk on paper and online, so there won’t be much magic for me in the future.
    I don’t think this banning helps diversity in the format at all, and now all we are left with is an unhealthy format which seems to be shifting towards Standard.

  22. I get that everyone is frustrated, but what is your alternative? Wizards knows (or thinks it does) that few people will actually quit. In the very least, the number of people leaving will be offset by tha numerous others who will just invest in another deck. Legacy is incredibly expensive and sees popular strategies undone by a banning (Omni-Tell, anyone)? Standard is the definition of a rotating format. Admit it: if you are reading a common on a blog about a competitive format for a collectible card game, then you are addicted and for all of your complaining are just going to keep playing.

    1. There’s plenty of ways one can keep playing without spending money. WotC cares about the latter, not the former. Want to read a story?

      I loved Modern and I started to play it when Kiki Pod became a deck. Over time I tried out every incarnation of the deck and grew fond of it and of the format. In the meanwhile I basically abandoned any other format (I used to play Legacy and Limited, with some rare incursions in Standard territory). With Pod’s ban, my interest in the format took a huge hit. I have the pool to build most blue-based decks, as well as BGx and (of course) Chord/Company decks. So I tried some of those, but I couldn’t really find another “true love”. I was already quite disenfranchised. But after Twin’s ban, honestly, I am horrified at the idea of playing a format where you either play big mana or non-interactive aggro-combo decks. Those are strategies I cannot stand. Besides, I’d have to buy a new deck because the 3 (three) deck shells I own are probably going to become tier-2 material. What do you think I will do?

      I built a Cube last December. I designed a list, bought more than a hundred of cards for less than 50€ and proxied the expensive ones. My friends love it, it’s fun and always fresh. We play at least once a week and everybody gets to express their opinion about the metagame: if there is consensus that something is over/underpowered, it gets fixed. It’s the most rewarding and fun Magic I have had since a long time.

      I don’t think I will go back to competitive Magic anytime soon (even though I like to keep on reading about it, as you can see). Honestly, Magic is just a game for me: I like to be competitive, but I was not going to become a Pro, much like most people here. I just don’t have the necessary dedication, nor I really want to pursue such a “career”. So, why bother? Time and money are precious, I don’t want to waste them on a format that I cannot truly master since it will be arbitrarily turned upside-down on a yearly basis. Cube is cheaper, more fun, and you can enjoy a beer while you play. WotC is not getting any more of my money.

  23. I am upset but at the same time I understand the banning of twin. But the only thing that has really gotten to me is that tron was not messed with at all. That is really disappointing to me. My playgroup and I have never had any luck when it came to beating tron. It has basically been an accepted fact that no matter what we play tron is just going to win and I really feel like that is a problem. Now since twin is out there is little to nothing that actually stands in trons way. Something should be done about this issue with the format.

  24. I’m worried there’s no “police” but at the same time, wizards justification seems right, I mean all decks I ever brew had twin to worry about and it just frees so many slots for other tier 2 decks… so diversity wins in the end?? What diversity we will be into is what worries me, we’ll see
    I’m surprised but not entirely upset, I can’t wait to see what I can come up with now that it is gone

  25. I just wanted Sword of the Meek unbanned. I expected something to be banned (namely out of Amulet Bloom), but to take Twin out of the format at the same time, and not give us anything else? Terrible. I agree that the justification was at best arbitrary, but the subsequent tweets about Ancestral Vision (“Visions will be up for discussion once we see how the post-Twin world plays out”) and Sword of the Meek (“Sword just makes Lantern more obnoxious, no?”) are salt in the wounds. Lantern Control wouldn’t even play Sword, there’s no room and their win condition is fine! Welcome to the Yu-gi-oh! era, when decks are rotated by the banlist and millions of players’ dollars are erased by 500 words or less.

  26. With twin gone, junklike decks won’t be able to police the format effectively, and it will devolve into “who goldfishes first wins”, basically. Very little interaction, even more lopsided post-sideboard games… A far cry from the great meta of 2014, which had awesome, skill intensive matches like twin x pod or UWR. In a vacuum, affinity is simply the best deck now, and plating the most powerful thing you can do in this format… Expect something from it to get banned a year from now.

  27. i think most people are underestimating the single most important fact of Twin’s ban:

    it was not just a T1 deck among others, it was the T1 deck with the greatest probability of winning the PT (or any major event really), Jund for instance despite being a t1 deck had an extremely low chance of actually winning the PT, it was either Twin or mayybe affinity or a rogue deck that caught the field by surprise (most rogue decks have horrible Twin MUs though), so now that Twin is gone it’s really impossible to predict the next winner, so maybe that was the goal all along? that and opening designing space in blue both as new prints and as unbans

    i’ve thought over it again and again and from a competitive standpoint figuring out the right variant of Twin is almost always the best meta call one can make in any major event as apart from a variety of easy MUs against a considerable part of the field, with a bit of luck (Moon, topdecks) ,good sideboarding and tight plays you can beat games you had no buisiness winning

    also there’s no MU you lose hands down, something that few decks can claim

    even in the mtgsalvation forums despite i’ve argued over it many times, people constantly underestimated Twin and overestimated BGx which is a rare sight in recent top 8s (ok apart from the latest SCG victory, no offense but it almost felt like seeing Germany winning a war)

    so imo the two decks that got banned is the most degenerate(bloom) and the most competitively successful (Twin), so i can;t say i’m shocked, i can say that i am a bit surprised by their resolve to shape the format according a very specific vision

      1. well there have been times when it was hard to tell which one was it and times where it was kind common knowledge, when it fell into the 2nd category something got banned, i suspect that they are a few bans/prints away from achieving the result THEY want

  28. What I honestly don’t understand about this is that URx Twin had about as much metagame share as the GBx decks… The DCI stated Temur Twin in it’s analysis and that variation hasn’t been popular in months which ought to tell you how popular Temur Delver is going to be now that the Twin shackles have been released….

    They also cited tourney results and am I crazy in thinking that Twin has had about as much success as Affinity in terms of top 32 results? We had Merfolk and Lantern Control win major tournies this year…

    This is so laughably bad and I’m afraid for the format given the repurcussions in the metagame… Twin was the best control deck in the format because it’s wincon was any turn after turn 4… it would be fine for the metagame if other control decks had a decent resilient win con before turn 15 or had a snowballs chance of getting to that point… Control doesn’t exist because you can’t get to your wincon reliably….

    There was nothing in Twin that was affecting that… So the reasoning the DCI gave screams of tonedeafness to the point where every players confidence in the system should be shaken by it…

    The Twin ban, whether you play it or not, is not good for the format….

  29. WotC has said before they don’t test Modern. I think the bans and lack of new cards printed show it. We know why Twin was supposedly banned, to shake up the protour, but is it too much to ask that Wizards test protour formats? Modern is the 2nd most important competitive constructed format, and vying with limited and commander for 2nd place overall compared to standard. Can we get some actual testing and proper curation?

    The thing is, without unbans or new cards, the format gets stale. As we’ve seen in the past, bans don’t open up many new decks compared to new cards being printed. Collected Company opened up a ton of new decks, and it’s unlikely those decks would have existed by just banning pod. Wild Nacatl ban was another case, except there was no CoCo like printing, and non-Affinity aggro basically just died. You can’t just nerf diversity into existence. You get people playing new decks by getting them excited with new cards.

    1. Although, CoCo arrived some months after the Pod banning which WotC had to have known in advance while we didn’t. Is it possible that a quasi-replacement for Twin arrives in April? And before you just say “No, Splinter Twin is unique and inimitable” ask yourself if you would have said the same about Pod last January.

  30. All of this comes down to Wizards wanting an exciting format to watch for the first pro tour of the year, partly the pros complaining that the format doesn’t change, partly Wizards thinking that people only watch a pro tour with new things happening in them. This is a big reason why a non-rotating format should not have a pro tour. It gets plenty of coverage from Opens and GPs, it does not need the pro tour for coverage or marketing purposes. It’s doing nothing but ruin the format for the sake it uprooting it.

    I put up my Jund and Delver deck on MKM when I heard, I’m not interested in playing this format anymore.

  31. I’m so mad about this ban. The justification was weak and I believe it had everything to do with the modern pro tour. I would encourage anyone who cares about the format at all to not watch this pro tour at all. I feel like one or two more bans like this will just kill modern completely.

  32. Hi,

    why not could be reduce a card instead of it’s banning? Why cannot be talk for example: “Twin will be not banned, just reduce to maximum 2 or 3 in a deck”. It could be do more weaker, but Twin banned send me out of modern events…..


  33. Too many comments to reply to all of them individually, but know that I’ve read them and am hearing all your concerns and worries.

    A very important takeaway for this site is that ban predictions seem to be based SIGNIFICANTLY more on T8 shares than on metagame-wide shares. Our tiering will remain the same for the purposes of describing a metagame, but we need to use T8 shares more when figuring out bans. It’s clear Wizards cares much more about these high-profile wins than the more detailed numbers, which is a very sad turn of events.

  34. After reading a lot of comments on this ban, and previous bans, all I have to say is: stop playing decks that give you easy wins. If you find yourself grinding games that you lose 50% of the time, then youre probably okay. Win turn 4 every tournament, and you might as well sell the deck before the next ban cycle.

    People seem more mad that they have to fight for their wins now. Same issue when Pod players lost their shit. Get over it.

  35. Overall i m quite happy of what happened, we are only two it seems 🙂

    I always found amulet bloom a beautiful deck but to far from my idea of playing magic.

    I wanted twin to take the heat as well (altough it would have been better to ban deceiver in my persoective) as it was very stable in its result and was too consistently winning on t4.

    Things are shaken up (how could they not) but i am pretty sure that we will see soon a new balance. I played twin since the begining and i enjoyed it a lot. This is now behind me and i am eager to try new things (eldrazis ?)

  36. I for one agree with both bannings i thought the sure fear of turn threee deciever turn for twin was too much and that the deck by far not just in pro tours or gps but in star city and pptqs and rptqs twin has won enought to consistantly be too strong and bloom needed the axe. i think affinity loses to alot of hate but twin was able to get hated and still consistantly win with snap bolt and tasigur or other win conditions.

  37. Okay let’s be honest with ourselves, Splinter Twin completely warped the format and outside of that all your cards are still completely viable in a slightly less oppressive deck. Snapcaster-Bolt decks are still going to be around, and will likely still define the format to a certain extent in a different deck (or a similar strategy with kiki-resto and the like). Everyone thought the sky was falling when Pod was banned and then it turned out Modern was so much better without it. The only thing that I found strange was that they didn’t make an effort to unban something good for blue decks. Without Twin it seems like they would be free to bring back good cantrips or whatever.

  38. I am speaking as an experienced player that got into the game when Ice Age was the next big thing but took a break after the broken Urza’s saga and got back into the game just a couple months ago.

    And let me tell you, splinter twin is what got me totally disgusted by the game just a few weeks after getting impressed by how the limited environment has developed.

    Remember channel/fireball? Well the website is new to me but I remember the combo. Two card combos that can happen without creating a deck around them never ever ever ever deserve the right to exist unless we’re talking about a fragile late game combo. Two cards you have to actively maindeck around that end the game on turn four is something very different to that.

    The big problem with this ban is not the ban itself. It’s that they should have seen it coming a LOT sooner. If splinter twin had been banned as soon as it was discovered how obviously broken the card was, it would have been easier to manage the field of that have been developed since then.

    We’re surely facing a season or two of lopsided metagame but I think this is necessary in the long run. In other words, what Wizards need to do is to stop printing three mana counterspells and really print some cards that make a reactive deck work in modern. Their argument that the jeskai control deck is restricted in design is a completely valid one to me. It seems obvious to me that any time you have blue and red in your deck you will automatically put twin in it, or it will be a bad deck. BUT THEY NEED TO PRINT SOME ACTION TO MAKE THESE COLOURS WORK.

  39. For me, Modern is over. I do not and never did play twin. WotC cares only about their profits and tge marketing the PT does to help increase those mentioned profits. It’s time for us to do something. If we want to play Magic as a game we love, we need to act. Tiny leaders was created in the past. We, as a community, can do the same. The DCI must fall. We can’t decide what is printed or not, but we can regulate a community driven banlist for Modern. Fuck WotC. Fuck the ProTour. We won’t play that, the vast majority of us play weekly at the LGS level to have fun. WotC doesn’t care about that. It is time for us to create a “casual” format that serves as the real Modern we want, free from the malevolous influence of the DCI.

  40. I think this banning, while out of the blue, is a signal that wizards is going to attempt to make control a REAL archetype in modern. Before the twin ban it was impossible to print good blue control cards, counterspells, card draw, etc, without it going straight to Twin and having that simply be the better deck. While I understand the frustration of many and also worry about the potentially serious short term metagame consequences, I feel that this is a positive long term ban and allows for more potential creative space to be opened up. If they want control as an archetype this ban was very likely a necessary one at some point. I don’t think they were targeting Twin simply because it’s tier 1 and they felt like being bullies, please try and be objective and see wizards larger motives behind this ban. I know many of you guys are frustrated but I’d ask that you hold on and keep your eyes on the horizon. Don’t let this ruin the format for you, there is plenty of good stuff in moderns future!

    1. pretty sure everyone has been waiting for good blue cards… dig and cruise were great but were a little overboard in power level.. there was no good reason to play blue besides the twin combo and snapcaster and maybe serum and dispel… that’s why everyone tried to splash for a period…

      the long term implications is the big worry…. it would be fine if WotC had a clear vision and parameters around bannings for the format… but we don’t have that…. the game has been growing wonderfully and the game was as diverse as it’s ever been… the bloom ban followed precedent… the twin ban was UNPRECEDENTED… the same logic for twin could be applied to GBx or affinity since they are equally oppressive to GB colors and in the case of affinity, aggro…

      it just seems incredibly random that they would ban twin…

  41. I’m not at all a fan of banning entire decks, I’d much rather them neuter them (as I believe they’ve written they’d try their hardest to do). But I’m hopeful Wizards ran the numbers right, if it had to go, it had to go.

    On a personal note; I feel like I just dodged a bullet. Pod got banned, and after my 10 month hiatus, I strongly considered Twin.

    Lesson learned; Don’t buy into skill intensive decks in Modern.

    1. I’d say the lesson here is more precisely “Don’t buy into decks that can win instantly with an appropriate topdeck”. Such decks are both inherently powerful and inherently un-fun for opponents, giving themselves a huge target for bannings.

  42. Its odd they didn’t just ban Exarch if they wanted to lower the power of the deck while still keeping it viable.

    It would allow all of the twin targets to be boltable, and may have forced them to become a 3 color deck splashing green to continue forward which would have restricted their ability to board in Blood Moons.

    But nope, gotta ban everything to get people to buy more cards, can’t have people playing the same deck for too long.

  43. I feel like this is more of a financial decision than anything. Going forward WotC is going to push Modern as Standard 2.0 with defined aggro, midrange, and control decks. If a T1 deck doesn’t neatly fit into one of those categories it could potentially be banned to make the format, and lets face it the PT more “interesting and diverse” regardless of the outcome. They are cool with decks having a combo, but not with combo decks. Newer players weren’t around when the archetypes of Infect/Affinity/etc were in Standard so they are more interested in eventually playing Abzan on steroids someday.

    How do you sell a MM set? By pushing all of the B/G/X and expensive Control staples. Those are the types of cards that move MM boxes. Twins, Pestermites, Stars, Spheres, and cheap Burn/Infect/Affinity staples (other than lands) don’t. Not only that a forced rotation of a T1 deck every year for the same rational forces people into buying more cards.

    The lack of Modern reprints in Standard and supplemental product, the bi-annual instead of annual MM printings, and these types of bans don’t leave me with a lot of confidence in WotC’s handling of Modern. It would be great if WotC made the cards and another impartial organization other than the DCI handled the actual games and formats. WotC is a business and will do everything in their power to make as much money as possible.

    1. Though if an “impartial” organization sets ban lists there’s no guarantee that a Modern PT would fulfill Wizards’ goal of promoting new cards to sell packs, as those new cards might not pass muster in the format (perhaps they’d be held too far back by Twin). Consequently there would be no incentive for Wizards to hold a Modern PT except to engender goodwill from us, the community. It seems the PT is the problem, not the bannings per se.

  44. As a brewer i found that twin was very oppressive, i am quite happy with the ban and which there was more bannings than just Twin and Bloom. The last piece i would have liked banned would have been Moon, it would have to be the last oppressive card apart from choke, now that would be a meta flip. Though i do believe Moon to be a very good police card and should it be removed we may have a lot more than 3 color decks.

  45. Yea I’m pretty much done with having any faith in modern. And heck, I didn’t even play Twin recently, there were plenty of fun decks to play around with. But wizards inaptness at handling reprints and now this recent banning just makes me dislike the format.

  46. “Modern is now a rotating format”

    Hysterical much? Wizards’ justifications are reasonable; Twin kept other blue decks out of the format. With Twin as the best deck in Modern, it limits Wizards’ design space for blue because it serves to make the combo more consistent and better-protected. It exerted oppressive pressure on control, midrange, and aggro decks alike, fucking up the rock-paper-scissors of the format.

    How many times have we been told that Twin players board out the combo in matchups where they don’t need it? Think about the implications of that. A control deck that has the option of killing t4 after interacting on every other turn. A control deck that can race aggro decks.

    Think about why Twin is a bad matchup for Affinity. Twin disrupt the robots and wins on the turn Affinity *should* be winning. It has Affinity’s speed along with powerful interaction. Bolt-Snap-Bolt is still backbreaking for an aggro deck, now you Izzet mages need a win condition that isn’t as fast as the decks you beat up on, and surprise, you’re a control deck and the format is balanced again.

    That being said, I’m afraid of how powerful Affinity’s going to be without Twin and I’m positive that the banning is experimental. It might turn out that we have a horribly degenerate format full of combo decks too varied to hate out. Alternatively, the grindy midrange decks that Twin steamrolled might keep aggro back, while draw-go keeps the likes of Jund and Abzan in check, not to mention aggressive combo decks.

    1. “Twin kept other blue decks out of the format”

      You’re joking right? Blue based control decks have a good MU against Twin, and if they would’ve found any success it would be in a meta with Twin in it. Not a big pile of bear magic decks where half of the creatures have persist and has built-in card advantage that is hard to manage. They would want Twin to beat their bad MUs then beat Twin. No one is saying Twin wasn’t a tier 1 deck. But even the UWR champion Shaun pointed out the exact same thing.

      1. Twin didn’t keep other blue decks out by beating up on them, it kept them out because any control shell you could build would be improved by adding Twin, which is why we had Twin decks with every single color combination possible.

        1. this is just completely wrong… if any control deck was viable outside of twin it would have popped up somewhere…

          the meta post ban will bear this out… there is no control deck out there that can handle any of the tier 1 matchups currently sans twin…. not having twin doesn’t all of a sudden make this better… it’s not like these guys are getting any new cards to help….

          if anything those decks preyed on twin decks…

  47. Believe me, I’m angry too. This was a deck I bought into and really enjoyed playing, grindy control with an combo emergency button is my forte in both modern and edh. Now I am back to delver and many of my cards have lost value. However, despite this hellscape we are about to traverse, where robots and Eldrazi run wild, I’m cautiously optimistic. Blue is often considered the strongest color in magic, and this hold true for legacy, vintage and edh, but not for modern. I think Splinter Twin may of been holding us back, a relic from standard’s past that disallowed WOTC from printing better quality cards in blue and unbanning some. For ages we have cried for control to become truly viable in modern and now, with Splinter Twin being banned, that is possible.

  48. As a Living End player who just lost his worst matchup… I’m blown away, screw this format. I’m out. I tried to build Pod and got punished last year. I can’t imagine how many people feel the same thing today. And I won’t have it happen again. I’m selling my cards before this gets worse.

    Standard is dumb and I’m too poor for Legacy so I guess I’m an EDH player now.

  49. Thank you, Sheridan Lardner. I am tinkering with the idea of RG Titanshift, as it’s ramp enables T4 kills while still having a solid back up beatdown plan… like Twin (i.e. my favorite part of Twin decks). I saw you post about RG Titanshift in December, and am curious as to your opinion. I just wish it had interaction, or room for the classic Snap + Bolt strategy, as now there isn’t a real blue deck available in Modern than can do run such a list.

    I imagine I’ll tinker with the idea and ask friends about it, but to be honest, the biggest problem is that Modern is now a rotating format… without predictable rotations. THAT is why I don’t want to play anymore. I hope WoTC reaps their rewards here.

    Thank you for this article Mr. Lardner… it’s good to know that I’m not insane for being so outraged.

  50. There might be a way to have things both ways.

    If Wizards’ goal with this banning was to shake up the PT, they can still do that without shaking up the format – just adjust the ban list for this one event and have the pros play it while the rest of us keep our Modern as is, at least for a while. Treat the Modern PT as an experiment like they did with the Vancouver mulligan.

    1) We get information without having our investments evaporate. If we don’t know what a Twinless meta looks like, who better to figure it out than the pros? Basically Wizards gets to outsource their playtesting to them and can then base actual ban decisions on an observed meta instead of a hypothetical one.

    2) We get to see something new. Does anyone not know what a typical Modern meta looks like? Do we need pros to feel out a meta whose predator-prey relations are already well known? Not really and no. This way we get to see new decks that maybe have never existed before and that just might showcase new cards making Wizards happy. Of course, I can already see the Twitch chat filled with people saying “Twin jst beatz that dwck wtf lol”, but if those people actually listened to themselves then maybe we could talk about what a Twin ban accomplishes without launching people into furious rage.

    1) The format being played might never be relevant if the tentative banning doesn’t become real, so why watch? First, there will still be relevant matches to watch. If there is no Twin there will still be GBx vs Infect, UWR vs Tron, and whatever else. If a few card choices are different will anyone really notice or care much? I doubt it. Second, we don’t know at the time whether the test banning will become real or not, so the shown meta might very well be worth knowing in advance.

    2) Players new to Modern might be confused. This issue only exists if the distinction is never mentioned, but that’s easy to fix. Simply program a commentator to mention “Twin is banned at this PT but not in Modern at large” every time a displayed life total is incorrect or a game state described incorrectly. And it might be fruitful to have the commentary teams look at how Twin’s absence affects specific games, if at all. The bigger problem is when a new player builds a deck that has serious trouble with Twin and gets repeatedly crushed by it. Though if that happens a lot, then perhaps a Twin ban is a good idea anyway?

    Note: I’ve referred to Twin specifically here but it’s the whole concept I’m proposing, not just as applied to that specific card.

  51. I just started to buy and trade in for a modern deck. However, I feel quite unsure now, if it’s worth it, even though modern is supposed to be non-rotating and decks could be used for a long time. Besides the larger card pool, this stability was one of the main reasons to get into the format.
    Again, I am new to the format, so my predictions are probably far off. But with this banning, WotC sends weird signal: You can’t be sure what they ban next. On one hand they have the (in my opinion good) turn four rule, but they also ban what they like it seems. Basically,you have to play a deck which is under the radar and hope, that they never print a card that pushes your deck to tier 1… Seems quite stupid…
    I really hope that wizards thought that through. Somehow… maybe?!
    I am sorry for the twin players, nobody saw that coming.

  52. I don’t understand why everyone is so mad about this. Nearly every data driven article I read suggested that Twin was a candidate for a ban, but very unlikely because it is a format defining archetype. The reason it was banned wasn’t because it was demonstrated throughout the year that, “all you have to do is add the twin combo to this deck and then it will take down events.” The card was hurting diversity because the only viable blue strategies were based around it and those strategies played the, “just add twin to win” game. That was the problem. That’s what was referenced in the announcement in a few more words as the problem.

    It is earth shattering news, that much is true, but if the format is really going to be healthier then it should still be a great place. People who bought into twin still have most of what you need to play blue in modern so it is still a non rotating format.

  53. After hours of rage, I’m trying to calm down and think about possible positive outcomes.
    The only positive argument that comes to mind is: Stone Twin (as a category of Twin-splashing-broken-stuff-decks) was a nightmare, now we can unban/create new tools for blue in modern without spiking twin.
    So this ban is of a new kind: a prearranged one. This is a new precedent for Ban/Unban.
    What strikes me is that, if this argument is true, why not unban/create tools and see how the metagame goes before announcing? If Twin spikes in popularity/power then you have some obvious reasons to ban twin and people don’t freak out.
    This announcement should have ban Summer Bloom, unban something potentially broken and only then let us think about banning twin.
    The way it was done it’s just enraging.

  54. I can see why people are upset! But one of tge main reasons being stated is that twin was a police deck!! No twin was an oppresive deck sure it had some great matchups, but that was due to the controling side of the deck. With twin in the format there was no reason to not jam twin into any control strategy, this is shown through the fact we had UR, grixis, temur and jeskai. These decks can now all evolve into there own identity whether that is control or tempo. I believe that it will only improve the format.

    P.S i love ur articles and this website, but this is the first article i have read, that i dont think is correct or properly analyzed! But pls stick with modern this will be a good thjng!!!!!

    1. Twin was not at all oppressing other blue strategies. This is a misconception that I’ve seen repeated time and time again. One of the best match ups for most control decks (Esper, UWR, etc) was Twin.

      The removal of Twin also opens up a vacuum in the format that is going to boost the power of the decks that Twin kept under control, which in turn is going to hurt all blue strategies. The banning of Twin makes blue as a whole weaker, and other strategies (aggro, ramp, midrange) much weaker. This isn’t a difficult conclusion to come to, you just have to know which decks struggled against twin (aggro, ramp, midrange) and which didn’t (control, most blue decks) to know who the loser of this ban is. I’ll give you a hint, its not the creature-based decks.

      Besides, now that Wizards has set a precedent in regards to bans, it wont’ be long before Tron, Infect, or Affinity have their heads on the chopping block as well. Gotta keep the format “fresh”, yo.

      1. Its not thet control was bad against twin, it is the fact that any control deck may aswell jam twin!! That is just fact, that is the reason there was 4 top teir iterations of twin, because u may aswell run it for the free wins. And that is bad for the format! But that is only looking at it in a vacuum! This may be bad for the format overall, but i dont think so because ppl will now explore the other decks!!

        1. The question is then, why is there a need to jam Twin into control decks? Well, lets look at the other options control has in Modern as far as win-cons are concerned.

          Batterskull? Nope. Nowhere near good enough.
          Restoration Angel? No dice.
          White Sun’s Zenith? The Esper control deck runs it. It is definitely a finisher, but not at all an amazing finisher.
          Plainswalkers? Too slow. You’ll get slaughtered by aggro/ramp/midrange before you can deploy them.

          So that leaves us with Twin as the sole good “win-con” for control in Modern. This begs the question, is it really Twin that was the problem, or that fact that in general blue in modern is incredibly, incredibly weak? The latter is most definitely the actual answer. I didn’t even delve into the other problems with blue in modern, which again points to the exact same thing. Twin was widely played not because it was oppressive, but because blue is bad in modern.

          In regards to the health of the format, lets examine the “pillars” of a healthy format. Aggro, Combo, Midrange, Control, Ramp. Modern currently has three of these, now that its premier T1 combo deck was gutted. Control hasn’t been “viable” in modern for quite a long time. So this leaves us with a format consisting of ramp, aggro, and midrange. Hardly a healthy format.

          If this trend of “shaking things up” continues, eventually Modern will be nothing more than Super Standard, which I know would be the dream of some people. This is NOT a good thing for the format as a whole, and I think Wizards is going to realize that after the PT. If the Pro Tour consists of tons of aggro/midrange/ramp, which I think it will, something will have to change.

          1. Yeh control is in a bad spot in modern and needs help! But that could not happen with twin in the format! Anything that improved control would have made twin even better! Its not that there are no win cons good enough, there was no point finding one because well twin! I might play control nah just play twin, i might play tempo nah just play twin!!

          2. the biggest issue i saw with the announcement was how it referenced temur tempo and uwr decks… the twin variations basically only splashed the third color for tarmogoyf and resto/path… the past iterations of temur tempo and uwr decks died for specific reasons… cruise in the case of tempo and slowness for uwr…

            it is incredibly worrying how out of touch the annoucement was from reality….

  55. This doesn’t solve anything as there will always be ‘best decks’ in any one format, there are always going to be tier one decks, it’s just how the game works. It’s a vicious cycle to keep banning things, it just means in two years time we end up with Standard 2.0 once everything deemed ‘too good’ is gone.

    I think people need to boycott the format, stop showing support and interest/attendance when Wizards are treating it like a joke, get rid of it as a PT format as well if that’s half the problem. Who wants to invest hundreds of dollars only for six months later ‘Sorry pal, your tier one, go take an early retirement on the ban list’.

  56. Well this basically just confirms how poorly wizards manages things these days. Think about this. After mm2 was released I read an article where someone asked what the odds of them banning amulet bloom was. Response was ” LOL, we aren’t going to ban the deck, why else would we put prime time in mm2 for?” Also what purpose did splinter twin serve in mm2 limited format? This all goes back to a great article written on mtggoldfish on how wizards manages their reprint equity. They reprint those cards so people will buy them, then they pulled the rug out from under those peoples’ feet. People wake up, this is a big indication that wizards is all about the money.

    You don’t think they notice that people are brewing eldrazi decks in modern now and what the matchups are like? The knew eldrazi deck just beats the crap out of midrange gbx decks. Grixis control might as well just stay home. So by taking out twin, they are hoping someone will make a high finish with their new eldrazi in modern, thus creating more demand and driving standard sales.
    Also how does banning splinter twin open up an actual control strategy? This doesn’t make blue good. There are still no good finishers compared to the speed of other decks. There is no counterspell. With dig-through-time, I would say control has a lot better chance but that won’t happen because wizards based off nothing but speculation said that delver decks would dominate. What other blue cards are going to magically come out and be good all the sudden? JACE BELEREN? lol. Also please explain how it limits their design space for new blue cards when wizards has clearly stated “THEY DON’T TEST FOR MODERN, ONLY STANDARD AND LIMITED.” So please, stop justifying these ridiculous bans with fiction when the facts are out there.

    People, flood wizards with complaints and make your voices heard. They are literally just looking at decks that win and going after them to shake it up. They are basing this off nothing else, there is nobody grinding numbers like sheridan at wizards. Just looking at wins and top 8s because that is so easy a wizard could do it.

    SO this is the most screwed up thing. If your deck is good and wins too much, it will get banned. Not maybe, it will. So you have to actively root against your own deck so you can enjoy playing it and not wasting your cash? The worst thing amulet bloom ever did was get 2nd at last years modern pro tour. Made it popular and now its gone. Affinity players, might as well not even play this year as you will just be left with a bunch of trade fodder after next january if your deck wins, and it will.

    I am all in favor of taking modern off the pro-tour. Wizards has proven they literally can’t manage eternal formats, at all. Look at legacy, look at what they have let that format become financially. “FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY, 1k minimum in lands to cast your spellS!! Better act soon though because it will be 1.5k before you know it! They lack the people to maintain them, the effort to promote them and the laziness to reprint and or make new cards to keep it financially balanced. They are simply incompetent and/or worse.

  57. Twins gone, woe is me what will i do with all my snaps etc. Oh wait they fit right into tons of other decks. But but, now the meta will be Tron and affinity heavy! Well good thing both decks are freaking easy ad cake to hate out, unlike twin which could still win through tons of hate. Seriously people, while i woulda prefered to see twin stay, the ban should at least serve to make the field even wider and allow more decks to shine. Go ahead cash out, ill enjoy my vibrant new Modern meta while you act like sullen children.

  58. I have played four Modern GP’s in the last 2 years. I started playing Magic 2 1/2 years ago as a 38 year old when my son got into it and subsequently hooked me. I am very disappointed with this and previous decisions. I started playing modern because my son and I have grown to love explosive play and combo oriented decks and because Standard has turned into a slow boring creature based meta and Abzan all that we saw. I am questioning even playing and investing modern since this is WOTC’s position. Love the game, love the format, but I am not sure for how much longer.

  59. I may be against the world on this, but I hated this deck. It consistently one on turn 4 and shut down answers with counter spells and tapping down land. You only gave them turns when you held mana back enough to stop them. This deck was horrible to play against. I am under the impression that splinter twin would be a very viable deck breaking the turn three rules as RUG Twin, but people found it even more consistent with counter spells and denying the opponent a game. Thank goodness splinter twin is gone. Good Riddance.

  60. I’ve written and will publish an open letter to the DCI. Any suggestions on where specifically to post it to attempt to get as many people in charge to actually look at it? For those interested, I’m pasting the letter below, but beware, it’s a really long read.

    An open letter to the DCI

    Gentlemen, ladies,

    In light of the recent banning of Splinter Twin, I should be overjoyed. I play Affinity in Modern, and historically, every Twin variant has been that deck’s worst match-up by far. However, rather than rejoice at the thought of a metagame where my deck has essentially no bad match-ups, and where I can tune match-ups which were previously close to my advantage by removing the anti-Twin pieces from my main deck and sideboard, I am TERRIFIED. The implications of this ban are far reaching, and they are scary.

    Even lumped together, Splinter Twin decks did not represent an overwhelmingly large proportion of the format. Splinter Twin, along with BGx decks, kept degenerate linear decks from wrecking havoc on the format. If Twin can get banned simply because it wins more big events than other decks, what does that imply for successful Modern decks going forward? If Affinity starts to crush the format, does Cranial Plating get banned next year? With that out of the way, Tron has no natural predator left, so in 2018 will the UrzaTron lands need banning? It’s an endless cycle, and it leads nowhere good.

    There will always be a “best” deck. However, even those decks have predators in the metagame, leading to a self regulating “rock-paper-scissors” effect. Affinity is too good one week? Splinter Twin emerges the next. Jund rises to keep it in check, and is in turn beat up by Tron. Tron falls to Zoo, and the cycle goes on. Even rogue decks need there to be a “best” deck, and established format pillars. Rogue decks are built to prey on this cycle, finding an unexploited weakness and capitalizing while no one sees it coming.

    Wins and top 8’s are not all the data that matter. Looking at day 2 numbers and top 32 numbers from large events in the last year, it is very hard to argue that Twin is suppressing diversity. At any given time in 2015, there were 15-20 viable Tier 1 and Tier 2 decks, any of which, with the right build, pilot and match-ups, had a shot at a top level tournament showing. Evoking tournaments from previous years is a stretch, and borders on ludicrous, since it does not take into account all the subsequent bannings, printings and metagame shifts. Will new decks emerge in the wake of this announcement? Most likely. But if new decks emerge at the cost of making current decks irrelevant, and losing some to the banning itself, does that really make the format more diverse? Even if it does, the precedent is set: if your deck has more tournament success than others, there’s no guarantee that it will stick around, regardless of other factors.

    I love Modern as a format, I really do. Realistically, with a family to raise and a job that keeps me very busy, I can’t play Standard. I simply don’t get to play often enough to make it worthwhile to build a deck in a rotating format. Legacy is an exciting format, but it is extremely expensive, and the events are so scarce that buying in hardly seems worth the trouble. This may all seem largely anecdotal, but I am not alone. Many Magic players are in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and beyond. We have responsibilities that prevent us from sinking as much time and money into a hobby as we might like. Modern is supposed to be the place where we can thrive and continue to enjoy the game, free from rotations and reserved list cards. However, if every year, we live in fear of our deck being banned, not because it breaks any of the explicitly stated rules of the format, and not because its metagame share is oppressive, but simply because it wins more events and makes more top 8’s than the average deck, that makes us scared. I was considering building a secondary Modern deck this year, but now I know that I won’t, because if it’s too good, who’s to say it won’t get banned? Barring that, who’s to say that its best match-up won’t be banned, making it irrelevant in the metagame? BGx players and Merfolk players, for example, are going to find the coming months very difficult for their decks, through no fault of their own. How much is that really promoting diversity? Even though I love the game and adore playing Affinity, I’m genuinely wondering if I should sell out now, and it breaks my heart. Unlike Splinter Twin decks, which at least retain value on the whole because of their mana base and other format staples, if Affinity gets gutted at some point in the future, all that will remain is a pile of 71 unplayable artifacts which slot into no other deck. This is not the stability and security that players of non-rotating formats want and deserve. I should not pray that my deck has only moderate success in fear of it getting banned otherwise. None of us should, regardless of the deck we play and love.

    If a deck does not break the established rules of the format, players should feel safe in investing their valuable time and hard earned money building it, tuning it, learning its in’s and out’s. Format health and enjoyment for as many players as possible should be the only guiding principles in the management of the banned list. Many have speculated that this ban is meant to shake up the metagame, to “spice it up” in time for the upcoming Pro Tour. Whether this is true or not, it can be addressed as follows. On the one hand, attendance numbers and viewer statistics for large Modern events throughout the year should prove that the format warrants enough interest on its own that “spicing it up” is not necessary, people will tune in to watch the best players in the world play a format they love regardless of changes to the banned list. If this is insufficient, and Wizards truly feels that this kind of shake-up is necessary to keep the Pro Tour fresh, as set releases do for Standard, then I think most Modern players would agree that we would prefer our format be removed from the Pro Tour. The was a great outcry from the community when this was attempted in the past, but if the price to pay for being featured on the biggest stage once a year is the constant fear of one’s deck being banned to make for a better show, then I think the majority will agree that we would rather do without. It is unfortunate, if truly the powers that be do not believe that Modern, on its own merits, is capable of delivering an exciting viewer experience at the Pro Tour level, but we will all sleep better knowing that the time and money we have invested into the format are safe and gladly make do with coverage of events from the Grand Prix and SCG Tour circuits.
    I sincerely hope that people at Wizards of the Coast and the DCI will not simply read this letter, but look at what the community at large has to say. There will, of course, be some hysteria, but can we really be blamed? Magic is a game we love, Modern is the format many of us have chosen to plant our roots, and this announcement and its implications for the future have shaken us all to our core. Regardless, many level-headed, intelligent discussions and comments have been made about this topic already, and many more will come, and hopefully they are not all for naught.

    We are scared, so reassure us. Outline your ban policy more clearly, so that we may know what to expect, and are not blindsided by announcements such as this one. Ensure your decisions are truly based on format health, and nothing else. If testing and number crunching for Modern is not worth it to you, outsource it to us. We are a passionate, dedicated community, and are willing to expend the time and energy necessary to get it right. Unless absolutely, unequivocally necessary, let the metagame police itself, rather than extend the banned list whenever a “best” deck seems apparent. Above all, don’t be afraid to admit if you’ve been mistaken. If the metagame going forward devolves into degeneracy, do not ban more cards until it’s reigned in, let Splinter Twin reclaim its place as one of the format policemen. We are scared, but we don’t want to be. Show us that we don’t have to be.


  61. Whelp since wotc dont want me to play a thinker’s deck, guess its time to explore mana denial control (workin on grixis as we speak), A functional land destruction/mana denial deck emerging from twin’s ashes would be a fitting revenge.

  62. I’ve done a lot of thinking on this today. I had no stock in twin, so I’m not the least bit emotional about it (and I’m a VERY emotional person!). Personally, I would have preferred an exarch ban to make the combo more fragile.

    1) Wizards wants to increase competitive diversity. I think this has less to do with overall wins and top 8s and more to do with how few of the other blue decks placed so high.

    2) The annual bans imply that modern, in its young age, is still a busted format. If I’m a pro playing in a gp why would I chose to play a good deck over a busted deck? Don’t think twin is busted? It’s debatable, but I think there’s definitely problems when unbanning blue spells or printing better counters to help control would all make twin better. As an aside, i think it’s this kind of logic that has kept bloodbraid elf banned (only jund gets better, it’s doing fine, aND no othe GRx deck wants it).

    2b) I also think that RG tron, affinity, and maybe infect are over acceptable power levels and therefore are future ban candidates.

    3) Wizards has to know something we don’t know. They have access to WAY more information than hobbyists. They should throw us a bone here. Twin might have had won a gp with another T8 and four more in the top 32, but do they know the percentages of ALL the submitted decks? Do they have complex archetype breakdowns that put mtggoldfish to shame? If they do, then it would be nice to know the ratio of twin to nontwin blue decks, just to better illustrate the competitive diversity points.

    4) I expect unbans. Take the pulse of the format the next few months and give blue the toys that would have benefited twin in the next b&r update.

    5) If unbans are too scary or too powerful then unban twin.

  63. Maybe this is a set up for control. Ban twin; let the format degenerate to fast aggro and linear strategies and then give control some goodies in April.

    Of course, my wishful thinking is that we’re only getting half the announcement. That the leak forced them to announce the banned cards immediately, but they’re trolling us and will announce the unban(s) Monday. I can dream, right? : )

  64. It is funny how there is not much thought put into the bannings from a logical point of view. I mean, the communiqué literaly starts with this: «We look for competitively viable decks that frequently win before the fourth turn». That idea is surely sound when it comes to justifying the banning of Summer bloom, but surely not as a sound when it comes to Splinter twin.

    In fact, notwithstanding the aforementionned 4th turn rule, the main reason stated for the banning of Twin is this : «Decks that are this strong can hurt diversity by pushing the decks that it defeats out of competition». A good point, but like you said, it somehow implies that every year, the best deck, the one which will impose a certain sideboard and playing specific hate cards will be hit by the ban-hammer.

    This all seems to be a marketing stunt, a questionable one in my opinion. I mean, not only have they just reprinted Splinter Twin in MM15, they also printed a very niche hate card in the form of Rending volley, a strictly better card than Combust. With that in mind, it is hard to take Wizard long-term strategy seriously and most of all, it is hard to think that they actually respect the player base by putting thought into the very popular format that Modern is.

  65. After the well researched and data focused article in regards to the potential of a bloom ban this is a really disappointing piece to read from you. It reeks of knee jerk frustrated reaction, from a website that claims to be the hotbed for modern discussion to be hinting or outright suggesting that people should be leaving the format because the deck was banned really makes me question your credibility, and I’ve historically loved your content.

    1. I would. You can wait until after the PT, if it does well, just sell into the hype and get something that’s not G/R Tron or Eldrazi if you want to be safe.

  66. Honestly. With Aaron Foresyth’s comment on twitter, this now feels like they are holding modern ransom until they can get their “all standard protours” banning stuff until we give in. This tainted the format I love so much.

    1. What happened to restricting as opposed to banning? And why not just print some cards that help some fair decks push back against unfair decks? No, Tron and Eldrazi are getting more goodies. I realize, Standard is the money maker, and cards will slip through that are broken in other formats, but Twin wasn’t, and discussion in the player base had already occurred to push back. Grixis Twin had slipped to Tier 2 naturally. It just takes time. But WotC evidently has their own secret agenda and timeline likely based on finances and media. Because lightning bolt is the most played card in modern, and Burn about to take off, is that next?

  67. So how about instead of fear mongering “Your Tier 1 deck could be next!”, jumping to extremes like “Modern is now a Rotating Format!”, etc we actually wait and see what WoTC is planning. This isn’t the first time a ban has been unexpected, and frankly this one wasn’t really that unexpected as there was at least 2 articles on either ChannelFireball or Gathering Magic recently (last 3mo) on a possibility of Twin being banned. Speculation and doom and gloom talk don’t help, conspiracy theories don’t help (Yes I know those are the bread and butter of the internet!) The article linked at the start of this one on the creation of Modern never said a thing about ban criteria so idk why it’s linked other than to give a flimsy pretense to a personal opinion piece trying to disguise itself as a serious impartial article. According to your own statistics Twin was currently the absolute top tier 1 deck. It’s been a tier 1 deck for 5 years, and it is about time to accept Twin can’t exist in a format where the calls for unbans on AV, SfM, etc are actually taken seriously. Can’t have everything after all. Of course there are no unbans affecting the same shells that just got a ban in the same announcement that would be dumb, and would ruin any data on the affect the bans had on the meta. Give WoTC 3mo to see what happens without Twin, they could decide to reverse the ban, or unban something fun that can’t exist with Twin. As for the major Modern bans coming in January every year that makes sense since the largest concentration of Modern events during the year happen between Halloween and New Years which give WoTC the best statistics to review. Also as for it being Tier 1 decks that get hit most that’s rather logical, they have the largest meta shares, rack up the most major event wins, and regularly force the entire format to adjust to combat them. The decks that are successfully combated don’t get bans. But as the goal of bans is to keep the format from being dominated by a single shell as saw during Ravager Affinity, and Caw Blade. As well as identifying decks/shells that are either difficult or impossible to combat within the existing format and/or can’t reliably be hated out by meta changes, or prevent cards of specific types/quality from being printed or unbanned it makes sense that Tier 1 gets hit more regularly. So enough with the extreme positions on this, let’s actually see what happens. I’m not saying this can’t backfire spectacularly but as of right now we have no data on what’s going to happen, and fearmongering, and making wild claims, and acting like WoTC is out to get us just drives off portions of the player base, especially younger players new to MTG, and hurts the game more in the long run.

    1. if you’ve ever owned a twin deck… the ban announcement does seem like WotC was out to get you…. that’s what bannings do afterall….

      driving off portions of the player base… including me…. is something they’ll have to live with… they made their decision… the players will also make theirs…..

  68. Also, I’d like to note that if they keep shaving the top deck from the ‘tier pyramid’ (even if it’s for the right reasons) like they have each year since 2013, evendually we’ll be only left with the bottom of the pyramid, and Modern will just be things like Hatebears and Merfolk.

  69. I for one love the bannings. I like the way the format is rotating a bit. And yes, I played Grixis Twin. But if this is what the format needs to shake things up and not get stuck with Bloom, Twin, Tron, Burn. I am 100% fine!

    Let’s hope that Ancient Stirrings is next.

  70. Why even bother building a deck if Wizards just pulls a random tier 1 out of the hat and forces format rotations for Pro Tour. If I wanted a rotating format I’d play standard where I actually know when things are going away.

  71. I’m a twin player and was initially super pissed about the banning but I can definitely see where it came from. Every time I wanted to experiment and build control decks it would eventually come down to ‘just put in twin’. I’m hoping that the many amazing minds in this game will come up with some great blue based decks now that ‘just cram in twin’ forces them to adjust.

    I find the whole freak out and overreacting sessions like this article to be more harmful to the format than the banning. I was caught off guard for sure but after some thinking and time I’m getting interested in seeing what comes out of it.

    What I’d like to see is a fifth PT featuring Modern that exists outside of the set release schedule. To qualify you would need to have decent Modern GP results, or through modern PTQ/rtpq, or through pro club points. The winner would get platinum, cash, invite to World’s as the Modern Master. The limited rounds would consist of drafting the most recent Modern Masters set. This would allow WotC to market new sets while still supporting high level (PT) competitive Modern with a tournament featuring players dedicated to the format.

    1. If you want (and are in the RUG colours) you can just “cram in” the Ritual Gifts combo kill (4 Gifts + 8-9 combo cards (depending on which package you are running), or just go for Gifts + Rites (7 slots).

      Though, those are not as good as the Twin approach, since it requires the graveyard.


  72. I am sorry Magic players but we all want arr cake and be able to eat it too. Wotc is forced to ban because it’s a Pro Tour format. We complain a couple years ago because they wanted to get rid of it. Well here’s your consequences they have ban to keep things fresh. Imagine if they don’t ban deathrite or pod and twin. How stale the format would be.

  73. My personal spoonful of salt about the Twin ban is that the card got banned precisely for being exactly and only what players dreamed for in a non-rotating format: They could have a favorite deck that was consistently good and play it for years.

    No path of reasoning that leads to banning Twin can coexist with the idea that the eternal dream isn’t dead.

    Simple arithmetic predicates that some deck will be the most-played or most-top-8’s deck in modern. The best possible situation for that deck would be that it…

    – Is only narrowly better/ more played than the other decks-to-beat.

    – Is vulnerable to metagame pressures to suppress it, ie it has bad matchups among other top-tier decks.

    – It has meaningful diversity inside of its archetype.

    – It is in line with the gameplay patterns players expect and desire in the format. (e.g. turn four rule, skill-rewarding to play and to play against, loses to disruption, etc.)

    – Is consistent with a diverse and fluid metagame of other decks that also follow the above principles.

    Twin was all of these. It still got banned. Considering this, it would be impossible to consider whichever deck reaches the most-played (even by the smallest of margins, and there must be one), and argue the position that the top deck is safe from a banning. No argument based on the deck’s merits would not be contradictory with this Twin ban. Thus, there is no logical path that players could use to convince themselves that their deck is safe. When facts really are aligned, community outrage and ban-mania are not merely emotionally charged overreaction and hype-mongering, they are *the only logical course.*

    Assuming that the Twin ban isn’t reversed, I can’t see any choice but to acknowledge that the dream is dead, and that modern is not the format that we thought it was. Wizards has boldly and unmistakably demonstrated that they will make modern something else. I hope they are doing this with intent, forethought, and a plan to communicate with and receive feedback from their player community, but the facts as they lay do not give me much confidence that this hope is well placed.

    Sheridan, I hope to see an article that picks apart every word of their ban announcement and refutes it piece by piece. Show that Splinter Twin didn’t have more Top 8’s than Siege Rhino. Show that Twin’s worst matchups were the other blue decks (Grixis especially) who are supposed to benefit from not being “forced” to play Twin, and that that trying to make other blue decks better by banning their best matchups is insanity. Moreover, the diversity of the various Twin shells and their sideboards, which can simultaneously support Tempo, Burn, Control, Blue Moon, and Grixis Midrange, as well as all-in Combo shows that Twin was not out-competing the other shells to extinction, but symbiotically keeping them all playable.

    Be our voice. Be bold. Leave no doubt. Don’t let Wizards get away with abusing us; don’t let them pass off their incompetence or greed with lies, contradictions, and two-faced rhetoric. Make them feel it.

    1. I agree with everything the last comment made by Thomas Sowders, greatly written.

      They told us they created a format in which we could play the same deck for years. A non rotating format. This has become FALSE.

      I read this site since its creation and I have to admit that I admire your work Sheridan, and the fact that everything u say is supported by facts and mathematical true logic. Amazing work keeping track of this metagame.

      Please report to them with some insight. If they think they can do it without consequence they are wrong. I wont play this game anymore if can’t do what I want and I like. That means playing islands. Make them stop this. It is totally unacceptable.

  74. I have found myself at odds with Sheridan on some of his views but I back him 100% on this.
    I believe what he is saying is true. That their justification on a splinter twin ban was not justified by their own modern guidelines… oh wait, what are those again?

    “We do not want un-interactive combo decks winning before turn 4.”
    Twin is the poster child for this. It is very interactive and is impossible to win before turn 4.

    “If a deck is winning before turn 4 it must be doing so consistently and be a tier 1 deck.”
    Again twin dodges this but to make a point, look at how vague this description is. Basically its Wizards saying we don’t want to hold ourselves to clear cut guidelines because then we can’t artificially create meta changes.
    Twin was not suppressing blue decks. Look back to when Jeskai Control was popular 2-3 years ago. Was twin in the format? YES. So why is Jeskai Control no where to be found among the top contenders if twin, the supposed denier of control decks is sharing the same exact meta % and the deck is basically the same exact list?

    Also, Wizards sold Modern as “A non-rotating format without the financial headache of Legacy aka card availability and price.” Well that has proven to be a lie. Storm had a possibility of becoming popular, they axed it. Jund with deathrite gained popularity they axed it. Pod gained popularity they axed it. Delver gained popularity they axed it. Now twin and bloom.
    Note how almost all these bans were way before the meta could properly adopt. Wizards created the meta changes by banning decks which in turns causes crazy spikes in cards.

    People need to wake up. Non-rotating formats don’t make money compared to rotating ones. Legacy barrier to entry is entirely because they have 20+ year old lands that they won’t reprint. But take a moment to actually look at the price trajectory on legacy staples. Nothing has spiked because that market is allowed to naturally progress and correct itself. They are mostly slow, incremental growth on all those cards and in a lot of cases the prices have flatlined because when you don’t ban a deck or 2 every year, people don’t need to buy new decks to play. Only truly naive people call this a conspiracy theory.

  75. I don’t know, my local modern meta is basically 60% twin, 15% summer bloom, and 25% split between burn, tron, infect, and affinity. (Not to mention one guy playing kiki-chord, which seems to be doing very well.)
    I can’t wait to go in and compete in a tournament that isn’t just 4 games of twin back to back to back.
    Just my opinion, as someone who plays magic to have fun, this will drastically improve my magic playing experience.

  76. This is how I’m seeing modern now. Wizards and big stores got together and were talking about the problems they were having. Big stores said we have all this inventory of old cards that are unplayable in the Legacy format and rotated out of standard that we are just sitting on. So they tried extended and that was a flop. Secondary rotating format can’t compete with standard. Well Legacy has proven to not make as much money as we wanted. Non-rotating formats don’t generate that much profit. Once players have their deck or 2 and you have a non-rotating format like legacy, players aren’t inclined to keep buying cards because they don’t have to. See most of those players accumulated some or most of their staples while they were in Standard or before the price hike.
    So they needed a happy medium, one that could give players more insurance that their cards wouldn’t rotate (extended failed) one that was more affordable than legacy (reserve list) and one that could move inventory.
    Modern was born. I think they agreed to sell modern as a non-rotating format to the community and they have. I also believe they agreed to ban a top-tier deck from Modern every year, thus artificially changing the meta and forcing players to switch their decks and other decks to adopt. This helps keep the money train rolling. They can hide this under the guise of shaking up metas for the pro-tour.

    The beauty of this is there is always a hate for the best deck anyway so when they do this the sheeple cheer and celebrate what a great day, now I don’t have to play against that ever again. For those of us that are awake to how things really work, we understand that the powers that be are not benevolent and due things for the best of the community. They do things to best line their pockets.
    The fact that they reprinted primeval titan and splinter twin this past summer is the biggest red-flag to me. Why put these cards in a special set you might ask if they are going to ban them? easy, their last chance to use that card to help sell packs.
    I also believe that they are keeping the price of shocks down on purpose for modern. Keep the mana base cheap and people will play. It is 100x easier to justify paying $20+ for a creature or any spell that wins you the game. Really hard to justify paying $100’s plus for mana bases that just allow you to cast spells.
    example (you draw your jace the mind sculptor and slam him down. Proceed to win the game next few turns. You reflect how strong jace was that matchup and that was the difference in you winning or losing. This card is worth it you say).
    Nobody does that for a land. After I win a game I don’t sit back and think or talk with my friends ” Man, did you see that fetch land tap and then hit the graveyard? So cool..

  77. As an affinity pilot, I am glad that splintertwin is gone as it is one or our bad match-up. As a player of modern, I do fear cards of mine be banned as it will affect me financially and in term of my morale. But I do understand that if a deck or card that can’t be controlled is not banned, the whole format will be oppressive.
    If any of my affinity pieces are banned, I think I have quite a number of cards I can use to replace. I will be annoyed, but I will adjust. Modern had been rather stagnant this past few month and I expect a shake up. This ban also allow for brewer to showcase their invention that can be the next big thing. With new things to explore it will make modern more interesting. I think what hurt is people always think of the pillar as don’t change, but the sad fact is the only constant is changes. A deck have to adapt and survive if one of its part is banned. We all want to win and will want our win to be consistent, but that will come at a price. Be it ban hammer or expect hate cards be packed in everyone sideboard against you. With all this ban, instead of just jumping on a bandwagon, time to get creative and brew the next best deck.

  78. In the last local modern tournament I participated in, I ended up at a table of four. The three others were running Twin.
    So at least personally, I can definitely see where the “deck diversity” argument behind that ban is coming from. And the fact that the portion of Twin decks has rapidly grown recently, leading to over 300 entries in the top 8 of major and minor events during the last year alone suggests that there is – or rather was – a similar trend, globally.
    With a gut shot to a deck this popular, the ban is only natural to cause immense backlash from the great many people who invested time, effort and money into buildng – and building against – what they believed to be an immovable pillar archetype. And that’s definitely understandable too, but at the end of the day, this is not the first time for Modern to get its most popular and format-defining deck booted off – does the name “Birthing Pod” still ring any bells? Same story, different set of colors. The playerbase has pulled through and adapted back then, and I dare to say it will again now. Given the fact that Modern, unlike Legacy and Vintage, is not an Eternal format, this most certainly wasn’t the last time for something like this to happen either.
    Do I think the ban was merited from a balancing standpoint? I’d probably say no. But at least on my cap, the diversity argument does hold enough water for it to pass. And like they said in the announcement: Players that already posses the card-pool of, say, a Grixis Twin deck will have little to no problem shaping a competitively functional build out of the remains.

    The reasoning behind the Summer Bloom ban is solid. Though, personally, maybe I would’ve preferred Hive Mind to go. It has zero application outside the Bloom Titan deck, and is the source of the unresponsive turn 2-3 k.o. that anyone without a counterspell or a turn 1 Thoughtseize had no way of preventing. Don’t get me wrong, a haste doublestrike Titan is an insanely strong thing to be confroned with too, but at least it can be staved off with a single spot removal.
    There’s no arguing the deck as we know it was insane, but sans Bloom, I don’t really see a competitive future for the Titan deck at all.

    What DOES the future hold? Is it really looking that bad? Will tomorrow’s competitive environment be a dystopia ruled by eldritch abominations?
    Probably yes.
    But personally, I believe that’s not as much of a step down as people tend to believe right now.

  79. Look, I get why people are mad. But the comments I am reading here are some serious overreactions. Twin being banned is pretty shocking. Personally, I thought it was a joke when I heard someone say the words in my LGS. But does it warrant this amount of bitching? No.
    If a player removes the copies of Splinter Twin from the deck (as many players already do in sideboard games) that player still has a very capable deck. There is also a serviceable replacement in Kikki-Jikki. Is Kikki-Jikki easier to disrupt? Yes. Are the three red mana symbols a significantly steeper price to pay? Yes.
    As for the “investment” argument, those expensive lands and Snapcaster Mages will always be a part of modern; so you can rest easy knowing the expensive part of your deck will always remain expensive. Mind you, if they go as far as banning something like Snapcaster in modern, I’m out.
    I do wonder how this will impact the format. I fear that big-mana decks, like the new Eldrazi hotness or Tron, will just dominate LGS-level metagames now that they dont have to pass the “Twin Test.” Speaking of the “Twin Test,” I am very interesed to see what decks rise from the shadows.
    The message I’m trying to send is that everyone needs to calm down. Just wait and see what happens before you pass judgement. I’m bummed about the announcement because I just recently bought into twin. Unfortunately I will now be unable to play the deck. But that doesn’t m ready to jump off a bridge.

  80. Me- “A combo deck that can consistently win on TURN 4. What did you think was going to eventually happen bro?”

    You- “But they said they didn’t want turn 3 combo. Don’t call me ‘bro’, friend.”

    Me- “Well you on the play means I only get 3 turns. I’m not your ‘friend’, chief.”

    You- “Ya, but but I didn’t win on turn 3. And I’m not your ‘chief’, guy!”

    Me- “A COMBO that can CONSISTENTLY KILL TURN 4! What did YOU think was GOING to HAPPEN??? I’M NOT YOUR ‘GUY’, PAL!!!

    You- “But Affinity, burn, and lots others can kill on turn 4. Don’t call me ‘pal’, buddy!”


    You- “Nothing is safe. You don’t understand! And you already said ‘bro’, amigo! SO there!”

    Me- “Did I mention the part about the turn 4, and the thing with the combo, and then the question about seeing or not seeing this coming? Sigh : / “

  81. “PT predicates bans” – straight from Aaron Forsythe’s twitter. I think Modern, on it own merits, is interesting enough that people would watch the PT without bans, but if Wizards truly believes that isn’t the case, I’d rather have Modern off the Pro Tour. On (albeit, big and important) tournament a year does not justify beheading the top dog each year for the sake of a shake up.

    Those saying they’re happy Twin is gone because they hated it/lost to it/etc aren’t thinking long term. I’m glad my Affinity deck just got better too, but if this precedent is allowed to be set, eventually they’ll come for me, and eventually, they’ll come for you too.

  82. Since when does twin consistently win turn 4? To be fair twin was fairly easy to disrupt. Just because you want to play a deck that doesn’t have any interaction is not twins fault. Also the fact that people need all of a decks win conditions to be boltable is pretty ridiculous.
    The reason people board out the combo sometimes is because people board in the hate for it. So it makes sense to play guessing games and leave them with dead draws against you.
    The whole reason people are mad about the ban is because it is unjustified. Look at the past, every top deck gets banned every year. Now that the trend has been noticed, why would I want to be in this format for the long haul? If that is the case, how do you justify forking over an average of $400-$800 for a competitive deck?
    What I feel the community wants is a non-rotating, minimally banned format that doesn’t have the steep initial cost of legacy since wizards refuses to make legacy more accessible and affordable.
    The reason you keep playing against twin in your meta is because it sounds like you only have 10 people that show up to play. If it wasn’t such a steep cost to jump ship then people would play different decks. Also why doesn’t your meta change up your decks from time to time? Make an agreement that once a week you have to brew something different? Get creative instead of just pouting because you lose to twin in your local meta. Figure out how to beat it ffs, not that hard.

  83. I’m late to the party on the comments here.

    I have one major question for you Sheridan:

    Given that this banlist update almost certainly signals a rise in affinity, tron, and B/x eldrazi, decks that all play an almost insignificant number of basics, along with a drop in the numbers for jund/bgx and Grixis, would now be the time to see a resurgence of Blue Moon? Bolt, spell snare, snapcaster, and electrolyze do their part in keeping the fast linear decks in check, and blood moon/spreading seas with mana leaks and cryptics certainly does a number on Tron’s early and midgame, to say nothing of eldrazi, and the reduced amount of abrupt decay and kolaghan’s command in the format at large should favor the return of a vedalken shackles based deck, right? Is now the time to pick up a couple more blood moons/snapcasters and jump ship from esper draw-go to blue-moon?

  84. I think it’s healthy. Largely I feel Twin players are the most equipped with format strategy to adapt. Every ounce of pain here is exactly what new players and creative brewers face when trying to approach the format of yesterday. This improves how prohibitively insular the format had become. So I’m grateful.

  85. You know wizards messed up when non-twin players are easily as outraged (or more) as the actual twin players. It hurts me to know that not only is the reasoning poor, the announcement was deployed during a poor beta launch that shadowed over my prerelease experience. I also find the lack of unbanning so to be hypocritical of their desire to have deck diversity. I am disheartened from the game currently which is a complete devastation compared to what I expected Jan. 18th to bring.
    I’m a Death and Taxes player and Splinter Twin was a fair (or even favourable) matchup. Losing them for the reason wizards has stated makes me feel unsafe in collecting cards for eternal formats and standard is just a bunch of bottle rocket decks with inflated price tags.

    I wish wizards didn’t hate modern players.

    -A very sad, very dead cat.

    1. This. I’m not a Twin player but this upsets me. I started playing Modern last year and never thought I’d given quitting it a thought until this banning.

      The only silver lining is that I am certain Twin will be unbanned.

      Thanks WOTC.

  86. Its all good and well to rage at the twin ban but if the player base as a megority allys enuff preasure the ban might be lifted by next year. And yes the people that invested allt of time and money in twin have had a major knock the deck is stil not entirely dead. Yes u are down to kiki to do the combo but its stil a deck that can work

  87. As a Merfolk player I am very sad that one of the major policemen decks for the Modern format has been banned.. I understand that Splinter Twin decreased the diversity of the Modern but I also feel like this deck has kept certain Tier 1 archetypes from completely taking over the game.. I fully expect GR Tron and Affinity to completely dominate top 8s until the next ban list announcement in April.

    The only possible reason for a Spilnter Twin ban that I can come up with is that Wizards wants to make Blue stronger In Modern. I’ve heard many times before that the main argument keeping Counterspell out of Modern is that Splinter Twin would run 4 copies and would simply be “to good”… All I know is that Wizards has a lot of making up to do to us blue mages.

  88. I think there is a bigger problem for the Jund/Junk players than for the Twin players. First the decks are expensive, and now they won’t be good against anything in the format. I’m not sure this will actually increase diversity of decks, you’ll just have Tron or Affinity take over the Twin slot, you’ll have no Jund/Junk and the others will just be a bunch of different aggro decks like now, same percentages, different decks.

  89. If banning twin makes other decks viable im all for it. All the great blue cards that deck plays are interchangeable between many strategies. In would go as fare as saying the impact on the wallet of twin pales when compared to the hit pod players took. And if it opens the door for potential favourites to re enter the format that’s also good.

  90. As a Merfolkplayer i am sad to see BOTH decks getting axed.

    I LOVED the Twin matchup it was extremely close to 50:50 and felt really skillful.
    Bloom on the other hand was always a race. Consistency vs. Spiky power.

    I always hate when cards get banned. I hated the Treasurecruise ban and i hate the Twin ban. I was ok with pod though, because i couldn’ learn the matchup as well as i wanted to, but i would have got to it eventually.

    I have to say however, that IF i get more powerful blue cards for that Twinban, i’m behind the Twin ban. I still think TC and Dig should not have been banned, because up to now, blue has NO modern viable carddrawspell despite blue being the cardadvantage-color on paper….
    The moment it got useful we can be sure its getting banned. Same goes for GOOD Counterspell.

    The colorless menace however has to stop. Either wizards gives every color the ability to deal with colorless cards or they hurt those cards in other ways, but i absolutely hate being helpless unless i run specific colors.

    greetings, Tyrannon

  91. It is not fun to have Modern “rotating”. When I began buying magic cards and building modern decks, I thought I was getting cards that could be used for a very long time and used this excuse to justify my “investment”. I built Twin and Bloom last year. I will allow my current decks to rotate me out of the format. Good luck Wizards. Maybe the cost to MTG will be the loss of future $’s as people like me stop “investing” in the game and go back to our other hobbies.

    Canon is going to love me this year, thanks for pushing me back to photography MTG. 🙂

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