Insider: Speculating on the Banned List Announcement

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Changes to Magic's Banned & Restricted list can have a massive impact on Magic metagames and in turn, their markets, and Monday’s announcement has ramifications for multiple formats.


In Legacy, Underworld Breach’s banning has completely destroyed the emerging Jeskai Breach deck, which was well on its way to oppressing the format with its combo with Brain Freeze and Lion's Eye Diamond. Now combo players are getting their fix by exploring the next most broken card in Theros Beyond Death for Legacy, Thassa's Oracle. While after release it garnered a lot of attention and drove demand for Reserved List cards Paradigm Shift and Thought Lash, which continue to grow higher by the day, it’s now really starting to shine alongside Doomsday. This enabler is the centerpiece of Legacy’s new combo deck, and it might be on its way to taking the place of the Jeskai Breach deck.

All of Doomsday’s printings already spiked over the past weeks, and as most of the deck is already made up of typical Legacy staples, there isn’t much to spec on.

The most promising card may be Divining Witch, which is being used in the sideboard as a self-contained way to find and set up Thassa's Oracle. After Oracle's release, Divining Witch saw some play and price increase before Underworld Breach took over, but the ban has changed its fortunes sending its price rising once again.


Thassa's Oracle is also making a big impact on Modern, where it has been particularly successful in the Ad Nauseam deck shell with the combo of Spoils of the Vault and Angel's Grace. It has sent the price of Angel's Grace spiking higher this week, but I noticed Phyrexian Unlife has been much slower to grow.

It does show a trend of rising slightly over the past few months, and I expect the growth to accelerate. In 2017, it spiked from $2.5 to around $9, so a similar spike from $4 today could conceivably send it towards $15.

The banning of Once Upon a Time in Modern has knocked down various decks, but importantly the Primeval Titan land decks like Amulet Titan. Primeval Titan has always been a natural enemy of Jund strategies, so it’s not surprising that one of the biggest winners on Magic Online has been Wrenn and Six.

Its price weathered the Legacy ban surprisingly well, and has been stable above $50 for months, so this could be the catalyst that finally starts moving it higher.

Modern is also seeing an increase in another style of “fair” deck, Bant Snow control. Its staple Ice-Fang Coatl has been spiking to all-time highs on MTGO, now over 40 tickets, so I like its paper version that has been sitting flat at $6 for months.

Another staple of the deck Force of Negation is now nearly back at its all-time MTGO high over 80 tickets. Its paper price has been slowly moving upwards all year, and only see that accelerating as the extra supply starts to dry up as more and more find their way into decks.

I’ll also make note of Archmage's Charm, which I called out last month as a spec with great potential. It has grown about $1 since (now at $4), but its online price has outright spiked, from around 6 tickets to now over 10. I see the paper price following suit as Bant Control begins to rise in paper events as it has online.


In Pioneer, where a ban of the top Dimir Inverter deck was widely expected, the big news was the announcement of “no changes.” With the deck being left intact, its key pieces like Jace, Wielder of Mysteries and Inverter of Truth itself spiked on Magic Online. They also show signs of trending up in paper, and could be good short-term buys, since the potential of a ban does still linger over the long term. The announcement has also driven demand for some support cards in the deck, which might be better buys given their wider applicability and still relatively cheap prices.

For example, both Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver and Dragonlord Silumgar, which see some play in the sideboard, are among the big Pioneer gainers on MTGO this week.  Languish has seen a particularly large rise, almost doubling this week.

I’ve mentioned it and its multiple paper printings before as a possible bargain, and it looks even better now.

Dimir Inverter remaining is also driving demand for countermeasures against the deck, which includes staples from both the Mono-White Heliod Devotion deck and Bant Spirits. In particular, I’d take notice of Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit, which has almost doubled on MTGO this week and has a paper price that’s on the verge of going parabolic.

It has grown steadily from under $1 in January to $1.50 now, with $0.10 in the past few days. With a buylist at $1.15, I don’t see much downside for this Pioneer staple.

The most surprising new development to come from Pioneer is the emergence of Ugin's Nexus, which built some hype this week after a unique 5-0 list built around abusing the card was shared on Twitter by Gerry Thompson.

It sent the price of the Mythic spiking on Thursday, tripling from under a ticket to over two.

Its paper price is now up over $1 from $0.8, and looks like a potential bargain price if it catches on in any real way. I do think it’s more likely to be closer to a gimmick than a truly broken deck, but it’s still a major development for what was formerly not much more than a bulk Mythic.



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