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February 15, 2021 Banned and Restricted Announcement Thoughts and Analysis

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Last week, Wizards mentioned in their latest Secret Lair description that there was a Banned and Restricted Announcement headed our way and that Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath would be hit in multiple formats. The announcement hit the web this morning and besides just Uro, there was a swath of cards banned in multiple formats.


Historic

In Historic, Omnath, Locus of Creation was moved from the suspended list to a full-on banning, and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath was moved straight to the ban list. They cited that Uro decks were the most played decks in Historic and had been for some time, which will sound familiar to all of the Arena players out there. Personally, I'm stoked to be rid of Uro in the format (you're going to hear me say that about a lot of the cards brought up today) and am thinking about finally returning to Historic for some of my streams!


Pioneer

I haven't taken the time to get into Pioneer, but after the bannings today I'm strongly considering it! Balustrade Spy, Teferi, Time Raveler, Undercity Informer, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, and Wilderness Reclamation were all banned. Uro, unsurprisingly, was becoming one of the most played creatures in the format and needed to go. Teferi and Wilderness Reclamation were both cards that "overstayed their welcome in Standard" and banning them should help promote diversity in the format, which sounds awesome. Apparently, Oops! All Spells! decks were quickly starting to become a problem, so that's why Balustrade Spy and Undercity Informant got hit today.


Modern

Modern has always been one of my absolute favorite formats, but since the Pandemic and the rise of Uro, I haven't been able to put a lot of time into it. However, after all of the announced bans today I'm itching to get back to it! Field of the Dead, Mystic Sanctuary, Simian Spirit Guide, Tibalt's Trickery, and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath were all added to the ban list today! Uro seems like an obvious ban, and the two lands were banned because they were "decreasing diversity of gameplay patterns." I'm also not super surprised about Tibalt's Trickery getting banned so quickly, seeing as it's interaction with cascade was quickly becoming the boogeyman of the format. Honestly, I'm a little surprised about Simian Spirit Guide catching a ban. In their announcement, they stated that Simian Spirit Guide enables fast combo decks too well and they wanted to hit it to "slow down" that category of deck. I guess this explanation makes sense to me, but it's kind of a bummer that decks like Ad Nauseum are basically done for.


Legacy

Now we're to my favorite category of the B&R - Legacy! Many people, Chroberry and myself included, have been begging the universe for an Oko, Thief of Crowns ban in our favorite format, and I am pleased to announce that "ding dong, the witch is dead!" Oko, Thief of Crowns, Dreadhorde Arcanist, and Arcum's Astrolabe have all been banned in Legacy. Oko warped the entire format around it, and honestly, I am so glad to see it go! Good riddance! Arcum's Astrolabe is another big piece that has contributed to the scourge of Snowko decks in the format, and I'm glad to see it booted along with Oko. I was a little surprised about Dreadhorde Arcanist catching a ban today as well, but their reasoning makes a lot of sense to me. Basically, without Oko running the format they suspect that Dreadhorde Arcanist will enable too many of the oppressively powerful decks to remain oppressively powerful. Surprisingly, no ban on Uro in Legacy to go along with the other formats, but Legacy might just be the format that is powerful enough to contain the titan.


Vintage

Before the companion change, Lurrus of the Dream-Den was deemed too powerful to exist in the Vintage format. However, after the rules change for the mechanic, they have decided to allow Lurrus back into the format for now while they keep an eye on it.


Cascade Rules Change

As I mentioned last week, Valki, God of Lies has been making quite the splash in conjunction with the Cascade mechanic. Such a big splash, apparently, that Wizards had to revisit exactly how the mechanic functions. Now, instead of being able to cast either side of a card with impunity, the mechanic is being tweaked "such that the spell you cast off the triggered ability must also have lesser converted mana cost than the spell with cascade." The exact rules change is listed in the announcement, as are several examples:

For example, if you cast Bloodbraid Elf and exile Valki, God of Lies from your library, you'll be able to cast Valki but not Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor. On the other hand, if you exile Cosima, God of the Voyage, you may cast either Cosima or The Omenkeel, as each face has a lesser converted mana cost than Bloodbraid Elf.

I've always thought being able to cascade into things like the backside of Valki was a little silly, and I thnk the rules change is going to be better for the game overall!


What Does This Mean for the MTG Finance Crowd?

Usually, when a card is banned, its price is going to plummet and I think that will be the case with most of the cards listed in the ban announcement (those that haven't already seen big price decreases.) If you've been sitting on piles of Uro for a while now, you'll likely be pretty disappointed in the short term. However, Uro is still legal in Commander and Legacy, and it's still an amazing card. Commander players are still going to want copies, and if there's a huge price dip for Uro picking up copies to hold onto until Commander drives the price back up doesn't seem like a bad idea. Also, with Pioneer being freed up for more innovation, I'd be taking a look at the cards that are likely going to fill the top competitive slots now that the top contenders are leaving. Perhaps I'll be able to take a look at the format again next week and see if we can't identify any potential spikes!

Well, friends, that's it for me this week! What about you – how do you feel about the latest bannings? Are you going to be sleeving up (digitally, for those of us in the US) any of your old favorite Legacy decks? Did any of your favorite decks take a particularly bad hit? Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments or in the QS Discord, or if you want to chat about the bannings live feel free to stop by my Twitch stream! I hope you’ve had a good week. Take care out there, and I’ll see you next time!

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