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By: JXClaytor, Joshua Claytor
Oct 11 2017 12:00pm
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Monday sure was a weird day for me.  I woke up early, thanks to it being the last of eight days that Cassius was going to be here with me for fall break and took one of the steroids I had to control my facial swelling from the swarming of yellow jackets the week before, which left me swollen and grotesque (you can check that out on my twitter), which I guess really isn't that much of a downgrade.  I got breakfast ready for my son, ate with him and booted up the Star Wars Battlefront II Beta for him to play while I sat down to get Pauper day finished off.  While browsing Twitter while working I saw an unexpected post from Lee Sharpe about the 1v1 banned list and went to check it out.  What I saw was purely magical, and a smile crept up my face thanking myself for selling Baral a week before, because I hadn't had the time to play as much and needed a small bit of cash thanks to getting an emergency script filled.  You can check out the post here, but here is a quick recap and my thoughts on what it means for 1v1 as the format continues to evolve, and hopefully grow! 

Stuff got banned!  Stuff that has needed to be banned for months got removed from the format!  It finally happened!  Despite not playing nearly as much as I would like to recently, I'm energized and excited to take on the new format, as we move away from the tutors of the format we hopefully also open up some aggro space in the format, and we take away one of the most consistent end games for blue decks but also a top of the line end game threat for the Green ones as well. 
Let's talk about the creatures that caught the axe first.  WotC commentary is offered in italics, and is directly from the tumblr post here

Baral is a Commander who comes down extremely early in the game and warps the game around him in a significant way. The cost reduction he offers covers one of the main drawbacks of counterspell-heavy decks because it cuts off the avenue of overloading the Baral deck with multiple spells in the same turn. He also covers one of the primary weaknesses of counterspells in 100-card singleton formats by filtering away the powerful but situational counterspells you’re forced to play. The overall package has shown to be overly strong and not enjoyable.

Baral, Chief of Compliance is perhaps the most important one, as it was basically the bogeyman of the format since it was created.  The idea behind the commander was to cast it on turn two, and then use a Polymorph effect as soon as possible to get the only creature in the deck, Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.  While this did not trigger the extra turn, it still made the game impossibly hard for your opponent to win if you got to untap and attack with her.  If they couldn't turn three you, which happened more than enough times, they would be able to counter your threats while also filtering their hand, and start gaining more card advantage spells, more counters or finding the way to actually beat you.  Treachery was a ban that was supposed to help this (sorta like it was also supposed to help out with Vial Smasher the Fierce and we saw how that turned out).  Of course so were the bans of Brainstorm, Ponder, and Preordain.    While the decks were weakened, it didn't really do enough to weaken them and they have continued to overwhelm the format even with those bans.  To be fair though, at least we didn't have to call on Wizards to ban Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise for long! 

I sincerely hope that the cantrip bans stays. 

Anyways Baral getting removed from the format was a day 0 ban that should have happened then.  While the budget option was nice (I did pay less than 150 for my version of the deck), it was harmful to the format and needed to go.  Other budget options will hopefully spring up in this spot, now that the particular deck no longer has to answer the Baral question. 

Another question any deck in the format no longer has to ask is can it beat Emrakul, the Aeons Torn?  She is also removed from the format. 

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Emrakul has shown her influence in this format the same as she has in many formats over time. Primarily used in Polymorph combo decks, and also providing an “I win” option for heavy green ramp decks, Emrakul is too reliable an avenue to ending the game without recourse for the opponent. While the simultaneous removal of Baral removes the currently predominant use for the card, any cheap blue Commander would easily fill that role, and opening up more late-game interaction still means Emrakul warrants a ban.

I called for Emrakul to be banned back in June.  I also called for the tutors to be banned then too, so I guess this week's announcement is about as close as I can get to patting myself on the back about being ahead of the curve in regards to changes.  I don't want to pat to hard, but I think I deserve this personal round of applesauce...I mean applause. 

I am hungry though, and applesauce does sound pretty good. 

I touched on this above though, and will keep this part quick.  Emrakul was a quick oppressive way to win the game that had very few outs in a singleton format, and while the loss does hurt the green decks, another giant monster (perhaps one with a promised end, or a ceaseless hunger) will fill the void that this Emrakul left as a finisher for those decks.  It's not the end of the end game threat for Nissa, Vastwood Seer, Selvala, Heart of the Wilds, or Animar, Soul of Elements.  It is however good for the format to have threats that are a bit easier to deal with! 

Demonic Tutor

Efficient tutors were one of the big question marks on the initial ban list. Over time, decks have gotten more and more consistent and brutal in a way that we’ve clearly heard players are not enjoying. Our hope is that by lowering the consistency with which the interactive decks can find the perfect answer to the situation, and the combo decks can kill, the format will open up more and decks will play out more differently from game to game.

Joining Demonic Tutor on the banned list are Vampiric Tutor, Mystical Tutor, Enlightened Tutor and Imperial SealWorldly Tutor, take note, your time may come, but I doubt it!  These cards were just too good.  Far too many times I would play against a Breya deck and feel like I was being cheated (which is a strong way of saying what I am saying, I wasn't actually being cheated), because while I was playing with one copy of a card, they had, thanks to the tutors, more than one copy.  Every tutor drawn became the perfect topdeck, and it allowed for consistency, which is needed in the format, but for to much of it, which pushed other decks out of the format.  While I haven't played a ton recently, I never stopped watching the results of it, and believe me, I noticed the amount of RUWB decks in the field.  I noticed them in the standings, and while I was writing the recap column before WotC punted on decklist sharing, it became a real drag to write about the same things over and over and over again. 

The cards leaving the format should help that a lot, and this is, in my opinion, the most important ban list update of the format's short life.  I am so happy to see what happens next in this great format! 

Speaking of next, two commanders were tagged in to the format, Arcum Dagsson and Yisan, the Wanderer Bard are both coming off the bench, and I am pretty hesitant about these inclusions.  Not because they seem unsafe, but because I have no idea about either of them.  I've heard some dangerous stuff about Yisan, and Arcum seems pretty cool to have in play (I believe I saw Rich Shay excited about this on twitter), I just want to research them a little bit more. 

This round of bans I firmly believe are for the best in regards to the health of the format, while I still think that the life total needs to be lowered, so that aggro decks can be a thing, and that the fast cheap mana needs to go, this step is in the correct direction for the future of the format online. 

What are your thoughts on this banning?  Are you more willing to try out 1v1 now?  Let us know in the comments! 

Thanks for reading! 

 

8 Comments

Overall, good changes and I by ArchGenius at Wed, 10/11/2017 - 16:22
ArchGenius's picture

Overall, good changes and I might brave the format again since they made it competitive, that change I didn't like.

Still a little surprised they haven't touched Mr I draw 7, you draw 1, Leovold.

I wasn't a huge fan of the by JXClaytor at Thu, 10/12/2017 - 09:03
JXClaytor's picture

I wasn't a huge fan of the competitive change either, that is kinda one of the factors that allowed me to sell my baral stuff, it got to expensive for my poor self to play.

Works for me. by AJ_Impy at Wed, 10/11/2017 - 17:06
AJ_Impy's picture

Works for me.

Yisan is an evil general. by stsung at Thu, 10/12/2017 - 04:43
stsung's picture

Yisan is an evil general. That one can just t4 Craterhoof Behemoth for the win. I played against Yisan a lot and it was one of the nightmares I faced...

As for Arcum Dagsson. That's well tinker on a stick. it's the kind of control deck you can't do anything about. it just finds a way to generate infinite mana (Power Artifact/Grim Monolith), infinite draw(add let's say Staff of Domination) and in the end just kill. This may be a bit tricky on Magic Online but you don't usually need infinite mana. Ever heard of Possessed Portal (tymnas will really love that)? Have you ever feared for your lands when Mycosynth Lattice entered play? Darksteel Forge and Nevinyrral's Disk?

I don't know if this is too weak for 1v1 EDH on MODO but if you think that Yisan is strong know that this is the deck that was keeping Yisan in check and is a real powerhouse. Unlike Yisan that just simply kills fast and efficiently this General is seriously pain in the ***. If I were to choose between facing Baral decks and this. I'd choose Baral.

tl;tr
I just wanted to say that Arcum is very powerful, and even more annoying.

The main problem with Yisan by ArchGenius at Thu, 10/12/2017 - 08:42
ArchGenius's picture

The main problem with Yisan and Arcum is the same problem that Sisay has. Your general is small with a tap ability and the current meta game is full of removal. Most Breya decks will easily kill your general 2-3 times before you get a chance to tap it for value.

so invest in a pair of by JXClaytor at Thu, 10/12/2017 - 09:03
JXClaytor's picture

so invest in a pair of lightning greaves and swiftfoot boots then?

No, you don't have time for by stsung at Thu, 10/12/2017 - 11:35
stsung's picture

No, you don't have time for casting those cards and equipping. the format is FULL of disruption, removal (artifact heavy) and permission. the 4c decks are the true beasts since it can simply play the best cards in those three categories. Arcum and Yisan are good in non-interactive or blue (like mono blue) environment. But among Breyas and Tymnas/Kraums...I'm not sure if they can be viable. The problem is that you need to use their abilities in order to make the deck work. The 4c decks don't even need those even if that would be how you usually die. both arcum and yisan are bad without their generals.
well, it will be up to us to figure out if these generals can make it to the metagame.

Yes, the greaves and thousand by ArchGenius at Thu, 10/12/2017 - 13:12
ArchGenius's picture

Yes, the greaves and thousand year elixir definitely help, but my point is that they aren't nearly as broken as the commanders that are already dominating the format and unbanning them isn't going to have as much of an impact as banning the tutors.