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By: olaw, Oliver Law
Jan 22 2015 1:00pm
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Hello!

I am writing on 19th January on the day of the announcement of the updated banned list for Modern.  Just in case you haven't heard the news here are the changes:

BANNED:

Treasure CruiseDig Through TimeBirthing Pod

UNBANNED:

Golgari Grave-Troll

Now that's some pretty big changes.  I'm sure this will be a big topic of conversation for all those that write about Modern on the site but I thought I would add my voice on the matter.  This is particularly as the article I was going to write about a Mono-Green Aggro deck with some interesting anti-UR Delver tech is fairly redundant now that Treasure Cruise is leaving the format.

THE BANNINGS
So I guess we'll break it down card by card and take a look at why the cards were banned, whether or not they were deserving of a ban and how their banning will affect the current popular decks in the format.

Treasure Cruise
Treasure Cruise

Why was it banned?

This was probably the most foreseeable ban.  Treasure Cruise is an extremely powerful draw spell, the cost of which can be reduced to as little as one blue mana.  This makes the card very splashable and also very abusable in decks that are designed to capitalise on it, such as UR Delver which became the top deck in the format almost entirely on the back of this card.  Wizards explained, in a rather disappointingly brief statement, that the powerful card draw spells were winning a lot and were pushing other decks down in play.  UR Delver is particularly highlighted as the best of these decks but they also mention Jeskai Ascendancy decks.  The argument seems to be that the diversity of the format is being hurt by Treasure Cruise.

Should it have been banned?

So was Treasure Cruise deserving of a ban?  I think on balance it probably was.  The card is very powerful and ultimately quite difficult to stop as you can vary the cost to suit you.  My only misgiving is that I don't feel like we got enough time to play in a world with Treasure Cruise as a card.  I think the format was still very interesting with Treasure Cruise around and I think the idea that it was hurting diversity isn't clearly supported.  At Grand Prix Omaha, the last Modern Grand Prix, there were only 8 copies of Treasure Cruise in Top 8 both supplied by UR Delver decks.  Equally at Grand Prix Milan, the Modern Grand Prix before that, there were 10 copies across four decks, two of which were Jeskai Ascendancy decks, one was a Burn deck and the other was RUG Delver.  Now I don't doubt that UR Delver on a broader scale was dominating the format but I just don't think there is clear evidence at the top level that this was really damaging the format.

Honestly I just think that Treasure Cruise could have been given a bit more time as I think that Khans did mix up Modern in an interesting way.  Would it have been healthy in the long run?  There is a good chance that the answer to that question is no and eventually I would have tired of these overpowered draw spells, however, right now I just feel like I was given a load of new toys and then some of them were snatched away.

Impact

The most immediate and obvious impact of the banning of Treasure Cruise is that UR Delver will be taking a big hit.  The deck was probably a Tier 2 deck prior to the introduction of Cruise, certainly very playable but not really a top contender, and it seems that is where it will be relegated once more.  I wouldn't be surprised to see people continue to pilot the deck post-banning as it is still a solid deck but the power hit will definitely be noticeable.  Other hits are the various other Delver decks, such as RUG Delver, Jeskai Ascendancy combo (though Dig was generally more popular in that deck) and Burn decks splashing for Cruise.

The big question is what will rise up as the best deck in Modern in the vacuum left by UR Delver, which is something I will discuss further later in the article.

Dig Through Time
Dig Through Time
Why was it banned?

Dig Through Time is the other Delve draw spell which is also very powerful.  It doesn't have the same raw power as Treasure Cruise but it gives you amazing card selection and at instant speed.  Dig was generally favoured in combo decks where the card selection was more relevant and the instant speed allowed you to keep up counterspells etc.

One of the main reasons that Dig was banned alongside Treasure Cruise, notwithstanding it being a very powerful card in its own right, is that the cards are both very similar.  It's understandable that if you are going to take a certain step, and here it seems to be a very measured step against UR Delver, then allowing a very simple alternative to Treasure Cruise in the format would be foolish.

Should it have been banned?

I do not have a lot to add to this that I haven't already said in relation to the banning of Treasure Cruise.  In general, I feel the same way about the banning of Dig as I do about Cruise but I can see the logic in banning both if you were going to ban one.  In theory I can see a world where UR Delver is forced to run Dig Through Time over Treasure Cruise which I certainly think would be less good for the deck, however, whether it would make a significant difference to the deck is questionable.

Impact

Dig Through Time was prevalent mostly in combo decks as I have mentioned.  It was a big player in the Jeskai Ascendancy deck, helping you find the pieces you're required - be that an Ascendancy or a Fatestitcher or just more cheap spells to keep the chain going.  It has also seen play in Scapeshift and Splinter Twin decks amongst others.  These decks will certainly hurt from the loss of Dig but given that other decks will not have access to Cruise and/or Birthing Pod I think the playing field might be generally more favourable to these types of deck.

Birthing Pod
Birthing Pod
Why was it banned?

The banning of Birthing Pod was a much bigger surprise to me.  Although I knew there has always been talk of banning Pod I didn't think that Wizards would actually go through with it.  There is no denying the power of Pod but the card has been a cornerstone of Modern for a very long time.  The longevity of Pod is what really makes it a surprise that it was banned now.  Pod is a very powerful tutoring effect that can facilitate a lot of crazy combos and just in general is a great source of value.  Beating an active Birthing Pod is a fairly Herculean feat, certainly not impossible but undoubtedly very difficult.  The actual argument for its banning provided by Wizards though was that Birthing Pod is so powerful that it makes other creature-based strategies largely redundant.  The other argument they mentioned was that Pod is a card that just gets better and better the more powerful creatures they print - see Archangel of Thune and Siege Rhino as recent examples - which is going to be a problem that mounts as time goes on.

Should it have been banned?

It's certainly a controversial one and one I think many people will be unhappy about.  As I mentioned, Pod is a deck that has been around in Modern for a very long time.  As a deck that is a lot of fun, it's very customisable (we've seen Melira Pod, Kiki Pod and Angel Pod amongst others) and it's a very skill rewarding deck.  The deck is also in general is also very interactive because it all revolves around creatures.  As dominant decks go it certainly is one of the worst to have on the top of the format.

I also find WOTC's argument that they are banning Pod to make creature decks better is not entirely logical.  Effectively they are banning the best creature deck as a way of making creature decks better.  Now although I am sure Zoo will appreciate not having to face Birthing Pod decks I'm not sure that the mere absence of those decks inherently makes Zoo better.  Are creature decks in general elevated by the removal of a card that was key to the best creature deck?  That remains to be seen but it certainly seems like an odd way to go about it.

On the pro-ban side of things, Birthing Pod has been a dominant archetype for a very long time in Modern and frequently Top 8s and wins major events.  Though there have been many twist and turns in the 'Best Deck in Modern' argument, Birthing Pod has been a consistent front-runner and as previously mentioned has only got better with age.  Birthing Pod itself is quite a difficult card too as a powerful tutor target that is very difficult to answer.  It is very cheap, at a potential 3 mana, and it's converted mana cost means it cleverly dodges popular removal such as Abrupt Decay.

Overall, I do not think a ban of Birthing Pod was completely unwarranted but I think the timing is interesting.  I think the logic in banning Birthing Pod along with Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time is that Pod is currently the second most popular deck in the format.  WOTC didn't want to neuter UR Delver only see everyone run to play the second most popular/powerful deck.

Impact

I think the banning of Birthing Pod will have a big impact on the format.  Although I complain about taking away our new toys, taking away our old toys might hurt that much more.  Birthing Pod decks have done a lot to shape the Modern format and having that cornerstone removed will probably be the most noticeable post-ban change.

The loss of Pod does mean that a new deck will have to fight the good creature fight.  I feel the natural evolution (or devolution I suppose) of the most recent Birthing Pod decks is a Junk/Abzan deck such as the one below:

This style of deck is probably more akin to the Jund decks of old than Birthing Pod.  However, it does use powerful creatures and capitalises fully on the power of Siege Rhino as Pod did prior.

THE UNBAN

Golgari Grave-Troll
Golgari Grave-Troll
Why was it banned in the first place?

Golgari Grave-Troll was a card that I have felt could have come off of the banned list for a while.  Golgari Grave-Troll has been banned since the inception of Modern as a precautionary measure against the power of Dredge.  The reason for the ban is that the Dredge mechanic can be extremely powerful, making a powerful archetype in Legacy and Vintage, and Grave-Troll has the biggest Dredge ability of them all.  Dredge isn't a particularly popular deck among players as it is quite difficult to interact with, barring serious graveyard hate.

Let's take a look at a Legacy Dredge list:

Now the deck is probably easier observed that explained but basically you discard you Dredge creatures, use extra draws to get multiple Dredge effects and then mill most of your deck into the graveyard.  In the process you will get some Narcomoebas into play, as they come into play when milled, or alternatively you can get back your Ichorids.  Then you can sacrifice those creatures to flashback Cabal Therapy or Dread Return.  By this time you should have multiple copies of Bridge from Below in the graveyard and so will create a huge army of 2/2s.  In this particular version, and many others, the end game is Dread Returning a (Flamekin Zealot) to set up a lethal attack with your Zombies.

Should it have been unbanned?

Though the essence of the deck is legal in Modern - you can run Dredge creatures, Bridge from Below and some enablers it is missing some very key pieces.  With Dread Return banned, Cabal Therapy outside Modern legality and powerful enablers such as Breakthrough and Careful Study also not available I don't see Dredge being a real threat in Modern.

Impact

The biggest use of Dredge prior to the unbanning of Golgari Grave-Troll is the very fringe Dredgevine deck.  Take a look at an example below:

Now I have no doubt that Grave-Troll would be a good addition to this list but I don't think the ability to Dredge 6 rather than 5 will be the thing that takes this deck to the top.

I would be surprised to see Golgari Grave-Troll have a big impact on Modern now that it is unbanned but it would be interesting to see if someone could break it.

THE NEW BEST DECK IN MODERN

The fallout of the bannings will be interesting to see and I will be curious to see which deck comes out on top.  Though thanks to the fairly mediocre unban I think we will be seeing one of the old powers coming back to force.  I think the format seems well-positioned for combo to make a comeback and I wouldn't be surprised to see Scapeshift or Splinter Twin to rise in popularity.  The creature deck hole left by Birthing Pod I think will be filled with Abzan/Jund style decks and Zoo decks but I would be surprised to see either dominate.

In terms of what deck which actually end up on top of the pile, I'm not sure I could say but I will be an interested onlooker.

CONCLUSION

I am not greatly happy about the bans announced in Modern.  Personally I wanted more time with what Khans of Tarkir had added to the Modern pool, particularly as the format isn't as heavily played as Standard which means it doesn't usually end up being as badly broken as Standard.  I think the fallout will be interesting but is more likely to lead to more of the same rather than something particularly new and exciting.  My opinions have certainly cooled over the time I have thought about the changes but generally I am unhappy.  I think if you are going to push the envelope with cards like Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time you should at least stand by them for a little while rather than so quickly discarding them as a mistake.

My other takeaway from the bannings is that WOTC seem to be tending towards lowering the power level of Modern rather than increasing it.  The printing of Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time indicated they might be going to other way but I think this ban certainly makes things a lot clearer.  That is just to say those of you who were thinking they might unban Bloodbraid Elf or Jace, the Mind Sculptor might want to reconsider your position.

That's all I've got for this article.  I hope to be back with some more Modern content, though the bans have shaken things up so much that I'm not entirely sure what deck I want to look at next.  I hope you enjoyed the article!

Thanks for reading,

Oliver Law (olaw on MTGO)

33 Comments

Pod is more a combo than a by Rerepete at Fri, 01/23/2015 - 00:05
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Pod is more a combo than a creature deck.

WotC seems to hate 4 things in modern: Draw, Counters, Combo and Tutors.

No, Pod had already been by Procrastination at Fri, 01/23/2015 - 00:28
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No, Pod had already been moving away from the combo builds during the summer PTQ season. It stopped being a combo deck almost completely after KTK.

You're hates are too general. Here is how your list actually breaks down:

- Low CMC, usually adds up to 3 multi-card drawing or filtering that cantrips
- Tutors that are consistent in combination with a low cc, repeatable, or can place cards directly into play
- Combo enabling cards that consistently let non-interactive combo decks break the T4 rule

They have no problem with Counters at all. The strong free ones were never in the format to begin with and other than Counterspell, which is a smidge too flexible at UU, pretty much every other one worth the time is already legal in the format. (Although Prohibit might be cool.)

I think Gio has already said by olaw at Fri, 01/23/2015 - 15:15
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I think Gio has already said most of what I would have. Though I take your point that Pod tends to have a combo win in it the deck has increasingly tended towards creature beats in recent times, often called 'Value' Pod. Regardless I think that the deck was always a creature-based deck that could beatdown when necessary.

I take your point on the 4 hates but some of those comments are fairer than others:
- Draw has been neutered significantly. Ponder and Preordain because it makes combo too consistent. Ancestral Vision, Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time being banned shows that WOTC isn't a fan of powerful draw spells in Modern.
- Counters haven't really been hated out of Modern. The only banned counterspell is Mental Misstep I believe. Counters not being good in Modern is more of a consequence of a decision made prior to Mirrodin Block that counterspells aren't too fun and so they stopped reprinting Counterspell and made more conditional counterspells.
- I think Combo is still very viable in Modern but WOTC does work hard to keep it in check. Consistent Turn 3 combos are the boogeyman, which seems fair. I think they've overstepped the mark occasionally, such as banning Seething Song didn't seem particularly warranted.
- Tutors have been hated on, such as Green Sun's Zenith and now Pod. Again, like counterspells WOTC has generally moved away from printing powerful tutors and with good reason frankly. Turns out even if they cost 3/4 mana they are still too good.

Pod is a creature deck by CalmLittleBuddy at Fri, 01/23/2015 - 21:14
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Even before Treasure Cruise and Dig through Time forced most Pod lists to drop their combos, it was always about having any answer at your fingertips and enough value to win when Pod didn't stick. I'm only slightly exaggerating when I say I won more games with Gavony Township than I did with combo.

Too many players could and would immediately stomp out the combo. The best thing about the combo in Pod was the threat of it. It forced the opponent to focus on stopping the combo, when all I was doing was stomping face. I would smile when they wasted counters or removal on Viscera Seer or Melira.

I had a few memorable wins with Angel and Melira combos, but most wins off the combo were against players who'd not been prepared for it. One even called me a cheater!

The power of Pod decks was never in the combo but in the multiple, successive creature tutors if Pod stayed on the board and active. It might as well have been printed to read 'trade any creature for a better creature from your library once per turn'. I'm extremely upset over the ban, but the more I think about it, the more I see how powerful it was as a card. My main gripe is that it killed my wallet, my fun and my faith in Wizards's commitment to Modern.

If they wanted other creature decks to be better, they could have printed Pod specific hate cards. I'd rather have seen that then for the deck to be erased completely.

Can Yisan, the Wanderer Bard by Rerepete at Fri, 01/23/2015 - 21:43
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Can Yisan, the Wanderer Bard be used in a pseudo pod like deck? With proliferate, Hex Parasite and or power conduit the counters can be manipulated.

sure. it wouldn't be any good by Joe Fiorini at Fri, 01/23/2015 - 22:45
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sure. it wouldn't be any good though.

It would be something you could mess around with for fun.

If you somehow wanted to use a deck full of value creatures, I think that Restoration Angel would be the way to go.

Too easy to remove by CalmLittleBuddy at Sat, 01/24/2015 - 12:58
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I think the days of pulling one of creatures out of your hat are over. There are a ton of cards to cheat creatures out but none with the precision and resilience of Birthing Pod.

The better idea is to build a Junk or Black Green X deck. I think Dark Condifant, Tarmogoyf, , Liliana of the Viel is the new shell for a replacement in the void left by Pod. Not nearly as fun as searching your deck for exact answers but efficient as heck. Expensive too.

Unfortunately, Modern is now a world where creature decks will be just a bit below the top Tier decks. Personally when I get back into it I'm looking squarely at Twin decks, the hated Tron, Scapeshift or Affinity. They did reasonably well in a world with Pod and Blue Balls x 2. They only get stronger in a world without.

The issue with trying to brew something new is there is nothing new, only less of what was good before. Golgari Grave-troll isn't a world beater. Unless they urban something else in March, I don't see a ton in Fate Reforged that will create vast new deck horizons to explore.

But don't let that stop you from giving it a shot, just be prepared for a long road. As long as you're having fun though, who cares, right?

Just don't buy into a deck if there's even a whisper that it's key card will be banned.... I know I never will again.

"Just don't buy into a deck by Paul Leicht at Sat, 01/24/2015 - 16:48
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"Just don't buy into a deck if there's even a whisper that it's key card will be banned.... I know I never will again." This sentiment is what keeps creativity to a minimum. Screw that, if they ban it, you know you were on the right track. :D You should have won stuff in the meantime to make up for the loss of "investment".

Winning to offset a loss by CalmLittleBuddy at Tue, 01/27/2015 - 12:13
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Sure. But non Pod players won prizes at the same time plus they get to keep their cards at full value. I had to spend those winnings to keep up with cards for the deck. Now a lot of the winnings are gone as well.

All I ask for is that they start giving the bans a month in advance.

There's hundreds of arguments against doing that, I know.

I don't care. Stealth Rotation in a format with very expensive cards is destructive.

Just my opinion and it will not change for a long time.

What exactly do you think is by longtimegone at Tue, 01/27/2015 - 16:00
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What exactly do you think is changed by giving one month notice?

Card values would still be slashed as soon as the announcement was known, one extra month of play time does not seem to be enough to change anyone's sale/purchase decisions.

You'd be surprised by CalmLittleBuddy at Wed, 01/28/2015 - 22:17
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A deck as good as Pod can win a lot of events in one month. The initial drop would be bad, but not as bad as with a few days notice. Folks frequently buy into Standard decks that have a high number of cards rotating out with less than a month to go. It stabilizes the price. Voice, Linvala, etc wouldn't drop hardly at all day one after announcement.

Panic causes the crash. Less panic if I have a month to pick the 'best' exit price.

I'm reasonably certain one month warning would have been at least better than Pod Crash Zero was...

The problem with that kind of by longtimegone at Sat, 01/24/2015 - 17:23
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The problem with that kind of thinking is that when you try to replace a good card with 2 bad cards that are only good together, you end up with something that doesn't really work with any reliability.

That said, I'd love to see a new deck emerge called Pseudopod.

Why don't we build it?23 by Rerepete at Sun, 01/25/2015 - 00:18
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Why don't we build it?

LANDS
4 Windswept Heath
4 Verdant Catacombs
3 Forest
3 Razorverge Thicket
2 Overgrown Tomb
2 Gavony Township
1 Godless Shrine
1 Marsh Flats
1 Plains
1 Swamp
1 Temple Garden

CREATURES
4 Birds of Paradise
2 Noble Hierarch
2 Wall of Roots
1 Scavenging Ooze
4 Tarmogoyf
3 Dark Confidant
4 Yisan, the Wanderer Bard
2 Anafenza, the Foremost
1 Eternal Witness
1 Orzhov Pontiff
3 Siege Rhino
1 Restoration Angel

INSTANTS and SORCERIES
3 Abrupt Decay
2 Thoughtseize

ARTIFACTS
4 Power Conduit

SIDEBOARD
2 Thoughtseize
2 Memoricide
2 Kitchen Finks
1 Dismember
1 Choke
2 Chalice of the Void
1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
1 Putrefy
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Murderous Cut
1 Kataki, War's Wage

I like the idea of this deck. by olaw at Sun, 01/25/2015 - 06:21
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I like the idea of this deck. I'm not sure that Chord of Calling isn't just better than Yisan in general but I suppose he's the closest thing to a repeatable tutor that is available - he's just so slow though.

Power Conduit is an interesting card but not as cool as I initially thought as it isn't capable of putting Verse Counters on Yisan, just removing them in exchange for a +1/+1 counter, which is a neat combat trick and a way to tick down Yisan but not all that exciting. I feel like Proliferate is actually the mechanic we would like but there aren't a lot of cheap ways to use it - Contagion Clasp is decent but if you are paying 4 to Proliferate then you aren't activating your Yisan in the same turn. Alternatively, you could play some copies of Tezzeret's Gambit as draw and a one-off Proliferate effect - which is perhaps more tempting.

The deck tops out at CMC 4 so by Rerepete at Sun, 01/25/2015 - 15:16
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The deck tops out at CMC 4 so likely would be taking counters off of Yisan.

Power Conduit won't work with by romellos at Sun, 01/25/2015 - 15:23
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Power Conduit won't work with Yisan, but instead Chord of Calling and few copies of Hibernation's End seems as a good start to support Yisan.

In the end, Yisan was never a creature version of Pod, but exactly Hibernation's End. So, why not playing with both.

Power Conduit was to convert by Rerepete at Mon, 01/26/2015 - 18:04
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Power Conduit was to convert the verse counters into +1/+1 when Yisan has too many for what you fetch. Although with tinkering around with Yisan last night, by the time he was able to make an impact, I was already winning or badly losing.

I think I would rather have Sudden Reclamation instead of Yisan. And maybe Hex Parasite instead of conduit to interact with opposing planeswalkers.

I'm not sure if a Pod by MarcosPMA at Sat, 01/24/2015 - 23:09
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I'm not sure if a Pod specific hate card exists. The deck functions just fine without it so if you draw your hate card and they don't draw the Pod then you've taken a virtual mulligan. Furthermore, what more hate would someone want other than a Shatter variant?

The problem with Birthing Pod imo is that it only gets better as time goes on. Every set will have some really cool/awesome creature that you could put in a Pod deck and eventually you have a deck with the best creatures and 4 ways to tutor them up. That's an incredibly powerful deck to have. Birthing Pod might not needed to be banned now, but eventually it will need to be banned or otherwise R&D is constrained on how good they can make a creature.

Well there was always Pithing by olaw at Sun, 01/25/2015 - 06:09
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Well there was always Pithing Needle but the problem is as you described. Yes you can use it to turn off all their Pods but if they never draw Pod then it's irrelevant and you've wasted a card - also shutting off Pod itself is no guarantee that you'll win the game because their creatures are so efficient and powerful.

I don't think printing hate cards against Pod would have worked as CalmLittleBuddy suggested. I mean there already is Leonin Arbiter, Aven Mindcensor, Pithing Needle, Phyrexian Revoker and a ton of ways to blow it up but none are actually reliably good enough. Also, blowing up Pod is generally inefficient as they will usually have got one activation off it already, which is enough value for the investment.

Banning cards around Pod is foolish because there will always be new creatures being printed that will be good with Pod. Banning Pod is the move that makes sense but I absolutely understand why people are unhappy with it.

If they were going to ban by Joe Fiorini at Sun, 01/25/2015 - 07:50
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If they were going to ban pod, doing so a long time ago would have made for less bad feelings.

The deck was so entrenched in the modern metagame, most people thought that it wouldn't be banned ever.

This is different that say, banning a card like Dark Depths, that existed a long time, then a broken interaction was created. Pod was a known quantity, and had an entire deck around it.

Torpor Orb was the answer I by Paul Leicht at Sun, 01/25/2015 - 14:51
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Torpor Orb was the answer I was familiar with as most creatures sought by pod were value creatures with etb effects.

Yeah, Torpor Orb is another by olaw at Mon, 01/26/2015 - 05:49
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Yeah, Torpor Orb is another potential answer. However, then Archangel of Thune was printed and so they can still combo you out past it.

Additionally, it does nothing to stop them turning a Kitchen Finks into two Siege Rhinos and just beating you down.

The other problem with Needle and Torpor Orb is that they can be hit with Abrupt Decay so they are fairly easy to answer if they feel it necessary.

Same problem with Damping by Rerepete at Mon, 01/26/2015 - 18:12
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Same problem with Damping Matrix and Stony Silence

I am a lot less worried about by Paul Leicht at Mon, 01/26/2015 - 21:48
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I am a lot less worried about "them" pulling out finks/rhinos with a torpor orb out. And as for Thune/Feeder, have some removal. With removal everything changes. Same as them having abrupt decay. Why can't you also have removal in hand?

I mean we can make up scenarios all night long that end in doomsdays because of the card we want to have banned. The fact is: Pod was fair. It was fair for 3.5 years. Suddenly it was unfair because people started building decks to beat treasure cruise? I am not buying it. Mainly as I said in another comment, WOTC is forming an artificial sandbox out of Modern and because it is artificial they have to do awkward things like banning pod.

In the same sense because they wanted to give something back (this isn't about hurting the players duh) they gave us back grave troll so we can have THAT fair card to play with instead.

I would definitely still be by olaw at Tue, 01/27/2015 - 07:00
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I would definitely still be worried by an active Pod even if I had a Torpor Orb out. The value of being able to upgrade any creature you play, and sometimes for value in the case of Kitchen Finks or Voice of Resurgence, can easily be overwhelming. I don't think that is a Doomsday scenario but actually a fairly likely one and one I have experienced. My point is that Pod hate cards are not always effectual because the deck functions on different levels and attacking one element doesn't necessarily deal with the others. Also, as a toolbox deck it is built to have answers to questions it expects.

I did not want Birthing Pod to be banned and I did not expect it to be banned. Hopefully I made that clear from my comments in my article. I think Pod was a fair deck in the sense that it was vulnerable to removal and interaction. It certainly wasn't broken by any stretch of the imagination and I don't think that Birthing Pod was a must ban card - which is clear from the fact it has been legal for 3.5 years.

I agree that the decision ultimately came down to how WOTC wanted to shape the format. In this case, I think they were worried about everyone hopping off UR Delver and picking up Birthing Pod which would probably lead to a worse situation than the current prevalence of UR Delver. As such the Pod ban was pre-emptive to prevent that from happening. Well that's my take on the situation anyway.

OK I wasn't sure about your by Paul Leicht at Tue, 01/27/2015 - 07:28
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OK I wasn't sure about your intent because you clearly came out of the gate arguing for pod being banned as a sensible move. And I think the fact is the only thing sensible about it is that WOTC decided in their allegedly superior wisdom that it was too ubiquitous (Really? But Splinter Twin was not? Nor Scapeshift? etc...) and that as you said they didn't want everyone playing the same deck or the rock to the scissors without any paper. But how that happens in a format is to print cards that create the 3rd (or more) deck that keeps the format in balance.

I suspect that for some reason (horse to water), the cards they printed despite best intentions didn't lead to that and instead skewed things in the opposite direction (too narrow a field) so to fix it they banned pod, cruise and dig. Cruise and Dig, being new, make tons of sense to ban since their impact is obvious. I am a little surprised they didn't get the ax in Block too since that's usually the first format broken by new cards.

I don't think pod will stay banned for the life of the format. But I think this is a trend that will continue until there is a huge banned list similar to the one in Legacy. While Legacy's banned list seems rather haphazard, Modern's will only make sense if you know the history of the format and then only if you understand it thoroughly.

Well that's my 2.0cents.

"I am a little surprised they by longtimegone at Tue, 01/27/2015 - 15:57
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"I am a little surprised they didn't get the ax in Block too since that's usually the first format broken by new cards."

It makes sense when you look at the card. This one is like the perfect exception, it only really becomes powerful enough to be a problem when you have a variety of cheap cantrips to fuel it, and that's only an issue in formats with a wider card pool.

There aren't THAT many by Paul Leicht at Tue, 01/27/2015 - 19:39
Paul Leicht's picture

There aren't THAT many cantrips in Modern...They banned a lot of them.

The Bannings... by Fred1160 at Tue, 01/27/2015 - 12:30
Fred1160's picture

I think they saw it as, "If we ban cruise and dig then we MUST ban pod." I'm okay with that. Pod was becoming oppressive and dominating top 8's. Cruise and pod were warping the metagame and they both had to go.
I'll cry no tears over pod but I will sniffle a little over Treasure Cruise.

Yisan actually builds up card by Joe Fiorini at Tue, 01/27/2015 - 18:46
Joe Fiorini's picture

Yisan actually builds up card advantage, like pod, chord does not. that said, yisan is not good enough.

people don't pack much, if any, main deck enchantment or artifact removal. they have tons of creature removal usually. Imagine how bad pod would have been if you could bolt it, and couldn't activate it on the turn you played it. that's yisan.

If yisan was slightly better, had hexproof, a higher toughness, etc, he'd be in the maybe pile.

It is definitely possible to by Paul Leicht at Tue, 01/27/2015 - 19:38
Paul Leicht's picture

It is definitely possible to make a good yisan deck in some formats (Tribal Wars, Commander, 2hg standard and so on). Modern probably not so much because the parts are too slow to be "good". That said rogue builds that include Yisan as a one-2 shot could be an effective "what the heck" type of deck, particularly if you pack multiple ways to get your silver bullets. I expect that is mostly xmasland but you never know.

I think the problem is that by olaw at Wed, 01/28/2015 - 04:44
olaw's picture

I think the problem is that Yisan is actually even worse still than a bolt-able Pod that can't be activated the turn you play it. He costs 3 mana to activate (as opposed to 2 or 1) meaning you will probably be spending your whole turn just activating it each turn, and you can't jump up the chain like Pod - you have to go in order and fetch up a 1-mana creature then a 2-mana creature etc. Also, he's legendary so you can't have two on the go.

I think you're right to say even with higher toughness or hexproof that he would still only be decent. It'd be fun to try but Yisan will never be a good replacement for Pod.

Plus by CalmLittleBuddy at Wed, 01/28/2015 - 22:21
CalmLittleBuddy's picture

You can only have one Yisan out at a time...