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By: JXClaytor, Joshua Claytor
Jul 14 2017 12:00pm
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Since the last time this column was published a lot of things happened, cards were banned, changes were made to decklist publication, and I apparently decided that at the age of 37, I needed to experience the wonderful feeling of poison ivy for the first time in decades. 

I am itchy, and in pain, and currently more rash than man.

The week wasn't all terrible though, I did get new streaming equipment in, and a capture card to do console stuff with my son, and I'm really happy about that, because well, I was using Macally brand equipment to stream and record with, but have since upgraded to a Blue Snowball iCE, and a Logitech camera.  I have to shave because the camera is incredible, and picks up a lot of stuff.  I love it. I plan to start streaming PlayStation games with him on the weekends that I have him, because he wants to be a YouTuber.  I of course, want to support him and his dreams, so I figure it does not hurt right? 

I have a lot of stuff to talk about this week, and a limited amount of words to write, so let's kick things off with the big news, which would be the bans that went happened last Wednesday!

Vial Smasher the Fierce was banned. 

That was the most important action that happened for the format.  The Commander was oppressive and incredibly not fun to play against.  The past event and league results backed that up, and this was a ban I was certainly happy to see happen, as I had been pushing for it for a very long time.  Turning the first spell cast each turn in to direct damage is a super cool effect, and Vial Smasher is a super cool card, but it clearly became a format warping issue and had to be removed.  

I for one will not miss taking 19 off of a late game Logic Knot

Treachery was banned. 

Ok that's great.  I was not expecting it, because I figured with Vial Smasher gone, Treachery was a bit more fair.  However it was played in a lot of decks, and the tempo swing of taking your best creature, untapping and then countering your next best creature was deemed too powerful, and I can't say that I disagree with the ban, even if it was unexpected. 

Brainstorm, Ponder, Preordain were all banned. 

These cards really put the hurt to Baral, Chief of Compliance as it cut down on the consistency of it, and the other control heavy Commanders, those mainly being Breya, Etherium Shaper, Leovold, Emissary of Trest and Tasigur, the Golden Fang.  While the removal of those cards still hurt Baral, the other decks were not hurt as much, because for some reason cards like Demonic Tutor, Vampiric Tutor, Tainted Pact, and Mystical Tutor were not banned for similar removal of consistency reasons.  It's almost like there is not an established format with an established banlist and rules set that Wizards could have worked on with. 

While I initially disagreed when the format started, tutors might be a bit too good.  When I look at the metagame snapshot, we'll see how well these decks are doing in the new format. 

Limited Resources, Biorhythm, Painter's Servant and Trade Secrets were all unbanned. 

These came off the list when the multiplayer banned list came back online.  I've played against Painter's Servant and Limited Resources already, and they do not seem to be too problematic for the format. 

What happens from here?  Well I reckon MTGO takes in another 6 week's worth of data and sees what needs to be done then.  I have my predictions about it, and hopefully those will also come to pass because the data that is reported is already showing things need to be worked on still.  The fast mana that Ancient Tomb, Mox Diamond and Chrome Mox provide is too much.  They lead to games that quickly unwinnable thanks to the mana advantage.  It would be like keeping Sol Ring and Mana Crypt in the format.  It's just too much. 

Tutors should go to further cut back the consistency of the control decks, as that was a stated goal of removing the blue cards from the format.  Those bans by the way seem to have worked in the case of Baral. 

I really hope though that Wizards takes a look at and revisits the starting life total.  30 life is too much for most aggro decks to overcome, and outside of Zurgo Bellstriker and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben the archetype does not really see much play.  The control, combo and ramp decks in the format just have so much time to do whatever it is that they want to do with 30 life. 

That is it for ban talk this week, let's take a look at the format after the bans went live now.

Metagame Snapshot

These commanders are from 7-6 to 7-12 and will include the challenges.  We'll take a look at the top five commanders, and there were 78 reported decks. 

Commander League Challenge Total
Breya, Etherium Shaper 17 7 24
Baral, Chief of Compliance 3 6 9
Leovold, Emissary of Trest 7 1 8
Tasigur, the Golden Fang 2 4 6
Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa and Tymna the Weaver 3 1 4

For a live look-in on the post ban format, we go to this .gif


Control decks are all over the place!  Thalia was the only reported aggro deck this week.  Out of 78 decks, there was one brave player to prize with the commander in the challenge.  Breya has taken over the top slot, previously occupied by Vial Kraum, and the next three decks combined don't add up to the presence of the four color artificer. 

This is a problem, as you can see so far, the bans were meant to hurt control decks, and they appear to have not made much of a dent to them at all.  I understand that having powerful decks and cards is a good thing, and it's normally fine, but the control decks in the format are so consistent and versatile that they have made the rock of the rock paper scissor metagame somehow fold to their paper.  Scissors is not really that far behind, as the Ramp and Combo decks were under represented as well.  Maybe people figured out that Selvala, Heart of the Wilds isn't that great since it has to play with some really putrid creatures, or that Sidisi, Undead Vizier can't do much about countermagic, but the control options are just dunking all over everything! 

I guess it is worth mentioning that Baral has been almost non-existent in the past couple of days' worth of lists.  So if the goal was to nerf it and only it, I would say that the bans worked, but we're gonna have to see more.  Hopefully Wizards takes the feedback from Twitter to heart. 


We are at a point in the format where maindecking stuff like Choke, Boil and Carpet of Flowers is almost needed, but it's not really advantageous to pack your deck with such hate because the decks are not mono colored.  Heck Hall of Gemstone has been the real MVP for me in most of the games that I have played, and maybe there just needs to be a Blood Moon deck to take care of these nonbasic lands running around.  The consistency of control is still very much an issue. 

On Changes

The decklist reporting changes that Wizards of the Coast announced has loudly been questioned, and while they are probably hoping that less data will keep their mistakes hidden, and the formats slower to be solved, I know that this will not be the result of their data sharing.  Tech wants to be free in this new information age, and while formats were slow to be solved in the long long ago, that had to do more with how communication and ideas were shared instead of decklists.  The Internet is nearly everywhere now, content is freely flowing, the best decks will be found, they will be found quickly, and all this change does is serve as another example of Wizards of the Coast being tone-deaf and out of touch with the end consumer. 

At least we got a warning this time about shared lists, the last time it happened, we didn't even get a heads up until about two weeks after the fact. 

What I plan to do is continue to report on the reported lists and the challenges.  I think the challenges will give us a more complete picture of the field, but this change to me is a huge downer, because the lists are now essentially curated, and with 5 decks we are not going to see as many cool decks.  While that may not be a big deal for 1v1, in formats like Standard or Modern, it sure is nice to see the rogue decks do well. 

Oh well, I'm gonna show off the deck I've played to a 4-1 and then a 1-4 record in my last two leagues, so it's super swingy, but it's also sweet, and filled with giant Eldrazi monsters!

I have gameplay as well this week, so I'll leave that underneath the decklist, and go ahead and call it a wrap on this week's column, thanks a ton for hanging out with me on PureMTGO.com, and have a great weekend! 

Nissa Ramp
- 100 Cards Total
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Arbor Elf
1 Boreal Druid
1 Devoted Druid
1 Duplicant
1 Elvish Mystic
1 Emrakul, the Promised End
1 Eternal Witness
1 Joraga Treespeaker
1 Lotus Cobra
1 Oblivion Sower
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
1 Priest of Titania
1 Primeval Titan
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Thought-Knot Seer
1 Thragtusk
1 Titania, Protector of Argoth
1 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
1 Wood Elves
1 Woodland Bellower
1 World Breaker
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Fyndhorn Elves
1 Fierce Empath
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Acidic Slime
31 cards

1 Beast Within
1 Chord of Calling
1 Crop Rotation
1 Nature's Claim
4 cards
1 Sylvan Scrying
1 Kodama's Reach
1 Green Sun's Zenith
1 All Is Dust
1 Cultivate
1 Explore
1 Into the North
1 Mwonvuli Acid-Moss
1 Nature's Lore
1 Nissa's Pilgrimage
1 Nissa's Renewal
1 Primal Command
1 Rampant Growth
1 Reap and Sow
1 Search for Tomorrow
1 Skyshroud Claim
1 Three Visits
1 Traverse the Ulvenwald
18 cards

1 Expedition Map
1 cards
1 Sylvan Library
1 Carpet of Flowers
1 Choke
1 Hall of Gemstone
1 Lignify
1 Utopia Sprawl
1 Wild Growth
7 cards

1 Nissa, Worldwaker
1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
3 cards
16 Forest
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Cavern of Souls
1 Dust Bowl
1 Eldrazi Temple
1 Eye of Ugin
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Mouth of Ronom
1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wasteland
1 Wastes
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills
4 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Temple of the False God
36 cards
1 Nissa, Vastwood Seer



Thanks for the run down. by Paul Leicht at Sat, 07/15/2017 - 18:47
Paul Leicht's picture

Thanks for the run down.

re by Hearts at Sun, 07/16/2017 - 03:33
Hearts's picture

"...all this change does is serve as another example of Wizards of the Coast being tone-deaf and out of touch with the end consumer."

Are you questioning Wotc's expertise ?

If you were familiar with my by JXClaytor at Sun, 07/16/2017 - 05:35
JXClaytor's picture

If you were familiar with my work you'd find that was not the first time I have been critical of Wizards, but hey, thanks for reading!

re by Hearts at Sun, 07/16/2017 - 06:00
Hearts's picture

You think the game should/would have been in a (very) different place today if wotc had made sounder/better decisions through the years ? And that wotc would have made significantly more money on mtg this way ?

I think they have already by JXClaytor at Sun, 07/16/2017 - 06:26
JXClaytor's picture

I think they have already made very sound decisions, that put them to this point. Disagreeing with their 1v1 ban list decisions and how it was built does not mean I think they have by and large made poor decisions across the board.

I think for every 10 great decisions, there is a bad one that either gets walked back or not.

re by Hearts at Sun, 07/16/2017 - 06:46
Hearts's picture

What takes most: to build something up or to tear it down ?

Can they afford to make every tenth decision wrong ?

they are not perfect by TheWolf at Sun, 07/16/2017 - 07:00
TheWolf's picture

They are not perfect, and will make mistakes. Just like I'm making a mistake right now in feeding the troll.

Well yes, I mean wrong by JXClaytor at Sun, 07/16/2017 - 07:07
JXClaytor's picture

Well yes, I mean wrong decisions often times lead to growth. Risk taking is fine. Where would nintendo be without the Virtual Boy or Wii U? Do we get the switch at all then? Where does handheld gaming go if not for the Gameboy?

Risk taking is a needed part of business, some are successful, but for every ipod, there is a zune, for every new coke, there is a coke classic, it is when a company, or in general anyone, stops taking risks that decay happens.

re by Hearts at Sun, 07/16/2017 - 08:14
Hearts's picture


If it's nonsense then why is by JXClaytor at Sun, 07/16/2017 - 09:05
JXClaytor's picture

If it's nonsense then why is Netflix around and Blockbuster not? Did Netflix not take the risk in shifting media consumption? Did Blockbuster not take the risk of changing business plans?

Whole Foods is a company that took a risk in how food is sold.

Risk taking happens, and it's important.

I believe you're out of your element here Hearts, and it's been a pleasure.

re by Hearts at Sun, 07/16/2017 - 11:37
Hearts's picture

Presenting statements that neither of us, or a 3d person, can confirm, is making a nonsense conversation/debate.

Isn't that what you do every by JXClaytor at Sun, 07/16/2017 - 13:21
JXClaytor's picture

Isn't that what you do every time you comment here?

Be that as it may, we can by Paul Leicht at Sun, 07/16/2017 - 13:25
Paul Leicht's picture

Be that as it may, we can definitely confirm what Joshua has said. 3rd party facts can be ascertained fairly easily about every single topic he brought up. Or is there something else you are referring to?

There is a veritable by JXClaytor at Sun, 07/16/2017 - 13:26
JXClaytor's picture

There is a veritable cornucopia of information about businesses that took risks that paid off and didn't. You can find them, in article form, and I happened to use a site called google.com, and went from there.

re by Hearts at Sun, 07/16/2017 - 13:44
Hearts's picture

It is reasonable to say what we both know things about mtg, which is why we bother to discuss mtg. It is not reasonable to expect more than that (other businesses).

Expecting more than that(and going into discussions about it) is a bit looney in the head in fact.

Those facts I throw around are easily checked for a person that knows the abbreviations ipg, mtr, cr - ergo, I do not throw the discussions into a deadlock.

...eritable cornucopia of information about businesses...
Do you really think it is that easy to understand businesses and what made them do this or that ? You need education for this, knowing complicated words, terms and theory.

My degree is in business. I by JXClaytor at Sun, 07/16/2017 - 13:52
JXClaytor's picture

My degree is in business. I think I'm fine.