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By: runeliger, Sebastian Park
Apr 26 2007 9:21pm
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" It's banned! Why? Because it's FREAKING BROKEN!" -Random Dark Wars Competitor


After much talk about just how "broken!" Mind's Desire is, this card has finally been banned from many major PRE FFA (Player Run Free for All events) including Dark Wars, Saturday Night Melee, and other smaller events. As that previous quote clearly emphasizes, there definitely existed groups of people who shared a hatred of TEPS (The Extended Perfect Storm)* and its signature card Mind's Desire.


Beyond that, what does this mean say PREs in general? Across the board, various clans (Hellz Angel, and other PRE hosting clans) have taken their own steps in the past when it came to the banning of “broken” cards. Because the DCI (the guys who run the rules department in competitive magic) deviate from all forms of multiplayer play online, they don’t issue banning and restrictions on cards in the played PRE formats. But is it right for PRE clans to take it upon themselves and ban cards that people have spent money on? Does a card that has shown its ability to consistently win deserve being banned for the sake of others?



To address this question, I sat down with veteran PRE organizer and player, franknitty12002.

*NOTE: as far as formatting goes, questions and comments I make will be in italics and not have any name associated with it, while frank’s words will be quite visible*

First of all, I want to thank you for taking some time out of your schedule to sit down and discuss this with me

franknitty12002: no problem :)

So let's cut to the chase, what's your take on Mind's Desire, the card itself and its effect on PREs

franknitty12002: I think Mind's Desire is an excellent and very versatile card in Magic. The deal is within the PRE scene, there are so many different players of different calibers, that a lot of players were abusing the card with TEPS (The Extended Perfect Storm*) decks. People began to build against it, but more were losing interest in the PREs and were just beginning not to play at all. Mind's Desire has many uses though and can be used in a variety of decks. It's really a shame that I had to make it a banned card
because of 2 months worth of consistent TEPS deck event wins in the pre's

Does this have any effect on the PRE's metagame itself? Let me explain, six months ago, “Kokusho Storm” was the most common deck in the format, a deck that many people invested heavily into. However, this deck was abruptly removed from the metagame when Kokusho, the Evening Star was banned. Do you think such bannings make the format healthier?

franknitty12002: In some aspects, yes.

Could you clarify?

franknitty12002:  Let's face it. TEPS is a very expensive deck and very hard to shut down in any game, and much less so in PRE. It is my belief that yes; [these bannings] do help the format. It also allows more players to have a chance to win instead of the same [people] winning consistently.

I have personally seen TEPS go off in two turns. I would be disappointed going up against it on a regular basis in the PRE scene
as a budget player.

But that brings me to this question; do you believe that PREs are aimed at budget players? I always thought it was for those of us who loved playing in a variety of formats.

franknitty12002: Well, PREs are geared toward players on a budget, so in a way... yes. We encourage players of all walks [of life] on here to play in PREs.  It's a chance for the sponsors to get put out [their information] into the community by word of mouth. Some people come to PREs because they simply have a lot of money to spend and want to better their collections...which stomps on newer players who could use these prizes more [effectively]  than those "Power Players".

I can speak from experience from that perspective, since I started off playing PREs to get a collection with my limited budget. But are those "Power Players" bad? They in fact did invest hundreds of dollars to build such powerful decks

franknitty12002: well right they spend a lot of money...which generally means they don't necessarily+ need [the prizes] as much as most of the player's who play PREs [on a budget].

Thank you franknitty12002 for sitting down with me and discussing this.

franknitty12002: No problem anytime

So then what can we learn from this? Well first of all, PREs are inherently a means of bettering the community as a whole. I can definitely agree with this statement (feel free to argue my opinions on the forums or in the comments section). I speak, of course from personal experience, as I started out of collection with a meager forty dollars playing a free (I managed to get enough of these elves out of rich collections to build a deck) elf deck, and expanding its power using various "crap" (less than a tix) rares. CK (CerealKillaz, a premier PRE running in the old days) also facilitated this but providing tournaments that weren’t highly competitive in terms of money invested. Because of this community, I was able to start off building my collection to get to where I am right now.

However, what do competitors think? After leaving franknitty, I pondered such thoughts and asked around; I got these following responses...

"Mind's Desire can be countered. [Mind's Desire]'s storm ability can be countered. Counter it if you don't like it" -Musikgenman, PRE competitor

"I really don't think [Mind's Desire] too much of a problem... easily lobotomized or countered. However, the format does degrade into storm and anti-storm" -Alighant, PRE veteran competitor


 These quotes of course give us some insight on the general mindset of what people believe to be storm combo decks. Do formats really degrade into storm-anti storm decks? We've seen it happen before, anyone remember Affinity's reign when it had access to BOTH Skullclamp and Disciple of the Vault? Not fun at all (I recommend everyone to check out Frank Karsten's "What if..?" article to see a glimpse of exactly how bad it was).  

In the end, I think Duxdotter, a long-time tournament organizer and avid PRE player said it best:

"Mind's Desire is a good card, especial for storm decks but, should be banned like the power card it is (for example [Kokusho, the Evening Star].  As for the banning of it, that is tough...  there are as many pro's and con's about banning it but, at the same time, if people are over using it, I can respect the reasoning behind such bans. Just like any other banned card, it has to be have a large enough following people who can afford to fork out the money for it, and more money for those who are willing to fork over the money for the necessary stoppers and thus, the format degrades into the storm /anti-storm decks we've seen the past few months. Bannings of course help out"

To follow up on all of this, I of course entered a Dark Wars tournament to see what's up. After winning the first round (as I tend to do when I play these PREs) I can assure everyone that I didn't see a single Mind's Desire deck. However, I can also say that I won with yet another combo deck...

So what do you think? Post about it on the forums and in the comments!

*For anyone who doesn't know, TEPS, The Extended Perfect Storm, is literally an extended netdeck that wins by casting rituals into Mind's Desire into more rituals and finishing off with Tendrils of Agony *


Until next time,

Sebastian Park

Runeliger on MODO (Still claiming to have a second account to play tournaments on)

Airizel AT Gmail DOT com


Mind's Desire by Nitti at Thu, 05/03/2007 - 02:07
Nitti's picture

Alright...there's been alot of talk about this which is exactly what I wanted to accomplish. AHammer, first off, I deal with're showing your backside as usual (what else is new?). I've been talking to players and sponsors alike about Mind's Desire for months now. Know what you're talkin about b4 you open your mouth. Second of all, Desire is unbanned. Kokusho and Erayo stays...reason being; Some cards just aren't meant for multiplayer play as Runeliger stated. Funny how when something isn't banned, that people cry constantly about it, then when it does get banned, more people complain. Go figure. But yeah Desire is unbanned, I had an incident happen tonight where people teamed in an event to rig the outcome...I'll be writing an aticle VERY soon. I didn't really want to ban it in the first place...I simply enforced a temp ban on it to alleviate some issues. You can take that for whatever you want...I could really care less right now. Meanwhile, I'll be working on my next pre article...sorry to come off so abrasive, but I am definitely NOT in a good mood right now lol. Just watch for my next'll get a hint as to why :) Peace I'm out

by runeliger at Sat, 04/28/2007 - 15:32
runeliger's picture

Well, although I'm pretty sure you guys know where I stand on this, I'll have to make a comment in terms of the cards themselves. One must always realize, multiplayer formats weren't in the design scape for the majority (if not 99.9%) of all cards that have been printed up until this point. There are a few that were designed for mutliplayer play, but the rest were designed with competitive magic or casual magic in mind. That said, cards like Erayo and Kokusho have a much higher power level than intended. My only problem with the banning of Mind's Desire, is that the card inherently DOES NOT have any increased power level in mutliplayer play. It doesn't lock out 5 other players, nor does it kill everyone, but rather facilitates a combo (TEPS) to its utmost ability. One last thing, there's a forum topic up called "Banning, PRE's, and Doing Your Thang" on the forums, and since this article will disappear from the front page in a few days, if you guys want to keep discussing this, that topic might be a suitable place to.

Javasci's picture

"If it's better than all other cards, ban it" (as well as "if it wins, ban it") doesn't work, as in any selection of cards there will be some that are better than others, and thus there will be some that are the best of that selection (and those cards will win). I agree with Erman here, WotC bans sparingly for a reason. That reason is that bannings are bad for any format. The only time that cards should be banned is when leaving the card in the format is worse. Banning power cards should not be done, as you will end up with more power cards. If you ban them, the same will happen, and eventually nothing but vanilla creatures will be left. I also agree with Anonymous ("FFA Metagame") and with michaelrossignol. Tournaments are not meant for everyone to have an equal chance, otherwise we might as well be flipping coins. They are meant for the most skilled people to win. The most skilled will either play the dominant deck or play something that is better, which will become a new dominant deck. MotoX: only one of those cards you listed shows up at all in a tournament deck, Orim's Chant, and that is nothing without Isochron Scepter (except insurance when you're one turn away from a win, which makes it just a "win more" card).

To recap my point of view: WotC prints cards for a reason, and the more skilled players will use the best cards to win games. They are meant to do so, otherwise we might as well be flipping coins.

by MotoXTripleX (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 04/27/2007 - 21:58
MotoXTripleX (Unregistered)'s picture

To follow up on my previous comment until then ill use those broken cards to win =) lol

by MotoXTripleX (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 04/27/2007 - 21:56
MotoXTripleX (Unregistered)'s picture

I am glad to see these cards banned the game should be fair if I had it my way Beacon of Imortality, Phage, Door to nothing, coaliton victory, platanium angel, orims chant, battle of wits, test of endurance, guilty on stuffy etc. Stuff that you automatically win has got to go

Spike Boy is On It! by thescale99 at Fri, 04/27/2007 - 10:48
thescale99's picture

Also, Spike Boy's comments were spot on

by AHammer (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 04/27/2007 - 15:31
AHammer (Unregistered)'s picture

It was banned with out even talking with the players. The banning was unnessecary(spelling) and all the new players always complained when they easily could have used Arcane labratory trickbind discard etc many budget. Not too many players even played TEPS and it started to get hated out by the pro's of PRE's what will be next? Banning Islands cause they can counter?

thescale99's picture

I usually don’t comment on PRE’s, because I don’t play in them. But this is not a PRE issue, per say – it’s an issue of freedom of association. ‘PLAYERS’ (People) may ‘RUN an EVENT’ (Associate) in any manner that they see fit. So if some PRE’s want to enact bans, and others don’t, who is anyone else to say it’s right or wrong? Don’t like banning? Don’t play in the event. Don’t like facing Mind’s Desire? Don’t play in the event. Honestly, I just don’t see the problem here – the market of free choice will sort this question out reeeeeaaal quick…move on, already.

PRE's and Bannings by SpikeBoyM at Fri, 04/27/2007 - 09:55
SpikeBoyM's picture

Let's not forget that these are Player Run Events, and decisions about bannings here should be made by the players. Over in PDC, the current B&R list (Banned Cranial Plating, Restricted Artifact lands) and rules about Purple Cards (only if they have an online common counterpart) were made by the players themselves after lengthy forum discussion. Origianally, there was a monthly PDC forum where all players had their voice heard on any issue that was brought up (which was how the Affinity-neutering was decided).
I do not play FFA, I do however compete in a PRE community, so here goes my two cents.
Erman: WotC bans for sanctioned formats. Alot of people in the PRE community put much more time into testing these formats than WotC ever could (I highly doubt MaRo and RaBu sit around playing Pauper against one another). In cases such as these, player input should always be valued- if people were not showing up because of this paritcular combination of cards, then perhaps they would need to be examined. And because this is a PRE, one could always start up that does not ban the cards in question (as Ancien as done with Vintage PDC, which allows cards which were common in any printing, like Kird Ape).
Another misconception is the idea of PRE as budget. This is false. Even for PDC, as some staples there cost more than junk rares. While PDC is great for budget players (as you can build competitive decks for under 5 bucks), I do not think that PRE should ever equal budget. It has only had this relationship because palyers who are not on such a budget often gravitate towards evetns where they can win larger prizes (8 mans, Premier events).
Finally, I want to chime in on this idea of PRE Clans. Not every PRE has to be run by a clan. The template 1v1 PRE, PDC, was started not by a clan, but by one individual. The idea that there needs to be clans to have a PRE just strikes me as false. I'm not saying clans do not help (PDC has at least four active clans), but the assumption that for a PRE to exist there needs to be a clan, to me, is hurting PRE's more than helping them.
Sebastian: Good article, but this piece was primed for a personal opinion intertwined with it. Keep up the great work.

by michaelrossignol (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 04/27/2007 - 07:26
michaelrossignol (Unregistered)'s picture

I thought long and hard on the issue of banning Mind's Desire from the weekly Chaos FFA. After much thought I then unbanned Kokusho, the Evening Star and left only Erayo banned and am seriously thinking of unbanning it as well. I brought the issue of Mind's Desire to several of the sponsors, fellow PRE hosts, and many, many of the PRE players. Of coarse the responces varied, but in the end, the answer most had was actually a question, "What's next?". I have never seen the PRE sceen as a place focused on "Budget" players, they have PDC PREs for them, but as a place I could go to be challenged. Honestly, I've played in the mulitiplayer room for many years now, and there are only a few players that make me smile when they sit at my table. They are the ones I know will challenge my playing skills. I know they come to win, as do I. But unfortunatly, most of the time I get random players on "Budget" decks that end up conceeding. So, I love to sit down at a table during any PRE and know I have actual compitetion facing me. That is what the PREs bring to me. But, I am only one of the many players there. We all play for our own reasons, and for those that play for the compitetion, I will do my best to make sure that at least the Sunday Chaos FFA (/join Chaos) will provide just that!

Sunday Chaos FFA Host

sliver heir's picture

The whole game revolves around things being broken. thats the idea to break you opponet before he breaks you. How do you do that? you find the biggest hammer you can. the idea is to design a deck that is broken. thats the point and when you find one thats just that good people will change their decks acordingly. I remember when affinity was superbroken and what happen? people made decks that could do only one thing. beat affinity and because so many people were playing affinity it would win 8 man tornies. You have a sideboard use it. don't just ban cards. the only reason a card sould be banned is if it on its own is so overpowered that it disrupts things not because someone put the time and work in to makeing it usefull with other cards. thats what a deck is. THIS BANNING IS WRONG!

by Lord Erman at Fri, 04/27/2007 - 05:01
Lord Erman's picture

Unless a card is officially banned by WOTC, I am 100% against all these bannings. If it wins constantly, ban it! I most certainly do not agree with this. If the organizers want to see more budget/casual decks in their tournaments, then they should start hosting different formats or same format with different rules like "no more than 4 rares" or something alike. As I said, if WOTC doesn't ban it, then there is nothing wrong with it. And they probably know it better than anyone for THEY are the one who's spending 1000's and 1000's of USD's to their own tournaments. I think like that. And Runeliger, quality job as always.

FFA mtegame by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 04/27/2007 - 06:34
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

Im also completely against this. I don't understand why Kokushostorm was banned- it was never banned from CHAOS when it ran for over a year. People who play FFAs enough know the metagame- and there ARE answers. (False Cure, Stifle, etc. etc- in each colour). Sure, Dragonstorm won- but did it next time? No. Most likely every single person packed an answer and beat down on the storm player. PRE FFAs are competitive- and there's no possible way you can aim it towards budget players.