Posts Tagged ‘Banned & Restricted List’

‘Magic the Gathering’ Banned & Restricted List Update



Wizards of the Coast announced today their quarterly update to the Magic the Gathering Banned & Restricted list; a list of cards deemed to be, typically, too powerful to be allowed in tournament play in an effort to keep the various formats fun, diverse and healthy.


Many speculated across social media that major updates were eminent. Today’s announcement certainly lives up to that speculation.


In it’s entirety, here is the Banned & Restricted Announcement:


Announcement Date: January 19, 2015

Effective Date: January 23, 2015

Magic Online Effective Date: January 28, 2015


Dig Through Time, Treasure Cruise, and Birthing Pod are banned.

Golgari Grave-Troll is no longer banned.


Treasure Cruise is banned.

Worldgorger Dragon is no longer banned.


Treasure Cruise is restricted.

Gifts Ungiven is no longer restricted.

The complete list of all banned and restricted cards, by format, is here.

Next B&R Announcement: March 23, 2015


Explanation of Changes


Wizards of the Coast examines tournament results from each competitive Constructed format. When a format becomes imbalanced, we examine the cause. Sometimes, a card-drawing card can be too efficient. The decks that draw cards so efficiently push out many other decks, limiting the field to the strong decks that best use those card drawers and decks that don’t play in interactive games with those strong decks. In that case, the best option might be to ban the overly efficient card drawer.

Since Wizards looks to limit the number of cards banned, each format is evaluated on its own merits. The same card might be banned in some formats, and not others, in a way that might appear uneven. That happens because the card is banned in the formats where, in practice, it is problematic.

Here are our changes:


Decks playing the powerful card drawers have been winning a lot, and pushing a lot of other decks down in competitive play. Blue-Red Delver decks, playing efficient creatures, card drawers, burn, and some permission spells have been the most successful. Also, decks focused on more burn, or combination decks using Jeskai Ascendancy, have done well. However, as these decks have occupied a large portion of the competitive metagame, the overall variety of successful decks has been suppressed. It is imbalanced enough that Wizards of the Coast has decided to act. In Modern, these cards are easy replacements for one another—while a Delver deck might use Treasure Cruise overDig Through Time, banning one but not the other would do little to change the deck. Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise are banned.

Over the past year, Birthing Pod decks have won significantly more Grand Prix than any other Modern decks and compose the largest percentage of the field. Each year, new powerful options are printed, most recently Siege Rhino. Over time, this creates a growing gap between the strength of the Pod deck and other creature decks. Pod won five of the twelve Grand Prix over the past year, including winning the last two. The high percentage of the field playing Pod suppresses decks, especially other creature decks, that have an unfavorable matchup. In the interest of supporting a diverse format, Birthing Pod is banned.

When cards are banned from a format, Wizards investigates whether there is a banned card that, if not banned, might add new decks to competitive play. We look for cards that are unlikely to add power to existing top decks, but instead add new strategies or augment decks that are not currently as successful. Golgari Grave-Troll is very powerful in a deck based on getting a lot of cards into its graveyard. Replacing a card draw with dredge 6 is a terrific rate. However, that type of deck has not been as successful in Modern tournaments recently. While taking such a card off the banned list has some risks, this is a good time to see what happens. Golgari Grave-Troll is no longer banned.


Blue-Red Delver decks have been so successful at tournament play that they are hurting the diversity of the format. While other decks can have some success, the diversity is significantly less than it had been. Treasure Cruise is banned.

Worldgorger Dragon has a strange and powerful interaction with Animate Dead. This used to be too powerful for Legacy. It is not clear that this is more powerful than animating Griselbrand, and this interaction may add an interesting variant. Worldgorger Dragon is no longer banned.


Again, Blue-Red Delver decks have been so successful at tournament play that they are hurting the diversity of the format. Treasure Cruise is restricted.

Years ago, Gifts Ungiven was dominating Vintage tournament play. However, this has not been the case recently, and the card might invigorate some less-played Vintage decks. Gifts Ungiven is no longer restricted.


What do you think of these changes? Are you happy with them? Sound off in the comments below!








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Wizards of the Coast Announces Update to Magic Banned & Restricted List


Yesterday, Wizards of the Coast announced major changes to the Modern-format Banned & Restricted List. Effective as of February 7th – this Friday – are the following changes:


Deathrite Shaman BANNED

Bitterblossom UNBANNED

Wild Nacatl UNBANNED

Standard, Legacy, Vintage:

No Changes

The next Banned & Restricted List announcement will be April 28, 2014.

Wizards of the Coast provided the following explanation for the changes:

Explanation of February 3, 2014, B&R Changes 

Different flavors of black-green decks have recently been among the best-performing decks in Modern. These decks play many very efficient ways to trade cards one for one with their opponents, such as ThoughtseizeInquisition of Kozilek, and Abrupt Decay. Strong mana acceleration helps these decks trade one for one efficiently enough that they can keep up with the other decks in a large format such as Modern, but normally playing mana acceleration comes at the cost of playing cards that are less powerful in the late game. Deathrite Shaman, however, is powerful at all stages of the game. Having a strong attrition-based deck as a large portion of the metagame makes it difficult for decks that are based on synergies between cards instead of individually powerful cards. We believe that removing Deathrite Shaman from the format will leave more room for future innovation.

At the time Wild Nacatl was banned, we hoped that this would allow room for other aggressive decks to shine. Artifact-based aggressive strategies have remained popular and a few other aggressive decks have emerged, but the Zoo decks eventually disappeared as a result of the ban and nothing else emerged as a viable traditional aggressive deck. We expect that with the return of Wild Nacatl, those decks will return as a viable option.

At the time of Modern’s inception, the dominance of Faeries in Standard was at the front of our minds. Therefore, we took the conservative approach of including Bitterblossom in the initial banned list. After observing the evolution of the Modern format, we feel that it is of an appropriate power level to compete with the other powerful strategies in the format.”


So, what do you think of these sweeping changes? How will this affect the Pro Tour coming up in two weeks? Let us know in the comments below, on Facebook or on Twitter @battleground_gh!


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