Posts Tagged ‘treasure cruise’

‘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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This week in Magic: Modern UR Delver

treasure cruise

For this week in Magic, we’re going to take a visit down memory lane and talk about Modern! I’ve been playing Modern again lately, and I’ve got a bit of a bug. Thanks to the introduction of Khans, though, the format has changed, and for the better. Cards like Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise add a dynamic that not many people expected. Some people were even speculating that Treasure Cruise would be banned. However it hasn’t, and decks like Mono Red Burn have welcomed it with arms wide open.


I am not running Mono Red Burn, though. I’ve decided to go the UR Delver route. This deck is a lot of fun and can almost second for another burn deck. Okay, that’s enough talk. Let’s take a look at what I was playing.


Main board
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Young Pyromancer


4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Serum Visions
3 Thought Scour
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Forked Bolt
2 Vapor Snag
2 Spell Snare
2 Mana Leak
2 Spell Pierce
1 Electrolyze
4 Treasure Cruise


2 Polluted Delta
3 Flooded Strand
2 Wooded Foothills
2 Bloodstained Mire
4 Steam Vents
2 Island
3 Mountain


Side board
2 Blood Moon
2 Electrickery
1 Negate
1 Dispel
2 Dragon Claw
1 Pithing Needle
1 Counterflux
1 Relic of Progenitus
2 Combust
2 Smash to Smithereens


This list is far from perfect, but I felt good playing it this past weekend. For this week, we’re just going to focus on the main board, and if there is time, we’ll touch upon the side board. Right after playing, I knew the one thing I wanted to add was Snapcaster Mage. As to why it wasn’t there to begin with, I think it just escaped my mind. Now the question is how many do I run? I’ve seen many lists go back and forth between one and two Snapcaster Mages.


To begin with, I may want to start with two Mages. However, I can see the argument to only play one. First of all, you’ll notice that Delver, Young Pyromancer, and the Swiftspear all have something in common – they are all dependant on non-creature spells. By running more creatures than I have to, it can almost hinder me in a small way. Can you imagine needed to rip just any spell to either trigger the Pyromancer or trigger the Prowess on Swiftspear, but instead you draw your Mage?


I can see what you’re saying, big deal, right? So what if you draw your Snapcaster Mage? Just cast that guy and flashback a Lightning Bolt! Well, you need to remember that this is a deck that runs only 18 lands. Resources are very limited and when you do draw your Mage, you may find that you don’t have the mana to do everything you want. Of course, this is the worst case scenario, so don’t let this deter you. However, it is very much a possibility.


The next debate is over certain counterspells. I feel there is a good question over whether to run Remand or Mana Leak. What that answer is, I’m not quite sure. Remember, I’m no expert here, I’m just a guy putting his thoughts down on electronic paper. Is it better to run Mana Leak or Remand?


A great argument for Remand can be made for it’s cantrip ability. In this deck, I can totally see drawing more cards. More fuel for the fire. However, an important thing to keep in mind is what the format currently looks like. If you feel like decks such as Jund, Pod, Tron, and such are going to be dominant, then running Remand is an excellent choice. In the later game, Mana Leak just is not good enough.


In a metagame where decks like UR Delver and Mono Red Burn (splashing Blue for Treasure Cruise) are running rampant, then Mana Leak is at it’s best. As someone who played Mono Red Burn, Remand was the best counter I could see if I saw any. Most of the time, it meant I was paying two mana for my Lightning Bolt instead of one. In some cases, that can be game changing, but most of the time it’s not. Remember I mentioned that resources can be limited, Mana Leak can hurt a lot especially when you average about three to four lands a game.


This leads me to seeing people making a compromise. This is where you see lists running one Remand or one Mana Leak. While this may seem like a solution, I don’t think it is. You want your counterspells to matter in the game. Running one of’s does not help solve the problem. In the end, you’re better off running two of a less efficient counterspell than none at all.


Time to wrap things up. There are some obvious staples of the deck that should never be messed with. I feel that these staples are Serum Visions, Lightning Bolt, Gitaxian Probe, and Treasure Cruise. Otherwise, feel free to play around with numbers until you feel comfortable. That’s it for now. Tune in next week where I’ll try to tackle the side board and hopefully recount some playtesting. Until then, take care.


About the author

Simeon is now the Community Manager for Battleground Games & Hobbies. If you have any questions or inquiries, then you can reach him at He is also an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!


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