August 26 Banned and Restricted Announcement

After a long time coming, a few specific cards have finally gotten what’s been coming for them. Here is the official announcement.

 

Standard:

  • Rampaging Ferocidon is Unbanned

Modern:

  • Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis is Banned
  • Faithless Looting is Banned
  • Stoneforge Mystic is Unbanned

Vintage:

  • Karn, the Great Creator is Restricted
  • Mystic Forge is Restricted
  • Mental Misstep is Restricted
  • Golgari Grave-Troll is Restricted
  • Fastbond is Unrestricted

 

This is one of the largest cross-format shake ups that has happened on a single B&R update. Everything has changed for Modern.

Hogaak is dead (exiled?) for good this time. Hogaak Summer is finally over. We made it. No wondering if the banning was enough to properly nerf the deck, he is gone for good. Instead, that feeling has been shifted over to Phoenix.

Faithless Looting is also gone. This means that the Phoenix decks are taking a huge nerf. I’m not talking Bridge from Below level of nerf, I’m talking Eye of Ugin level of nerf. Looting has been referred to as “the Brainstorm of Modern” for several months leading up to this ban. This card has been a staple in Modern for every graveyard deck that has come to light. There’s a part of me that’s sad about seeing it go, but I believe it had to happen.

They banned Dread Return, then they banned Golgari Grave-Troll, then they banned Bridge from Below, now they’re banning Hogaak. All of these decks played a playset of Faithless Looting. Now, instead of banning Arclight Phoenix in three months, they’re taking care of the root of the cause. I’m not saying these cards can now be unbanned because Faithless Looting is banned, I’m just relating Faithless Looting to Gitaxian Probe in Death’s Shadow or Infect.

So they banned some graveyard stuff and- what in the name of Stoneforge Mystic?!

A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one. Stoneforge Mystic is legal for the first time ever in Modern, and I am so excited for it. Jund has been the go-to fair deck in Modern for a long time, but for brief moments around when Siege Rhino was printed, Abzan Midrange would put up top table results. It went extinct during Eldrazi Winter and has never really made a come back, but is this the piece it needed to be tier one again?

Stoneforge has a small cost, provides card advantage, and threatens the board state all in one. If I had access to a playset, I would immediately sleeve up Abzan. Past Abzan, we could also see an Esper Stoneblade esque deck in Modern, which would be equally cool to see.

Apparently a lot of stuff was going down in Vintage that I was unaware of. Vintage is almost like a different game than Magic, they just run on the same engine. What I really didn’t know was that Mental Misstep was not restricted before today. It is now the fourth card to be banned or restricted in Vintage, Legacy, and Modern, following Dig Through Time, Gitaxian Probe, and Treasure Cruise. Funny how they’re all blue.

The update for Standard makes sense, though I wish it would do more for the format than make Mono Red better. Rampaging Ferocidon also slots right into Jund Dinosaurs, but Mono Red is an awful matchup for them, so I believe the meta is going to shift to a point where Mono-Red is the best deck, but Jund Dinos, Bant Scapeshift, and Orzhov Vampires are also playable.

The next couple of months are going to be a little hectic, but I for one welcome these changes. I think everything is going to get a little healthier now. We are witnessing Magic history with the end of an era, as we walk into the unknown of a brand new meta game.