A lot of startling changes have hit Magic’s various metagames lately and, as such, players are beginning to look towards the next MTG ban announcement.
When the three-year rotation change was made to Standard, it was announced that each set would have a sort of emergency-ban opportunity. The purpose of these MTG ban announcements is to ensure that any accidental problems that a new release caused in older sets could be checked. Standard players are unlikely to experience any changes, unless something truly terrible occurred.
These MTG ban announcements, for the most part, haven’t done much. Modern players have been concerned about one particular strategy which has gone unaddressed for longer than players expected.
This time around, however, we may see some changes. One particular archetype broke out this weekend that has many players asking questions in the Pioneer format. The play patterns certainly look concerning.
So, will Discover Combo see a ban on December 5th? Will Grief finally be removed from Modern? Here’s what some players are looking out for.
Scam has been disgustingly popular in the Modern format, lately, and it’s not difficult to understand why. Capable of creating powerful turn one bodies that rip apart an opponent’s hand, playing against this deck’s busted starts can be an absurdly uphill battle. Fury, in particular, is completely shutting out an entire Modern archetype. It is very difficult to play creature-based strategies at the moment.
Even though this deck win rate statistically is nothing out of the ordinary, events have been commonly dominated by the Scam archetype, leading players to expect a ban of something from the deck in the last announcement. That ban never came.
That said, the Modern metagame may be seeing a shift. Tishana’s Tidebinder has seriously improved the quality of the Crashing Footfalls archetype. That deck already had a good Scam matchup. If its other matchups improve, we could see a metagame shift.
The Awkward Issue is simply that Scam has already taken its toll on the Modern metagame. Some players are beginning to look towards other formats simply because Modern isn’t in a great place. Will Tishana’s Tidebinder fix this, or just create another overpowered problem?
Personally, I don’t think we’re going to see any changes to the Modern format. Getting Scammed may not feel good, but current winrates do not suggest the strategy is oppressive. Only four copies of the deck appeared in the top 32 of the last Modern Challenge, much lower than usual.
According to a recent article from MTG legend Frank Karsten on magic.gg, Rakdos Midrange’s popularity has exceeded 20% of the Modern metagame (this is banworthy amounts of representation).
“As a writer who is contracted to provide weekly insights to aspiring competitive players (but who is not involved with ban decisions), I will say that this is the highest record-weighted metagame percentage I’ve encountered this year in any format.”Frank Karsten
That said, the win rate of Rakdos Scam just doesn’t keep up with its representation, and that’s where the weird relationship sits. From a representation perspective, something needs to change. From a win rate perspective, there really isn’t anything oppressive going on here. Do note that this article was published before Tishana’s Tidebinder’s impact was truly felt.
Discover MTG Ban?
The biggest thing that happened in the world of Magic this past week was the rise of the Discover combo in Pioneer. Long story short, two variations of this one-card combo currently exist. All you need to do is Discover once, and the game ends.
The sudden introduction of this archetype has sent the metagame into a spiral. This combo can’t outpaced. You have no choice but to play their game, at least for one of the variants.
Whether you’re piloting the more explosive Geological Appraiser build, or the more resilient Quintorius Kand build, this one-card combo seems real enough to be making a massive impact on the format. Sure, there’s a major deckbuilding restriction in the mix, but the two variants faced off in the finals of the 400 player Pioneer showcase challenge event, which has proved their mettle. This has been followed up by multiple strong Preliminary finishes throughout the week.
These decks completely upheaved the Pioneer metagame. Some decks, like Mono Green Devotion, which players complained about extensively despite its poor win rate, are completely pushed out of the metagame. There’s simply no way for it to beat a consistent turn three kill.
While the two decks winning a 400+ player qualifier is a harrowing sign, we ultimately do not know if this strategy is the end of Pioneer as we know it yet. This upcoming Regional Championship weekend will likely be the deciding factor. If the Discover Combo decks completely crush the competition, we may see some Pioneer bans on December 5th. If not, it might be ok.
Because the deckbuilding restriction is so heavy for these decks, the combo is rather easy to break up. one counterspell, piece of removal, or really any interaction at all, is enough to stop the combo. That said, the Discover combo decks have adapted any can play around stuff.
Ultimately, whether these strategies are too glass cannon-y or not will be judged by how it does this weekend. If it does dominate on the scale that players think it will, we could see some Discover Bans on December 5th.
No Changes Incoming?
Scam in the Modern format, as well as the potentially problematic Discover combo, are the big offenders players are expecting could be addressed in the next ban window on December 5. That said, even though Scam was clearly oppressive in the Modern format according to MTGO results, nothing was touched on the last MTG ban announcement.
Personally, I do not think anything is going to change in the Modern format. Scam’s play patterns are annoying, sure, but the deck doesn’t have a high enough winrate. Especially when considering the recent impact of Tishana’s Tidebinder, that I think Wizards of the Coast will take action. That said, getting double Grief Scammed in the opening turns does not feel healthy, so I would be happy to see something go.
As for the Discover combo, well, I’ll be playing in one of the many Regional Championships this weekend. I think the metagame has to adjust to its new Discover overlords, but I don’t think the decks are oppressively good. I think the issue more lies in that they may push a lot of strategies out of the Pioneer format, just like how Fury has invalidated creature-based strategies in Modern. So, yeah, Discover may need to be addressed, but not because of how powerful it is. What it pushes out may give rise to an even more problematic Pioneer overlord.
Until then, players have no choice but to wait with bated breath for December 5th.