17, May, 24

Necessary MTG Bans Mercilessly Kill Fan-Favorite Archetype!

Article at a Glance

Prior to this week’s ban announcement, we did not expect much. Modern Horizons 3 is right around the corner, and with such a powerful set is expected to come a massive shakeup. Modern Horizons sets have flipped previous Modern formats on their heads and certainly provided some unexpected shakeups to Eternal formats as well.

Thanks to this, outside of maybe Pioneer, we expected no bans at all. After all, what’s the use of fixing a format that may not exist in a month? Miraculously, Pioneer got away from this latest ban wave unscathed, which is frankly expected despite some wishes for Treasure Cruise to bite the dust.

Instead of getting what we predicted, we instead got the biggest wave of bans that MTG may have ever seen. If you somehow predicted Stickers and Attractions being banned out of every competitive two-player format, you got it right.

Stickers and Attractions are two mechanics introduced in Unfinity that have massive complexity issues as far as navigating the game goes. For that reason, these mechanics were banned, and that goes a lot further than just removing problematic mechanics from competitive Magic.

On top of that, a Pauper ban also occurred. Let’s take a look at what this all means.

Stickers and Attractions

_____ Goblin

Stickers and Attractions from Unfinity just got the boot from Legacy, Vintage, and Pauper. This means that 56 competitively legal cards were banned this week. This may well be the biggest ban in MTG history. Much like the age-old ban to Ante cards, Stickers and Attractions weren’t banned because they were overpowered. Instead, they were simply problematic to play with.

In order to use Stickers, you need to bring ten different Sticker Sheets to any game where you may use them. Three of these sheets will be randomly chosen for play at the start of the game. If fringe decks are playing Stickers, this is ultimately not a huge deal. An issue instead arose when one of the best decks in the Legacy format utilized Stickers.

Due to these decks’ power and popularity, many Legacy players started to bring Sticker Sheets to events to bluff what archetype they’re playing. Additionally, if you’re playing cards with copy effects like Phyrexian Metamorph you’d need a Sticker deck in case you copy a Sticker-creating card.

Stickers, in particular, were rather popular in Legacy thanks to ______ Goblin who gave Legacy Goblins a surprising resugance. The Goblin acted as a ritual effect that helped to create enough mana to cast Muxus, Goblin Grandee. Muxus resolving generally ends the game on the spot.

Now that _____ Goblin is gone, this archetype is in serious trouble. It’s not an over-exaggeration to say that the Goblins archetype’s viability is now in jeopardy. There is likely some variant of this deck that will persist past this ban, but it may not involve Muxus, Goblin Grandee. Without the ritual effect from Sticker Goblin, this card is a touch too expensive for an aggressive Legacy deck.

Considering that Stickers and Attractions are being banned not because of power level, but instead because of complexity issues, Goblins are definitely getting the short end of the stick. It’s quite frustrating that this relatively accessible deck, at least in comparison to other Legacy archetypes, is getting nerfed so severely as a side effect of another ban.

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Further Complexity Issues

Looking past paper play for a moment, these cards also caused issues on Magic Online. Implementing Stickers on that platform was problematic to the point of basically being impossible. As a result, ______ Goblin functioned differently online. While Daybreak Games tried to emulate the percentage chance of getting different amounts of mana as closely as possible, they were never exactly the same.

Hidden here, however, may be a solution for the future of the Goblin archetype in Legacy: simply reprint the Magic Online variant of this card in paper. That way, the complexity issues presented by Stickers and Attractions are removed from competitive formats, but the cards themselves can stick around. Some Twitter users did mention this as a potential solution, and we’re here for it.

Admittedly, while it does look like a compelling solution, we could Wizards is just going to recreate and reprint 55 cards from Unfinity. If we’re lucky, ______ Goblin and The Most Dangerous Gamer could get reworked reprints, but we’re not holding our breath. Maybe if we all collectively wish hard enough, MTG’s Space-themed set in 2025 could have a few extra-fun extra-special Special Guests.

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All That Glitters

Meanwhile, over in Pauper, aside from all the Attraction and Sticker bans, we also saw the banning of All That Glitters. Most players commenting on the state of Pauper are really excited to see this card go. Capable of dishing out absurd amounts of damage from nowhere, All That Glitters has been a powerhouse in the Pauper format ever since it got downshifted in Commander Masters. Boros Aggro and Affinity heavily relied on this card so its banning will definitely have metagame implications.

According to Gavin Verhey’s dedicated post about the Pauper ban, All That Glitters has been a concern since the banning of Monastery Swiftspear. Red Aggro continued to be the best archetype in the Pauper format for quite some time, to the point of warping the format unhealthily. Swiftspear was banned to un-warp the format somewhat without killing Red as an archetype. While that definitely worked, it did open the door for the Affinity tool to start essentially doing the same thing.

While All That Glitters thrived in Affinity, it started seeing play outside of it as well, creating a new Boros Aggro deck that utilized it. This was the most popular archetype before the ban according to mtgtop8.

All That Glitters is capable of killing opponents out of nowhere, and the cards that empower All That Glitters are largely things you’d be playing already. As a result, for little deckbuilding restriction, you gain access to a tool that forces your opponent to respect your board at all times. Tapping out may just be lethal. The new Boros archetype seems to be the best thing to do right now, beating all the other best decks in the format. As a result, All That Glitters has been banned.

Interestingly, according to Verhey’s article, other cards were considered for bans in this slot. Mirrodin’s Artifact Lands, such as Ancient Den for instance, were a big consideration since they enable All That Glitters. Ultimately, what was found is that hitting those doesn’t do nearly as much damage as players may expect.

Players are Happy

The reception to both of these bans from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. Many players hated the complications that Stickers and Attractions brought to competitive Magic and are more than happy to see them go. It is a shame that the Goblins archetype may be invertedly nuked as a side effect of this. Hopefully, Wizards of the Coast decides to solve the issue by printing something similar to _____ Goblin for the archetype.

Generally, the overwhelmingly positive feedback on this ban wave means that Wizards of the Coast and the Pauper Panel made the right decisions. This really puts a stain on Unfinity’s reputation since it largely failed to do what it set out to do. Hopefully, this will be a learning opportunity for many.

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