2, Jul, 24

Wizards of the Coast Needs an Emergency Ban, Now

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Wizards of the Coast is currently on summer vacation. This unfortunate fact could make tournament play for the coming weekend somewhat awkward for any players looking to play Modern or Legacy. Both formats currently have an incredibly problematic card in their midst that is warping the entire format around them.

Pro Tour Modern Horizons 3 was just dominated by Nadu, Winged Wisdom. Not only did the card take up a larger metagame percentage than the infamous Hogaak, the Arisen Necropolis itself, but it put up strong winrates and ultimately locked up the top four spots at the Modern Horizons 3 Pro Tour.

The other format in dire need of help is Legacy. Dimir Rescaminator has completely taken over the format. Between tons of disruption with Grief and at least eight free counterspells, combined with a potent reanimation plan, this deck is nigh impossible to usurp from its throne.

It appears as though these formats cannot progress until a ban is passed. For that reason, Wizards of the Coast may need to consider an emergency ban.

Nadu, Winged Wisdom in Modern

Nadu, Winged Wisdom

Have you ever seen a Pro-Tour dominating MTG card plummet in price following its Pro Tour victory? That’s what has happened to Nadu, Winged Wisdom. This is due to many players expecting an imminent emergency ban. Even Pro Tour MH3 champion Simon Neilson said himself that Nadu was going to get banned. If the decision to remove Nadu, Winged Wisdom from the format is so unanimous, why is it still here?

Sadly, as we mentioned at the beginning of this article, it’s a little tough for Wizards of the Coast to do anything right now. Since Wizards is away on vacation, any emergency announcement can’t happen until next week. This means anyone playing tournaments this weekend should prepare to face the full wrath of Nadu summer.

The issue with everyone being so unanimous that this card will leave the format is that it becomes difficult for Modern to progress until action is taken. Maybe there’s a slight chance that the metagame is able to adjust to its new winged overlord, but that seems incredibly unlikely.

How many players will be driven away from the Modern format until this expected correction is issued? That’s a difficult question to answer. If Modern is basically considered a ‘fake’ format until Nadu, Winged Wisdom leaves it, there may be a lot of MTG players who fail to see the reason to participate. Now, if Nadu, Winged Wisdom’s win rates manage to plummet in the following weeks, and the combo deck is not the menace people expected it to be, that could change things. At this point, though, that is an unrealistic claim, and the community sees it as such.

Grief in Legacy

Grief

Players seem to have agreed that Nadu, Winged Wisdom is going to leave the Modern format, but there is technically still a chance for the format to recover. That chance does not exist in Legacy. Rescaminator is the uncontested king of the format and Grief rules from its ironclad throne. The Rescaminator archetype is a massive problem, and Grief is commonly considered the problematic child that deters any competition.

‘Juke’ decks are rarely good in Magic: the Gathering. This refers to decks that can completely change their game plan after sideboarding. This allows players to completely adjust their strategy in every game they play, but the common pattern with decks like this is that the ‘juke’ ends up weakening the deck significantly. That is not the case with Rescaminator.

Rescaminator can do the ‘juke’ plan, but you’re left with a very powerful deck regardless of your strategy. You can either choose to play a midrange-y plan with a combo finish, Reanimating Atraxa, Grand Unifier from the bin, or you can cut the reanimation package and play a Dimir midrange game.

This deck was already ruling the Legacy format before Modern Horizons 3 came out. Sadly, Magic’s most busted set ended up solidifying Rescaminator’s position in the metagame even further. Psychic Frog is a new, powerful two-drop that plays to both game plans in this deck flawlessly. This is the perfect midrange threat, capable of making use of dead cards to various prison outlets, while also discarding Atraxa from your hand to reanimate.

When looking at Legacy for bans, Wizards of the Coast simply stated that they would take a serious look at the format for the next ban window. It was blatantly obvious to the Legacy community that something needs to be done about Rescaminator, and Grief is the most commonly requested card to leave the format. Now, players are stuck with Grief for yet another month, and Legacy is stuck under its rule until something is done about it.

When is the Next Ban Window?

If Nadu, Winged Wisdom or Grief aren’t hit with emergency bans, players don’t need to wait too long for change. There is another ban announcement scheduled for August following the release of Bloomburrow. While that is, bafflingly, not too far away from now, it does mean that two formats are basically dead for a month.

If banning Grief and Nadu is a predetermined conclusion, these formats have nowhere to go in the meantime. Any innovations in the Modern or Legacy format may be rendered useless for that reason. If the format is going to change in a significant way anyway, what’s the point in trying to get ahead until the change is made?

Emergency Bans Are Needed to Get These Formats Moving

Until we get a Grief ban in Legacy, that format will be unable to develop. Rescaminator is largely considered the best deck in the room by some margin, and players have not developed a strategy that can commonly best it.

Nadu, Winged Wisdom leaving the Modern format seems to be an accepted fact from the community. Sure, there is a chance that something else in the combo, like Shuko or Springheart Nantuko could leave instead. Should this happen, however, players are already starting to find workarounds in case Nadu, Winged Wisdom receives the same treatment that Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis did.

If these cards do indeed need to go, and the general consensus is that they do, then Wizards of the Coast should consider doing it as soon as possible. This will give players an opportunity to explore fresh formats, develop more decks, and, ultimately, allow Wizards to sell more cards.

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