We’re all aware of the fact that there are a lot more bans than there used to be in MTG. The chances are that if you play Standard in any kind of competitive capacity, that you’ll have had your deck wrecked by a banning or two at some point in the last couple of years.
It’s not just Standard, of course, but all of the formats fall foul of the banhammer every now and then, mostly because there are just so many cards in them in the first place, and the number of cards added to eternal formats seems to grow year on year by a huge amount.
Bannings, bannings everywhere, but not a card to play
In one instance, we even saw a ban on cards ahead of their release in some formats like our poor otter Lutri, the Spellchaser in Commander. The whole companion mechanic had to be changed because of how much they impacted MTG as a whole, which was incredibly odd, but was also shortly followed by a change in rules for cascade.
After a couple of weeks of people cheating out a seven mana Planeswalker, Tibalt of all things, WotC decided to alter how cascade works entirely for the first time in a very long time. It’s one thing after another. The majority of this is going to be due to the overwhelming number of interactions possible in Magic.
We’re closing in one thirty years of MTG at this point, and that’s a lot of cards to consider whenever you’re designing anything new. It’d be almost impossible for even an army of people to actually check every individual interaction in the eternal formats, and that’s probably why we get so many bannings. However, in much the same vein of thinking, it seems unlikely that the cards that are currently banned in those formats should all still be banned.
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What if we just took a month off every year?
Now, hear us out. Which, to be fair, you’re already doing if you’ve read this far in the article. Once a year Wizards should unban everything in eternal formats for a month. We mean literally everything, but especially Faithless Looting and Splinter Twin.
It would be a good thing for two main reasons. For starters, can you imagine how much fun you could have with no restrictions in your format of choice? We’ve all had decks and specific cards hit by the ban hammer at some point, and the chance to play around with them again, even if only for a month, would be an absolute blast. Secondly, it’s a good chance to see whether or not newer cards actually present a decent barrier to those absurd strategies. That way, you can see whether or not cards should remain banned.
Then, at the end of the month, things can go back to how they were, but the data from events that month could be looked at, and then maybe some cards could be unbanned. It’s a good way of keeping things interesting in every format that doesn’t involve printing loads of new cards, and we actually think it would make things a lot more interesting.
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Think of it as a soft reset
It’s not a completely absurd idea either. We all have our ranks reset when a new season of competitive goes live, and that’s not just in MTG Arena either, but in literally any game with ranked matches. Why not apply a similar concept to bannings.
We know that they used to be completely overpowered, but a lot of cards enter into MTG every year, and while some may well be of no use against classic bannable cards, others might actually lead to strategies that put up a good fight against them. By checking and seeing once a year, you’d have one month a year that would basically be a chaotic free-for-all for MTG players, but you’d also have a chance to check whether or not all of those cards should still be banned.
We just think it’s the kind of idea that could really help reinvigorate the game regularly. We love new cards and all, obviously, but sometimes the yearning for old strategies and old pet cards is one that’s hard to ignore. Why not make a big song and dance of it once a year and just let players run wild?