Banned and Restricted update 2014

Each year after n00bcon, a group of organizers and players take a look at the B/R-list to see if something should to be changed. Below are a few of the cards we discussed, and an actual update to our list :)
Some of the cards which sparks debates

Library of Alexandria and Mind Twist
I'm grouping these two together. If you're playing a control deck and your opponent starts with Library, you are very unlikely to win. If you're playing aggro or midrange, and your opponent starts with Mind Twist, you are very unlikely to win. Of course, an aggro deck will also have big problems with the Library, but can sometimes race it; and a control deck will have a real problem if Mind Twisted, but they can occasionally claw back the card loss. The arguments against the "unfairness" of the two cards are very similar in the end, but different types of players tend to focus on different cards. Whether any of these cards (or both) should be banned is a discussion that was very much alive even in the mid 90s. An interesting mail thread, with players like Roberth Hanh (of "Schools of Magic" fame) can be read here. To quote one player in the thread, "We're not winning games with Black Lotus and Moxes, we're winning them with Library of Alexandria and Mind Twist." In the end though, we really don't want to ban cards in this format, and have decided to keep both Mind Twist and Library restricted.

Mishra's Factory
There have been some discussions about restricting Mishra's factory as well. It is clearly a staple card, and probably the best creature in the format, but it doesn't seem unfair or warping. I guess that Stone Rains, Ice Storms, Sinkholes and such could see more play. Even cards like Cyclopean Tomb, Fissure, Psychic Venom and Blight could probably be good choices against cards like Mishra and the Library if they become to much of a hassle.

Strip Mine
On the plus side, Strip Mine is a good answer to Library, Mishra and Maze. On the minus side, every single deck would play 4, every deck would up it's land count to 28 to give them a chance against a double Strip Mine start, and players who can't afford artifact mana would have a much harder time getting to cast their spells. It would slow down both matches and tournaments, and the amount of games lost to both mana flood and mana screw would increase as well. It's a very annoying card to play against, and of course extremely powerful. Strip Mine stays restricted.

Black Vise
Last winter, this looked like a very good candidate, but with draw7-burn decks at both first and second place at n00bcon, this seems like the wrong time to let the Vise roam free as a 4-off. Black Vise was restricted in Type I after the printing of Prosperity in Visions, as Type I and Type II shared the same B/R-lists, and the deck was far too strong for Type II. After the lists were separated, Black Vise was unrestricted in Type I again. It is possible that this card is not too strong for this format. Still, a burn deck that casts Wheel or Twister and draws a pair of Black Vises before passing the turn, or just anyone casting a pair of Vises against you turn 1 when you're on the draw, would be completely back breaking. 4-off Black Vise makes fast mana, and power, much more important, which isn't something we really want to do. It's a close call, but for now we'll keep Black Vise on the restricted list. It is a good candidate to be unrestricted some time in the future though, and we'll keep a close eye on decks that can use or abuse it.

Mana Vault
Many decks play the Vault to get explosive start, but I have a hard time seeing The Deck or any of the other top tier decks using more than 0-2. It appears good in some sort of Hurkyl's Recall Fireball combo deck though, and it also looks very good in budget monoblack. In monoblack it can increase the power of an early Mind Twist, cast an early disk, or consistently play Sengir Vampire turn two without power. Casual combo and powerless decks are both archetypes we don't mind giving an extra boost to though. It will be interesting to see if this will make an impact, so here goes. Mana Vault is unrestricted.

Mana Vault will be removed from the restricted list June 1st. Happy brewing!


  1. Mishra's Workshop isn't a consideration? Pretty sure the only 2 cards shops can abuse are Trike and Juggernaut, plus Energy Flux is a real sideboard card, along with Dust to Dust and Disenchant.
    Glad to see Vault unrestricted; I tested it as a 2 of in a Project M style deck and it was fine; didn't feel busted.

    1. Yes, Workshop was definitely a consideration (it's one of the cards in pile in the first picture in the post). There are a couple of very strong worskhop decks, one which casts Su-Chi, Juggernaut (or even primal clay) turn 1, and uses either black or blue for Abyss and toolbox. It's very hard to beat with a normal creature deck, and races pretty much everthing other than berserk decks. Other random artifact decks can also be very strong with 2-4 workshops.

      One other thing that was taken into consideration, even if just a little, was actually the price. If Mana Vault turns out to be busted (unlikely) and has to be restricted again, players who bought a set will only be set back about $15 each (for unl, that is). If that same thing would happen to workshops, people would be set back $400 each. This makes us want to be more certain that the workshop is ok before we let it go, as it would be a stab in the back for any players that spend a year assembling a workshop deck only to have it be restricted again.

    2. I've been tinkering with a Workshop-deck with a potential 4 MWS and while a fun and pretty okay deck it's far from the beast it is in Vintage since we lack all the awesome lock components. Triskelion, Juggernaut and Su-Chi sure are nice but not broken. I've played with the idea of black with The Abyss and Guardian Beast both whom is 3B which can't be cast with the acceleration from MWS. Artifact hate is abundant and if a MWS-deck would rise and dominate I think the meta would adapt and hate it back to an acceptable level.

      This was before the unrestriction of Mana Vault however and with 4 MWS and 4 Mana Vault I think this strategy would be too powerful.

  2. Great!


  3. I can understand the unrestriction of Mana Vault.

    Unrestricting MWS on the other hand sounds dangerous, especially if Strip Mine would stay restricted. There is a synergy with the restrictions of awesome land cards, i.e LOA, Maze of Ith, MWS and Strip Mine.

    Mishra's Factory is also great but can be dealt with when it becomes a artifact creature.


  4. Tycker helt ärligt ni borde se över om Dissenchant inte kanske är lite för bra i formatet. Hade personligen gärna sett en restriction på den för o låsa upp formatet lite.

    1. Har du en längre rational för den åsikten så kan vi lyfta det till nästa ban/restriction runda.

    2. Handlar mer om att den dyker upp i nästan alla lekar eftersom det är ett av formatets absolut starkaste toolbox kort, det träffar något relevant i 99% av alla lekar och det gör kortet extremt splashbart. Jag stöter på kortet i nästan alla lekar jag möter. Det gör formatet lite tråkigt när det kommer till o bygga lekar, man kan nästan utesluta att bygga artifact eller enchantment decks, eftersom man vet att man kommer möta en Dissenchant i main av majoriteten av lekarna man möter. Kortet är redan effektivt i metan och utesluter en massa andra kort från o spelas. Dvs näsan alla artifacts och enchantments som kostar 2 eller mer. Tror formatet blivit lite roligare och man hade sett lite fler kort spelas.

    3. Kan ju tracka hur många lekar som spelar Dissenchant för o kolla, är det en klar majoritet så borde nog nått ske.

    4. Man spelade som regel 4 Disenchant i lekarna förr också, det fanns inte så många sätt att hantera pesky artefakter och pesky enchantments.

      Frågan är väl snarare om den har en negativ inverkan på formatet? Jag tror personligen att de artefakter och enchantments som finns hade blivit för starka om inte Disenchant varit ett sådant starkt kort.

      Att restricta disenchant är lite som att restricta plog i min mening.

    5. Plogen är helt ärligt också ett kort som ligger på gränsen, den hade troligtvis varit bannad i Modern om den existerat där, och creatures i Modern är så jäääääävla mycket starkare än i 93/94.
      Problemet med kort som Plogen och Disenchant är att formatet står stilla, och testar man inte o ändra om i ban och restriction listan så kommer alltid folk splasha och maina båda. Artifakterna och Enchantmentsen som är bonkers brutna är restrictade i formatet så jag ser faktist inte det som ett argument.

    6. Please keep the discussion in English. Also, if you use an anonymous account, sign your post with your name.

      Some recent data on disenchant and stp in high performing decks: In the last two tournaments in Sweden and Norway, one out of eight decks in the two top4s played swords, and two of them played disenchant. In the three shark-tournaments with over 40 players in the last year and a half, one of the winning decks played swords or disenchants, the other two did not. They are both very good cards, but not close to warrant restriction.

    7. Well you can't just use the top decks for stats like this. You gotta use the whole field. Last tournament I played in 1 week ago. More then half the field played em.

    8. Well, when it comes to banning or restricting cards, which is done for powerlevel or meta warping reasons, you do in fact look at the top performing decks ;) They are good and they are cheap, so of course a lot of players gonna play them. It seems really weird to ban or restrict something just because a lot of people play it. E.g. Counterspell, Dark Ritual and Lightning Bolt are even more commonly played, and are staples in top tier decks, so with that logic those should go first.

    9. Well, the format is less stagnant then I thought it would be now when we've played it for about 8 years. The diversity of a closed down format like 93/94 rely shows what a good game Magic is.

      We've played with the same card pool for 8 years, a card pool comparable in size with Standard.

      Yes, Disenchant is a good card, but its only a good card since its an all around answer to cards that we would otherwise need to restrict for power level reasons (for example Mishra's Factory).

      Yes, StP would probably be banned/restricted in modern, but you should not compare out ban/restriction policy to modern. You should compare it to vintage.

      Mana Drain had a to big of an impact on the format and made the deck more or less the only viable option, there for we restricted it and opened up the format. But since there are several viable options in the format now, there rely is not need to ban/restrict anything. I much rather see us unrestrict cards instead, opening up the pool even more, to let people play with more awesome cards, not less.

    10. Another example of an enchantment that would be to good without disenchant as a possible 4-off.

      Underworld Dreams. You can build a competitive budget mono-B deck in 93/94, much thanks to how insanely broken Underworld Dreams is in a format that span over many turns and where control decks focus on drawing way more cards then the opponent.


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