Banned and Restricted update 1/4-2016

Note: Like the post about Homelands two years ago, this was an April Fools joke. We're not going to add errata to play Rukh Egg as (misprintedly) written in AN or unrestrict Power cards. Quite a lot of people was lead to believe this post though, so I add an extra disclaimer here just in case. And it has lead to some good discussions :) The real (potential) B&R update will come in late April to early May. /Mg

With n00bcon in the books, it's time for the yearly banned & restricted list update. This is an opportunity to stir up the meta, help support new decks, and keep the most oppressive strategies in check. Last year we unrestricted Mirror Universe and Power Artifact, a decision that created two new tier decks we've seen at the top tables at large tournaments. The year before that we unrestricted Mana Vault, opening the doors for decks like Atog, Monoblue Artifacts and Nether Void, each with at least one tournament win on its belt after the changes. In 2013, we restricted Mana Drain, which made decks other than the then highly oppressive The Deck able to win Shark-tournaments.

As the format has grown, more concerns have been voiced about the possible degeneracy of some decks and cards. A lot of people care about the state of the format, and even though many of them don't play 93/94 themselves I guess it would be rude not to take all of them seriously. So while a few of you might disagree with some of the B&R changes at first, I think that a majority will find the updates inspirational. This year we both have unrestrictions and restrictions, and even a small single-card errata. Here's a recap of the most interesting discussions from the last week:
Serendib Efreet
To quote one player, "Serendib Efreet is such a good creature that, would it be legal in Standard, it would be played in Standard." It is by far the most represented creature in winning decklists, forcing a whole slew of otherwise playable potential summons to the bench. Playset of Efreets in the winning deck from BSK? Check. Playset Efreets in the winning deck from Arvika? Check. Playset Efreets in the creature decks in the n00bcon top4? Check. Top top things off, it's not only the arguably best aggro creature, but in the arguably most oppressive color. Serendib Efreet was banned in Extended already in 1995 as it was deemed far too oppressive compared to the other options at the time. To increase diversity in the tempo decks, Serendib Efreet is restricted.
Fellwar Stone
This was first suggested by Shark-winner Brorsan and the Varberg crew, and initially sounded a little odd to me. But the more we talked about it, the more obvious the decision seemed. Fellwar Stone the only powerful mana rock that isn't restricted, and what's more, it's usually more of a Mox Diamond than anything else. Resolving Blood Moon against The Deck with Tax Edge usually wont win you the game, simply because the 4-off Fellwar Stones will tap for Disenchant mana. It makes the control decks so much stronger against land destruction, and give them a big hand in splashing cards like Regrowth or Red Elemental Blast. Turn one land, random mox, fellwar will turn on pretty much all the spells in the deck by turn two. A second turn Book, Moat or just a Mind Twist for three or four is far too easy to achieve with the Stone roaming the format. It has probably been long overdue. Fellwar Stone is restricted.
Rukh Egg
As we were trying to open up for more creature strategies, we looked back at the original B&R from 1994 for inspiration. Here, you have a bunch of fairly random creature supporting cards like Ali From Cairo and Orcish Oriflame being restricted, most of them due to their different rules or wordings at the time. One card in particular that catched our interest was Rukh Egg. Rukh Egg was restricted in 1994 due to it's interactions with discard effects like Bazaar of Baghdad and Jalum Tome. As written, the Egg will create a Rukh regardless of which zone it was in when it entered the graveyard; only in late 1994 the Egg received errata to trigger only from the battlefield. As written, the card is a great answer to the Mind Twists and Disrupting Scepters of the control decks. Possible discard penalties seemed like a decision tree that was sorely lacking in the format (we're operating a year or two before Guerrilla Tactics and Sand Golem), and it could help aggro decks even out the game against more dominant control strategies. In order to not accidentally break the format and create too big an impact on the meta, we though it good to keep Rukh Egg restricted with the new errata at least during the first year of legality. Rukh Egg is restricted and played as written.
Mox Emerald
One problem with cutting Fellwar Stone from the control and combo decks (it's also played as 4-off in Power Monolith and Mirror Ball) is the splash damage done to more "fair" decks like Atog, Martyrs and Artifact Aggro. The issue with the Stone is not that it ramps one mana, it's that it almost always taps for the mana needed to Disenchant or Counterspell something. We still want to give Atog something to eat and give the artifact decks ability to ramp, so when restricting this we felt that we needed to open something else to not completely nerf a few of the tier2 decks. The best way to go here clearly looked like Mox Emerald. In control decks, it can only be used to cast Regrowth (or possibly Sylvan Library), and will mostly act as a simple "Mox Crystal", or a much worse Sol Ring. The monogreen decks wont be broken by a few extra moxen either, as they already have abundant access to ramp in Elves, Birds, Gaea's Touch and the likes. The only potential issue with unrestricting Mox Emerald would be the monetary costs involved; many decks would like to play the full set, and it is after all a fairly expensive card. We don't really think that that should be the decisive argument though. This is already an expensive format and the cost of cards like Black Lotus doesn't discourage players to join the community. And after all, it is the least expensive Mox and one could probably get a playset unlimited ones for a single black bordered Underground Sea if so inclined. Mox Emerald is unrestricted.

So, there's some fairly high impact updates this year, but I guess that most of you who follow the format saw most of them coming. The new B&R list will come in effect May 1st. Next time we're gonna look at the first half of the n00bcon top8, some solid tech right there :)


  1. Den här kommentaren har tagits bort av skribenten.

  2. Someone had to act and reinstate the original text of rukh egg. Thank you for being so proactive when it comes to priorities of the community!!1!

  3. Good post. Have no idea if it's true or just another prank. /Åland

  4. April's fool! Calling it :)

    Would still be fun though.


  5. I think Mox Emerald was a little over the top, as the Rukh Egg restriction was already pretty obvious.

    But nonetheless, I had lots of fun today as you fooled two fellow German players :D

    // Twiedel

  6. Is this an april fools joke? I mean, seriously.

  7. Yeah, this was an April Fools joke ;) You don't have to worry about Power being unrestricted or special errata on Rukh Egg (and the other two cards can feel safe as well). There are arguments to be made for it (like in the post), but the arguments against it is clearly much, much stronger.

    I had some fun :) The real (potential) B&R update will as usual come some time in early may; feel free to e-mail me thoughts about it.

  8. I do love the idea of rukh egg entirely, and would also love serendib djinn to read as is and maybe be restricted as well.

  9. About the Rukh Egg discard, there is one discard penalty card in Legends, Psychic Purge. I think it would be almost playable if it was an instant. It would be an epic win to have 4 and got wheeled.


  10. By posting this i have the new B&R list in mind.

    If any card is being evaluated i assume it will be mishra's factory. Restricting mishra's factory is an interesting thought since it's such a good card, being a land an all that.
    But... If u asked me i would like to se disenchant being analysed. It is such a strong card, not simpley because it destroys both artifacts and enchantments, but because it is also an instant and has the mana cost of 1W wich is just awesome. One of the best cards in the format with all it's attributes taken together. There is verry little enchantment removal in the card pool so restricting it could have a quite dramatic effect.
    Now everyone seems to believe that disenchant is a card that basicly all decks benefit from, wich might be true, but in fact; the deck that benefints the most from disenchant is "The deck".
    "the decks" perhaps most obvious weakness comes in the form of enchantments for example, blood moon, energy flux, underworld dreams, chains of mephistopheles and so on. In order to have enchantment removal with disenchant restricted the deck might be forced to play Tranquility or play around the various enchantment threats.
    For creature based decks there is the abyss and moat to deal with, but the truth is that these decks already deal with this by using flying creatures and/or artifact/prot black creatures. There aint that many creature based decks that play with disenchant, and those who do usually splash white mainly to be able to play with disenchant.

    I find it interesting to imagine a scenario where disenchant, moat and the abyss are all restricted in order to empower creature decks with enchantments such as underworld dreams, energy flux, sylvan library, blood moon, crusade etc.
    But also to boost various combo decks and what i would like to call "hate decks". Hate decks are basicly a version of control decks, but they do not rely on card advantages but simply on removals and card efficiancy. Enchantments are a powerfull tool in these decks, but since they usually have poor card economy they have troubble with keeping up against other control decks.
    The reason for restricting moat and the abyss is simply not to overpower the hate deck against creaturedecks but it is not what i anticipate, it is merley a precaution.

    I hope you found this post interesting, and will consider what i have said. The way i see it, disenchant is not overpowerd, but by restricting disenchant i hope to see a bit more long lived threats on the table in terms of enchantments. And perhaps some disenchant "slamming" wich is what a card that powerfull deserves.

    Best regards // GajoL

    1. Interesting. Tough one can play one Moat + The Abyss and altough that restricts wincon choice, control decks don't play all that much of those enchantments so I'm not sure restricting them would have such a huge effect.

    2. Hm?
      I am not afraid of control decks, the reason i mentioned restricting moat and the abyss was because of their potential power in hate decks.
      Restricting moat and the abyss is not nessesary in this meta, but i am thinking of the future meta.

  11. I was all about the Rukh Egg errata, and will in fact be keeping that on my group, though I am very disappointed that Fellwar Stone and Serendib Efreet being jokes, as Serendib could use the restriction to come down in price, and the argument against Fellwar Stone was pretty solid, in my opinion.
    Then I saw the Mox Emerald unrestriction, and I was like, Oh, this is a joke. Damn.
    Could you put a retraction in the article itself, so folks know for sure that you're joking?
    (I legit thought you were serious.)

    1. Yeah, quite a few people thought this was serious, including some #mtgfinance guys. The first draft of the article was btw restrictions on Jayemdae Tome, Factory, Serendib Efreet and Fellwar Stone, and unrestriction on Mox Emerald, but a friend said that it was far too plausible. So I removed Tome and Factory and added Rukh Egg instead, but I guess that it still hit a little too close to home. In all seriousness, there's probably close to a 100 cards that one could argue to restrict or unrestrict with some merits in the arguments.

      Fellwar Stone has in fact been a fairly serious consideration, but restricting it would hurt so many fringe decks and make many strategies even more dependant on Moxen. We will probably keep it in the discussions for next year, but it doesn't seem necessary to ax at this point.

      The main cards "still in the running" and being tested for potentially having their status changed are Jayemdae Tome, Mishra's Factory, Recall and Fork btw. We have discussed Disenchant (and Swords and Counterspell), as well as most other cards you can think of (Strip Mine, Black Vise, City in a Bottle, Mana Vault, Moat, Power Artifact, Shahrazade, Workshop, LoA, etc), but a great majority agrees that status quo is best for those cards. It's also worth noting that the meta is fairly healthy, and we might not do any changes at all this year.

      Any further input or suggestions for the B&R update are very welcome btw!

  12. Disenchant restriction is interesting. It would weaken White wenie. Would need lots of play testing.
    I hope they don't restrict factory personally. We saw a main deck stone rain in one of the top "the decks" recently. It seems that the meta can take care of factories itself. Plus they have such sweet art

    1. Hmm, i dont think it will weaken white weenie verry much. Crusades will survive easier and you still have plenty of artifact removal in white. If white weenie wants to remove enchantments, wich one would it be? The abyss or Moat perhaps. The other potentially damageing cards are artefacts or other creatures.
      Almost no1 plays with gloom and if you face gloom as a white weenie it is after sideboard, wich makes u able to throw in some karma ;) But i guess gloom will be better against white weenie with a restricted Disenchant...

  13. Yeah MG, i love the meta, it's really good in my opinion!
    I really believe in restricting Disenchant above any other card though. Not that i think it will make a huge difference, but it might encourage pepole with creaturedecks to play more with enchantments and thus make them more interactive. Back in the days when i played a creature based deck, i got tired of it, because everything i played got dealt with, including my enchantments. I switched to creatureless decks in order to increase my threats vs removals ratio, and it worked quite good. But the classic concept to play a deck with a variety of cards, such as both artefacts, creatures, instant/sorcery and enchantments like a classic Mono black for example just get overrun by all removals. Since there aint many playable enchantments in each color, they were easily destroyed by those decks they were designed to cripple.
    If we want to expand the current meta with a larger variety of decks i argue that disenchant is to be cosidered on the restricted list.

  14. Btw, it's me discussing Disenchant, but this website is trolling me with the damn ID function >.< Just... so u know..

  15. Den här kommentaren har tagits bort av skribenten.

  16. Why not restrict dual lands?
    Most powerfull deck with 4/5 colour like "the deck" use at least 10 duals in order to get the needed colour to play every restricted best cards easily.

    1. This may just be me, but I've never found dual lands to be degenerately overpowered without fetchlands. If you have a large number in a multicolored deck, you can still end up drawing them in the wrong combinations for the colors of cards in your hand.

      Better than basic lands, sure :) but to truly get any color on demand, you need to combine them with cards from the future.

    2. Whatever the merits of the idea, it couldn't be called oldschool 93/94 with Duals restricted. I think you'd have to create another format if you want to play like that.

    3. Den här kommentaren har tagits bort av skribenten.

    4. Den här kommentaren har tagits bort av skribenten.

    5. It was to encourage variety of deck, because i found too much deck are similare abusing every colour restricted cards (Time walk, ancestral, balance, demonic, mind twist, regrowth, wheel...). Anyway, restrict disenchant isn't old school either, i always played 4 disenchant back in 94 (ok i'm WW player)

    6. Yes and restricting Blood Moon I think would encourage deck variety, because while it offers a route to counter those 4+ color decks, it also doesn't give much of a chance to many midrange strategies, some of which we'll never see just because people know they would be crushed under the pressure of on one side The Deck, on the other Blood Moon which is too much for a lot of midrange strategies.

      But Blood Moon also is affordable and gives incentives to play less than 3 colors. Without it, almost no reason to play less than 3 colors, that would make the format much too unwelcoming to people who are not ready to sell a kidney to play Magic.

      Lots of changes could alter the metagame in interesting ways, not all of them are doable tough.

  17. This is an excellent post, on so many levels. :)

    I'd forgotten that Rukh Egg's originally written game text punished discard - presumably that wasn't what they intended, or they decided it wasn't (as suggested by of its 8th and 9th Edition errata), but it's still cool!

  18. I'd love that errata on Rukh Egg for real. The U/R Aggro would be for real together with Mind Bomb :3

  19. Playing with the original text of Rukh Egg may be fun but is not necessary until hymn to tourach is not allowed (as a compensation against hymn being legal to fight against The Deck domination...)

    I agree with a try to restrict disenchant or mishra's factory

    What about authorize only a maximum number of restricted cards? Indeed many control-combo decks are playing the same core of restricted cards : moxen, lotus, time walk, ancestral, balance, demonic, mind twist, regrowth, wheel...making the deck variety apply only on about 30 cards per deck (not including lands): 5 restricted cards? 7 of them?

    1. I love the idea (probably nice for deck variety... and budget ;-) )

    2. Den här kommentaren har tagits bort av skribenten.

    3. The idea for a maximum number of restricted cards.

    4. Not disenchant and mishra's.
      Back in 94, all deck had 4 mishra's, mishra's play set is affordable, not broken and part of "oldschool play"

  20. I also like the idea of limited the number of powerful cards for the same reasons as stated in above. This idea is not entirely new, I beleive I read an article here some time ago about a game night where some sort of restriction was imposed.

    The Canadians have developed a points system for the most powerful cards in a Commander format, "Canadian Highlander". This forces players not to auto-include P9 cards, but think twice about which of the broken cards to include.

    There are many ways to handle this:
    1. Simple approach: A maximum number of restricted cards in each deck, maybe 6
    2. Complicated approach: Points system similar to the Canadian Highlander (but adjusted point scale/limit since this is not Commander).
    3. Do nothing, but once in a while try one of the above as a special rule for a specific tournament.

    I do believe this will cause more variety in the games.

    When the game was originally designed, I beleive the idea was that each player would have access to only a few of the rares, thus preventing players
    from stacking up multiple rares and the best uncommons. Imposing a limitation on the power cards would therefore still be within the Old School spirit.

  21. While I would personally like a limit on restricted cards (not a point system), I don't believe at all that the founders of this format would ever agree to this, and I respect that. I do think it would help varietize, though. Saying that, each deck would simply have lotus, ancestral, sol ring, etc. the replacement cards in each deck would likely be the same cards as well, so this probably would not work regardless.

    This format doesn't seem to be about allowing everyone in by making less costly - if that were the case we would see revised, etc.

    After trying to be a collector/member of 93/94, I now realize how amazing it is, but that I started in 1995. All the cards legal here were my dream cards that I could not afford when I was 8-years-old. I had to clean houses with my mom for a week to afford a Library of Alexandria. Still have my original one to this day and stillmy favorite card because I really had to work for it, and appreciate it so much. I think that's the idea of this format - it's not for everyone. I'll still collect it, but feel I don't have much say in the matter of how we should "change" it.

  22. I have a suggestion for the discussion on B/R and format development. There are a few cards out there that could be fun and good to play but are unplayable with current wording and rules.
    Chaos orb was such a card and little bit of errata made it a staple. Cards I have in mind are power surge and word of command but I 'm sure there are plenty others.
    Power surge was a control deck hoser but now it's useless since unused mana doesn't burn. Maybe mana burn should be reintroduced or that unused mana dealt damage with surge in play?
    Word of command is also useless since almost none of the cards you'd wanna play are in sorcery speed and instants can be casted in respons. You could even pump all relevant mana into mishra in respons.. Maybe word of command could have split second?
    Not sure if this would mitigate the domination of the deck, but both are non-blue cards that could be great against decks that play a reactionary draw go kind of style. If nothing else it would be in the spirit of oldschool to be able to actually play awesome cards like power surge.

    Cheers JackaBo

    1. I was very suprised when I heard that manaburn was renoved (i had an 10 year long hiatus between 2000-2010). For me it was like they had changed starting hand size or the like. I didn't know that it was a problem for beginners (as i am told was the reason to remove manaburn) and as 93/94 is mainly not a format played by beginners of the game I agree that manaburn should be reinstated in order to make certain Cards playable (power surge) and to Keep the game as it was in 93/94.

  23. Nah, mana burn is an optional rule, many groups play with it. But I feel the rules should be what they are today. It's less confusing that way.
    I wonder if leaving old errata on cards like Rukh Egg and Relic Bind would be a nice change of pace, just like we did with Winter Orb and Chaos Orb.
    Egg could be too busted with Bazaar of Baghdad, so restricting it would be good. Three 4/4s on turn 1 is a bit too much. Same with Relic Bind and Basalt Monolith. I don't want to see Monolith restricted, because Power Artifact deck is beautiful. A restricted Relic Bind would be just like having Fireball in the deck, but you don't need the splash anymore. I feel it would be awesome to have a MonoU Power Artifact deck. :)
    I'm against rules change that change the original card, though, like the Word of Command split second change that someone posted here. That's terrible.
    About restrictions, I don't think Moon, Disenchant or Factory should hit the bin, since they all help deal with each other.

  24. I am typically against just banning cards outright, but mind twist seems not only overpowered, but not very fun to play against either. I am wondering the opinions of more players on this. It seems there are a lot of decks running black with it, or other decks simply splashing black to have access to it.

    I'm not able to play the format often at all, but like to keep up with it and want to know the opinion of those who get to play often and competitively.

    Is this format slow enough to where players may actually be able to bounce back from early hand depletion, or is the game gone at that point? There's just not much that can stop it other than counterspell or mana drain, both of which really only belong in "The Deck" from what I can see, which wins quite often it seems, and also includes mind twist.



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