Banned & Restricted update 2019

The cabal has convened, the sacrifices have been made, and the blood divination has yielded results. It’s that time of the lunar cycle again, the time when the banned & restricted list gets tweaked.

Calling it a Banned and Restricted list may be a little misleading though. Cards aren’t really banned in this format. The seven “ante-cards” that often populate that particular list are not banned in the normal sense of the word, they are rather removed from the deck before playing unless the game you are playing is for ante (as is clearly written on the cards themselves). We have chosen to maintain a separate “Banned list” with those cards as the floor rules regarding deck size are a little unclear otherwise. In particular; would you be allowed to register a 60-card deck with ante cards for a tournament (and remove them before each game starts to get a smaller deck), or is the rule that the deck you start each game with must have at least 60 cards (so you could register a deck with ante cards at any tournament, but you’d still have to have a 60+ card deck after you’ve removed then if you’re playing a non-ante game). It has been a source of discussion. Anyways, what I’m saying is that Tempest Efreet didn’t suddenly go from being banned to restricted in all tournaments, it went from being unrestricted to restricted in the tournaments that allow it.

Tempest Efreet is a pretty obnoxious card in ante games. One of the more popular ante formats, 40k, have expensive cards by construction. In particular, the average value of a card in a 40k deck will be above the price tag of a Tempest Efreet so playing it is “value” in most senses of the word. The real problems however comes when we combo the Efreet with Animate Dead. It is of course good to get a simple 2-for-1 here, but if we also add a Skull of Orm we’ll have 7-mana lock that basically forces your opponent to (permanently) give you every card they would draw for the rest of the game. To keep these kind of situations at a minimum and maintain a healthy (lol) 40k meta, Tempest Efreet is restricted.

It is very rare for us to go outside the boundaries of official oracle errata on cards. The only previous example so far have been Chaos Orb; a card that is banned in all other formats and wouldn’t really be playable without causing some major headaches otherwise. In the last couple of years however, we’ve heard a lot of players argue for an update on the other dexterity card; Falling Star. As written, it is pretty much impossible to play at Skype or other online clients. It also rewards having a messy board state. I wrote a little about Falling Star last year, and since then Eternal Central have thrown their hat into the ring with their take on an errata for the card. The EC errata was later adopted by Beasts of the Bay, and seems like a very good interpretation of the card. So from now on, we’ll adopt that one as well. This is the new text we use for Falling Star:

Falling Star
Choose any number of non-overlapping creatures on the battlefield. Flip Falling Star from a height of at least one foot. If Falling Star turns over completely at least 360 degrees during the flip, it deals 3 damage to each chosen creature it lands on. Any creatures damaged by Falling Star that are not destroyed become tapped.

…and I think it could be useful to immediately address this question from the EC FAQ:

Question: Is the controller of Falling Star allowed to rearrange the chosen creatures before flipping Falling Star?
Answer: Yes. You may move chosen creatures around for flipping Falling Star, just as you can with Chaos Orb (temporary physical position of cards in a game is not material to outcome, so both dexterity cards are the same for this purpose). This is why the non-overlapping clause is relevant and important.

And finally, we also have an unrestriction. It is time to unleash Time Vault. Whoa. Happy brewing ya'll chronomages!

For more details on this year’s discussions and reasoning, please check out the latest episode of the Flippin’ Orbs podcast where Gordon, Seb and I discuss it in some length.

Oh, and as a sweet footnote of sorts, the Atlantic Rules will also adopt these changes; in particular unrestricting Time Vault and adding the errata for Falling Star. They are still a bit on the sidelines regarding the ante formats on the other side of the ocean, but I will simply presume that Tempest Efreet might be restricted in potential ante tournaments in New England as well ;)


  1. I love this! to bad two of my alpha Vaults is soon going to change owner but im super happy that we get more combo into the format // Jhovalking

  2. Beware fellow citizen, the Vault has been unrestricted ! Pandora's box has been open ! A new age of darkness has come !!


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