[Official] State of Modern Thread (B&R 08/26/2019)

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Post by ktkenshinx » 4 months ago

Welcome to the State of Modern Thread!

Historically, Modern community members have expressed interest in talking holistically about the challenges and problems facing Modern. Whether or not Modern has "challenges" or "problems" is up for debate, but what is clear is that people want to talk about all of these issues in one unified setting.

As such, Modern staff have continued this thread from the old MTG Salvation versions. You can use this thread to talk about any and all of these varied Modern issues and their intersection. This thread will be heavily moderated, so be sure to read the rules before posting;
Anyone who posts in this thread is assumed to have read and understood these rules, the Modern forum rules, and the general MTG Nexus rules.
Approved topic examples
  • Bans, unbans, and all things related to the banlist and banlist policy
  • Metagame health and diversity
  • Reprint suggestions and reprint philosophy
  • New cards and design philosophy
  • Prices and Modern finance
  • Archetype definitions
  • Format health, successes, and challenges
  • Anything that constructively relates to these different issues

Prohibited topic examples
  • All MTG Nexus forum rules and Modern subforum rules apply here.
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  • Similarly, do not use this thread to voice grievances, complaints, and personal gripes without constructive/respectful suggestions.
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The mod team will strictly enforce these rules. Please make this a place where people are unafraid to post constructive thoughts.



Update from the August 26, 2019 B&R Announcement:
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis is banned.
Faithless Looting is banned.
Stoneforge Mystic is unbanned.
(No changes in October 7, 2019 B&R Announcement)

Next B&R Announcement:
October 21, 2019

Current DCI Modern Banned List



Here are some reasons cards are banned in Modern:


The following are links to WotC's in-depth explanations as to why cards have or have not gotten banned since the beginning of the format:

October 7, 2019: No changes
August 2019: Hogaak and Faithless Looting banned, Stoneforge Mystic unbanned
July 2019: Bridge from below is banned
January 2019: Krark-Clan Ironworks is banned
February 2018: Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Bloodbraid Elf unbanned
October 2017: No changes
March 2017: No changes
Gitaxian Probe and Golgari Grave-Troll are banned
Eye of Ugin banned, Ancestral Vision and Sword of the Meek unbanned
Summer Bloom and Splinter Twin banned
Birthing Pod/Treasure Cruise/Dig Through Time banned, Golgari Grave-Troll unbanned
Bitterblossom/Nacatl unbanned. DRS banned
Addition of Second Sunrise
Addition of Bloodbraid Elf and Seething Song
Removal of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
3rd Banned List change with explanations
2nd Banned List change with explanations
1st Banned List change with explanations
Community Cup Announcement with the Initial Ban List.



Old threads (MTG Salvation and MTG Nexus):
11/03/2019 - 20/05/2019 (MTGS)
21/01/2019 - 11/03/2019 (MTGS)
26/11/2018 - 21/01/2019 (MTGS)
01/10/2018 - 26/11/2018 (MTGS)
08/20/2018 - 01/10/2018 (MTGS)
07/02/2018 - 08/20/2018 (MTGS)
04/16/2018 - 07/02/2018 (MTGS)
02/10/2018 - 04/16/2018 (MTGS)
01/15/2017 - 02/10/2018 (MTGS)
10/27/2017 - 01/15/2017 (MTGS)
7/18/2017 - 10/27/2017 (MTGS)
3/23/2017 - 4/24/2017 (MTGS)
3/13/2017 - 3/23/2017 (MTGS)
1/9/17 Banlist Update (MTGS)
12/8/2016 - 3/13/2017 (MTGS)
9/28/2016 - 12/10/2016 (MTGS)
7/18/2016 - 9/30/2016 (MTGS)
4/4/2016 - 7/18/2016 (MTGS)
1/16/2016 - 4/4/2016 (MTGS)
7/13/2015 - 1/16/2016 (MTGS)
1/19/2015 - 7/13/2015 (MTGS)
7/14/2014 - 1/19/2015 (MTGS)
2/9/2014 - 7/14/2014 (MTGS)
1/20/2014 - 2/10/2014 (MTGS)
6/23/2014 - 1/20/2014 (MTGS)
4/22/2013 - 6/23/213 (MTGS)
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Post by motleyslayer » 4 months ago

what cards, if anything do you think we can see being banned in the upcoming B and R list update? (I believe its July 8)

I'm hoping for maybe a faithless looting ban, it enables way too much IMO

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Post by TheAnnihilator » 3 months ago

I'm hoping for Looting and Altar to get banned, and Twin and SFM to be unbanned.
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Post by The Fluff » 3 months ago

always hoping SFM will be unban but it feels hopeless.

as for ban on july 8. Altar of Dementia or Bridge from Below.
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Post by TheAnnihilator » 3 months ago

Can we make a banlist poll?
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Post by TheAnswer » 3 months ago

Faithless Looting is still more powerful than any other set of cantrips available in Modern, but maybe it technically is not "too good." I'm coming around on it, especially with how new graveyard decks continue to be broken. Looting being a cantrip that sets up the graveyard isn't the issue, the sheer variety and amount of degenerate graveyard strategies that exist are the issue. Maybe that means Looting should die for the graveyard's sins, but I'm less certain than I was at the height of KCI's dominance.

I think, to deal with the current state of affairs, we only really need Bridge from Below banned. It's what allows Hogaak to be degenerate, it's what makes old BridgeVine so glass-cannon-y and explosive, and it literally has no purpose other than to be broken. MaRo has said in podcasts that he literally made the card, and Narcomoeba, to fill slots in some really short amount of time. MaRo loves his graveyard shenanigans, and I think Bridge just doesn't hold up under well thought out design scrutiny. Removing Bridge doesn't fix the issue of the graveyard's hold on Modern, but that isn't something a banlist change is going to solve. We need systemic changes for that to happen.

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Post by metalmusic_4 » 3 months ago

Prediction for 9 July 2019: No Changes in modern.

Hogaak is a strong deck and may get a ban, but I expect they will wait until the next announcement based on it only having been legal 2-3 weeks and the GP results were not to skewed last weekend.

What I wish would happen: Unban Twin and SFM, but I've about given up hope on that.

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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 3 months ago

I agree with MetalMusic. No changes this time around. It's too early.
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Post by Bearscape » 3 months ago

Even though there is little data, with how universal people's opinions are on the power of the deck and with the mythic championship coming up, I would be really surprised of Hogaak doesn't eat a ban. I expect two cards from the deck to go and I hope one is Faithless Looting.

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Post by The Fluff » 3 months ago

Bridge should definitely go. And I don't mind if looting get banned too. Maybe people would have less gy remove in their main once these cards are gone from the format.
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Post by Necrofish » 3 months ago

I don't believe Hogaark will be banned yet. It's too early and people being upset as a knee-jerk reaction isn't reason enough to ban a card.
I'm putting my money on Bridge from Below. If it's not that, it's probably Faithless Looting. One is a mistake from a design perspective and the other enables a lot of unfair strategies.

I believe a lot of people underestimate how well the Meta can adapt.
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Post by Patbou » 3 months ago

According to MTG Top 8, 27% of the metagame is concentrated in two decks : Phoenix and Bridgevine. Both plays Faithless Looting. I think it’s the card that needs to go to shake up Modern and make it the diverse format it’s supposed to be. Not only it enables graveyard strategies, but it allows the player to sculpt its hand, and put into the graveyard cards that one definitely always hate to draw. Milling self is one thing, filling the GY while sculpting it and the hand TWICE (Flashback) is another thing. Too good for Modern, it has to go.

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Post by Deadkitten » 3 months ago

I lost T1 on the Draw to the new Neobrand deck. That's something that hasn't happened to me before. It looks pretty inconsistent though.

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Post by Simto » 3 months ago

I'm just glad Faithless Looting is getting all the attention so my Ancient Stirrings can slip by unnoticed :)

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Post by The Fluff » 3 months ago

if looting is banned. I wonder what card will be the next boogeyman of the format?
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Post by ktkenshinx » 3 months ago

TheAnnihilator wrote:
3 months ago
Can we make a banlist poll?
We definitely can! Are you interested or is anyone else (reply to this post if you are)? I can also make it myself if people prefer, and I'll wait to hear from people through today.
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Post by TheAnswer » 3 months ago

That depends on what becomes the next "best thing" to be doing in Modern. I am starting to think that the reason Looting and Ancient Stirrings got so much heat from the community during KCI's time is that they are ultra efficient tools for decks that were already doing the best thing in the format. KCI was straight up a powerful deck with a resilient plan, AND it got to play a 1 mana dig 5, not BECAUSE. People clamored over Stirrings because it was icing on the cake, that the best deck in the format also got to use a better tool than the rest of the format did.

Lootings is slightly different, because it isn't just an efficient support card, it's a graveyard enabler that simultaneously sculpts the hand, AND has flashback (which removes the inherent card disadvantage of the front half). While Stirrings allowed KCI/Tron/Lantern to be more consistent, they most likely would have survived the cantrip being banned. Looting, however, is one of the pieces that allows graveyard decks to stock the yard, while digging for answers to threats/opposing answers, while replacing inappropriate answers/redundant pieces/lands. The card does a heck of a lot for a single mana. However, like I said last page, maybe that's ok for Modern. Maybe the power level of Looting is what we need to be looking for in other archetypes. The issue with graveyard strategies are their speed and resilience to hate, such that current graveyard decks can relatively easily recover from one-shot exiles, and can pretty easily dig for responses to permanent answers (see Faithless Looting above). No other macro-strategy requires such a wide variety of answers to what they are doing, such that including a generic graveyard hate card in one's sideboard might be alright against Phoenix, but useless against Dredge and Hogaak. The issue is that graveyard decks require a disproportionate percentage of sideboards dedicated to them, at least if you expect to run into some number of them throughout a tournament, and while technically there is overlap, if you go with the second best answers to save on space, it's that much easier for all of the graveyard strategies to get around the hate.

London Mulligan helps, but there is still the systemic issue of the graveyard, which only in the last few years has reached the critical mass of relevant cards to need to be treated fully as another resource in the game. The issue is that Wizards doesn't ever have a Standard environment with the same level of graveyard support, so there is never a reason to print hate to match the accumulated support the graveyard has received in the last decade. That's why I was really looking to MH1 to correct the course of Modern, by injecting answers on Faithless Looting-levels of efficiency, but instead they introduce a whole new archetype (or rather revamped the existing BridgeVine archetype) with three cards that instantly got thrown into the position of "best deck," which centered heavily around, you guessed it, the graveyard.

I'm not certain what it will take to overcome the fixation of Modern on the graveyard, or even if it needs to be corrected. Maybe this is just what the format is going to be. We're a decade or so into the format, maybe this is just where we've settled after eight years of variety. We're only going to continue getting strategies and cards that use the graveyard, because let's face it, it's a pretty cool concept for the game. The only issue is when you have the middle child of Modern, with all the compounded degeneracy of 16 years of graveyard cards, without the ultra-efficient answers of the decade before that. For Standard, it's great to get things like UR Phoenix, or 4C Dreadhorde, but when Dredge and Hogaak and Phoenix in Modern get to use tools from most of Magic's history, without being policed by arguably the best answers of the first few years of Magic, perhaps we just need to accept that this format is a format of threats, of goldfishing, of ships passing in the night.

The clear answer to me is to introduce the efficient answers that couldn't be Standard approved in MH# sets, but Wizards showed with MH1 that they were more interested in introducing more threats than answers. Guess we just have to wait and see.

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Post by Misguided1 » 3 months ago

I read Brian DeMar's CFB article discussing bans, and while I don't usually agree with a lot of what he says, I was on board with his stance. Basically he believes that Hogaak, Looting, and Stirrings should go. For quite some time we've seen that you need to be playing a vial/stirrings/lootings deck to remain a contender at the top tables, and I think taking out the two cantrips would help restore some speedbumps in the format. It's a pipedream, I fully expect "No Changes" come Monday, but we shall see.

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Post by TheAnswer » 3 months ago

I believe that Stirrings' prevalence in the last year was just a product of several strong strategies coexisting and happening to use the same support card. As I said above, I believe KCI could have survived a Stirrings ban, and where we are right now, I don't think there is a single dominant Stirrings deck. I'm not sure what banning the card would do, other than damage the already not-well-positioned Tron, and inconvenience Affinity decks that run it. (Does Affinity run Stirrings anymore? I honestly don't know.)

As for Looting, there's a better argument for that one, as it both enables graveyard strategies and also sculpts hands, while being ultra efficient and having Flashback. Still, I think Looting is suffering from the same sort of infamy that Stirrings enjoyed; graveyard strategies are just strong right now, and Looting fits neatly into those decks. I don't think Looting is what allows those decks to exist, per se, though it helps them be more powerful/efficient. The core issue is how all of Modern's history has accumulated so many strong graveyard cards that only ever really need one or two new engines or payoffs to suddenly create a new deck. See Izzet Phoenix. A single creature was printed, and that allowed a dominating archetype to be born. See HogaakBridge, which only got 3 cards from MH1 and instantly rose to best-deck status because of 16 years of graveyard cards that were just waiting for central pieces to bring the archetype from occasionally explosive to consistent T3 wins. Banning Looting is really only a way to say "Yes, we acknowledge that the graveyard is the issue, but we can't think of a better way to address it than remove the common card denominator between the decks, instead of equipping the format with the tools to handle the resource that keeps biting us in the butt."

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Post by The Fluff » 3 months ago

Hogaak is getting all the air right now, but phoenix also seems to be a problem that only got a reprieve because Hogaak came into the scene. Looting feels like it also needs to go in order to nerf phoenix decks a little.
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Post by Ulka » 3 months ago

Yea I'm expecting no bans at the moments but I do expect a note on faithless, hogaak or altar if they don't outright ban one of them.

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Post by Amalek0 » 3 months ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
3 months ago
TheAnnihilator wrote:
3 months ago
Can we make a banlist poll?
We definitely can! Are you interested or is anyone else (reply to this post if you are)? I can also make it myself if people prefer, and I'll wait to hear from people through today.
+1 for a poll. IMO, candidates for bans poll are probably looting, bridge from below, hogaak, altar, mox opal, ancient stirrings, ensnaring bridge, blood moon, and manamorphose based on recent and past public sentiments.

unbans poll probably wants stoneforge, twin, punishing fire, deathrite shaman, and preordain

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Post by cfusionpm » 3 months ago

Hey! We're over here now!

For the long term health of the format, either Looting has to go, or the "turn 4" rule and "battle of sideboards" criteria need to be effectively abolished. In the short term, something from Hogaak has to go, either Bridge or Altar.

Unbanning several cards would also be fine and would add/return fun, interactive, and interesting decks, unlike anything that is currently in the format.
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Post by Amalek0 » 3 months ago

Honestly, I've been a long-time advocate of pitching the "turn 4 rule" from B&R criteria. I've long said that I would unban grave-troll *and* dread return, for the express purpose of establishing a clear "best linear deck" and making the entire format pay the sideboard tax.

Actually, I'd probably start with unbanning almost everything, sans the following:
second sunrise: proven offender in a way that we don't want to support
sensei's top: see above, tournament logistics.
mental misstep: proven problem in virtually every format
gitaxian probe: see above
eye of ugin: problematic play patterns in a format that lacks sustainable answers (wasteland)
cloudpost: see above

and let it run for 3 or 4 GP's to see what shook out. I expect *some* cards would need to be banned, but that it would stabilize with a much shorter ban list and a more interactive metagame than we have currently.

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Post by ktkenshinx » 3 months ago

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