[Official] State of Modern Thread (B&R 07/13/2020)

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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

CurdBros wrote:
1 year ago
Aazadan - You may and others may be onto something by suggesting a "soft reset" of sorts of the ban list. Maybe do a trial period or something for certain cards. It would be a lot to tackle, but would definitely help player confidence.
In reading others comments on it, I've slightly altered my opinion. I still think this is what the format needs, and I think the best time to do it would coincide with a new format statement, which is something we are due for now.

Originally, I thought there should be nothing sacred that either can't be banned or must start off banned. I have slightly altered that view however. I think that problematic cards which result in non deterministic combos should be banned. My reasoning isn't that I find these cards to be too powerful, but rather because they can't be properly accounted for in online play and I don't think the format can risk more bad paper events if we have too many of these cards. However, in exchange... once the ban iteration is done, I think it would be only fair to then free those cards, confirm if they're problematic or not (especially if it could be paired with some timely PT/GP tournament data), and then ban if necessary.

I suspect that KCI is the only card in this category right now, but there could be others.

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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

idSurge wrote:
1 year ago
So instead we must say 'Is X at an appropriate level today?' if the answer is yes, unban it.
I get what you're saying, but I don't think anyone can really say that with a high degree of confidence. R&D has missed several cards now on the ban and unban sides. Not a single pro has over a 50% accuracy rate on the impact of unbans, and bans (which are easier to identify) probably aren't higher than 75%. Let me use a few pros for example:
LSV is indisputably a very, very good player. In addition to being good at Magic he has been involved in building other digital card games. And, if that weren't enough he has a long running series in evaluating cards for Limited with every single set, as well as constructed. His calls for these cards in Standard/Draft have an incredible track record. Yet, his stats don't cross over well to Modern or Legacy. He has frequently been wrong in determining bans/unbans and the impact of new cards on the Modern meta. If LSV can't get this right, or really be doing significantly better than his peers, it tells me that either everyone is operating on flawed information, or large formats simply cannot be evaluated.

Sam Black is probably the best deck builder of all time. I don't have the stats handy, but I would put money on him having better evaluations of cards and their impact on Legacy/Modern than anyone else out there. The reason for this is that deck building and playing the game are different skillsets. People who world class at one are rarely similarly skilled at the other. Sam Black is basically a nearly unique combination of the two, the only other person that I would put in his league is Gerry Thompson. What separates Sam Black and Gerry Thompson though, is that Sam Black has successfully professionally worked as a game designer (Gerry tried it, but from all accounts it's just not his thing), and that gives him the ability to look at cards in a way that someone who only plays the game can't (it typically provides are more holistic view). Even Sam Black (and for that matter, Gerry Thompson) can't get an accuracy rating on Modern/Legacy that people are getting in Limited/Standard/Draft even though most cards are known quantities at any given time. This brings up the same issues that I suspect are at play for LSV. Either large formats are inherently impossible to analyze, or the basic premises by which we approach the format don't reflect the reality of what cards are available.

The community also frequently misses. I could give countless examples of this, but it's so hard to track the entire community these days due to the fragmented nature of everything that I don't want to invest the time tracking down examples. I think we all know what I mean here though (yes, I know... that's a weak argument on my end).

This is why I think we need a reset of the ban list. Make it all legal (with the possible exception of cards that create non deterministic combos, because they provide inaccurate MTGO results), and then rapidly iterate on the ban list like was done with Pioneer. In theory this should better create a format that matches the goals of said format, it will give everyone new information to work with and destroy old preconceptions, and it would wipe out the established meta so that deck development wouldn't simply be modified versions of current decks but rather rebuilt from the ground up without historical baggage. This would also make a definitive case for the necessity of nerf bans, just like all other bans.

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Post by Tomatotime » 1 year ago

Aazadan wrote:
1 year ago
This is why I think we need a reset of the ban list. Make it all legal (with the possible exception of cards that create non deterministic combos, because they provide inaccurate MTGO results), and then rapidly iterate on the ban list like was done with Pioneer. In theory this should better create a format that matches the goals of said format, it will give everyone new information to work with and destroy old preconceptions, and it would wipe out the established meta so that deck development wouldn't simply be modified versions of current decks but rather rebuilt from the ground up without historical baggage. This would also make a definitive case for the necessity of nerf bans, just like all other bans
Alright, for the sake of argument, please sell this idea to a typical player. Lets say someone has been put through the wringer in Modern, and was fed up during the Hogaak season and then quit playing, and then Hogaak (among other cards) all get unbanned all at once, if you had to sell a customer on that format, how would you convince them and how would you actually make them want to be part of it?

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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

Tomatotime wrote:
1 year ago
The difference is that Jace and SFM were never legal in Modern before being unbanned, Twin was, and the accumulated data, as well as other banning criteria were applied to change that. We are talking about apples and oranges.
To a point, but I can certainly see there is a distinction there.
Tomatotime wrote:
1 year ago
This statement demands that we accept the premise that the current power level of the format today is actually acceptable, we cannot do that. There are plenty of reasonable voices who say that Modern is currently too powerful as it is and should be powered down, and because of this, unbanning talk would necessarily be muffled until the dust settles.

Now if you are saying that we should accept the current power level of Modern, or perhaps increase it further, than please make this known and we can debate that point further.
Agreed, and thats not what I'm proposing. I do not believe current Modern is at all desirable, sustainable, or acceptable.

100% I agree that to unban anything, would require a review of what is also currently legal, and would be proposed to be legal, should X, Y, or Z, be unbanned.
Tomatotime wrote:
1 year ago
Alright, for the sake of argument, please sell this idea to a typical player. Lets say someone has been put through the wringer in Modern, and was fed up during the Hogaak season and then quit playing, and then Hogaak (among other cards) all get unbanned all at once, if you had to sell a customer on that format, how would you convince them and how would you actually make them want to be part of it?
Personally, I dont think that would fly. I would be fine with it, because I'm not involved in Modern at more than a superficial level these days anyway.

Many couldnt even get behind the 'its all legal' view towards Pioneer at the start...
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Post by The Fluff » 1 year ago

not actually referring to anyone. Some crazy ideas the past few pages. Which makes me glad some people here don't work at wotc. :p
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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

Tomatotime wrote:
1 year ago
Alright, for the sake of argument, please sell this idea to a typical player. Lets say someone has been put through the wringer in Modern, and was fed up during the Hogaak season and then quit playing, and then Hogaak (among other cards) all get unbanned all at once, if you had to sell a customer on that format, how would you convince them and how would you actually make them want to be part of it?
Well, first I would start with a vision statement for the format. I would update what is already there, [mention]ktkenshinx[/mention] is already drafting an article that makes an excellent case for Modern needing to change the format goals. I don't think there's any reason to do something drastic like change the starting point of the format, but we've already seen a change to the rules of how sets can be added.

So, you state what the goals of the format are and it's purpose. Then, after that you sell it as a relaunch of Modern. No one needs to change their collection because the same cards/sets are all still legal. But, the card pool of the format has grown significantly since it was created, and design philosophies have also changed. Out of the 35 cards on the ban list currently, 21 of them have never been legal in the format (excepting that one initial GP that was more a proof of concept). Out of the remaining 14 cards, about 5 or so have been banned in what is essentially a different era of Magic.

Thus, most of the Modern ban list was created at a time when the understanding of the format/game was very, very different. Some of those cards should probably still be banned today, but evidence suggests that both the players and the developers for the format have preconceptions that aren't necessarily true. However, determining what those preconceptions are without being able to test anything is difficult at best. Evidence that can be cited for this are the reluctance to make multiple unbans (Stoneforge Mystic, Jace the Mind Sculptor, Bitterblossom, Wild Nacatl, and more). As well as multiple bans which missed their target (Bridge from Below, Bloodbraid Elf, Second Sunrise).

As such, in light of the fact that Pioneer was able to construct an evidence based ban list, it stands to reason that Modern can do the same. By doing this all currently banned and unbanned cards can be tested, and the format can be made to align with goals that make sense for a format with a card pool the size of Moderns.

For enfranchised players this offers two things: First, any beloved decks that have been banned in the past get a chance to prove themselves all over again (too weak, too strong, or just right), in addition to a rare opportunity to even revisit them. Second, it offers the opportunity to reevaluate the entire format without any preconceptions. When things are too good (as they undoubtedly will be), they can be fixed within a week. There would be no months long Eldrazi Winters. When such decks appear, and they become too dominant things can be rapidly corrected.

For the brewers this would offer an ability to really think about what decks make sense to build and why.

For the developers there would be the opportunity to correct misconceptions. Guesses don't have to be made as to if GSZ+Dryad Arbor is or isn't too good. There would be evidence. This sort of evidence can then be used to print cards for the format that can be better targeted to it's needs and goals. The developers would also have a unique opportunity to truly put the format to the test. For many reasons R&D cannot fully vet each set in Modern even if they do give cards a once over. This would provide true vetting of the last several years worth of cards, and create all new analytics when evaluating cards in the future.

For the less enfranchised players. this would provide more format confidence once the ban cycle has been completed because everyone could be secure in the knowledge that nothing is banned that shouldn't be. This would mean that archetype defining cards like GSZ or Bitterblossom either would or wouldn't be on the list. And if you like that archetype you can obtain it without worrying that maybe one day in the future there's an unban, but you no longer have the resources to move into the deck.

For the streamers this would be a unique event. Twitch streaming of Pioneer iterations was very popular and this would provide even more engaging content.

In your example, if Hogaak comes back the tools would be in place (through the ban process) to quickly eliminate it. Or, if it comes back and isn't too good... then it won't ruin your format while people who enjoyed it can enjoy it again. Either outcome results in a win for the format.
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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

idSurge wrote:
1 year ago
Many couldnt even get behind the 'its all legal' view towards Pioneer at the start...
And yet, most are behind it now. It had excellent results and player confidence in the format has gone up as it has been iterated on more and more. The format so far has never gone more than a couple weeks with any deck being tier 0.

2019 was the year of failures for WotC, but the handling of Pioneers ban list was anything but. It has the healthiest ban list of any non rotating format in the game. Every card has a recent and relevant reason why it is banned, and nothing is banned purely on speculation or on outdated mindsets.

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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

I agree, it was fantastic, but you could find segments of the community crying about it, and still waiting for when its 'ok to buy into the format'.

Some are very against bans.
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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 1 year ago

Aazadan wrote:
1 year ago
idSurge wrote:
1 year ago
So instead we must say 'Is X at an appropriate level today?' if the answer is yes, unban it.
I get what you're saying, but I don't think anyone can really say that with a high degree of confidence. R&D has missed several cards now on the ban and unban sides. Not a single pro has over a 50% accuracy rate on the impact of unbans, and bans (which are easier to identify) probably aren't higher than 75%. Let me use a few pros for example:
LSV is indisputably a very, very good player. In addition to being good at Magic he has been involved in building other digital card games. And, if that weren't enough he has a long running series in evaluating cards for Limited with every single set, as well as constructed. His calls for these cards in Standard/Draft have an incredible track record. Yet, his stats don't cross over well to Modern or Legacy. He has frequently been wrong in determining bans/unbans and the impact of new cards on the Modern meta. If LSV can't get this right, or really be doing significantly better than his peers, it tells me that either everyone is operating on flawed information, or large formats simply cannot be evaluated.

Sam Black is probably the best deck builder of all time. I don't have the stats handy, but I would put money on him having better evaluations of cards and their impact on Legacy/Modern than anyone else out there. The reason for this is that deck building and playing the game are different skillsets. People who world class at one are rarely similarly skilled at the other. Sam Black is basically a nearly unique combination of the two, the only other person that I would put in his league is Gerry Thompson. What separates Sam Black and Gerry Thompson though, is that Sam Black has successfully professionally worked as a game designer (Gerry tried it, but from all accounts it's just not his thing), and that gives him the ability to look at cards in a way that someone who only plays the game can't (it typically provides are more holistic view). Even Sam Black (and for that matter, Gerry Thompson) can't get an accuracy rating on Modern/Legacy that people are getting in Limited/Standard/Draft even though most cards are known quantities at any given time. This brings up the same issues that I suspect are at play for LSV. Either large formats are inherently impossible to analyze, or the basic premises by which we approach the format don't reflect the reality of what cards are available.

The community also frequently misses. I could give countless examples of this, but it's so hard to track the entire community these days due to the fragmented nature of everything that I don't want to invest the time tracking down examples. I think we all know what I mean here though (yes, I know... that's a weak argument on my end).

This is why I think we need a reset of the ban list. Make it all legal (with the possible exception of cards that create non deterministic combos, because they provide inaccurate MTGO results), and then rapidly iterate on the ban list like was done with Pioneer. In theory this should better create a format that matches the goals of said format, it will give everyone new information to work with and destroy old preconceptions, and it would wipe out the established meta so that deck development wouldn't simply be modified versions of current decks but rather rebuilt from the ground up without historical baggage. This would also make a definitive case for the necessity of nerf bans, just like all other bans.
What unbans were incorrect? Golgari Grave-Troll was only "incorrect" after the printing of Insolent Neonate and more importantly, Cathartic Reunion. It was fine before that. There is no single card that is good that someone can guarantee with 0% doubt that it will be fine forever. I feel like many of us here could imagine scenarios where Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Valakut (incoming Prismatic Omen on a 2/4), and plenty of other cards could possibly be ban worthy.

But it doesn't matter what could be; it matters what is. And I seriously believe that Splinter Twin is Modern appropriate and it could even possibly push us towards more interaction. It may not be good enough to have that effect, but it is not too powerful for Modern. Anyway, I don't know if WotC considers the "GGT experiment" to be a big failure. Maybe they consider it more a failure than a million other things that have happened? But they could unban Splinter Twin and then ban it again if it is too strong. I think that so many people are clamoring for an unban on it for a reason. Many people get cloudy minded over it because they feel that some people here have been "on it" for quite a bit, lol. Yes, I am a player that had EoT Deceiver Exarch, untap, Splinter Twin on him at least 1 million times and I'm still saying this.

But I do believe that you are right about going back to without a ban list. WotC missed a great opportunity to do just that from the beginning. I don't think they had plans at that time to print STRONG cards in Standard or Modern only sets, so they figured there would never be anything as good as the present in 2011. I'm not sure if NOW is the time to go back, but I certainly wouldn't mind. It is much, much worse than just starting that way, but it's better late than never. If they really feel that they can't manage the ban list of Modern anymore, then this is just what to do. :cool:
Standard - Will pick up what's good when paper starts
Pre Modern - Do not own anymore
Pioneer - MBA, UB Inverter
Modern - Amulet Titan, Elementals, Yawmoth Chord, Uroza
Legacy - No more cards, will rebuy Sneak Show when I can
Limited - Will start when paper starts
Commander - Nope

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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

idSurge wrote:
1 year ago
I agree, it was fantastic, but you could find segments of the community crying about it, and still waiting for when its 'ok to buy into the format'.

Some are very against bans.
Certainly. I think that's a totally reasonable approach for players to take. But, most Modern players already have a majority of the Modern cards they're interested in. Pioneer is requiring a larger buy in because it was a new format using cards that didn't make the Modern cut. Modern would be a significantly smaller buy in for most players. And those who are waiting to buy in, could buy in with much more confidence after a couple months.

Those who are against bans should like this approach then, because it's all evidence based, and thus it should be able to demonstrate with much more accuracy than any previous approach, what cards are and aren't ok thereby guaranteeing the smallest ban list possible that can accomplish the formats goals as stated in an updated format vision document.
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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

FoodChainGoblins wrote:
1 year ago
What unbans were incorrect? Golgari Grave-Troll was only "incorrect" after the printing of Insolent Neonate and more importantly, Cathartic Reunion. It was fine before that. There is no single card that is good that someone can guarantee with 0% doubt that it will be fine forever. I feel like many of us here could imagine scenarios where Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Valakut (incoming Prismatic Omen on a 2/4), and plenty of other cards could possibly be ban worthy.
There have been a considerable number of unbans that simply didn't make sense. Most of my incorrect unban arguments aren't cards that they unbanned and later had to reban, because Wizards tends to be overly cautious with unbans to avoid this very scenario. Instead my argument is that cards have spent time on the ban list when they shouldn't have.

Bloodbraid Elf, Wild Nacatl, Stoneforge Mysic, Jace the Mind Sculptor, Valakut, Bitterblossom... these are all unbans which had little reason to be on the ban list for many years prior to their unbanning. They stayed banned for so long, because fully vetting a format like Modern is difficult and building evidence is close to impossible.

What this means, is that there are a lot of misconceptions held towards the format and the power level of what is/isn't ok (and perhaps even in gauging power level in the first place), and that such an experiment to essentially delete and rebuild the ban list through rapid iteration would not just correct those perceptions on what is banned now, but help to avoid the need to ban new cards in the future as they're printed. 2019 is a disaster, but if Wizards had better knowledge of what is and isn't ok, it wouldn't have been as bad. Thus, this approach could prevent another such mistake from happening.

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Post by drmarkb » 1 year ago

FoodChainGoblins wrote:
1 year ago
drmarkb - Splinter Twin was banned before, so you believe that it should not be given a second chance. But this is the same thinking that would have left Wild Nacatl and Bloodbraid Elf all banned. It is this kind of thinking that would have Bridge from Below remain banned no matter what. I don't subscribe to this type of ideology. We should have as few cards banned as we can.
Correct, I want no second chance for twin, and I will certainly never play another game of Modern if it is unbanned, that is a promise. A B combo belongs in Legacy, not Modern, along side sol lands - and yes I would have been delighted if Tron was nuked right at the start alongside all cloudpost type lands, and would not be unhappy if they nuked it now.

I would have no problem with Nacatyl still being banned, ditto BBE. There are loads of odd cards on the legacy banned list, some downright unplayable, one or two I would like to play but it does not bug me at all. Bans and later unbans are bad for wallets, worse than banned means banned. Besides, if twin is unbanned and the deck is unplayable, the players will actively ask for Veil, Karn, Oko, Urza, Opal and everything else to be banned until it is the best deck again. People don't want to play and go 0-5 with their previous deck they had so much fun with, they want to win with it, back where it was. They want it to be "safe", but they don't want it to be so bad that they never do well with it.

Ban as much or as little as you like from the format, but no unbans from stuff that has gone, please.

I prefer it if every deck should not be asked to run instant main deck creature removal, sure, but I am just as set against Pod returning.

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Post by Amalgam » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
Cards that have left behind in power level should come back and that's one of the most successful things Wizards has done in the past years. Wild Nacatl, GGT(well not that one), AV, SOTM, JTMS, BBE, SFM, all great unbans, which proved to be just fine.
2020 is the year that Twin and Pod (well, maybe GSZ also) are going to be unbanned.
Also, after the overhaul of Monday that it's expected to take place, Wizards will want to please a part of the player base, as always.
I reckon Twin will be just fine(I made a whole thread about it - Twin vs the Modern gauntlet), and will be unbanned, in the next 3 months.
Why do you expect an overhaul on Monday exactly? It's going to be a regular Ban update with a few potential modern bannings. I feel you might be setting yourself up for disappointment.
Also it's worth noting most of the extreme discussions in this thread that people come to expect don't actively reflect what wizards sees in other areas hence my earlier comments of it needing to be more visible to loud for wizards to see. Most of this won't even be on their radar

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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

The Faithless looting ban lit a small flame of hope, that they will take big steps. Modern needs it, it really does, so Monday is the hope. :p
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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
Cards that have left behind in power level should come back and that's one of the most successful things Wizards has done in the past years. Wild Nacatl, GGT(well not that one), AV, SOTM, JTMS, BBE, SFM, all great unbans, which proved to be just fine.
Let's be clear that GGT was in the format a year and a half before it was broken into pieces by multiple new printings.
idSurge wrote:
1 year ago
The Faithless looting ban lit a small flame of hope, that they will take big steps. Modern needs it, it really does, so Monday is the hope. :p
What terrifies me though, is that it wasn't until Hogaak that Looting got banned. Sure, they cite a bunch of other aggregate graveyard decks, but they let those decks ruin the format for what felt like an eternity before doing anything. Phoenix was putting up competitive numbers that would put Twin to shame since 2018 and Dredge was powered up with Creeping Chill, secretly remaining one of the best decks no one noticed (because of Phoenix, and then Hogaak). Who knows if Looting would ever have actually been banned if not for Hogaak.

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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

I mean you know I agree. You and I pointed out how busted Phoenix was for months.

That said, they still did it, and it was because Twitter cried about looting decks for weeks.
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Post by Lear_the_cat » 1 year ago

I think Modern needs new ban philosophy and rebalance period like in Pioneer. It will be very helpfull for Modern and can return some players back after this if bans are correct enough to keep balance in format.

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Post by Mtgthewary » 1 year ago

You think this, but not wotc. Why they should want modern be succesfull again? They want Pioneer... This is the whole problematic tragedy on our discussions. We all knew what modern needs, but the questions is: what wotc will?

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Post by robertleva » 1 year ago

I like where this discussion is going, finally we seem to be getting on the same page mostly. My only concern now is that we aren't addressing the elephant in the room: What decks seriously need to go and to never be part of Modern? It's no secret modern hasn't been fun in years, and decks like Dredge and KCI and Urza are to blame.

Dredge and artifact combo must be stopped and removed from common play. Tron is just as bad but I won't bother trying to convince yall of that right now. If we can at least agree that dredge and artifact combo needs to never see the light of day again I will be happy.
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Post by The Fluff » 1 year ago

speaking of dredge. I have a two decks with a playset each of leyline of the void in their sideboard, and another deck with four rest in peace. Well, 4 slots is sort of my personal concession that dedicated gy decks like dredge... need to be respected with the proper hate cards. The leylines are useful against other decks anyway... so I don't mind if dredge continue to be present.

artifact combos.... can't comment much on this as Urza decks are not really present in our local meta. Don't understand why Urza get so much dislike, because have not played against it at all.
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Post by Mtgthewary » 1 year ago

You must be a happy man. I face them each tournament

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Post by The Fluff » 1 year ago

if you face Urza every tournament. Then maybe build an effective sideboard against the deck?
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Post by metalmusic_4 » 1 year ago

It would be so sweet to become a turn three format and reset the ban list to handle it pioneer style. There are only 2 cards that shouldn't be allowed to exist imo, meaning the most obvious of ban targets.
Eye of ugin and hogaak. (And maybe even oko now)
Of course other bans would be need and with merit, but those I would even rank above treasure cruise or skull clamp.

But of course this complete format reset will never happen. It would equate to WOTC admitting fault.

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Post by Tomatotime » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
I personally think Urza, Oko, Veil banned and an unban to be a really big change for the format(close to an overhaul).

I hope Monday will see to something similar to this.
The thing is the above is not actually a format overhaul, all it would do is undo SOME of the 2019 damage, it wouldn't even affect lattice or any pre-2019 degeneracy, for me, this wouldn't even be remotely enough to get me to show up to events again. If Wotc wanted to convince me to give this another go after being burned for so long, they would need to actually make it worth my while, and even unbanning cards isn't going to do that, honestly, look at the entire ban list right now, which unbans would even fix the pre-2019 format damage? The overwhelming majority of the cards on the ban list are either degenerate themselves or they facilitate degenerate decks.

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Post by True-Name Nemesis » 1 year ago

The Fluff wrote:
1 year ago
if you face Urza every tournament. Then maybe build an effective sideboard against the deck?
This is the outright best deck in Modern by a very clear margin and here you are with no experience playing against it, telling people to just build an effective sideboard against it.

Please enlighten us what an effective sideboard against Urza would look like so we can knock it off it's perch.

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