For those that have been following my blog, you may have noticed a common theme with all the deck techs that I’ve put out, and that is they have all been Modern cards. The closest thing to Standard I talked about was the “Starting Out In Competitive Magic, the Gathering. (Beginner’s Guide)” article where I used Ramunap Red as an example deck. Afterwards, I never touched on the format again.
Well, that’s because Standard has been rancid as of late. It’s been primarily because of Temur Energy, which uses a relatively new resource called “Energy”, making it to where a Doom Blade effect is back in standard (they say card is too good for Standard, but a red version of the card with no target restrictions is perfectly fine. Yeah, okay).
In all of the energy decks, 2 cards were found in each (in Ixalan Standard): Attune with Aether and Rogue Refiner.
Attune with Aether is a better Lay of the Land because it gives you 2 energy counters for 1 mana. This made colour fixing a lot easier while also filling your energy pool to get immediate use for Longtusk Cub.
Rogue Refiner is a card that I like to refer to as a “Kitchen Finks” card: a 3 drop 3/2 creature that gives you immediate value when it hits the field and you don’t really care if it dies afterwards. Rogue Refiner is obviously not as good as Kitchen Finks, but in an energy deck, it is absurd. Card draw, energy advantage, and an aggressive body make this human rogue very powerful.
These two cards and a handful of others made it to where playing anything else significantly lessen your chances of doing good in larger tournaments like a Grand Prix or an SCG Open. Sure, you could still good by playing anything else, but why would you when you could be playing Energy?
WotC Taking Action
That brings us to this morning, where WotC announced the banning of Attune with Aether and Rogue Refiner.
All I have to say is this: THANK! F**K!!
While I think that there’s a chance this doesn’t exactly solve the problem, there is a good chance that it will at the same time. Here’s to hoping!
I was reading the ban list update, and I was all happy and such… until I read that there were two other cards banned as well… My mood immediately changed to basically this.
Ramunap Red was the second best deck that was roaming around, which is a mono-red burn deck but with decisions. WotC decided that they didn’t want this deck being on top either, so they banned Ramunap Ruins and Rampaging Ferocidon. Ramunap Ruins is what the deck is named after and gave the deck more things to do when it ran out of gas. Rampaging Ferocidon stops life gain answers that these types of decks typically have a hard time against. Why a raptor prevents you from gaining life, who knows. But it also had an aggressive that had pseudo evasion slapped on to it.
I’ve been told that the reason why this deck wasn’t on the top was that Energy was keeping it checked, so I guess I can see trying to tone it down. However, I don’t think it’s these two cards that are the issue.
If we’re going to ban anything from Ramunap Red, wouldn’t it make more sense to ban the thing that is way harder to interact and gets in IMMEDIATELY for 5 damage (because lets face it, if you are playing this and you have a healthily sized hand you’re doing it wrong), AND deals even more damage without targetting??
Of course, there are multiple ways to removing Hazoret in Standard via exiling but that’s kind of my point. My point here isn’t to say “ban Harozert”, but to state that there are many MORE ways to take care of a dinosaur that dies to Lightning Strike (and red Doom Blade, of course), and there’s is a lot of fair non-basic land hate (and more coming) that Ramunap Ruins probably would’ve been kept in check if it hadn’t gotten banned. I personally think two cards got cut from Standard when they didn’t need to be.
Oh well… I think mono-red will still be a viable strategy after this, considering that there is still a lot of burn cards that DIDN’T get banned. It sucks to see cards get banned because people put money into these decks and a lot of it.
Which leads me to my next topic of discussion.
A Letter to WotC
Hi, how’s it going? Are you reading this? Probably not, but I’ll write this anyways.
While I’m sure a lot of people are very happy with these bans (considering that standard hasn’t been exactly fun for the past couple of months), but they do take their toll on us players. Financially, it’s annoying to invest in something and build an attachment to the said deck because you’re having fun with it.
It’s okay to make design mistakes, we are all human. However, 2 things are frustrating here.
1. When there’s a mechanic that is absolutely dominating a format, the correct thing to do is make a counteraction to it and design something that is going to help players combat it to not make the said mechanic so format warping. A thing that you could have done is in Amonkhet: instead of cards removing just -1/-1 counters (which there a quite a few in the block), they could have just removed counters in general. Not only would this have helped combat energy, but probably would have made interesting and interactive plays in the game. However, we didn’t get that at all (no, Solemnity doesn’t count) in EITHER Amonkhet OR Ixalan. When you make a mistake, you need to correct the said mistake and learn from it. I believe that you don’t have to ban anything from Standard as long as you create cards that can answer the previous meta. That’s what you did in Return to Ravnica with all the graveyard hate cards like Rest in Peace to combat the heavy graveyard theme of Innistrad. Please learn from this, for I’m sure that all of us that play your game would be most appreciative.
2. When you ABSOLUTELY have to ban a card, make sure that you are banning it for the right reasons and not out of fear or to “shake up the format”. This is partially why I am nervous about Modern coming back to the Pro Tour setting. I would love to see one of my favourite formats get showcased, but not at the expense of cards- no, strategies getting out right killed just to change things up. I feel like you could have left Ramunap Red alone, ESPECIALLY when there’s a new set coming up, and ESPECIALLY when you have another ban update coming next month. Banning cards just for the sake of banning cards is extremely frustrating to players and leaves them with less confidence in your business model than they had before. Ban cards because they are ruining the format, not to try to make a format more interesting. Trust me, we find your game fun even without those kinds of bans.
Because of these 2 things, I feel like Standard (and possibly Modern in the future) is in trouble. Standard has been in trouble for the past few years because of poor design choices that have been made, and little to no proper reactions to the dominance these design choices have made in Standard.
This is in no way a hate letter, but more of a request to please fix these issues before they ruin a wonderful game that is Magic, the Gathering. Whether these issues DO get fixed is entirely up to WotC.
Let’s just hope they can get everything together soon.
This week’s other article will be a little different this time around. Instead of a deck tech, I will be going over on what is EDH and how to build a deck for it! EDH players, stay tuned! Please make sure to like this article and follow this site itself to keep up to date with articles here.
I will catch you all next time!