Magic: the Gathering. Let’s Talk: Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan, or “Ban Hammer, INCOMING!!!”

 

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Bilbao, Spain. Location for Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan

If you follow my Facebook page, you’ll know that it was stated that I was going to do a deck tech on one of the top 8 decklists from Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan. Me looking at the results, I figured in my head that there was no way that I wasn’t going to be regretting that decision and was looking forward to talking about the winning deck.

Then I wake up this morning to this, and I let out the loudest sigh ever, probably even broke a world record by doing it.

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Photo credit to @UEweKenuewe on Twitter.

For those who have no idea what’s going on in this picture, Gerry Thompson (on the right playing Mardu Pyromancer) is playing against Luis Salvatto (on the left playing Lantern Control) who has an Ensnaring Bridge on the battlefield. This card makes it to where a creature can’t attack you if it’s power is higher than the number of cards in your hand (this effect applies to all players in the game).

The goal of Lantern Control is to keep your opponent’s draws in check by playing Lantern of Insight to have the top of their deck revealed. Then, you use cards like Codex Shredder to put that top card into their graveyard. You eventually win by either milling them out, or they just get frustrated to the point where they concede (while they’re screaming in their heads like this).

Here’s a link to Luis’s decklist if you want to check it out.

Here’s another link to the match itself.

After seeing this, I decided that I’m not going to do a deck tech because everyone is probably expecting the WINNING decklist. Lantern Control is a deck full of misery, and I hate playing it and playing against it. There’s no way I’m going to be able to talk about a deck that is as toxic as Lantern Control and be happy about it.

Most players seem to agree on the fact that playing against Lantern Control is like watching wet paint dry: why are doing it when you could go do something more interesting? There were even talks among Magic pro players to come in with nothing BUT Lantern Control so that way it would raise the chances of it getting banned. The hate against this deck is real.

 

So Does This Mean We Should Ban Anything?

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Short answer: no. Long answer: this was just one win that was televised on Twitch, so I don’t think to demand a ban out of a deck that only a small percentage of people play is reasonable. Unfortunately, that’s not how Wizards of the Coast’s B&R team works…

You see, some of the last few Modern Pro Tours have a terrible reputation. One of the reasons for this is that whenever there would be a deck that won those Pro Tours, crucial cards in those decks would get banned. The best example of this was Pro Tour Fate Reforged, where both Summer Bloom and Splinter Twin saw a banning. People were enraged by the Splinter Twin ban because WotC’s reasoning was it saw results and thought the deck needed to go “in the interest of diversity.” The problem with this was Splinter Twin kept a lot of “unfair” strategies in check, something that I like to call a “police deck.” Not only that, but for a while Modern would see multiple metas that were not very fun to play in, including the infamous “Eldrazi Winter” after Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch where you would see nothing but Eldrazi decks.

You can read WotC’s article about the Splinter Twin banning here.

You can also find the results of Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch here.

Now, I don’t believe in banning cards just so that way we can shake up a non-rotating format. Ban something because it’s actually creating an unhealthy environment. Yes, Lantern Control is exceptionally miserable, but most players know this. That is really the only reason why the deck doesn’t see more play. In fact, I don’t think there should be ANYTHING banned in Modern currently.

Sadly, it’s not a matter of “should” or “why.” WotC is probably going to ban something regardless of what we say just so that way they have a new meta the next time they do a Modern Pro Tour. It’s their game, and we have no say in it, even though we’re the ones paying butt loads of money for these decks.

 

What’s Getting Banned?

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Credit to acclaimedmovers.com

Honestly, I don’t know. If WotC really wants to make Lantern Control a non-viable deck, I feel like you should ban Ensnaring Bridge. If you watched the Finals, Gerry Thompson scooped both times to Ensnaring Bridge before sideboarding. In fact, almost every deck in Modern just folds to this card. I would even take it one step further and just ban Lantern of Insight, the namesake of the deck. Can’t control what your opponent draws if you can’t see it all the time.

A lot of people say that Ancient Stirrings should be the one to get kicked from the format, but I don’t believe banning a cantrip is going to fix anything (unless that card is Gitaxian Probe, which takes away the mystery of your opponent’s hand and draws you a card mainly for free). Ban the cause, not the symptom.

 

The Rest of the Pro Tour

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Credit to Wizards of the Coast

The rest of the Pro Tour was actually entertaining to watch in my opinion. This was one of the most diverse metagames in a while.

Five Color Humans was the deck that had the highest percentage, almost making 10% of the entire tournament. This was a deck that proved all the naysayers wrong (including myself) and transferred its dominance over to Spain and placing two top 8 positions.

The deck that I was disappointed by was Tron. This deck’s main appeal is being able to dominate over fair decks, like Jeskai Tempo. Then again, there were a lot of aggressive decks in this tournament that beat Tron, so maybe it shouldn’t be that much of a shocker.

Here’s to future Modern Pro Tours like this!

 

The Future

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Now, if you’re scared about something you like playing with being banned next week, there is light in the tunnel. WotC has been in the talks about unbanning one or two cards for Modern. So here’s to hoping that we get either a new archetype or a returning one (please Splinter Twin or Birthing Pod, please Splinter Twin or Birthing Pod).

 

Questions to the readers

#1: What deck in Modern do YOU hate the most?

#2: If you had to ban anything in Modern, what would it be and why?

#3: If you had to UNBAN anything in Modern, what would it be and why?

 

Conclusion

That will do it for now. As always, thank you for reading! If you want to keep up with my content, follow me on WordPress or like my page on Facebook where I post all of my new material.

This week, I am trying something new. I will be talking about color philosophy. Each of the colors and color combinations of Magic has their own ideas and represent certain aspects of human personality. If you look at the back of an MTG card, you’ll see the color pie right below the Magic logo. I will be going from the top and going clockwise, so the first color will be White. Stay tuned!

I will catch you all next time!

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