100%: Contraban(ne)d!

Now, on to the cards in question:

To Ban, Or Not To Ban…

Balance: In the few formats in which this golden oldie is legal it’s Restricted. Clearly it’s insanely powerful, especially for it’s cost, but does it warrant banning in 100CS?

Personally, I’m on the fence with this one. 100CS is moreover a creature-dominated format. Week after week this is proven true in Premiere Events. Balance could offer some much needed parity (heh) for Combo and Control players, as well as decks like Reanimator and even more Midrange blends. Generally speaking, a Control or Combo deck would be trading cards in hand for cards on board, given the aggressor had a substantial bevy of dudes. But this won’t always be the case. If you shield your eyes in such a fashion and peek but to the horizon, Balance will more often be a grotesque one-sided blowout. Any takers?

Crucible of Worlds: Okay, this is an odd one to me. Let me first offer up the obvious apprehension: 1.) Wasteland lock and 2.) abusing the crap out of fetchlands. Truth be told, I don’t see either of these as a major concern. There’s many a much-deserved nonbasic land impediment out there as is: Blood Moon, Magus of the Moon, Dwarven Miner and Blastminer, Price of Progress, and Ruination. Furthermore, why not give 100CS players more access to their single copies of dual lands?

Demonic Tutor: Let me preface this by reminding you that this card was momentarily unbanned. Of course this was a deliberate ploy to drive sales on the Demonic vs. Divine Pre-con (gross, bro). Apologies to those of you that fell for that wallet punch (myself included). (I’ve wanted to address this in a public forum for some time now. Aaaaaand exhale. Whew.)

Alright, so let’s be honest. This card is stupid like the MP3. While I’m all for combating the inherit variance of 100CS, this may be a little too much of a fix. Even at sorcery-speed, it’s just flat ba-roken. I would go as far as to say that if some of the cards currently banned were to be freed up, they couldn’t be done so in conjunction with cards like Demonic and the soon-to-be discussed Vampiric Tuor. I suppose, it can ostensibly be used for any deck, not just to ferret out Combo pieces.

Flash: One copy of this card and one copy of Protean Hulk hardly seems risqué in 100CS. Again, this will have a marginal impact, if that. Of course, like some of the cards on the list, it has other, more offbeat applications (like in Reanimator), but this is an easy one for me. Unban!

Gifts Ungiven: This one is understandably under lock and key. Playing Gifts almost always means game over in short order for the person picking what goes where. It enables a number of Combos with a single flick of the wrist. I’d love to add this to Reanimator’s arsenal, but regrettably it will find its way into far more abusive decks.

Imperial Seal: 2 life, placing the card on top of your deck, and at sorcery-speed… Seems like a baby Grim Tutor. Beyond cost, it’s hardly comparable with Vampiric Tutor. I fail to see the problem here.

Intuition: The original, dare-I-say less abusive Gifts Ungiven. I concede that this is indeed a powerful little so-and-so, but maybe there’s some room to move on this one? Maybe not.

Life from the Loam: While we’re on the subject of “one or the other” scenarios… Loam is another slow route of abuse, going one step further than Crucible by depriving you of a draw step and involving a repeated mana cost. Clearly, it has a home in a number of potential new decks, as well as old, scary ones. Something like Astral Slide/Lightning Rift coupled with cycling lands could make a format debut. Or maybe you’ll just become a spectator to the miracle of Wasteland lock.

Lion’s Eye Diamond: The backbone of the once played “Bomberman” in Singleton’s 60 card forefather. For those of you unaware of the aforementioned deck, it involves Diamond, Auriok Salvagers, some infinite mana, a lot of clicking, and something seemingly innocuous like Pyrite Spellbomb.

Much like Flash, this card belongs pretty much in a single, solitary deck. The drawback is a hefty one, not something you just casually toss into any old deck. At its current going rate (30ish Tix), and the time-consuming manner said Combo requires, I consider this less viable than something like Belcher or even Grindstone.

Mana Crypt: This card’s inherit drawback is conveniently printed right in its text box: good ol’ coin flippin’, damage dealin’ mana acceleration! Whether it’s increasing your Storm count or ramping out threats, Crypt obviously has a wide breadth of applications, none of which make it ban-worthy as a one-of in a 100 card deck, in my opinion.

Skullclamp: From what I’ve been told, Clamp wasn’t the perverse aberration in 100CS that it has been in other formats. I find this a little hard to believe, especially with as creature-centric the format is, but alas I wasn’t playing back then. The simple truth is that this card coupled with pretty much any dude spells trouble for the guy sitting across the table. Imagine this in a deck like Elves, or, worse yet, Gobbos! My goal here is to encourage some new action, not supersize the existing competition. No way, bro.

Strip Mine: More like strip yours!!! (An old joke, and a bad one…) Bottom line, any deck that plays a fair amount of nonbasics has a palpable phobia of Wasteland. I can’t count the times that the aforementioned card has been enough to blow the wheels right off of me. Strip Mine has zero prejudice when it comes to nuking lands, turning up the volume on this threat factor (especially in tandem with Crucible of Worlds and Life from the Loam).

As the sole banned land in the format, this strikes me as odd, even for a card as historically powerful as it is. I may stand in a minority here, but I’d like to see this one lifted, if even at the cost of Crucible and/or Loam. Yet again, it doesn’t take a genius to acknowledge the “one or the other” factor going on here.

Tinker: This is an obvious include for Combo decks like Belcher, Bomberman (if again made viable), and Painter/Grindstone, speeding each up considerably to their desired end game. As I said earlier, RDW and Gobbos (specifically) remain unimpeded in their brutality. Perhaps the best way level the playing field here is to fight fire with… well, scrap metal… Seriously though, unbanning Tinker could breed some interesting Esper/Affinity-style builds- something I have longed to see in action since Alara hit the digital streets.

Umezawa’s Jitte: Equipment number two on today’s docket is another banana peel in the hallways of WoTC R&D history (whoops). And while it’s most definitely a very powerful card, I don’t think it’s nearly as fearsome in 100CS as it’s proven to be in STD (of yore) and EXT. I suppose one of the neutralizing factors of Jitte has always been the “I’ll play mine to blow up yours” contingency. Unfortunately this won’t be a casual exchange given the format restrictions. The high density of creature-based decks in the format coupled with the fact that the majority of these decks already pack similar cards like Sword of Fire and Ice would make Jitte pretty much standard in any deck that opts to win through men.

My conclusion? Arguable indeed, but I could see it happening as a positive stimulus to the existing and underrated competitive nature of the format. Thoughts?

Vampiric Tutor: Ah, we’ve saved the best for last (and alphabetically so). To this very day Vamp sits in my collection gathering digital dust with the hopes of one day finding its way back into the format. But of all the deck manipulators out there, this one is by far the most absurd.

Control continues to falter as an archetype in this format, occasionally pulling out all the stops and managing a Top 8 here and there. But on the whole, Blue decks get the thick and sticky of these bannings. Vamp would give Blue/Black a massive edge… and Reanimator… and Belcher… and every other Combo and deck with the potential mana under the sun. This spells trouble on a few too many levels to ignore. Sadly, WoTC doth protest… and (sniff) so do I.

(Regarding all the cards in question: if they pose a problem once unbanned, simply reban them, no?)

Power to the People

For the first time in MTGOAcademy history, we are hosting a vote on the topic of the aforementioned banned cards. You simply go here, click the Micropoll link, and bolster a mighty “yea” or “nay!” Afterward, you can see where the community stands on the issue. And as always, give me some chatter in the comments below. ChrisKool and I intend to use these results as part of a 100CS banning revision proposition to WoTC, so shout it loud (and as eloquently as possible, please)! And, just to clarify, this is not intended to be a soapbox for WoTC slander. I love Magic, and if you’re reading this so do you. Seize the opportunity to be heard and offer your constructive criticism. Survival of the Fittest survived last month’s Ban update. Who knows what taking a few minutes of your time could garner.

That’s all for this week, people. Check back on the 21st as Kool and myself will so kindly be providing more content of controversy: The Top 100 Cards of 100 Card Singleton!!!

Until then,

Travis R. Chance (so many trolls)

  1. Hopefully we can get some action here, I’m pretty much on the same side in most of these instances, although I’m not too sure about unbanning Balance.

  2. Do you want to go on the record regarding which you think deserve to be unbanned?

    Jitte is simply broken and gives the possessor a huge advantage, moreover it doesn’t really add anything interesting to the format. I see no reason it needs to be be in. I think the same argument could be made for skull clamp. Similarly, mana crypt is the definition of random, swinging games without much attention to deckbuilding – not what I want in a singleton format.

    Flash – yes, it is absuable – mostly with the Rector class of critters and Hulk (it all comes back to tutoring) but in most cases that involves a 2 for 1 (though still potentially powerful) tutor. I would be in favor of seeing Flash in play. Similarly Tinker is a 2 for 1 powerful tutor, though its requirement is MUCH easier to achieve.

    I am on the fence regarding the one for one tutors – obviously *some* level of tutoring is not only tolerable, but beneficial, and arguably *required* for 100CS to be a legitimate competitive format with a metagame that supports not only aggro, but control and combo as well. The in some respects the number of tutors is more important than there actual individual function. I could easily see it as appropriate for one of the black “anything” tutors to be allowed, without including the others. Allow all three and suddenly you have four copies of every card in every deck.

    Likewise the “package” tutors – especially in conjunction with life from the loam seriously jeopardize the concept of varied play. I would like to see LftL unbanned – but can see the argument for keeping it banned even in isolation from intuition/Gifts. There is no doubt that it is a powerful engine, and hard to deal with – but its effects usually only take control over several turns, allowing most decks an opportunity to end the game or deal with it.

  3. I’ll gladly go on the record, but it’s a bit more complicated than a thumb’s up or down. Here’s what I’d like to see come off:

    Imperial Seal
    Life from the Loam
    Lion’s Eye Diamond
    Mana Crypt
    Umezawas Jitte

    The rest are dependent on one another really (though Loam does matter with regard to Mine).

  4. You’d like Loam off and not also Crucible? or was that just an oversight?

    I personally would like both to come off, but didn’t know if you had a reason you thought crucible should stay on the list.

  5. Crucible is far more abusive; Loam has recurring cost, lost draw step, and color requirement. It’s just slower and a little more realistic. I would argue that some of the other cards have room to move, but not in tandem with others.

  6. It looks like we are close to on the same page. Imperial seal is the weakest of the black tutors, so it makes the most sense if only one was to be allowed.

    To me it is curious that you are ok with Crypt and Jitte, but not skullclamp. To me they all seem to be the most extreme examples of undesirably high variance cards that could go into virtually every deck.

  7. Clamp, Crypt, and Jitte are vastly different. Jitte is powerful, but combat-centric. Crypt is moreover a “draw me early or not at all” cards, especially as a one-of (with obv. artifact mana abusing exceptions). Also, the potential damage it deals is an inbuilt balancing factor. That, and I don’t really see the direct relevance by comparison.

    Clamp is just plain insanity. Like I said, imagine it in Elves- each crappy guy becomes two fresh cards plus with the mana to abuse it. Seems like a lopsided nightmare. Jitte hardly compares in this regard. Yeah, it’s brutal, but Clamp facilitates borderline Combo interaction with ANY tiny-sized man finding a new home in the bin.

    If you look in the polls you’ll notice no one has voted for Clamp yet. It’s the only card that is unanimously at 0%.

  8. Lastly, equipment doesn’t really go in “any deck.” This could be said about the Tutors on this list, as one could easily splash the mana to include them, but decks like Belcher and Big Daddy Reanimator style decks that just get a guy or two on the board won’t capitalize on these at all. They’re obviously best suited for aggressive builds.

    I don’t this is true regarding Crypt either. This one has a wider application, no doubt, but it’s hardly a Divining Top.

  9. I voted to unban Crucible, Loam, Imperial Seal, Flash, Balance, and Tinker.

    1) Crucible and Loam provide a powerful incentive to run lots of basic lands, which I think is ok. Also, they open up some interesting decks that are currently not possible.

    2) Tinker is really strong, but having that card in the deck still doesn’t make a blue deck better than a Goblin deck. Also, Natural Order doesn’t seem banworthy, and I don’t think Tinker is far enough ahead of Natural Order to be in a new class. In any case, let’s unban it and see if it makes the metagame more varied.

    3) Balance is a stretch, but I think it would be somewhat challenging to make a deck specifically abuse Balance in 100CS. You just don’t draw it often enough, even if we unban Imperial Seal.

    4) Imperial Seal has enough drawbacks to be fair. Waiting until next turn to get the card is the biggie.

    5) Flash combo seems too weak to win in 100CS.

    6) I think Lion’s Eye Diamond would be fine too. I voted against unbanning it purely for selfish reasons: it’s a $30 card, and I’d rather leave it banned than shell out for a copy.

    Overall: Imperial Seal is the number one card that could come off the list, followed by Life from the Loam. Also, combo pieces should be unbanned to see if we can spice up the metagame and get a real rock-paper-scissors environment going. All of these Goblin decks are getting really tiresome. Final Thought: Goblin Recruiter is the first card I would add to the ban list, but I’d rather unban things than limit the Goblins deck.

  10. @ Travis – Clamp, Crypt, and Jitte don’t go in any deck – but they could – I was just shortcutting the colored mana cost discussion. However, they are not nearly as different as you imply. Jitte’s power *is* the card advantage it generates, the 4 life swings it generates are worth a card even if it is not actually killing opponent’s creatures.

    Clamp in elves is insane, but it is still “just” a card advantage engine. Elves is a best/worst case scenario for clamp, but every aggro deck would play it because then when they lose their attackers they net card advantage (its original design concept).

    Crypt *can* equal a two mana advantage from the first turn – that is huge (as we all know).

    All three have one thing in common – they massively imbalance the game from early on (though Jitte is probably the least guilty, which is saying something). While the goal should be to strive for varied game states I do not feel that the power level of opening hand should be any more varied than it has to be. I say this in full knowledge that it is a classic slippery slope statement. Never the less I would ban the moxen and black lotus as well for the same reason.

    @ Zimbardo – Balance is very easy to turn into a 2 mana wrath/armageddon/mind twist depending on what you want it to do.

  11. I think Jitte should be unbanned because it offers another way to balance the metagame. It would most likely be played in every deck with 25+ creatures, but it adds the most benefit to players willing to play other cards to find it (Muddle the Mixture, Shred Memory, Steelshapers Gift, etc.). I think the card would make things harder for Goblins, since they don’t have tutor options in curve and in color.

    I think I voted exactly for what Travis did… and we didn’t even get in cahoots about it!

  12. RoninX,

    Fair points, all of them. My only retort is this: if a card is only, or even best, gassed in your opener isn’t that something of an inherit limiting factor? (Obviously this statement is directly geared toward Crypt.) I can think of an number of cards that are absolutely absurd if you see them within your first few draws, but that are a blank later on. This “if” factor in decks of this size when everything is Restricted makes is what, specifically, I am addressing. This is why I said “varied play” (note the quotations). This is an imposed idea, not a practiced one, for 100CS players that merely want the format to be considered something legitimate. I mean, some of these cards are even legal in Commander, which pushes the “fun” envelope to its fullest. With roughly the same build parameters (sans General), why can’t a format that has Weekend PEs, like Classic, have access to some of the same tools?


    Nice points. I especially appreciated the Natural Order comparison. Truly, guys like yourself would try to innovate with some of these cards rather than simply resort to the obvious. And, to me, that should be a factor of “varied play” – if even at the risk of including some powerful new format components that could be used the same way they always have.

  13. I didn’t say clamp should be unbanned – it shouldn’t – just that IMO Jitte and Crypt are in its class when it comes to one card totally imbalancing games which is why I would not unban them.

    The recent results don’t seem to bear out the concept that we need more tools to beat goblins… but that is another topic for discussion.

  14. @roninX,

    This is in relation to the fact that you said you would also ban Moxen and Black Lotus for the same reason as Crypt. I would actually argue that when you add Moxen, Lotus, Sol Ring, and Mana Vault to the equation that your argument for banning Mana Crypt actually weakens. Once all of these cards are in the format the mass becomes critical enough that it will no longer be extremely lucky to have that 1 card in your opening hand because now you can have 9 roughly equivalent cards in a deck. Thus you can expect 1 of them to be in your opener fairly regularly eliminating the argument that it is all about luck on who drew their single copy.

  15. @ Platipus – That is a fair argument. If all were in the format then you probably would reach a critical mass where anyone who wanted to could expect to have 2+ mana available on turn one, even if a mulligan was occasionally required to get there. I’m not entirely sure how healthy that would be, but it might be worth exploring when/and if the time comes.

  16. I think the real question here is: how competitive is 100 CS? If not that then: how competitive should it be? This is the primary reason behind these bannings, no? Classic has them, and traditional 60 card decks with multiples of four outside their Restricted list. Doesn’t that make them less abusive in 100CS? Surely they’re not equally as abusive (given the inherit differences in the formats), right?

  17. That is a key part of the question. The honest answer is the I’m not sure yet. What does “varied play” really mean? How varied is varied enough? If going from 1 to 3 mana on turn 1 or 1 to 3-4-5 effective copies of a spell more or less abusive in the context of an environment like 100CS where answers are similarly restricted?

    Does anyone know if WOTC is testing the format at all in house? I know many people within WOTC really like both 100CS and (of course) Highlander – or are the past (and future) changes driven solely by community feedback?

  18. “Varied play” is a direct quote from Turian (I believe) about the format. In short, their mindset was that it made games more “fun” and “random” with the limitations. One issue is a number of players were fine with the original 60 card version, which was a ridiculously competitive field. But too competitive? No. Look at Pauper: you can still be housed out on Turns 4-5 reliably with rarity limitations. What you want and what you get are two different things. These bannings are indicative of this, which is why they should be subject to change. The format’s gotten away from its intended destination, which should have been expected with this card pool, the slow introduction of older more powerful cards/sets, and the general desire for players to test the kick out the floorboards in most formats. Beyond this, it’s expensive- another important limiting factor for attracting new players. We are a small community, but a competitive one nonetheless. If the format was the silly little creation it was intended to be they wouldn’t have added additional build stipulations to the Community Cup Challenge. So to answer your question, no I don’t think they are very hands on with the format- not to the competitive degree it is being played within the actual community.

    We’ve seen Kaleidoscope come and go in very short order, despite having an audience. Prismatic’s gone the way of the Dodo. Yet 100CS sojourns on. Why? Because of the community, because of the outsider interest in the format. I don’t see the harm in testing some unbans. If it becomes grossly problematic, just reban them juggahs.

  19. BTW: it would be nice to hear some feedback from some of the rest of you out there. You need not be a member to respond in the comments. Also, when Kool and I put together our proposal proof of individual player feedback will be very important. This is how we got back weekly events, improved prize pool, as well as sideboards. So step up and speak your mind!

  20. I am all for unbanning as many cards as possible to allow for some “fresh air” in the deckbuilding department. Obviously there are cards on the list that would allow for some variety (Flash, Life from the Loam, LED) and others that just make already existing and dominating archetypes stronger (Clamp in Gobbos seems good…).
    I agree with Travis that we should unban cards the community deems not worthy the banned list or would increase the number of archetypes played even if their power level is a bit of a stretch. We can always reverse the decision later if we find out it’s necessary for the health of the format. I doubt that would be the case.

  21. My main thought is to leave Flash on the banned list. I think a lot of people look at it as only useful as a combo card with Protean Hulk, but that is simply not the case.

    Treefolk Harbinger, Mystical Tutor, Worldly Tutor, Flash, and Woodfall Primus make for a reasonably possible powerful turn 2 play. Instant speed destroy your opponent’s first two land and leave a 5/5 trampler behind is pretty good for turn 2.

    Natural Order is a four mana Sorcery that is a 1 for 2 if it is countered. Flash does similar tricks with Protean Hulk or Woodfall Primus or Twilight Shepherd at 2 mana and at instant speed. It’s also a 1 for 1 if it’s countered instead of a 2 for 1.

  22. If that were to become a reliable application for Flash, I would applaud the pilot, not condemn them. Cool counterpoint, nonetheless. Just makes me want them off the list even more.

  23. I have a perhaps odd question. What the heck do the percentages mean? 12% of what or 15% or what? It seems to imply that a target number of votes was estimated and that it has only reached a certain percentage of those votes, but if so how was the target number determined?

    Perhaps I am the only one confused here?

  24. The percentage refers to the total possible number of votes that could have voted to unban the card. So for example if you have 50 voters and 2 of them marked “Clamp” for unban the percentage would be 4%. Or to define it a bit more mathematical: %= total times marked unban/total number of voters.

  25. I was really hoping for some of you folks to post how you voted in here. Very interested in what the community thinks.

  26. I’m really interested in this vote. I’m not the most informed, nor the best player but I am a joe-blogs so if you’re interested here’s my too quids worth.

    Just to give some background on my motivations.
    – I’m a casually competitive player who likes competitive decks. But I don’t like formats that are so competitive that people are given to act like arses to get an edge. 100cs seems to be in the right place for me.
    – I like variation in how the game plays out and in the kinds of cards and decks that I’ll play against.
    – I like that 100cs allows for a wide range of competitive decks. I particularly hate having to play one specific deck because its the only one that ever wins. Mirrodin Block sucked. Jund currently sucks!
    – And I love the fact that some games can be obscene merry-go-rounds with advangtage swinging back and forth.

    Enhancing the above is my main motivation behind my votes.


    Ok, so with this in mind I voted for the following unbannings:

    1) Crucible of Worlds and Life from the Loam – I just think I’d love to play with these cards. If a deck can’t handle a single artifact or some graveyard recursion it’s going to struggle in this format anyway. Is LftL any worse really than Recurring Nightmare?

    2) Umezawa’s Jitte – Yep it’s obscene, but like Travis says not every deck will make best use of it. What’s the only deck it’s going to cause trouble to? Goblins and red decks? They could use some hate. And in this format is Jitte going to be any worse that Sword of Fire and Ice anyway?

    3) Flash – I just didn’t see this as being too scary, then Archgenius reminded me of a plethora of scary, unfun comes into play creatures. EofT Flash + Woodfall Primus on my opponents 2nd turn to blow up his two lands and leave a 5/5 trampler seems one of the most unfun things that could ever happen. And not too difficult to implement either. So I’d probably leave it banned now :)

    4) Imperial Seal – It’s no worse that all the other tutors in the game, so I voted to unban it. Except actually, when I thought about it it is! One card make this a nightmare… Sensei’s Diving Top. 2 Mana = find any card you want and put it into your hand. Everyone plays the top; it’s the most common artifact to be in play after the first 4 turns. People even waste Enlightened Tutor just to find it and put it into play on turn 2 (although I think they’d argue it wasn’t a waste). Nope don’t want this tutor back now either…

    And here’s one or two comments on why not for the rest…

    A) Balance – this is a stupid card that is an absolute blow out played at the right time. Games of 100cs can be slow enough to set this up good and proper. Wrath of God is frustrating, Mind twist for your hand is nasty, armageddon for lands is soul sapping – but all three together? and in any deck that can play white? … really?

    B) Clamp – this is not Jitte, drawing 2 should not be this easy. Combine this with Eternal Witness or with Volrath’s Stronghold or with a neverending supply of cheap creatures and saccing abilities (oh dear there’s Recurring Nightmare again!).

    C) Mana Crypt – Travis is right it is draw it early or not at all. But I would say every time someone draws it in their opening hand they are likely to win. Game over, concede before a card is played on your turn. I don’t need games like this. Just the chance it could happen doesn’t seem worth freeing it at the moment.

    D) Strip mine – No thanks. Not if I’m unbanning both LftL and Crucible of Worlds (lets be fair between the choice of the two, the latter is definitely more fun!).

    E) The tutors (Gifts, Intuition, Demonic, Vampiric) – It makes the game just too easy for someone with the big spells to win. I like being able to play goblins, and red decks, and white weenie and know that control decks might not have the answer. Or I hate thinking that whatever I do a combo deck is flat out always going to find what they need. Creating your combo should be possible but needing some effort.

    F) Lion’s Eye Diamond – I could give or take this one. I just haven’t played enough with it to know it its to easy to abuse or if the deck it would spawn would be too difficult to beat. So I leave it banned in fear :)

    Finally, some cards to consider banning…
    1) Sensei’s Divining Top – Everyone plays it. It almost completely derandomises the format. An unanswered top will almost certainly result in good game. It’s just too easy and again.. everyone plays it! Shouldn’t there be some hoops to go through to get this kinda of effect?

    2) Wasteland – Everyone plays it. I’m in favour of unbanning both LftL and Crucible and this card seems the biggest reason not to. And it’s frustrating when your dual land is stripped on your first turn. Sorry pet peev there.

    Ok that’s all.

  27. Thanks Plejades, that makes a little more sense. I didn’t think that it was working like that though because I was one of the first people to vote and I figured that the percentages would have been higher, since when the first person votes the percentages for everything they vote for would be 100% and if the second person voted for the same things they would still be 100% and 50% for cards that the first person voted for and the second person did not. It didn’t appear to be working like that, but perhaps there were several people who voted for nothing.

  28. Thanks for the words, Orgion. Nice insights, though I don’t think that Top or Wasteland should be banned because they’re format staples or for the particular nightmare instance of having your Turn 1 or 2 land nuked. A little fear is good, and it offers parity in a world of ridiculous, greedy mana bases. Unfortunately, Crucible and Loam are most def currently banned for the interaction they would generate with Wasteland. To me, Loam/Wasteland wouldn’t be that far off from being Miner-locked or shut completely down via Moons, worse in some instances, actually.

    Also, Wasteland is balanced in a one-for-one land drop exchange. For as many times as it blows someone out, it can often do nothing a little later in the game as well. Players should have access to a non-spell answer to uber lands like Stronghold and Karakas.

  29. As long as we are on the subject of Banning I’ll pass along the link to Richard Garfield’s podcast. Their most recent discussion (about a month old) is on “nerfing” and the core concepts that go into changing a game/format. Always a great podcast and this one is certainly topical:


  30. Flash + Woodfall Primus is certainly very strong and will result in blowouts when you draw both of them or tutor into it early enough. Same with Tinker into Darksteel Colossus. But I think it’s okay to have that kind of power available. Having Woodfall Primus or Darksteel Colossus in your deck is a disadvantage – those are dead cards or mulligans a lot of the time. This reduces the consistency of your deck, which is a major issue.

    When you’re up against aggro decks that are really consistent, you need powerful stuff to keep up. Your control deck is going to suffer from mismatched cards more often than their aggro deck, which just needs to draw some threats. You need the ability to blow them out some of the time, because they’re going to do it to you sometimes, too. Aside from having some sick fast draws that you can’t compete with, they can pull out things like Blood Moon and Armageddon and Price of Progress and Goblin Recruiter.

    The inherently superior consistency of aggro decks warrants the inclusion of powerful cards for control decks. Control will only draw them a fraction of the time, so they’re still going to get stomped often enough by aggro. But, at least they’ll have better incentives to play control, so maybe the metagame would even out a bit and get away from the 60% aggro rut that we always seem to fall back into.

  31. Exactly, Zim! Until I see more than a couple sorta Control builds in Top 8, I am entirely in agreement. This format favors creature/damage-based strategies. Give Permission and Combo some tools as well. It’s just entirely lopsided at the moment.

  32. RoninX,

    That podcast is quite interesting. If anyone has an hour, I recommend checking it out. My opinions remain the same, however.

  33. Oh, nice. I didn’t even know that Richard Garfield has a Blog/Podcast. Will check it out when time permits.

  34. “votes”

    * 1 Balance – ban (too randomly swingy)
    * 1 Crucible of Worlds – unban
    * 1 Demonic Tutor (unban)
    * 1 Flash (unban)
    * 1 Gifts Ungiven (ban)
    * 1 Imperial Seal (unban)
    * 1 Intuition (ban)
    * 1 Life from the Loam (unban)
    * 1 Lion’s Eye Diamond (unban)
    * 1 Mana Crypt (unban)
    * 1 Skullclamp (ban)
    * 1 Strip Mine (ban if recur options come off, unban if not)
    * 1 Tinker (unsure, likely too strong, but would like to see it given a little time before banning it forever)
    * 1 Umezawas Jitte (ban, stupid in aggro mirrors. drawing this will win most aggro mirrors which makes those matchups too luck based)
    * 1 Vampiric Tutor (unban)

    As i’ve said before a little degeneracy could be good for the format, i mean look at how classic interest rose during the necrospike era.

  35. Agreed. This was the entire point of this (and even past) articles on my behalf. The format has an undeniable competitive community that wants to see some changes. It’s funny that this was obviously intended to be a nice recreational alternative for players, but how this was accomplished was by throwing hurdle after hurdle in the way: no sideboards (effectively banning the Wishes), bigger decks, fewer tutors, cards vital to many archetypes binned, and of course the inherit one-of clause from which its namesake is derived. I just would like to see some archetype parity. Tired of just dude decks galore gassed to the insane or either ploddingly awkward. Diversity!

  36. Man I was hoping we would get 100 or more votes! Spread the word, nerds! Let’s get back a few cards!

  37. So, I’m still curious if we can get an 8-man going sometime during the week? Takers?

  38. I’m down for an 8-man, as long as the time works for evening on the west coast, during the week. Maybe it would be easier to make it work on the weekend. I can’t believe I missed the last PE, I wrote it down for Sunday though and it was on Sat. Gah.

  39. Right now the %s don’t really seem to tell us much since the poll is counting % of total votes (note that this is not *voters* – I voted for two items, and as such I count as two votes).

    So, 17% of the votes placed have been for Imperial Seal, but to make any sense of that we have to know how many people have voted. Using the map breakdowns we can estimate this:

    WA: 1 person 2 votes (0 IS)
    MN: 1 person 4 votes (1 IS)
    IA: 1 person 5 votes (1 IS)
    IL: 2 people 10 votes (2 IS)
    IN: 2 people (probably, maybe 3) 15 votes (1 IS)
    TX: 1 person 5 votes (1 IS)
    NJ: 1 person 3 Votes (0 IS)
    NY: 4 people 26 Votes (4 IS)

    That is 13 People and 70 votes based on the map, which is of the US. I’ll assume that 1 person from overseas voted, but did not vote for Imperial Seal, unless my addition or the map is incorrect.

    So what? So if my numbers are about right

    The 17% on Imperial Seal represented by the poll actually represents a substantial majority (10/14) of ~70% of voters who think that the Seal deserves to be unbanned. Of course, small sample size warnings apply since we only have 14-15 people who have chimed in to date.

  40. * I assume that only 1-2 people overseas voted because the US total is 70 and the total vote # is 76

  41. Err somethings not quite right with ya numbers cos I’m overseas (UK) and definitely voted for Imperial Seal (see comments above). Think you need to reassess this one…

  42. Well, I’m not sure what is going on with the non-US numbers. Now there are 14 votes for Imperial Seal, whereas yesterday there were only 10… but there have only been 5 votes added to the total, all in WA (one more for IS in the US count).

    Did 3 people “overseas” vote, some for only Imperial Seal? Did I somehow end up looking as a map that was only tallying US-only numbers after I was done with all my clicking? Both are entirely possible.

    I guess my real point is threefold:
    1) the poll is not actually giving us easily interpretable numbers because we have no denominator
    2) Estimating a denominator is possible – but it is only an estimate.
    3) Based on an *estimated* denominator (now 17-20) anything that is polling at what looks like an “11%” today (Jan 12th) actually has support from 9/~18 or approximately 50% of voters, despite the poll making it look like none of the options have much support. And Imperial Seal has support from greater than 75% of voters. Those are numbers that might actually convince WOTC to make a change (if we can get some more people to vote).

  43. I think that we will basically provide Wizards with the total number of voters and use the percentages simply to rank the cards by “unbann desire”. I am pretty sure that this support material complemented by a nice email will get some responses.

  44. Does the creator of the poll have more information about total number of voters? Because that is exactly the critical piece of information that is missing.

  45. Yes, we do have the exact number of voters. We will publish all stats when we close the poll (which will happen soon enough I guess). So if you haven’t voted yet – this is your chance!

  46. Okay, this is long overdue… my votes and reasoning.

    Flash- This card can be obscene, but it fits nicely in a deck that could use some extra oopmh (Reveilark/Protean Hulk 4-5 goodstuff). Turn 2 Flash takes a lot of luck, and a later flash takes a lot of setup still.
    Imperial Seal – The worst of the tutors on the Banned list. When it was legal, many Black decks didn’t even play it. It’s on the same power level as Grim Tutor.
    Life from the Loam – This card allows for a whole new archetype of Midrange and Control decks. Wasteland recursion keeps decks legit. Also, Graveyard hate is needed to deal with a few other archetypes already.
    Lion’s Eye Diamond – More often than not, I would guess this card is a dead draw.
    Mana Crypt – This takes some creative deck building to abuse and won’t even be 100 percent actualized by a deck that plays it. Occasionally it has an “oops, I win” factor, but many cards in 100 Card can win the game if the situation is right. I figure this will mostly be used to speed up Control kills.
    Tinker – This seems like Natural Order, but I know it is a bit more delinquent. Luckily, Blue and Combo have proven to have tough times versus the Red-based decks speed and top deck power.
    Umezawa’s Jitte – Yes, this card seems annoying, but it changes the way you build your deck IF you can tutor for it. I like Jitte and feel like it gives Midrange and weird Aggro a chance.

    Crucible of Worlds- This can be played in ANY deck, but if Loam proves tolerable then this should be tested.