Format Saved? Wizards of the Coast Bans the standard superstars (January 2017 Magic the Gathering Banlist Summary)

In a shocking turn of events Wizards of the Coast has released an update to the Magic the Gathering banlist. Let’s get right into it.


Banned in Standard:

  • Emrakul, the Promised End
  • Smuggler’s Copter
  • Reflector Mage

Banned in Modern

  • Gitaxian Probe
  • Golgari Grave Troll


The Standard bans

Emrakul, the Promised End at first was the top end threat for Delirium decks. However, with the release of Kaladesh it became a core piece of the Aetherworks Marvel deck.


Basically the card Aetherworks Marvel lets spend 6 energy to look at the top 6 cards of your deck and cast one without paying its mana cost. This allowed you to play Emrakul a 13/13 flier as early as turn 3. Furthermore, since Emrakul was cast you would get to take control of your opponent’s next turn. This was often a debilitating momentum swing that would win the Aetherworks player the game on the spot. Furthermore, with Emrakul’s innate ability to cost 1 less for each card type in your graveyard often made it cost only about 6-8 mana to just play normally. This allowed Emrakul to steal the potential slots for other 6-8 drops in the format. From the article and from a recent twitter backlash we can tell that many players did not like Emrakul’s effect on Standard.


Emrakul’s ban is something I agree with this completely. Aetherworks Marvel pushed the card over the line with the ability to cheat it out so easily. Furthermore, a 13/13 flier is just game-breaking in general.

Smuggler’s Copter

This card was as the article wrote “pushed too far”. Why bother playing with all the other vehicles when there was a 2 mana 3/3 flier that allows you filter through your deck? Copter was arguably the best card in standard acting as an evasive threat that could be slotted into pretty much any deck with creatures.


This card was very powerful and pretty much was an entry point into the format. I am happy to see it go.

Reflector Mage

This card was very strong during the Collected Company format back when Dragons of Tarkir and Magic Origins were legal. Of late it was seeing play in White Blue Flash.


This hit was described in the article as a way to check this deck in particular. I’m not going to lie, I don’t really see the point, but as a primary EDH/Commander player I can’t really fathom how much of a tempo swing Reflector Mage was.


The Modern Bans 

Gitaxian Probe

This card was a essentially a free draw spell. It was an automatic 4 of in every combo deck and the aggro deck Death Shadow. The article says that it facilitated turn 3 kills and prevented players from bluffing, both of which seem like fair points. I can understand banning probe. Saying “It does too much for too little cost” is an understatement (once again see the article).

Golgari Grave Troll

I’ve watched lot of Dredge and can I safely say that it’s either the most unfair deck I’ve ever seen or the absolute worst one. The best draw of dredge leaves an army of creatures as early as turn 2, which as the article mentions just made the match-up just a race for the anti-dredge sideboard cards. I’m certain many dredge players are sad that their deck is once again dead, but this is a positive event for Modern in my opinion.


Final Thoughts

I wish Konami would follow Wizard’s example and release a short post explaining their banlist choices. This whole blog post was just me restating what was in their article essentially. Anyway, these hits have saved standard from being more of the same for the year or so. I believe they were the correct decision to ensure the health of the format. As for Modern I doubt anything can truly fix that format, but these hits were a kind gesture.


Thanks for reading as always.

Credit to MTGgoldfish for the deck profiles


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