Magic: the Gathering
By Thiago, 01/14/20
Oko, Thief of CrownsA fair and expected banning. I also agree with WotC's decision to wait on this banning and allow the format to adapt. The Modern metagame usually finds ways to deal with new cards impacting the format, as we saw earlier last year with
Arclight Phoenix, which haven't needed a ban. To break the format quickly, it has to be a very broken card (say hi to
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis) and because at the beginning Oko was included more in Midrange strategies, it took a while to observe its dominance. However, after those 3 months it was proved that the best answer for Oko was to use your own Oko. We saw several traditional modern decks like Infect, UW Control, variations of TitanRamp, Jund, and Burn Oko 5-0 meme finding some way to include this card in their lists. And last week we already had over 40% of the decks using
Oko, Thief of Crowns. In addition, it was one of the cards that made Simic Urza (deck to be beaten at the moment) extremely consistent in dealing with threats. For these and other reasons (Burn was losing to Infect) the ban was fair and necessary. Now the big question is: How long does this card last in Legacy? How many more times will we see Black Lotus being turned into an Elk in Vintage?! Well... this is a topic for another article. Next!
Mox OpalIn an attempt to supress the dominance that Midrange strategies with
Urza, Lord High Artificerwere having in the format, WotC deemed it necessary to include Mox Opal in the banlist. Many will say it is a card that has been on WotC's radar for 5~6 years and that it enabled degenerate strategies throughout Modern's history. I agree with all of these arguments, but also believe that every Modern decks are suposed to do something broken or to be extremely efficient at breaking opponent's broken plays. So I do not consider these arguments as decisive for a banning. For me this banning comes in the same case as was for
Faithless Looting. A necessary measure caused by the bad design of new cards. I don't compare this to
Bridge from Belowbecause I think the Urza decks won't be broken as was in Hogaak's case after Bridge's banning. Much of the deck's explosion came from it consistently casting Urza on turn 2, or casting it on turn 3 with enough artifacts on the battlefield to enable a
Metallic Rebukeon your hand. Without
Mox Opal, it won't happen that easy. Many have said that
Urza, Lord High Artificershould be the banned card. I believe that if the deck can maintain this consistency using
Mox Amber, then we will have to say goodbye to Urza. Otherwise, we get the
Sword of the Meek+
Thopter Foundrybeing one of several combos within the format, and life goes on.
Mycosynth LatticeI don't agree with this banning and take this opportunity to criticize WotC's stance on this decision. The banning makes perfect sense with their argument that the Lattice +
Karn, The Great Creatorcombo leads to "unfun games". This is true for me and many non-Tron, Eldrazi Tron and Prison players. But those who play these decks have the right to use their cards and have fun with their "unfun" combo.
Nexus of Fatedecks. On these cases, you felt kind of forced to continue playing (or watching your oponent playing for 10+ minutes without doing nothing. You call as you wish) because there was still the possibility of your opponent to missplay the combo or not finding a wincon. So in a competitive tournament you couldn't give up right away. Most of the time, the Karn + Lattice combo is different. When both cards are on the battlefield, nothing you do can change the state of this game. Your only option is to attack with your creatures. If you can win like this, you continue the game. Otherwise, you and your opponent will keep drawing until he finds his wincon and wins. Then it is expected for each player to not play slowly on purpose (which is against the rules) or to concede the match they consider lost.
WotC Design TeamNeeds a ban!! (just kidding hahaha). Following the announcement of the
Oko, Thief of Crownsban on Standard, the design team released an article justifying themselves. They explained that, since the design of Battle for Zendikar, they preferred to power down the new cards, and that ended up causing bans and metagame patterns that should not have happened. From Guilds of Ravnica onwards, the power level was increased. We have seen a lot of this in the latest Magic sets. I can easily name several cards that were problematic in various formats because of their power:
Karn, The Great Creator,
Narset, Parter of Veils,
Teferi, Time Raveler,
Field of The Dead,
Veil of Summer,
Once Upon a Timeand our buddy Broko, among others I probably forgot. Since they are only acknowlegding this as a problem now, and the sets are designed within 1~2 years in advance, don't expect this situation to change much from now on. In Theros, Beyond Death we still have cards like
Underworld Breachthat have great potential for breaking formats. For Ikoria, CoreSet Teferi and the rest of 2020 expect more "emotional roller-coasters" happening on our beloved eternal formats, which is horrible for our economy, but great for hating on internet and creating threads BS-ing on Reddit!! \o/