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While Standard was rocked with some of the most surprising bans to ever have happened in the history of Magic, Modern was hit with some bans of its own. Go check out Austin Mansell’s coverage of the Standard bans in on this article. In Modern, some of the biggest cards in some of the most unfair decks were banned. Let’s start with the easy one.

Golgari Grave-Troll

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While recently unbanned, Golgari Grave-Troll quickly proved to be extremely powerful, as the printing of Cathartic Reunion and Prized Amalgam quickly put the new Dredge deck over the top. After all, Dredge 6 simply gives too high a chance of hitting more dredge cards, as well as Narcomoeba and Prized AmalgamGolgari Grave-Troll had to go. Dredge was becoming such a huge powerhouse in the format, and I certainly agree with this move to get rid of the troll. While it will certainly make the Dredge deck worse, I don’t know that it will kill it, which seems very fair. I don’t think that Dredge, as a deck or as a mechanic, is inherently broken in the Modern format, but Golgari Grave-Troll was simply too good for the format. Overall, I think that this was an easy-to-predict and solid banning, and I’m happy to see Golgari Grave-Troll gone.

Gitaxian Probe

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This is my favorite card ever printed in Magic, and I’m so sad to see it go. Unfortunately, I totally get the banning. There are a few decks that Gitaxian Probe was played in that were running too smoothly because of the New Phyrexia common. In these decks, it was key to know whether your opponent had a removal or disruption spell. Infect and Death’s Shadow, along with a few others, were extremely focused on finding a combination of their combo pieces and disruption, and knowing what was in their opponent’s hand was a huge boon, and shaped how they played the rest of the game. 

The 2 life lost from Gitaxian Probe was negligible in all decks that played it, so the theoretical drawback that was intended when the card was designed never truly shined through. Additionally, many people would argue that phyrexian mana as a whole was a mistake, and that any playable card with phyrexian mana should be banned. Essentially, the argument boils down to the fact that paying life is always going to be so much better than tapping mana in a fast format like Modern, so the “decision” with phyrexian mana is almost always made for you. To finish this off, I love Gitaxian Probe, but I fully understand why my boy got the axe. See you on the other side Gitaxian Probe, you were my dude.

No Unbans

Nothing got unbanned, which honestly feels to me, although it would have been exciting to see something come out of time-out. There was a lot of talk about unbanning Bloodbraid Elf or Splinter Twin, but I think that those cards are still too good for the Modern format, and I appreciate Wizards’ choice to keep them out. I believe that unbans should be rare, and that the people who advocate for unbans don’t really seem to understand exactly how good a card has to be for it to get banned. I have appreciated Wizards’ careful unban strategy and would like to see it continue. However, just for the sake of argument, if I had to urban one card, it would likely be Splinter Twin. I never felt that the card was extremely oppressive and Wizards has made it clear that a turn three-to-turn four format is something that they are ok with, so Twin is a good candidate for an unban soon. Do remember though, sometimes Wizards unbans things and they simply don’t have an impact on the format, even if they are very powerful. Remember Bitterblossom?

State of the Format

Dredge, Infect, and Death’s Shadow all took huge hits, but I still think that they are all still viable options. These banning shouldn’t dissuade you from playing those decks, but you should know that they won’t be as good as they were before. The format’s healthy, better than Standard (as usual), and I’m excited to play more Modern in the coming months.

Boom Bap Slap,

CJ Buckets

Are you excited for Aether Revolt Standard? Jonah Gaynor gives us a look at a powerful archetype that could be a major player in Standard in this article.

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