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The Dragon's Den
About Those Bannings...
By DeQuan Watson - 2.24.05

Yeah, we all know by now that something will be getting banned in Standard come March 1st. And I'm sure you all want to know what I think (or know). Well, two things:

1. Even if I know, I can't tell you, because it means I probably found out from one of my industry sources that told me something along the lines of, "Just between you and me..."

2. I think it's fun for people to speculate. It's good for conversation and such.

However, I figured out that I would give you a list of things to consider that might get banned:

The Artifact Lands 5 (or TAL 5- Ancient Den, Great Furnace, Vault of Whispers, Tree of Tales, and Seat of Synod)

WotC has a history of wanting to take fast mana out of decks while leaving the other parts. This would stop KCI (Krark-Clan Ironworks) and Affinity for sure.

Eternal Witness

Let's be honest. This chick is in more decks than she needs to be. Her ability is great. Her cost is too cheap. That's the reason she's an uncommon that sells for more than most rares.

Tooth and Nail

I bet some of you are surprised to see me mention this one here. WotC has been known to do premature bannings. If they know that banning one type of card will make another deck too dominant, they are more than willing to stop a piece of that dominant deck as well. In this case, if Affinity goes away, a lot of people are already looking at T&N. Also, this could mean bad news for the Urza's Lands, but that remains to be seen.

Disciple of the Vault

This card allows a creature heavy/creature based deck like Affinity to when without attacking. This is absolutely not what WotC wants. I was expecting this card to be gone with the last bannings announcement and was mildly surprised that it wasn't.

Cranial Plating

People seem to think that this is on the list to go. I'm not so sure. It's not that insane. Does it help a creature hit hard? Sure does. But that doesn't make it unruly or broken (at least not in my eyes).

OK, now those are several cards to think about.  But, many of you already had a solid idea as to what is leaving.  That's not such a huge deal to figure out.  What we need to observe is what decks AREN'T getting hurt by this:
White Weenie
This deck isn't getting touched.  There's no reason for it to.  It's good, but not good enough that it's dominating every Friday Night Magic around the country.  Besides, there are a lot of ways to deal with creatures right now, which keep this deck in check.
This deck might come back into favor in standard.  However, this deck hinges on one key card not being banned; Eternal Witness.  If Eternal Witness gets the boot, then this deck will have to change a little bit.  I don't think it will be completely dead, but it will definitely lose some consistency.
Mono Black Control
Yes, this deck is a possibility.  Unfortunately, it seems to have a problem with Affinity.  If Affinity slows down, that gives this deck a shot again.  With spells such as Death Cloud and Oblivion Stone, this deck can't be too back.
Mono White, Blue/White and Mono Blue Control
I lump these together, because they play very similar to each other.  They need the environment to slow down.  They need time to set up.  Also, having these decks as viable should please WotC, because it adds more variety to the format.
Big Red, Mono Red, Ponza, Red Deck Wins
I'm not sure what your personal preference among names is for this deck, but either way, it's still good.  It doesn't gain or lose the ability to play anything after the bannings, so this is still an option.  It's a decently balanced deck that isn't too difficult to play.
Freshmaker (G/R)
This deck is another well balanced deck that doesn't seem to lose too much.  The one thing to consider though is that this was largely a metagame deck.  This means that it was tuned to be good in an environment that included specific factors.  In this case, it was built with Affinity and Tooth and Nail in mind.  If these fall off the chart a bit, the deck may need to make adjustments to hang around.  It's still a good option though.
Black/Green Aggro-Control
There are a lot of variations here.  I like them all.  They seemed to be just a step behind Affinity.  These decks seem to be have the most versatility.  You get large creatures, discard effects, graveyard recursion, and creature kill all in the same decks.  Also, if White and blue become popular decks of choice, you get decent sideboard options against them with these colors.  So, something to consider is the fact that this could be used as the "anti-new format" deck.

Obviously there are endless more combinations that can be played.  So don't think it stops here.  When bannings happen, the balance of power generally shifts for a while.  Which is good, because this will give you two months to figure it all out. 
But, there is also the wild card factor.  What decks have been laying in wait this all time?  What decks have the potential to dominate the tournament scene, but just didn't fit in right now?  How many decks couldn't deal with the big creatures in Tooth and Nail decks?  How many decks couldn't deal with the speed of Affinity?
Those are some serious questions that need to be answered.  There are a ton of decks I've seen people scrap after trying them out for a couple of weeks because either T&N or Affinity were too tough for them to beat.  That definitely stunts the development of decks in the gaming community.  However, those decks may not be a factor in a few short days.  I'd expect a lot of variety and a lot of new decks soon. 
Oh, and what about the new sets?  Champions block cards have only made a light splash here and there.  With a whole new environment awaiting MTG players, these sets could start showing their power.  New creature theme decks are an option.  Spirit/Arcane based decks are an option.  There will be a ton of reasons to make sure you have some of the new sets by the time Regionals rolls around.
I think this is going to do exactly what Wizards of the Coast wants it to do.  It will add variety to the tournament scene to keep it from getting stale.  It will keep interest in Regionals high.  It will keep players interested in the new sets of cards.  It will cause discussion and draw players attention to the game.  All of these are good things.  No one wants to see cards banned in any format.  But the truth is, for the greater good of the game, sometimes it needs to happen.
If nothing else, you can definitely expect a lot of chatter come March 1st when the ban is announced.


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