If you’re like me, random Internet user, you’re one of the smartest people sitting at your desk right now. And as such you know what’s best for Magic. You know exactly what to unban or ban and how it will affect the format. Kudos to you Internet dweller for knowing what’s best.
Modern is mostly a fantastic format and I, like many of you, wish some cards would be banned or some cards unbanned. First I’ll discuss the cards I’d like to see banned, then cards that could potentially see an unbanning. Keep in mind this is in my own ideal world.
Modern is a powerful format. Fetchlands and overpowered cards can help rule the day but there are some cards that are a bit too powerful.
While Simian Spirit Guide doesn’t appear in a ton of Tier 1 decks, the concern is how the card is used. Simian Spirit Guide enables some truly busted plays by providing free mana. Decks like Grishoalbrand or Turbo Shift use Simian Spirit Guide as a way to accelerate a fundamentally unfair game plan. While these decks don’t see a ton of play, Simian Spirit Guide just serves to break them in half. I wouldn’t be that surprised if the Spirit Guide never gets banned given how inconsistent these decks are; but, as a whole, the card is a harbinger of powerfully unfair Magic. Even the Prison deck utilizes Spirit Guide to churn out a fast Chalice of the Void. Speaking of Chalice . . .
What really needs to be said here? The card does nothing but promote unfun game play and brutalize opponents; a card so powerful it was restricted in Vintage. While Vintage is a different animal, we can apply some of the same concepts here. There are some decks Chalice does nothing against, but there are too many decks that it just stone cold locks down. Again, not a card that needs to be banned since it isn’t oppressive right now, but it is something that could easily create too many non games to stick around.
Non games are the worst for Magic.
Blood Moon is a horrendous offender for me. While it can exist to punish some greedy fools, all too often it ends up brutalizing some reasonable decks. I dislike Blood Moon in Modern for a similar reason I hate Chalice, but on a much larger scale. Creating non games in a format like Modern is not enjoyable. The format has been on a great rise and Blood Moon does nothing more than kill games before they start. While some decks have an ability to work around it, the card does more harm than good. Blood Moon isn’t a game plan, it’s a win condition, and playing a game in Modern where three mana wins the game is not going to be enjoyable for most players. I’ve played Blood Moon myself and hated how devastating it was. In the Top 8 of the SCG Open, Kazu Negri won with Storm. He used Blood Moon to create some non games and easily sliced through. I would not even be remotely sad to see Blood Moon get banned.
Mox Opal is interesting. On one hand it can create some interesting decks and has a reasonable enough barrier to turn on that the card is certainly closer to being fair than free mana sources of the best. On the other hand, it makes Affinity a deck that can kill you on turn three or leave you dead the next turn.
Affinity has long been one of the most broken decks in the format; and, while it is possible to contain, I feel like it’s gone on long enough. During Eldrazi Winter, Affinity was one of the few decks that could stand up. In recent memory, there is no deck more broken in Modern than the Eldrazi decks of old. Eldrazi, even on occasion, wins No Banlist Modern tournaments.
Let that sink in for a moment.
In a format with Umezawa's Jitte, Rite of Flame, and Hypergenesis, Eye of Ugin was a winner multiple times. If that doesn’t tell you how broken the deck was, then I can’t help you. In spite of this, Affinity STILL managed to put up results. While the deck has tended to move in and out of favor, I am on board with cutting its power. The intended state for Modern has been no turn three kills, and Affinity has a great track record for doing just that.
What about the cards I’d like to see unbanned?
If Mox Opal were to be banned, I’d like to unban one of the artifact lands. Even if Mox Opal didn’t get banned, I think unbanning one singular land would be fine. I prefer Seat of the Synod since it lends itself to playing Thirst for Knowledge decks and Blue variations of Lantern Control. While I doubt any of those decks would be oppressive, it does lend itself to enabling any of these decks.
Thopter Foundry would be another card that would be happy to see a land in its colors. This card has seen little to no play since its unbanning and Seat of the Synod might give it just enough to move it to a better spot. With Kolaghan's Command and Stony Silence also hurting this strategy, an artifact land comes at a cost. I can’t get behind unbanning all of them but letting Seat of the Synod go feels just fine to me.
For now, that’s the only thing on my list of unbans, so we can get right into cards that are close to being let off the list.
Bloodbraid Elf is pretty close to being acceptable in Modern. The power level of the format has gone up and it likely will continue to do so. However, free spells are always dangerous, especially in a format with Ancestral Vision, and will always remain so. I like Bloodbraid Elf and it’s mostly fine, but I’d rather play it safe.
Stoneforge Mystic is a card that is quite near and dear to my heart. Players seem to think that Kolaghan's Command is enough to keep this little Kor away from domination. While Fatal Push and Kolaghan's Command can certainly do some work, Stoneforge Mystic providing card advantage is a fantastic way for White decks (like the White Taxes deck) to have a strong late game. Every control deck would also like to include Stoneforge Mystic and Batterskull in their sideboard for mirrors as a way to beat decks boarding out removal. It’s not just about power level here, it is also about ubiquity. The card is likely to see play in most decks that can cast it and would be impressive doing so. Doom Blade is always going to be great, but the Doom Blade argument is only so true for so long.
This is easily the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard about unbans for Modern. Jace, the Mind Sculptor must have been out of Standard for just long enough and not as relevant in Legacy as it used to be for people to forget how utterly dominant this card is. Need a win condition? How about a way to give you time? A source of card advantage? How about all compiled in one neat little package. Jace, the Mind Sculptor is easily one of the best cards of all time and would be dominant in Modern without a doubt.
My favorite argument against Jace, the Mind Sculptor is how you would just lose the game after you tap out on turn four. While I’m sure this could happen on occasion, I have to ask who you think is building their Jace, the Mind Sculptor control deck with zero cards that interact early? Cards like Lightning Bolt, Path to Exile, Electrolyze, Lightning Helix, Mana Leak, Spell Snare, and Remand all seem like fine cards to play in a Jace control deck. Having the right tools is important, and a Jace, the Mind Sculptor deck gives you access to consistency and all the right tools. Add in fetchlands and the Jace zero is now astounding.
Please stop saying you think Jace will be fine in Modern. It won't be. You’re wrong, and you should feel bad.
If you disagree let me know in the comments below!