Praise be to this day, August 26th, 2019. The end of Hogaak Summer. Wizards of the Coast has officially banned from Modern. And future graveyard decks have been nerfed considerably as well. has also been banned in Modern. But that’s not all! Fair decks now have a new weapon since is also unbanned in Modern. These are some huge updates, and there’s even more for other formats, so let’s dive into them.
Hogaak is Banned
Okay, so pretty much everyone knew that this was coming. This card was broken. And I don’t even just mean in a power level way, it was just a broken design of a Magic Card. I find it really interesting how B&R announcements give an insight into WotC thinking more than recent printings. What I mean by this is that Wizards announcedly said that graveyard strategies were too good, and have been for a while (hence the Faithless Looting ban). But if that’s the case, why even bother printing Hogaak? Well it simply comes down to the fact that Wizards designs these sets months to over a year in advance. And I can only imagine that they had Modern Horizons getting designed for even longer, since it was such a revolutionary set. The result of this lapse was a busted card getting printed. I know that I for one am happy to never play against the Gaak in Modern. At least I’ll still get to see it in Legacy Depths matches.
Faithless Looting is Banned
This is what I think excites me the most about this announcement. Having Hogaak Banned was certainly nice, but I’m not sure if that on its own would be enough to want me to start heavily playing Modern lately. Ever since the rise of Izzet Phoenix, I’ve felt uneasy about the format. It’s not that I thought that deck was too strong necessarily. It was more that the graveyard started to become the main spot of interaction. Between that, the rise of Dredge with , and other yard decks in between, the average match of Modern was turning into something I felt was inherently broken. Getting rid of takes care of that fear for the foreseeable future.
I know that this is a controversial topic as many players were invested in their decks that revolved so much around this card. Mardu Pyromancer is one of the ones that seems to have gotten trashed by this announcement, unfairly. I feel for these players. This ban had some serious financial recourse for Modern players. However, I’m happy that Wizards did what was right for the future health of the format by banning it. There would have eventually been something like printed again if they hadn’t.
Stoneforge Mystic Unbanned
They finally did it. They listened to the memes about turn 3 4/4’s. has been unbanned. If you were hoping to play the Kor I hope you have your playsets already, because the prices on these things have turned crazy. Fair decks have a new Midrange grindy threat, and I am a-okay with that. I’m not going to speculate too hard on where she’s going to end up slotting into (well, I am, but in a future article), however I will say that I think she’s going to see some play in Modern. I don’t think there’s going to be a ton of Stoneforge flying around, but my guess is that there’s going to be two or three viable fair Midrange decks that she’ll find a home in. My suggestion: pick up some s, because that’ll certainly help alleviate some woes.
Just wanted to touch on this a bit. How odd is it that got unbanned? It rotates in a month. It’s also the only instance of a card getting unbanned in Standard ( got unrestricted in Type 2 eons ago). I think the only reasonable reason for this is for the adoption of their new Arena format, Historic. We currently have no cards banned in Standard, and we don’t know what the deal is going to be with the Historic banlist, but it’s gotta be easier to explain in a chat bubble or UI pop up that Historic allows for any card in these sets, rather than all these except this little Dino. The card itself died for the sins of the deck it was in, Mono Red with . So I don’t think people are going to care too much about this little guy getting back in action.
Tons of Vintage Changes
I don’t play much Vintage, but I have watched it enough to have a reasonable conversation about it, like in an elevator or small talk. And even I know how crazy the changes that got announced were. For those who don’t know, cards don’t get banned in Vintage (save a select few that kind of totally break how a game can be played, like ). Instead, broken things get restricted. And the restricted list is weird. If you have no idea about the meta, you might think it odd that things like and are restricted, but until now wasn’t. Well, WotC agreed with that thought, because now it is. was arguably the best Phyrexian Mana Spell, with as the other contender. Any card that can deal with for free has got to be insane. And it did so much more, including, as WotC pointed out, getting to counter your opponent's . The fact that it's much less of a guarantee that your opponent will have that is a huge change. But that's not all. is restricted. Dredge is nuts in Vintage, and the London mulligan has made it all the better. Restricting GGT is just another way of saying that Dredge needs to get knocked down a peg to be "fair" (as fair as literally the most degenerate deck ever can be). More news, and are restricted. Apparently both these cards contributed to the list of insane new cards from new sets breaking the most broken format of all time. And lastly, is unrestricted, which I don't think will really make too much of an impact overall, from my limited understanding of the format
And that's a ton of changes! What do you think about all the topsy-turviness of these changes? Let us know!