With the release of Rivals of Ixalan, all sanctioned formats and the group that oversees the Commander format announced their updates to banned and restricted lists as well as any pertinent rules changes. This Winter season has largely proved to be a quiet one, save for some not-so-shocking bannings in Standard and a bevy of Un-card shenanigans for Commander. These are the recent B&R changes, which have now gone into effect.
The following changes are:
StandardAttune with Aether is banned. Rogue Refiner is banned. Rampaging Ferocidon is banned. Ramunap Ruins is banned.
Standard has been a bit of a divided lane lately, as the metagame in most places has boiled down to two camps: those who are playing aggressive Red decks or equally aggressive Energy decks, and everyone else. So much so that those two archetypes have apparently been warping the format. Hence the pairs of bans.
In the case of Attune and Refiner, it’s a pretty simple explanation: each of those cards in and of themselves have perfectly serviceable effects for the card without the free Energy that comes with it. When you factor those in, their cost-to-benefit ratios go way up for Constructed play, especially in decks looking to ramp Energy quickly. Which, as it turns out, is almost all of them. It’s basically one of those cases where they themselves aren’t the problem, but when combined with all the other efficient Energy options, they quickly become one. And something needed to give. They chose the most common offenders.
The latter two bans correspond to a specific style of Red agro decks that are also quite prevalent. Ferocidon isn’t terribly surprising aside from how new it is (only coming out in Ixalan), as it makes decks a little too good at countering life gain and token generating in the format for their liking. Which is somewhat ironic considering that it was included in the set to deal with Felidar Sovereign, who found itself on the same side of the ban list in Spring 2017. Apparently it overcorrected too much.
The Ruins on the other hand is a little eyebrow raising given that their argument is that it’s free damage when games go long, which is supposed to work against damage decks. And apparently Red is so dangerous at the moment that it needs the nerf, though it appears to be more due to the current metagame than anything else.
Poor Red. Even when it wins it loses. It’s gone from destroying lands, to sacrificing your own land for damage to…staring at land longingly?
Modern, Legacy, Vintage, Modern, Online Formats
No changes. Though January 15th marks the end of a 6 week period where the Rules Committee temporarily allowed silver bordered cards. Their goal was to encourage players to incorporate and use the new Un-set as a way of having a bit of fun with the format, and indirectly, try to get people to take the format a little less serious. Which is certainly a sentiment I can get behind.
Functional Errata and Relevant Rules Changes
Rules-wise, it’s also proving to be a rather mild winter season. The two most notable two things of mention include the closing of a loophole regarding using Wish-style cards to tutor for ante cards (as ante cards only expressly forbade you from including them in your starting deck). The glitch has been fixed now. Sorry to all six of you who still like trying to abuse Contract from Below!
Secondly, it has been proclaimed that Gnathosaur,
Pteron Ghost, Regal Behemoth, and
Ripscale Predator have all been promoted from Lizard to Dinosaur, but the powers that be are apparently closing the door on any future creature type alternations regarding dinos. These four were the deal they made to appease some obvious Dinosaur situations. But that’s it. Pray they don’t alter it any further.
The explanations of the non-Commander Banned & Restricted changes can be found here.
The Commander announcement can be found here.
The full list of rules clarifications can be viewed here.