To the Future By Sam Southworth-Barlow

To the Future By Sam Southworth-Barlow


Seeing as both Jace, the Mind Sculptor and the Stoneforge Mystic are gone, it opens up the question as to where we go, a Standard ban hasn’t been seen since the original Mirrodin block, but could it be a good thing or a bad thing? And was it really such a good decision for Wizards of the Coast?

With the Cawblade decks lifespan cut short due to the new ban list, the eyes of MTG are moving away from one of the strongest Planeswalkers known to date, the cycle is coming at the end of September and with that said there’s a lot more play being seen with the other Planeswalkers. I myself run a deck using Venser, the Sojourner but the point still stands, in almost every deck construction that people who want to move on from casual have gone over the same thought has come up, “What do you do against Jace?”

With that out the window, there are lot of decks which can start to hit the scene, we still have several very strong decks up in the Top 8s at this moment in time but those who believe that those stats will stay the same all year are due to be sadly mistaken. Elves and Vampires are both seeing more play, their slower game play or smaller creatures no longer having to worry about the mana ramp into the Titans or the vast card advantage that was granted with Jace. Most people can take out the artifact or equipment removal from their side boards which makes room for other cards, with Valakut Ramp the only real threat still in MTG, surely decks will build to beat it, Red Deck Wins is a mono red deck and let’s be honest with ourselves, ever since Anger was printed for Standard tournaments, red has always been competitive. Though mind you with M11 cycling out soon and quite a few direct damage spells also not being re-printed such as Lightning Bolt, it might be a bit touch and go for some red decks as they have to re-work their decks to make their wins continue.

Well, last night we had FNM, which showed the point far more seriously than anything, even though Cawblade was still floating around in the tournament, there were other home-brewed decks turning up with builds specific to the decks that are still available until the cycle comes out, I myself came 4th with Venser but that’s another story. Obviously casual play is a lot different to the Pro Tour, my time for that was 2004 and I can tell you now that it will either make you or break you when it comes to MTG, with the decks that are currently being played in the Pro Tour and the cycle not until September, as I said before, many other decks are going to start springing up to take the place and title of Cawblade after this month.

Now thankfully for all those who play FNM and have a special place in their hatred for Jace, you don’t need to worry about him after 2 weeks, unfortunately the next FNM is of course on the 30th of this month which if you have yours at the same time I do, it gives you about 5 hours until he’s banned, you can go home thinking that it’s the last time you’ll see him in Standard. Obviously in case you hadn’t guessed I’m quite unbothered about him being banned, but maybe its because I can’t see the full side of it; he’s going to cycle out soon, along with all the rest, clearing Cawblade just makes the other Top 8’s more dominant and just to move him into Legacy and EDH seems a bit pointless. The answer is quite simple, Wizards of the Coast set out to do one thing with Jace and that was to see how powerful they could make a Planeswalker, they succeeded, they found where their limit was on the power of cards and the control factor of a game. With new boundaries set in place for Wizards of the Coast, they surely won’t go over it for a second time.

In the assumption that they are going to stick to their boundaries, it gives us an idea of what is to come from the newer sets, we know that we’ll never see another Jace-like Planeswalker that’s so powerful he can decide the fate of games. But at the same time we know where Wizards of the Coast can stop when making a new card, they know where they can push to in terms to the power that one card can give and the way that it can change so much over the course of just one or two turns in a tournament.

With the Stoneforge and Jace both banned and their life-span in standard cut short by Wizards of the Coast, we are able to bear witness to a change in Magic the Gathering, we’ve seen another ban since the original Mirrodin block, we’ve seen the most powerful Planeswalker in magic pass away into Legacy and we’ve had a glimpse into the future of the power cap on cards in the Magic the Gathering range. The creation of a new stopper in Magic has brought shock and relief amongst the players in my local store (Harlequins in Preston) that’s for sure and far further a-field than Lancashire too. If anyone is looking for advice on where to move on from this ban, where to get some new ideas for their deck then just contact me, my store is full of Pro Tour players and writers for manaleak your questions can be answered by some great players whilst their playing FNM.

Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing,

Sam Southworth-Barlow

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