Here are the long-awaited changes to the banned list:
These changes take effect on July 19th, 2013. The Magic 2014 rules have been in effect since July 13th, 2013.
Magic 2014 brings a change in rules which is quite significant to us – namely, the new legends rule prevents you from using clone effects such as Phantasmal Image as removal for commanders. This might change a bit the power level of blue decks, and while it may seem at first that Geist of Saint Traft is the big winner out of this, making its commander more difficult to deal with, this also removes two of its best removal spells. The net effect is quite hard to predict, given that players will likely adapt their decks.
Because of this, we decided to keep the banlist changes light and see how the metagame evolves with this rule change. However, blue decks still dominate and we are banning two cards to help with that.
Protean Hulk‘s unbanning unleashed a few combo builds that are as fast as they are resilient, especially in Karador. It won two tournaments just last month and we believe that it’s one of the most dangerous decks around. In addition, it crushes most non-blue decks, which is the opposite of what we were trying to achieve with the last update. We recognize that it was a mistake to unban Protean Hulk and send it back to the banned list.
Our second card is Winter Orb, a central piece in Grand Arbiter Augustin IV decks. This deck has been the best performing control deck in the metagame for a while. While playing against blue white control is usually fine for most players, prison elements can make the game very frustrating. Winter Orb is very good at that and is so strong in this deck that many builds revolve around tutoring and resolving it. We decided to ban the card in order to incentivize control players to try something different.
Explanations about the individual changes can be found HERE.
As usual we welcome your feedback. While we read most of the forums out there, the best way to make yourself heard is by writing us HERE. The next announcement will be on September 16th.
Last but not least, we’d like to thank Benoît Verwaerde for his long-lasting contributions. As an ardent competitive player, he made top 8s in Lille area tournaments which such various decks as Zur the Enchanter, Doran, the Siege Tower, Horde of Notions, Wydwen, the Biting Gale, or even Godo, Bandit Warlord. In addition, he was a founding member of the Duel Commander rules committee. His broard vision of the format and excellent organizational skills helped make the committee what it is today. He was known as Vhailor and Emether on forums and was a very active contributor to those (we hope it stays so!). In order to give priority to his family, he decided to leave us a few weeks ago. Benoît, you will not be forgotten!
The Duel Commander rules committee.