Since our last announcement, we were able to observe a slight expansion in the current metagame, driven by a growing representation of active archetypes (like Abzan/mono white/mono red/Rakdos/Gruul/Selesnya/etc.).
We are still far away from reaching a proper balance in the archetypes statistics. Yet, this is a first step towards the expected diversity we want for our favourite game format.
We still noticed that the proportions of control and combo decks are still way too high. The various communities (Italy, France, USA, Russia, etc.) gave us a lot of worried feedback about the dominance of blue-based decks in the current format as those lines are being written.
The present announcement therefore aims at continuing the movement we startled during the April 2016 update, with the banishment of commanders and non-commander cards that favoured the oppressing “Control/Combo/Elves” triptych.
- Marath, Will of the Wild is now banned as a commander only.
- Necrotic Ooze is now banned.
- Dig Through Time is now banned.
- Treasure Cruise is now banned.
The concept of watchlist is no more. We once introduced it so as for us to be transparent, and also in order to avoid the bitter sensation of having one’s commander banned on a Monday while having a tournament to play with it on a Saturday to anyone.
The anxiety that comes out of this list, as well as impulsive reactions and sterile controversies it generates are the reasons why we are actually removing this list.
Please, just note that Jenara players shouldn’t be scared about having their commander banned, for we were actually removing this card from the watchlist (if it still was published).
These changes apply on July 22, 2016. The next announcements will be published on September 26, 2016 (applying on September 30, 2016).
Until then, we wish you all many good games! 🙂
Further individual explanations:
Marath, Will of the Wild
Marath, Will of the Wild is especially oppressive towards creature-based decks, by design. Its ability allows it to eliminate other creatures without even fighting them.
Its low casting cost, along with its colours allow it to hit the battlefield on turn 2. Yet, as games last, it remains very powerful. Marath, Will of the Wild is part of lots of cards affinities/combos like Earthcraft, Skullclamp, Basilisk Collar, etc. Decks that are based on this commander also include other combos, like the ones based on Kiki-Jiki, The Mirror Breaker, that also reinforce the strength of the whole deck.
Marath, Will of the Wild really threatens the diversity we wish to see in the format and is therefore banned as a commander in Duel Commander games.
Necrotic Ooze is the key element of a combo that is available to many great decks in the format (Sidisi, Undead Vizier and GBx decks). The fact that this particular combo can’t even be disrupted by almost any removal spell makes it so oppressive that we decided to ban Necrotic Ooze.
Dig Through Time
Doing more than drawing two cards for a total mana cost of 3 is not a thing that should be tolerated already, regarding the format. Yet, doing so among a choice of seven cards, at instant speed, makes this card even less acceptable. Even when played in decks where allowing the 6-mana delve alternative casting cost payment is quite hard, doing so for 3-5 mana still ain’t really acceptable. Dig Through Time is therefore banned.
Doing more than drawing two cards for a total mana cost of 3 is not a thing that should be tolerated already.
Drawing three cards for 1 mana cost in a late game shouldn’t be tolerated either and generates an imbalance as it resolves.
For those reasons, Treasure Cruise is now banned.
One last word regarding the old watchlist, though: this card was never added to the watchlist, for this is not a commander card. Removing it from legal cards in the format doesn’t break any archetype, plus the card does not require money investment for anyone.
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