So today, June the 20th, Wizard's of The Coast has announced Standard Bannings. This has been heavily debated for months. So let's get into “Why” and “What”.
Let's start with “What”. Stoneforge Mystic and Jace, the Mind Sculptor are banned, effective as of July 1st, 2011.
War of Attrition" Event Deck will be legal in Standard if kept completely intact. That deck, which went on sale on June 10, contains two copies of Stoneforge Mystic.
EXCEPTION? REALLY? We get to play Stoneforge Mystic in a crappy event deck. No additions at all, not even a mana leak or a divine offering? No thanks.
Now, I’ll level with everyone. When everyone has been playing Stoneforge Mystic, I have not owned or played with one during Caw-blade's reign of terror. I play Blue/Black control. I play Mind Sculptors and Belerens, Preordains, and Grave Titans. Why the fuck should I suffer because Valakut and Stoneforge Mystic dominate the format?
Now you say: “Uh,Valakut hasn't reigned on the competitive scene since last year.” Yeah, you know why? Fucking Stoneforge Mystic, Sword of Feast & Famine, and Batterskull hadn't even been thought of yet. Brian Kibler was throwing hawks around, without the SFM, with Sun Titan and a bunch of control cards. The deck was far from the “Best Deck”. We didn't have Phyrexian Mana, we didn't have these massive equipments being tutored up.
Lets take you back to a time where U/B control was top 8'ing tournaments, and Valakut was close on its heels. YOU HAD TO PLAY 4 SPREADING SEAS AND 4 TECTONIC EDGE.
Now the Answer to Caw Blade was much harder. We recently saw starcitygames.com invitational won by zoo and vampires. Really? Vampires? Lets look at it: Manic Vandals, quick beats, unanswerable creatures (ALA Bloodghast).
So the answer to caw-blade is an agro deck that can play control against the best deck in the format, seems good. So lets compare. Vs Valakut, 8 maindeck cards. Vs caw blade AN ENTIRE DECK. Playing in a major tournament? Oh yeah, maindeck some manic vandals, and 2/2's that hurt you for 1 or 2 black, wait a second, manic vandal is red, vampires are black, thats two colors, hmmm, ok well looks like we've got to maindeck 60 cards vs caw blade.
There's the problem. Valakut, you had to play Spreading Seas and Tectonic Edge to shut it down. Whereas caw blade you have to substitute your entire deck. So whats the real cause of the whole bannings? Stoneforge Mystic.
“Stoneforge Mystic, get Batterskull.” “Duress, Batterskull from your hand, HAH! GOTCHA MOTHERFUCKER!”
The answer for Stoneforge Mystic is null. If caw blade is on the play, they're getting stoneforge. There is no counterspell vs creatures for 1 mana. But seeing as Caw Blade pays Mental Misstep, the entire concept is a wash. Mana leak if YOU are on the play. Doom Blade, Go for The Throat, all answer stoneforge once it's down. However, they've already tutored up an equipment.
Let's see here. Lets compared Jace vs Stoneforge Ok, +2 Fateseal. Fine, keeps your opponent off answers or drawing into lands. If you put that card at the bottom remember there's one underneath it. They may just draw into the answer anyway.
0: Brainstorm, Cool, I draw cards, Brainstorm, really powerful effect in Legacy so that it has become a staple. 4 Brainstorm 4 Force of Will, the basis for any deck with blue in it, besides merfolk and affinity. To my credit though, Merfolk plays Forces.
-1: Return target Creature to owner's Hand. Fine, unsummon, cool, it's defensive, but it takes counters away, seems balanced to me.
-12: Exile all Cards from TARGET PLAYER's Library, then that player shuffles his or her hand into his or her library. Ends the game. Stone cold killer. But it requires a minimum of 6 TURNS TO ACTIVATE. SIX TURNS. In the time it takes you to fateseal, your opponent is drawing lands or the card you didn't get to look at. He is still is drawing, it's not like Jace says +2: Target player skips his or her draw step.
Stoneforge Mystic 1W, ½ body and you tutor for an equipment when it comes into play. Ok, cool, it cycles, now think about its targets. Fuck, Format dominating? I think so. But then you just draw, drop a land, pass turn, and EOT on opponents endstep, vial in a 4/4 lifelink VIGILANCE. Really? Thanks WoTC. This will define multiple formats for years to come, keeping the cost of equipment cards in the legacy all-star range. If I have to pay $50 for a batterskull, I'm sending you an invoice for the difference between 25 and 50.
The whole #banjace twitter hash was utterly fucking ridiculous. You all should be shot on sight. The truth is JACE DIVERSIFIED THE FORMAT. Who the fuck wants to play 1) caw-blade mirrors all day, or 2) valakut or 3) Deceiver Exarch combo decks. I personally do not. When Jace Drops on MTGO I will start playing Extended and Legacy online. I no longer want to play standard. AND I DIDN'T PLAY CAW BLADE.
Just for shits and giggles, I'm borrowing 4 stoneforge mystic, 1 batterskull, and 1 Sword of War and Peace, + Gideon's for this weekend's PTQ that is within a 4 hour drive of my house.
Stoneforge Mystic has corrupted the game and it's not gotten better since the bannings. Jace was what kept this season's standard interesting for me, he is now banned, and I will not play standard until October.
Instead I will be going for Rules Advisor and Judge. I enjoy Magic the way it is, I enjoy Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I do not enjoy degenerate combo decks in standard such as Twin, Valakut, Soul Sisters. Fuck this standard format, if you wanna play legacy or Commander, come to Card Empire in Torrington, CT on Thursday Nights and Sunday afternoons. You'll see me at FNM this weekend, beyond that, fuck you Stoneforge Mystic, I quit Standard. Extended, let's rock and roll.
And guess what? I was one of those people who hated caw-blade. So now, I will buy Stoneforge Mystics, Batterskull, and more swords. And now I will play them, just in spite. And any time someone says “hey wanna play type 2?” I will retort, “Hey wanna play Extended? Bigger card selection and I don't have an oppressive format where combo decks dominate.”
Wizards of the Coast, don't take the fun out of my game, just take what needs to be taken, Jace, did not need to be taken.