This weekend, Wizards of the Coast was forced to announce the Oath of the Gatewatch Banned and Restricted List updates early due to some players finding out about them through Magic Online filters. The news was pretty big for Modern:
Who knew that the last match from last week’s post was basically a sendoff for both decks?
The community reaction has been pretty huge. As someone who’s always tended towards seeing Modern as Legacy Lite rather than Standard+, this banning doesn’t fit in with my view of the format. Twin was a format pillar since Modern’s inception, and it seems like this banning was done not out of any real necessity, but simply to get rid of a deck that has been around too long and done too well consistently, even though the deck itself isn’t oppressive or broken and met all of Wizards’ goals for the format. This was a “We want people to see new winners at the Pro Tour” banning, not a “This deck is actually stifling the format” banning. In short, this seems like a format rotation, not a correction. The Splinter Twin deck was fine in the format, and there will just be a new best deck now that it’s gone. We can expect that that deck will eventually get banned too, which is worrisome for the format’s long-term health.
Personally, I’m of course a little upset. Probably not nearly as upset as someone who’s been playing the Splinter Twin deck for years, but upset. I was planning to jam Twin for at least the next couple months leading up to GP Detroit. Now, I’m kind of deckless (as is my primary playtesting partner, who didn’t even get to use his newly acquired Twins).
I still don’t want to play Grixis Delver over 15 rounds, and I think the deck gets a bit weaker if big Eldrazi and Tron are showing up in bigger numbers, as it relies on the graveyard more and has access to less counterspells. Straight UR Delver is a little less complex to play and has more access to counters to fight Tron, and I could keep a Blood Moon/Spreading Seas package in the sideboard. That’s likely where I’ll start. The only other decks I have the cards for, besides the Delver variants, are janky Grixis control and Mono-U Tron.
I could always get the cards to build a new deck of course, which I might do. I’ve had an Esper Gifts Ungiven list sitting on my computer for awhile now, waiting to get tried out. But I won’t be buying into the “best deck in Modern” again anytime soon, that’s for sure.