The End

So this is it, the moment that everyone has been crying out for.

For most of you the reasons for this banning are obvious: Magic was no longer fun to play.

There will be many articles going over the logistics and reasoning for tonight’s announcement and a good portion will be better than I could write, so I’ll just give you the summary and you can argue and discuss in the comments.  Pretty much every one of us here at Mana Deprived will be joining in with our two cents, so fire away.

[Card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/Card] and [Card]Stoneforge Mystic[/Card] are banned, effective on July 1st 2011. The exception to this is that if you buy the “War of Attrition” pre-constructed deck, you are allowed to play the deck exactly as is (with Stoneforge) – but change one card and it is an illegal deck. A small thing to note is that the date this ban becomes effective is July 1st (Canada Day), meaning any Standard event taking place before then will still allow you to play Jace and Stoneforge for one last hurrah!

Now which deck will take dominance?

Will it be Bloodthirsty Vampires?
[Card]Mountain[/Card]s that hurt you?
Will [Card]Vengevine[/Card] smash some face?
Or will blue decks manage to survive?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

If you want to see the official post you can view it here and here.

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Antonio Campbell

This hit caw-blade and hit any chance for Naya to sneak it’s way back to the top. There were better solutions to fix the format being “stagnant and unhealthy”. In a few weeks m12 will come in. The format is going to grow in a few weeks why ban cards that are rotating out in a few months. They could have waited until m12 was legal to play to see how things pan out. Well i guess only time can tell. Anyone have a good valakut deck list i think i may need to get the cards before they shoot up in price….



Seth Burn

This had to happen Aaron has been foreshadowing it for a while. Chapin’s POV on the subject was accurate.

The Croz

If there was PTQ on the 2nd of July I would play Valakut.

The worst part about Jace being banned is that they can now cut the inconsistent Summong Trap for Green Sun’s Zenith.

A deck like Vampires that can play Despise and Demon of Death’s gate out of the sideboard would probably be the only aggro deck I would consider.

I think Splinter Twin combo might be okay, but the loss of JTMS hurts it and it’s not like decks can’t interact with it.

Seth Burn

OK, long story short:

Grixis Control

All of the above are viable. Seriously. Valakut, Vamps, and Grixis-Twin seem best to me, so long as I am not underestimating Birthing Pod.

Sébastien Alarie

Yay for the bannings. The only thing I fear is the dominance of Valakut.

The Montreal Canadian Magic Tour is gonna be very interesting.

Justin Richardson

@seth burn

i rly dont see how any of those blue decks you posted are viable, losing jace hurts so much.


Even if those two cards are over-the-top (and I’ll definitely concede Jace was more powerful than a card should be; they should be pushing out blue’s good abilities over more than one flag-ship card), I wish they’d integrate it more strongly into their design practices. Banning cards just feels like Wizards taking money out of my pocket. Emotionally, I really feel like they just lit $400 of mine on fire. I realize I’ll get to play them in Legacy, and that’s reassuring (coincidentally, these cards are Legacy playable, which I guess says something), but still, is saving 3 months of PTQs and FNMs and Nationals from Caw-Blade for casual players really worth alienating players who bought into the format, both in terms of finance and trust? That seems unlikely.

I mean, my take-away from Wizards’ action here, and with the Extended rotation, is, don’t buy Magic cards. I mean, I’ve lost close to $1000 and I know others have lost more. I’m not talking about investing or anything like that… just being a player interested in having the best decks to play with. My other take-away is that I don’t matter as a customer and they’re not interested in having me play their game… I’m getting closer to calling on that one.


Not to mention that I suspect a solved version of this format (coming soon to a SCG Open near you) doesn’t look much better than this one. Sure, the first one or two weekends might be wide-open but I’m pretty sure some Twin variant owns this format, given that it outclocks Valakut — which is a safe fallback call for the best deck. Think about whatever random deck you were thinking about making… does it really beat PyroTwin and Valakut consistently?

Justin Richardson

@michael you say that like jace is worth 0$ now, and if you are really concerned on the financial side of magic you need to know when and what cards to move

Shawn Hudson

@ Anyone Who Lost Big Money – I have no doubt that it stings for the people who bought into the idea that a single card – barely out-of-print – was worth $100, but you have to realize that Wizards doesn’t make any money off of the secondary market. If you’re paying $1000s of dollars to StarCityGames or eBayers, etc., you’re not speaking with your dollars to Wizards, and they’re not hearing you very well …

What Wizards hears and listens to, I imagine, is the new guy/gal who just bought the “Into the Breach” deck and piloted it in his/her first FNM. They have a chance to snag that rookie into the beauty and awesomeness that is Magic: The Gathering for a long, long time. And so, if the guy who spent $800 on his Caw-Blade kicks that rookie’s ass, Wizards loses out, and they lose big-time. If that rookie quits b/c he can’t afford to compete, Wizards just lost $1000s of dollars – not only in the cards that he would buy, but in the friends he’d bring to the fold.

Your loss of $30 per Jace (it sucks, and I really am sorry) is a mere ripple to the tidal wave of money that Wizards would lose in the next three months due to CawBlade’s unparalleled dominance.

Shawn Hudson

On another note, I’ve played Valakut through all of this, and I can’t wait to stop wasting my sideboard space or maindecking Nature’s Claims! Woohoo!

Justin Richardson

jaces price will go back up in 6 months anyway dont worry Michael, just look at tarmogoyf


YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA no i can afford both Legacy and standard! Thank you vampires for being so cheap!

Eric P

@shawn hudson I couldn’t agree more with your statement. Well said

Sean Peconi

Ok cool so they ban SFM and Jace. Whats going to keep Valakut in check? Whats going to keep Splinter Twin combo in check?

How do we all feel about watching Valakut mirrors for the next 2-3 weeks till new decks pop up?

Justin Richardson

splinter twin lost jace which was a big chunk of its draw power


Its about time they banned Jace. I can think about playing decks with blue in them again.


I have been playing a magic a long time, and over the years I can say this – when a deck has stagnated the principals of magic during play WotC’s policy has been to reset the format. I believe this to be the case for Standard, there was a point of over saturation of two cards where numbers were dropping at large events. Legacy saw it last year when everyone was playing Survival of the Fittest.

They had printed Fauna Shamen, and Survival was already playable. but when the deck dominates an entire format, WotC and the DCI have to weigh their consideration on numbers. and more people were unhappy then there were players, even I was unhappy and I barely play Standard. Yes I played Caw-Blade in standard, and yes I feel wronged but I don’t really care either after all magic is a hobby, and if you play competitive within this hobby then
you should man up and accept the fact the game changes.

Jace has dominated in one form or another since it’s release. it had it’s ups and it’s downs, but the reality of it is that Jace was a damn good card for what he did. Stoneforge on the other hand, was an alright card, but when Scars of Mirrodin was released, and then Mirrodin Besieged and finally New Phyrexia. and the abuse of very powerful weapons became a reality Wizards weren’t fooling themselves, they knew Stoneforge had to go. it would like leaving skullclamp legal from the old mirrodin days. it lasted two tournaments
and people saw the real power of it. and WotC had to step in and say stop.

It makes sense to them, it made sense to players, it pissed people off because oh god now they have use their brains to build decks rather than copying someones list who broke open a format. and lets face some facts here; everyone wants to be that guy that breaks the format. it’s what we as deck builders want, we want our deck to win and dominate. However, as I previously said when a format becomes broken it is in the WotC’s interest to listen to their players from casual to pro. it happened, deal with it.

and in the immortalized words of the Yo! MTG Taps “Stop Bitching, Start Brewing” this is a new day and innovation between now and the next block will see the shift for healthier format for all players to play and enjoy.


@Shawn Hudson – well said!!

@Sean Peconi – Two words… Torpor Orb. One of those in play stops Deceiver Exarch and Primeval Titan.

And Valakut only has a limited number of mountains. Kinda makes the Suture Sisters lifegain deck seem even more viable, eh? 😀

Bryce Menard

Anyone that calls themselves a competitive Magic player that didn’t like Standard, pre-bannings, isn’t really a competitive Magic player — or at least not a good one. But that doesn’t mean SFM and Jace were good for Magic as a whole. Honestly, Jace getting banned just makes me proud.


Things I learned today: I’m not a competitive Magic player.

Hmm, this is weird. I guess that changes everything.


Jace the mind sculptor, better than all.


lol, psamms. Neither am I.

Sébastien Alarie

@ Bryce: lolz. I guess you never heard of playstyles. Some people are very good aggro players, while some are very good combo players, without being good control players. I personally did not like this format since I’m mainly an aggro/tempo player, and Batterskull + SoWaP kind of crushed my dreams.

Even if I was a great control player, this doesn’t mean I would enjoy this format. Basically nobody likes mirror matches, especially those that takes 49 minutes and often forces you to play so fast to end in time that it causes play mistakes.


Wizards has really been socking it to its customers lately by not allowing indepedant TOs to run tournaments, not having big prereleases, ending player rewards, printing mythics and now the bannings, seems like a good time to get out before the whole game tanks…


What’s better:

1) Losing to a skilled Caw-Blade player because he is better than you at this game


2) Losing to some 7 year old scrub who tapped 4 mountains and 2 forests to kill you?

Take your pick.


phyrexian obliterator just got a lot better


I really hope these idiotic arguments about how Valakut is a no skill deck get re-kindled after these bannings! I love it when people advertise to me just how stupid they are.


I don’t love it when people misinterpret comments, especially when no one said anything about Valakut not taking skill to pilot correctly to high tournament finishes. In all honesty, who could ever be frustrated at losing a match to Vincent Thibeault playing his signature deck?

The truth is that, -sometimes-, it is frustrating for people to lose to really bad players playing Valakut off of them having a nut draw/regular draw and making a bunch of play mistakes and still getting there since the power of Valakut can often times be overwhelming on it’s own. You know what it feels like when you lose to a player fetching twice in a row double Valakut from Primeval when he only has 3-4 mountains in play. It kind of reminds me of the Jund era as to how awful players who had no business top 8’ing PTQs would still get there somehow.

What I find pathetic about this is how people can blatantly insult others over having opinions and giving out arguments on a specific subject. I don’t love it when people advertise to everyone on a public forum that they don’t have a shred of human decency.

Sean Peconi

Re: Jace the Mind Sculptor in Twin Combo Decks:

I’ve played Grixis Twin for the last month or so with Jace Beleren and have had no issues at all.

@Kerry: True man very true. Torpor Orb may be a real card now. Yikes.


@Joel I’d rather lose to skill and mastery, then a 7 year old. but then again I have never played against a 7 year old.


“The truth is that, -sometimes-, it is frustrating for people to lose to really bad players playing Valakut off of them having a nut draw/regular draw and making a bunch of play mistakes and still getting there since the power of Valakut can often times be overwhelming on it’s own. You know what it feels like when you lose to a player fetching twice in a row double Valakut from Primeval when he only has 3-4 mountains in play. It kind of reminds me of the Jund era as to how awful players who had no business top 8’ing PTQs would still get there somehow.”

It is ALWAYS frustrating to lose. I have lost to some really bad cawblade players. I have lost to people playing all kinds of different decks really badly. It’s always the decks like Valakut that get singled out like this, and the only reason I have been able to come up with is that they don’t play Islands so they don’t reward skill. The problem with this, is of course the countless number of times I’ve watch people give away unloseable games because their bad play actually catches up with them. Dare I say there is a very real reason why these people don’t have continued success? Sometimes bad players will play bad and win, even against a much more highly skilled player. Guess what though? This is actually GOOD for your local tournament scene. The more “bad players” perceive they have a shot at beating the better players, the more willing they are to come and spend their money and come play in tournaments.

Sébastien Alarie

Definitely agree with Psamms. Also, while it can be frustrating to lose to a bad player, it can be immensely gratifying to win a match you had no business winning, only because you played super tight to your outs and your opponent was bad and missed a bunch of triggers/dmg/etc. Playing against bad opponents has its upsides.

P.S.: Valakut is not an easy deck to pilot. It is overwhelming, sure, but that does not mean that it’s easy to pilot. That said, I do agree that it is really frustrating to lose to a bad Valakut player that takes 5 minutes to realize he can just dome you for 18 while he’s at 3 life and you have a bolt in hand (and no untapped mana obv.).

True story 🙁


Jace = the pinnacle of a Magic card… will be surely missed.

Bryce Menard

I mean, if you don’t think pre-B&R Standard was insanely skill-testing (and thus more apt of a truly competitive environment) then you’re just wrong. Again, not that it was actually good for Magic as a whole, but good for the truly competitive looking to outplay all of their opponents.


Does the Event Deck beat Valakut?


I once laid down the facemasher card and effectively mashed the guys face. True Story.


@ Joel:

+1 for psamms comment

I have seen just as many “unskilled” caw players winning, both in the mirror match and outside of it, due to variance

I’m not sure what people consider a “skill-testing” deck is these days, i’m sorry that my opponent had turn two stoneforge on the play and i didnt, was that him “out-playing” me? some people would sound a lot smarter if they didn’t share their thoughts

as for the change, I welcome it with open arms, if you’re that connected to a specific deck then i hope i get to sit across from you at nationals in the limited portion….players these days need to be able to adapt, fae players needed to move on, jund players needed to move on, and now caw players have to get over it…

I still don’t believe caw was as “skill intensive” as people saw it was, I watched a best of 3 in the finals of the Toronto CMT where the player who played absolutely flawless came home empty

everybody should sit down for this one, but: MAGIC HAS VARIANCE……

but if you play any deck to the best of your ability and put yourself in the best position to win, you too (like phil samms) can end up on the good side of variance as well



@ KD:

Obviously there is variance in this game, no one is questioning that fact. Also, please understand that I don’t play Caw-Blade and have lost my fair share of matches against it, but I still manage to beat it a bunch also.

The argument I am making is that I’d rather lose repeatedly to good Caw-Blade players than to lose to a scrub Valakut player a handful of times. When I talk about scrub players, I really mean awful players, not average players who make a couple of mistakes here and there each game or so. In fact, I completely agree with you in regards to the CMTT finals where Dan Lanthier played a lot better than his opponent and still lost. However, I don’t think his opponent was a scrub, he was pretty good at this game, maybe not as good as Dan, but still good.

My argument is that given the nature of the Valakut deck which I compare to Jund, even a total donk will win far too often against better players which, in my opinion, is much more infuriating than losing to skilled players piloting a Caw-Blade deck as it is easier to accept a loss at the hands of a better player. I’ve seen this happen frequently to certain “good” players at my LGS (losing to a scrub w/ Valakut) and they were understandably frustrated as hell.

In my experience, I haven’t had that difficulty with Caw-Blade as awful players piloting the deck cannot abuse it’s raw power as easily as Valakut (or Jund for that matter). With Caw-Blade, even if a scrub has the nuts, he still needs to grind it out carefully which is, most of the time, not the case when he has the nuts with Valakut. Also, it is important to understand that I don’t think Valakut is “easy” to master, it certainly is “easy” to execute the fundamental strategy of the deck which is inherently powerful, but it takes a truly skilled player to find the correct lines of play and pilot it correctly.

I guess what it comes down to is that I’d rather play against Caw-Blade than Valakut all day, much as I would prefer to play against Faeries than Jund. Obviously this is all a matter of personal opinion, it’s fine if you don’t agree, I’m putting it out there so we can discuss it. Moreover, regarding your comment of “some people would sound a lot smarter if they didn’t share their thoughts” right after talking about a Turn 2 Mystic and being outplayed by that, although I’m not quite sure what you meant exactly, I’m pretty sure that you can’t ever sound smart if you never express your opinions and ideas to anyone.


This banning seems so obvious at the end of the day. Jace the Mind Sculptor was a mistake to begin with. I’m sure R&D loved making him, but they didn’t realize before it was too late the horror they would unleash upon their world.

Stoneforge, while obviously a sleeper, we should of seen the massive potential for this card. I mean, it is essentially a tutor on a stick after all, and having the ability to play the tutor card thereafter. Easily disregarded since there were no strong Equipment in Standard at the time and honestly, not a huge swath of overpowered ones in other formats (Jitte, Sword of Fire and Ice and maybe Light and Shadow). Stoneforge just needed the right equipment for people to see how devastating she really is. I mean, if there were no good instants or sorceries in the game, do you think Mystical Tutor would be any good without them (albeit two card types that have been predominant since the dawn of magic…).

Did this banning come too late? Maybe for Jace. Everyone and their mom knew this card was overpowered. It’s price tag was a strong enough indication of this, on top of everything else. Stoneforge had just been getting stronger and stronger (again, Wizards fault for enabling the girl to be so powerful with the new equipments after all) so it makes sense that she wasn’t going to get banned when we were still in Zendikar block.

Wizards made mistakes to begin with. They are only human, and they aren’t exactly destroying the game. In fact, according to some sources (Im not citing for a comment so bite me if you want one) Standard has never been more popular. And yet the cards are insanely overpriced compared to the past. WotC is trying to fix their mistakes before they wouldn’t have to anymore, which to most people seems like a waste of time. But this shows they acknowledged their mistake and their attempt, as strong or feeble as it is, is their way of making things right for ‘some’ extra amount of time.

Now, will Valakut become the dominant force of Standard? Or Exarch? Or White Weenie? Im joking about the last one but its hard to see where things will go from here. It makes sense since Valakut’s power was Squlched by Caw-Blade. Will it rise from the ashes? Probably since everyone is saying it is, so people will jump on the bandwagon because people want to play the strongest deck. I’m not saying I haven’t piloted top tier decks in the past, but I certainly believe that the media’s (in this case authors of articles on all magic related sites) arm waving about Valakut is only making things worse. Can that be avoided? Probably not, but it certainly isn’t helping.

In short, you might be cheering or shuddering or facepalming, but the fact remains that this is just rumor anymore. It happened. So everyone get ready for what’s to come, whatever that may be.


I don’t get why this Joel kid is being crucified for his 100% valid point. There is no worse feeling than the local durdle casting a 6 mana spell and winning the game. Those same local durdles don’t have access to the cards for caw and thus you don’t lose to them with caw. Those same local durdles are the reason your caw deck is now banned because they don’t have access to the cards.

PS Love how Joel called out both Kut and Jund. I was waiting for him to say “BW Tokens is for inbreds” and the full on psamms war would have broken out. IMHO, play the hardest deck in the format or you will get 0 respect pSamms, it is simple!


The problem I have with it Doug is that multiple times over it has been “skilled cawblade player” vs “idiot durdle drooling over himself while casting Primeval Titan”. That is the offending point for me. I’ve seen just as many durdles win in spite of themselves playing cawblade as I have playing valakut. There is just no respect paid to the Valakut player. Again, obviously I’m biased here, but the people who talk about how easy or low/no-skill Valakut is to play are normal the types who never picked it up and actually played it. Same with jund.

Also, if anyone bashed BW tokens I would fight them in the streets.


I am actually pretty indifferent, slightly happy with the bannings as the format did get stale, repetitive and boring. It will be very interesting to see what happens during the next Canadian Tour.

I do not think people should be worried about splinter twin decks and or valakut taking over the format. Jace was a pretty big component in the combo deck as it was essentially your draw engine and was really one of the only ways to effectively dig for answers and your pieces. Anyways, everyone has answers to that deck so I am really not worried about it.

I predict that Valakut will become popular again but I do not think it will the deck of the format. Everyone knows how the deck works and there are plenty of answers for it.

All I can say with certainty is that it will be a very interesting next few weeks!


People act as if Stoneforge into Batterskull takes immense skill. While in the mirror match Caw-Blade is skill-intensive, the matchup against other decks is much better percentage-wise than Valakut ever was.

Turn 3 Batterskull ends the game for a lot of decks, it’s such a powerful interaction that it is already a staple in legacy. Let’s not act like it is somehow balanced and requires an expert to utilize. Caw-Blade was way more powerful
than Valakut ever was and bad players were fully capable of winning with it.