The EDH ban list confuses me. There are some cards on it that make complete sense, and plenty of others that at least make borderline sense. But it’s some of the omissions that give me pause. Today, I’m going to talk about one of those cards, Prophet of Kruphix. We’ve had our fun, but that card needs to get Grisel-banned sooner, rather than later. It has the power level to support such a decision, and it really should only be a question of when it comes.


Dangerous things come in 2/3 packages.

So let’s go to the banned list, to see if this card does something ban-worthy. Let’s eliminate from consideration all the cards designed before Magic actually had much of a design team (I’m looking at you, Power 9, Balance, Channel, Karakas, Library of Alexandria, Time Vault, Fastbond), because I don’t think there’s much disagreement on those bannings; no one wants EDH to end up just a more expensive Vintage format, after all. Similarly, I get the bans of those cards whose restrictive victory conditions get a lot less restrictive in a 37-land format (Biorhythm, Coalition Victory, Worldfire). But then there are the other ones. Creatures that are just too powerful (Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, Griselbrand, Painter’s Servant), the cards that give you just too much mana advantage (Metalworker, Primeval Titan, Sylvan Primordial, Tolarian Academy), and the cards that combo out if you sneeze (Panoptic Mirror, Protean Hulk, Gifts Ungiven). There are other cards, sure but the most recent bannings have all been of creatures that were either too powerful or gave you access to too much mana. Prophet of Kruphix does all this and goes nigh-infinite fairly quickly.


Seedborn Muse or Awakening have combo’d well for years with anything that grants flash. If you’re in Simic, you have to go to Alchemist’s Refuge, Leyline of Anticipation, or Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir if you wanted to complete the combo, but it wasn’t all that hard to do it in any green deck if you had access to things like Winding Canyons or Shimmer Myr (with Mycosynth Lattice, if need be). Basically, it’s a degenerate two-card combo that literally lets you take all the turns. The only reason why the Prophet of Kruphix is more acceptable than a Panoptic Mirror lock is the illusion that your opponents taking turns at the same time makes what you’re doing any less degenerate. In a well-built deck, that’s going to be just an illusion.


Basically, Prophet of Kruphix is two pieces of a two-card combo in one card. While that’s not really fast enough for Modern decks, and Standard doesn’t seem a powered enough format to take advantage of it, in Commander that’s basically all you need to win a game. I’ve played entire games of EDH that centered on who had the Prophet of Kruphix at any given time. I cast it, it got killed, Geth, Lord of the Vault reanimated it, it got killed again. And then it was just a fight between the rest of the table and Geth, who takes shockingly good advantage of being able to untap its mana during every player’s turn. Geth won that game. I won a later game when Prophet of Kruphix let me respond to a lethal situation with a flashed-out Maelstrom Wanderer into business. And that’s not even to mention how gross the card gets when you put it into a dedicated untapping deck like Derevi, Empyrial Tactician.


In the Commander format, it’s more powerful than Sylvan Primordial or Primeval Titan, and I don’t dispute the correct nature of those bans. It was oppressive playing against those cards, because if you were in green there was really no reason to not slot them in. While admittedly fewer decks can support a Simic card, every UG deck is going to be playing Prophet of Kruphix going forward. It’s exactly the type of card that takes off in this format, and it really deserves a quick ban just like we saw the powers that be do to Griselbrand and Sylvan Primordial. Each had been in the format for less than a year before getting banned, because each was a stand-out card in their set. Prophet of Kruphix is the Theros equivalent, and Sheldon Mennery and the rest of the Commander crowd should seriously consider banning this dude as well.


Remember this dude? Still a problem!

And while we’re on the subject of Commander bans, I still think it’s a mistake to keep Deadeye Navigator in the format. While it’s not as high-profile a card as Prophet of Kruphix or any of the mono-green bans, the card is degenerate in most situations. Here’s a list of cards I have locked opponents out with or otherwise ended a game when Deadeye Navigator was in play: Palichron, Venser, Shaper Savant, Mystic Snake, Hornet Queen, Phyrexian Ingester, Duplicant, Acidic Slime, Brutalizer Exarch, Draining Whelk, Woodfall Primus, and of course, Sylvan Primordial. Notice the over-arching theme to those cards? They’re all cards that have significant utility on their own. It’s a two-card combo with a ton of cards you’re already playing, and that makes it way too powerful for its own good.


Oh, and don’t forget that you can play both of those cards in the same deck. Because the only thing more brutal than a two mana counterspell/stone rain is the ability to untap each player’s turn and do it again. It’s not fun to lose to such a lock, and that’s why I have a firm “kill on sight” rule when it comes to either of these two cards. And that’s why I think they should be banned. They both meet all the criteria named when they banned Sylvie and Prime-Time, and they both lead to situations where the masturbating player is having way more fun than anyone else at the table.


So take a stand against public masturbation: ban Deadeye Navigator and Prophet of Kruphix. The format will be a better place for that decision.


Jess Stirba has nothing against onanism at home or with willing partners.

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