Yesterday we saw one of the most eagerly anticipated and entirely expected bannings in recent memory.

Eye of Ugin

Eye of Ugin is banned in Modern. The Eldrazi menace lives, but is greatly diminished. The dreaded turn two Thought-Knot Seer will happen, but far less often, and Eldrazi will have to choose to go aggro or control, rather than both. Tron remains a contender, but loses a powerful backup plan.

I can’t say that I’m not delighted by this ban. Eldrazi was so dominant and so unfun to play against that I haven’t played paper Modern (notably canceling my plans for GP Detroit) while it’s been legal. The format will have time to adjust to its removal, and blue decks will have a chance to reconfigure after the loss of Splinter Twin. And speaking of blue decks…

Ancestral Vision

Ancestral Vision is legal in Modern for the first time. It’s an absurdly powerful Magic card, but also a very slow one (there’s no Bloodbraid Elf or Shardless Agent to cascade into it, and every other cascader is significantly less powerful—you’d be contorting your deck to shave one mana off of Concentrate). Most Modern decks have had to abide by the Turn Four rule, where you need to try to win the game or lock the game up by turn four. Ancestral Vision flaunts this rule.

That said, I can see Ancestral Vision having a huge impact on deckbuilding, just as Treasure Cruise did. With it in your deck, you can trade one-for-one with your opponent and even throw away cards just to stay alive—then recover all of your lost cards. I’d look to slot it into something like Jeskai control in place of Sphinx’s Revelation—why wait for 5+ mana and have to tap out on your opponent’s turn when you can just sit and wait behind a wall of countermagic and removal? I’ll probably be looking to sleeve up something like this:

Jeskai Control

Land (26)
Celestial Colonnade
Flooded Strand
Scalding Tarn
Wandering Fumarole
Steam Vents
 Hallowed Fountain
Sacred Foundry
Sulfur Falls
Desolate Lighthouse

Creatures (6)
Snapcaster Mage
Jace, Vryn’s Prodify

Spells (28)
Ancestral Vision
Path to Exile
Lightning Bolt
Spell Snare
Lightning Helix
Mana Leak
Cryptic Command
Sideboard (15)
Wear // Tear
Crumble to Dust
Stony Silence
Engineered Explosives
Supreme Verdict
 Anger of the Gods
Timely Reinforcements
Rest In Peace

Sword of the Meek

Sword of the Meek is another card which has never been Modern legal. It also supports control strategies and may give new life to Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas-based decks. It can play a similar role to Splinter Twin, though it’s grindier (it doesn’t win immediately) and a lot harder to disrupt (since it ignores creature kill-spells).

It’s frankly an even more exciting card than Ancestral Vision, because it may enable top-tier archetypes that have never really shined in Modern. Or it may fail to do that, like Bitterblossom did. As someone who’s been eager to jam Tezzeret in Modern (and can’t find his copies of Thopter Foundry if my life depended on it), I’m very excited to see what happens (and the decks folks brew for it).

Lodestone Golem

The restriction of Lodestone Golem in Vintage doesn’t affect me, except for when I watch Vintage Super League. My understanding is that Mishra’s Workshop-based decks were considered to be better than almost anything else in VSL. This banning weakens the deck without destroying it.

I wonder whether Shops was considered to be degenerate and format-warping by the Vintage communities of the world. If it wasn’t, it suggests that VSL has an outsize influence (which granted, wouldn’t be shocking, since it’s the most viewed and consistent source of Vintage Magic and is played by many of the best players in the world). Food for thought.

March of the Returned

That’s all for this week. Modern is brand new all over again and a source of excitement. And also, we have a completely new Limited format! I can’t wait to do my best to master both new worlds. Here’s looking forward to the journey.

—Zachary Barash

Zachary Barash has been playing Magic on and off since 1994. He loves Limited and drafts every available format (including several that aren’t entirely meant to be drafted). He’s a proud Cube owner, improviser, and game designer (currently going for an MFA in Game Design at NYU). He has an obsession with Indian food that borders on being unhealthy.

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