After seeing a “Holy shit Visions!” text from my friend Joe on Monday afternoon, I hopped online to find this:

b and r

Well, it’s about time.

Eye of Ugin

The most important aspect of this announcement is, of course, the Eye of Ugin ban. MTGTop8 has “Eldrazi Aggro” with its various color combinations as representing 32% of the Modern metagame over the past two months. This was clearly unacceptable if Wizards wishes Modern to be a diverse format with many viable decks. When a third of your format is Eldrazi and the rest of the format is warped around beating it—UW Control, Affinity, Living End—you have a problem on your hands.

While I have to see how it shakes out, I agree that banning just Eye of Ugin is the most elegant solution to power down the Eldrazi decks, even if there is some collateral damage to Tron. Without Eye, the deck can’t power out multiple turn one Mimics/Endless Ones or search up Ulamogs after hitting seven mana. Furthermore, with only four “sol” lands in Eldrazi Temple, the deck can’t consistently power out undercosted threats at the same rate. Turn two Thought-Knot Seer is still a thing, and a thing I will complain about when it happens to me, but not something we will see nearly as often. For what it’s worth, I think Eldrazi can exist in some capacity in Modern. It still has busted draws and powerful synergies, though it will no longer be the best deck in the format.

Sword of the Meek

Let’s move on to the fun stuff, the unbannings. Awhile ago I wrote an article about why Sword of the Meek should be unbanned. Here is an excerpt from that article:

Does it need to be banned?

In short, no, I don’t think so. SotM is part of a mana intensive two card combo that does not win the game outright. While the combo would be at its best against aggro-creature based strategies, these decks already have applicable sideboard hate for the combo… Against midrange-control decks in the format, most lists have several maindeck answers to the pieces of the combo. Maindeck Jund has Scavenging Ooze, Kolaghan’s Command, and Abrupt Decay. All of these cards disrupt SotM and weren’t available in 2010 in Extended to fight against ThopterSword. Aside from these answers, Thoughtseize/Inquisition can discard Thopter Foundry and countermagic such as Spell Snare, Spell Pierce, and Mana Leak can stop Thopter Foundry on the way down.

This is not to say that ThopterSword won’t affect the format. It’s excellent against Affinity, a great stabilizing tool against aggressive decks, and a win condition in and of itself if a control deck is in the market for that. If it becomes oppressive it’s easily hated by cards that people are playing anyway. I’m perhaps most excited to see ThopterSword assist in reviving Esper Control/Tezzerator decks from the abyss of Modern ignominy.

I think ThopterSword might be sweet in an Esper Mentor shell, something like Ichikawa’s deck from February of last year. Maybe something like this:

Thopter Mentor

Lands (22)
Godless Shrine
Hallowed Fountain
Marsh Flats
Watery Grave
Creeping Tar Pit
Flooded Strand
Polluted Delta
Shambling Vent
Vault of the Archangel

Creatures (8)
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Monastery Mentor
Snapcaster Mage

Spells (30)
Murderous Cut
Path to Exile
Thought Scour
Thopter Foundry
Sword of the Meek
Inquisition of Kozilek
Lingering Souls
Serum Visions

While decks like this don’t tend to have a lot of spare mana, I like the idea that Thopter Sword can win the game if your opponent is able to kill your Monastery Mentor. I’m also kind of enamored by the idea of Thought Scouring yourself to put Sword and Lingering Souls in the graveyard and immediately getting all the value.

Ancestral Vision

Ancestral Vision is the card that I’m most unsure about. Drawing three cards for one mana is obviously busted but without a great way to cheat the delay (no Shardless Agent in Modern) the cards gets a lot worse. Four turns is a long time in Modern, especially given that Infect/Burn/Zoo/Affinity will often kill you on turn four. This isn’t even mentioning the feel-bads elicited by drawing it later in the game. Or that your opponent could Remand it into oblivion or process it with a Wasteland Strangler.

While Ancestral Vision is lackluster against more aggressive builds, the card really helps blue decks outgrind other GBx midrange decks. While I don’t believe this tolls the death knell for Jund or Abzan, it’s certainly going to be a consideration moving forward if Ancestral Vision does see play.

I think Ancestral Vision may be at its best in a deck like Faeries, a deck that has existed on the outer second tier for a while now. The deck needs to keep a low curve but tends to play the longer disruptive game, giving it time to draw from the suspended cards while you’re holding down the fort with Bitterblossom tokens.

All in all, I think that unbanning Ancestral Vision and Sword of the Meek is good for the health and diversity of the format. Both cards look to enable new strategies/revive older ones while not being so powerful they warp the format. Of course, I’m especially happy to see Eye of Ugin banned because it means that I can start enjoying Modern again.

It’s about time.

I should be back to streaming this week on Wednesday night at 7:30 on My plan is to begrudgingly play Legendary Cube though I could easily be convinced to play RGD, if people want to see it, as it’s an excellent draft format.


In terms of Magic, Shawn Massak is a Modern enthusiast, with a penchant for tier two decks, counterspells, and pre Eighth Edition frames. In terms of life, Shawn lives in Brighton, MA where he works as an employment coordinator for people with disabilities, plays guitar in an indie-pop band, and spends his free time reading comics, complaining about pro-wrestling, and wishing his apartment allowed dogs as pets.

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