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Braham Thomas won GP Pittsburgh with his Mono-Red deck, featuring—you guessed it—Goblin Chainwhirler, defeating Oliver Tiu’s UB Midrange deck in the finals.

Goblin Chainwhirler continued its dominance of the Standard format this weekend with around 40% of the field playing the card, including three of the Top 8 decks. Surprisingly, UB Midrange, packing X/1s like Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and Champion of Wits, seems to have made a comeback despite Standard being a sea of Chainwhirlers. Otherwise, Esper Control remains the best non-Red deck in the format.

Here is the Day 2 metagame breakdown, courtesy of Wizards of the Coast.

Should Goblin Chainwhirler Be Banned?

Standard has had a rough couple of years, with seven cards currently banned plus two other cards that were banned but have since rotated.

But Goblin Chainwhirler occupies a strange space in the banning conversation. For one, the Chainwhirler is a newly-released card that made one of the best existing decks even better, rather than creating a degenerate strategy on its own. Couple that with the fact that many of the key cards in the Red aggressive strategies come from the Kaladesh and Amonkhet blocks, which rotate out of Standard in October. But even before that, Core 2019 will be released on July 13th, which could shake up the format. Taken together, it seems unlikely the Chainwhirler will get banned anytime soon.

Separate from the banning discussion is whether or not Goblin Chainwhirler was an avoidable mistake. Rich Stein took on that question in today’s column. The juxtaposition of Wizards’ reasoning for banning Rampaging Ferocidon and then releasing a card like Goblin Chainwhirler is particularly biting.

Quick Hits


Thanks for reading!


Your friendly neighborhood robot,

David McCoy (@dmccoy)

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