by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Startled Awake is one of the more flavorful mill cards ever printed. But it seems that Archive Trap is simply better in most respects. The fact that you can cast it for free when an opponent searches their library. That happens quite a bit. But people have been brewing with the full four copies of Archive Trap, plus a couple copies of Startled Awake. In Standard, where you don’t have Startled Awake, it's a decent way to speed up the Sphinx's Tutelage kill by completely depleting your opponent’s deck. Albeit, it’s a bit slow. People are trying it, though. In Standard, there is no Archive Trap, so in that format, it’s the next best thing.
Persistent Nightmare is Startled Awake's flipside. It costs 3UU - 5 mana - to bring it back from the graveyard. You can also only put in on the battlefield during your turn, so you have to commit to it taking most of your turn. Then it needs another turn in order to attack. It's pretty slow. However, the recursion, regardless of how slow or is, is a feature and not a drawback of the card.
Obviously, if you’re not worried about playing Standard, Glimpse the Unthinkable is better, milling 10 cards for only 2 mana. But it's also expensive moneywise - $30 a copy! So if anything, Archive Trap won't be replaced. It would be Glimpse the Unthinkable for those that can't afford it. Alongside popular Mill cards like Mind Funeral and Mind Grind, having a couple of copies to replace Glimpse or less efficient mill cards may be worth it.
Yes, Archive Trap is better from a pure efficiency standpoint. But it wouldn't be replaced in the decks that want it anyhow. Startled awake was designed to be a limited bomb that players who love mill would gravitate too. It may actually make the entry cost of mill decks a bit lower, too.
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
The much anticipated Magic the Gathering ban list update has come. Two of the decisions were pretty much obvious choices. But there were a couple of surprises, including a Vintage restriction which will definitely affect that format.
Eye of Ugin was the right choice for the ban. As Wizards explained in their press release, banning Eldrazi Temple wouldn't have stopped the deck. So the deck is still playable, just much less explosive.
Ancestral Vision deserved to come back for a long time. We need this card in Modern, as even suspended, it's good card advantage for Blue decks. It's nowhere as broken without Bloodbraid Elf around. But I think it bringing it back helps add diversity to the format. And there are other cascade cards that could make it work. I'm excited to see what this card does for a variety of decks.
Sword of the Meek was a bit of a surprise, but Thopter Foundry is a slow combo. It's really not as busted as it is in Legacy. As Wizards said, that combo often played as an alternate win-condition to Dark Depths in Legacy. Depths is banned in Modern, so no issue there. Still, happy to see this too. More diversity is good.
What I find most interesting is that Wizards KNEW the Oath of the Gatewatch Eldrazi would be good. Just not quite THIS good! They really underestimated how good Eldrazi Mimic truly was in combination with Reality Smasher. I'm happy with these Modern updates.
The one that surprised some people was the Vintage restriction announcement. Lodestone Golem is now limited to only a single copy. Workshop decks are among the top decks in the Vintage format, named after their primary mana source, Mishra's Workshop. Lodestone Golem is a big part of those decks. Losing 3 copies will definitely change how that deck runs. It will be interesting to see how the format shifts after such a fundamental change in strategy is forced.
While Vintage is today mostly a Magic Online format, it's still relevant due to the presence of reprinted Power 9 cards that make the format accessible to a good number of players. Perhaps this restriction will open up the field to a wider number of decks, which is what Wizards is hoping. Good to see that they are concerned for the health of the format.
Do you agree with these changes? Were there other cards that deserved to be unbanned on this list update? How would you be brewing with Ancestral Vision or Sword of the Meek? Let us know in the comments!
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