As of 07/03/2011 Empty the Warrens is banned in peasant tournaments in Groningen. At the same time, Counterbalance, Darksteel Citadel, and Demonic Tutor will be unbanned. Invigorate will be added to the watchlist.
So, the Banned List Update is back with a vengeance. Last year we had a quick update when we added Empty the Warrens to the watchlist. The deck has been dominating the last two tournaments as well, even though the January tournament was ultimately won by another deck, it has pocketed another win in February despite proper sideboarding and maindeck hate, this time in the hands of another player. We promised to take more drastic measures last year in case of this exact scenario, and we like to keep our promises. It's as simple as that really.
Invigorate is added to the watchlist. We heard poison was wrecking the metagame in Germany, so we took a good look at poison. We believe that, since the deck is creature based, a proper control deck like MBC should be able to handle it. We did notice however that Invigorate is basically a free Giant Growth on steroids. The card borders on unfair, and we think it's even better than Berserk in poison decks. Until we learn more though, we can't really tell if it is too unfair, and that's why we've decided to add it to the watchlist.
Once again, we took a good look at the current metagame and the banned list to see if other adjustments were possible. It's no fun after all if it just keeps getting larger. The result is the unbanning of the three cards mentioned above.
Counterbalance has been banned for over a year now, and in that time, no really succesful blue-based control deck has managed to evolve. Since such a deck is healthy for the metagame, to keep the combo decks in check, we decided to give it another chance to shine. We fully expect the card to show up in succesful decks again, causing a good deal of groans and annoyed faces, but we also belief that the archetype it is played in should play a role in peasant again.
Darksteel Citadel has always been banned and unbanned together with the other artifact lands. We believe it doesn't help affinity much on its own, but it might help out metalcraft. The new mechanic offers a few saucy commons that can beat real hard real fast but just don't have the support right now. We hope Darksteel Citadel can provide that support without favoring one of the colors, and without enabling the affinity deck of yore.
Last but not least, Demonic Tutor will be allowed in decks again. It was banned primarily for its role in Grapeshot Storm, but since the printing of Goblin Bushwhacker, Empty the Warrens has become the faster and more consistent deck of the two. In addition, new lifegain spells (Lone Missionary, Rest for the Weary) have been printed that can really put a dent into Grapeshot's effectiveness. All in all, Demonic Tutor might enable less obnoxious, slightly slower combo decks to replace the void left by the banning of Empty the Warrens.
As always, feel free to comment, and happy deckbuilding. We hope you'll enjoy the new metagame!
To see the full list of banned cards, click here.