On Monday, January 15th, Magic: The Gathering will make their scheduled Banned and Restricted List announcement. In a typical Standard season, this would be an uneventful announcement, as Standard bans are very rare. But recently, with public outcry, we have seen a much higher number of bans, ranging from Emrakul to Smuggler's Copter, Aetherworks Marvel, and more. This Monday, Temur Energy decks are in the crosshairs of Standard Players. Many players are tired of playing in a Standard dominated by the efficiency of Energy based decks. The most common complaint is that there is little interaction vs Energy. An Energy deck can amass a huge amount of energy which can't be depleted or punished by an opponent. WOTC R&D later admitted that Energy ended up being too strong, but the reason they didn't print any cards that punished or interacted with it was that they were afraid Energy wasn't a strong enough mechanic, and they wanted to give it the best chance of seeing play. Well, no worries there! If you want to read more about why people want Energy banned, read here.
With that being said, in no particular order, here are the cards we think are most likely Wizards of the Coast would ban from Standard in order to balance the meta and Energy decks:
The main problem with Aether Hub, is that it allows energy decks to play 3 and 4 colors too consistently. Tendo Ice Bridge was good enough to see play, but Aether Hub is just miles better. When you are able to easily build your energy reserves, this card adds any color mana with no penalty. Additionally, if you need more energy and have the other lands, this gives you an energy for free. Without Aether Hub, 4 color energy decks can't exist.Advertisement
Attune with Aether
Attune with Aether is the most likely card to get banned (if any do). Temur Energy is a midrange deck that runs 3 colors and 22 lands. 22 LANDS! How is that possible? It's entirely because of Attune with Aether. The difference between 22 and 26 lands is a huge benefit to the consistency of Temur. That means you're not going to get flooded late game. You might draw some Attunes late, but the 2 energy is very useful.
Additionally, Attune makes turn 2 Longtusk Cubs extremely unfair. We all know how quickly a Longtusk Cub can snowball out of control. If you don't have an immediate answer, a Cub can often mean game over. With a turn 1 Attune, you guarantee your turn 2 Cub can reach a toughness of 3. That means it is no longer in Shock range. It also means it is a lot harder to block since most 2 drop defenders will not have a toughness greater than 2.
Rogue Refiner is probably the second most likely card to get banned after Attune with Aether. It is an amazing value card. You get a 3/2 body, a free card draw, and free 2 energy, all for 3 mana! There's a reason this card saw 4 copies in both Copy-Cat and Aetherworks Marvel decks.
Rogue Refiner is one of the most important consistency cards in Energy decks. Yes, Attune cheats on land count, but Rogue Refiner is the perfect 3 drop. Refiner gives you a win condition with 3 power, and a way to chump and kill 3 power creatures. Even if it dies, you got value from drawing a card. And the 2 energy can be used for pumping Longtusk Cub, using Aether Hub, killing a big threat with Harness Lightning, etc... This card is probably just a little bit too good. Remember Whistful Selkie? Talk about power creep.
Rogue Refiner is amazing as a 3 drop, but Whirler Virtuoso isn't too shabby either. Although Virtuoso doesn't have the raw power of Rogue Refiner, this card wins games against aggro. Decks like Ramunap have a lot of potential to simply outspeed Energy decks defenses and push through lethal damage. Virtuoso goes a long way in providing a defense against aggro. Those 1/1 tokens make amazing chump blockers, allowing you to push in damage on your own turn while keeping defenses up. Virtuoso is also great on offense late game, allowing you to dump all that built up energy into a game-winning attack over a few turns. Wizards of the Coast could ban Virtuoso simply to make the deck less consistent vs aggro.
Nothing has as much raw power potential in Energy decks as Longtusk Cub. There are few cards in Standard over the years at 3 mana or less, that when unchecked for a few turns can outright win a game in itself. Cub reminds me a lot of cards like Goblin Rabblemaster. Even if it is easy to kill, when you don't have that removal in hand, you are in for a world of hurt. When you play Energy, you always want a Longtusk Cub in your opening hand, every time. One of the reasons players conserve their energy totals so much is the sheer power of Longtusk Cub. You don't want to make a 10/10 Cub just to see it die to a Fatal Push. For this reason, some Energy games go on turn after turn, in a war of attrition, until the opponent is clearly out of removal. At this time, you start dumping Energy into the Cub and win. The part that is unfair, is that an opponent can pump a Cub at any time. Hey, you have a 5/5 attacker, and your opponent has a 2/2 Cub and 12 energy. You basically can't attack unless you have removal, because he is just going to pump the cub and kill your attacker. Often times the energy never gets used. It is just the possibility of it getting used that stops attacks or blocks. Then a few turns down the road, an opponent drops a Bristling Hydra. So now you can't attack through a Cub, but you also can't kill the Hydra, because of the sheer amount of Energy the opponent has. While this makes for some interesting and complex games, especially in the mirror match, it is also pretty unfair since you are unable to interact with Energy. Essentially, you are forced to make bad decisions simply to force your opponent to willingly deplete their energy totals.So do you think Energy cards should get banned? Which cards would you like to see banned? Leave us a comment below!