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Standard had been a wreck, and while banning cards in Standard is extremely rare, it seemed fitting in this scenario. Emrakul, the Promised End was ending almost every game in the format, and massively invalidating most of what happened in games.
However, the banning itself was not the only interesting turn of events. They also announced this:
“Banned and Restricted announcements will now be made both on the Monday after Standard-legal set Prereleases and five weeks after a Pro Tour, also on a Monday.”
This updated and more frequent look at the Banned and Restricted list, coupled with how Wizards has handled Modern over the last few years, led to the feeling that Wizards was going to be more liberal with banning cards in Standard. Results pour in faster than ever these days, with Magic Online, Grand Prix, and the SCG Tour® constantly running events.
As such, with Standard currently mired in one of the most limiting two-deck formats in years and an admitted mistake in Felidar Guardian, a banning on Monday seemed logical. Players attempted to be proactive and sell their copies of Saheeli Rai and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar before the banning, as it felt like something had to change.
Announcement Date: March 13, 2017
No changes to any format.
I know people aren't happy about there not being any bannings this go-round, but I am fine with it. There aren't that many relevant Standard events before Amonkhet, and I'd hope the new set will shake things up. Also, having two separate bannings in the same Standard format is almost unprecedented. Not only does it look very bad for Wizards of the Coast and for the game as a whole, but it sets a dangerous precedent that Wizards is going to use bannings to regulate their formats rather than good design, and that a player's investment in top cards is not safe.
Either way, Gideon and Saheeli Rai are here to stay, which means we're playing either Mardu or Four-Color Saheeli until Amonkhet, right?
Not so fast!
It may be difficult to believe, but there are actually other decks putting up results besides the big two. You just need to dig a little deeper to find them.