September 2015 Banned & Restricted Update: Major Changes to Vintage & Legacy

It is new set release time, and with it comes a new Banned & Restricted List Update announcement. The last few announcements have brought few changes, but this month’s will possibly shake up the Eternal formats a bit.

Announcement Date: September 28, 2015
Effective Date: October 2, 2015
Magic Online Effective Date: October 7, 2015


Chalice of the Void is restricted.

“Workshop decks have become more and more popular. However, too many games are effectively decided by the first player’s first turn. A major problem is that a turn-one Chalice of the Void for 0 deprives the opponent an opportunity to put Moxen on the battlefield. While players can adapt by not playing Moxen, the point of the format is to provide a place to play those cards. Chalice of the Void is restricted.”

Dig Through Time is restricted.

“Dig Through Time has reduced the diversity of the format, though in a somewhat different way than in Legacy. In Vintage, it has replaced many other card-drawers, creating a less diverse format. Dig Through Time is comparable to other restricted card-drawers, and now shares that honor. Dig Through Time is restricted.”

Thirst for Knowledge is unrestricted.

“In 2009, blue-based artifact decks were dominating the format. There were not many options of cards to restrict, and we chose Thirst for Knowledge. This led to a much healthier metagame. However, six years later, a lot of cards have been added and the metagame is very different. The former dominating strategies are barely seen at all; the reason for the restriction is no longer evident. Thirst for Knowledge is unrestricted.”


Dig Through Time is banned.

“Over the past several months, the strategic diversity of Legacy has been diminished. Blue decks using Dig Through Time and various combo decks have occupied a greater portion of the metagame, pushing a lot of other decks out of the competitive scene. The problem is that other strategies tend to lose to the blue decks too frequently; they used to be more competitive, but now they fall behind when the blue decks reload for two mana using Dig Through Time. Dig Through Time is banned.”

Black Vise is unbanned.

“Some of the recent Legacy bans have been powerful card-drawing cards. Historically, Black Vise was a powerful card against those decks—and at times it was too powerful, limiting the metagame. Legacy decks are powerful enough that R&D does not think this is a likely problem, and the change might increase the diversity of the format. Black Vise is unbanned.”

All Other Formats

No changes.

Instant Analysis

ThirstForKnowledgeA few branches of the Mishra’s Workshop tree of Vintage will certainly adapt to incorporate more copies of Null Rod, while others that rely on the activated abilities of Kuldotha Forgemaster or Arcbound Ravager will adapt in other ways, maxing out on Sphere effects and probably becoming even more aggressive. BUG Tempo, BUG Control, and other 4C Deathrite Shaman variants should proliferate now that Null Rod may become more central to the format, and with the reduction in the power of Delve-based strategies. Aggro-control decks in Vintage like Delver are hit slightly with the reduction of Dig Through Time, but they will merely slot it in alongside the previously restricted Treasure Cruise and max out on Gushes and probably add some number of Gitaxian Probe to the mix. The unrestriction of Thirst for Knowledge will be quite a change to the format, potentially pushing more Bomberman variants to the forefront, as well as potentially fueling the return of Goblin Welder to prominence in Vintage.

In Legacy we are likely to see the death of the super streamlined UR and UB Dig Through Time-based Show and Tell Omniscience combo decks as they currently exist, and if they survive it will likely be to incorporate other engines and/or Burning Wish (to fetch things like Show and Tell and/or Enter the Infinite). Delver variants will have to play a little bit more fairly now, such that they did a year or two ago before the “Delve Era,” and will likely be fine in the long run. The slightly more “fair” decks in Legacy can once again come out and play, but they’ll still have to contend with Miracles, Elves, Ad Nauseam, Turbo Depths, and Show and Tell decks at large, which should all return to prominence. Chalice of the Void will still be very well positioned moving forward. Black Vise enters the format, and will largely be yawned at. Most decks can deploy multiple cards from their hand in extremely short order, limiting the effectiveness of Black Vise. Finally, you can expect Monastery Mentor to show up in larger numbers now that it becomes one of the more “unfair” things you can do in the cantrip.dec shell.

Modern saw no changes once again, indicating that either WotC is relatively happy with the format as it is, or that they are merely saving a change or two up their sleeves for the next Pro Tour. Either way, Modern remains a fun format, but one that could do with some more unbannings to let people play with more of their cards.

The next Banned & Restricted List Announcement will come January 18, 2016, following the next new set release.