This has to be one of the most anticipated Magic: The Gathering Modern banned and restricted announcements in quite a while. There hasn’t been a deck quite as dominant as Hogaak since “Eldrazi Winter.” Everyone’s sideboard is packed full of graveyard hate, and it still isn’t enough to stop it. The deck has singlehandedly warped the Modern metagame around it, and players are ready for it to end. Something’s going to go, but what card finally gets hit is the real question.
[Update: Here is the official Aug. 26 banlist! Hogaak is gone!]
Cards to ban
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis
The most obvious card to hit is Hogaak himself. The cards in the deck were suspect already at best, but they weren’t causing any significant issues in the Modern metagame. Hogaak is what makes every variant of the graveyard decks ridiculous. A free, recoverable 8/8 with trample you can mill over to cast is just ridiculous. Too often it’s cast as soon as turn two, which is way too fast for 90 percent of the format to deal with. Removing the card will effectively eliminate the deck entirely. However, as it was just printed in Modern Horizons, WOTC may be reluctant to ban the card still.
Faithless Looting is easily identifiable as one of the most degenerate enablers across the Modern format. It fixes your hand and lets you dump cards into your graveyard with ease. Many players routinely call for its banning. However, the widespread play of the card is mostly what keeps it safe from banning. It’d be nice to see it gone, but the number of decks it would hit makes me highly doubt it will go away anytime soon.
Vengevine is one of the reasons the deck can churn out such a ridiculously fast clock. Casting tiny cheap creatures or Hogaak easily allows it to come back. Free spells are never fair, and Vengevine is no exception. Banning it alone won’t solve the Hogaak menace, but I think it would be a strong step towards correcting it in conjunction with additional bans.
Speaking of free spells, Manamorphose is another candidate to see a banning in Modern. Any red or green deck can easily play the spell and lose nothing in deck-building. By running a playset, your deck is essentially 56 cards, maximizing your consistency. In Phoenix decks, it’s a free instant to cast that replaces itself. In Storm, it’s a ritual that draws a card. It may not be on the Hogaak radar, but it’s definitely a card to consider.
Some of the War of the Spark Planeswalkers such as Narset, Parter of Veils; Teferi, Time Raveler; or Karn, the Great Creator all have been suggested as bans for the game-warping effect they have. I don’t think anyone would be sad to see them go, but I don’t think they’re on the radar for banning at this point. Hogaak is too much of a priority to hit (if it will be hit).
An honorable mention to unban is Stoneforge Mystic. The innocuous 1/2 is powerful, but it’s honestly too slow for most decks in Modern. While I spent turn 3 putting a Batterskull into play my opponent already stormed off or killed me with infect, etc. It would give a welcome buff to the underrepresented white color in Modern and help to make equipment more playable. It is doubtful it’ll come back, but it’s one I’d like to see.
What Magic: The Gathering Modern cards do you want to see banned or come back? Did I miss any important ones? Let us know down in the comments below!