This article is not an official Wizards of the Coast Announcement.

This article includes  opinions of changes that could be made by Wizards of the Coast.  This is a “mock announcement”, illustrating potential directions Wizards of the Coast could take with the Modern format.

Emergency Changes to the Banned and Restricted Lists:


Ancestral Visions is restricted.
Ancient Den is restricted
Blazing Shoal is restricted.
Birthing Pod is restricted.
Bloodbraid Elf is restricted.
Chrome Mox is restricted.
Deathrite Shaman is restricted.
Dig Through Time is restricted.
Glimpse of Nature is restricted.
Great Furnace is restricted.
Green Sun’s Zenith is restricted.
Ponder is restricted.
Preordain is restricted.
Rite of Flame is restricted.
Seat of the Synod is restricted.
Second Sunrise is restricted.
Seething Song is restricted.
Splinter Twin is restricted.
Stoneforge Mystic is restricted.
Summer Bloom is restricted.
Treasure Cruise is restricted.
Tree of Tales is restricted.
Vault of Whispers is restricted.
Mox Opal is restricted.
Eye of Ugin is restricted.

Arid Mesa is banned.
Blood Moon is banned.
Bloodstained Mire is banned.
Flooded Strand is banned.
Marsh Flats is banned.
Misty Rainforest is banned.
Polluted Delta is banned.
Scalding Tarn is banned.
Verdant Catacombs is banned.
Windswept Heath is banned.
Wooded Foothills is banned.

Explanation of Banned and Restricted list Changes:

It is quite rare that we have a case where we call for emergency change to any format.  We have tried to keep Modern healthy through a constant flow of bannings and unbannings.  In light of community outcry and the recent outcome of Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch, we have decided to institute several changes.  These changes are all in line with our goals in order to establish Modern as a healthy, enjoyable format.

We realized now that we needed to think outside of the box with our changes to Modern.  While Modern is by no means new, it is still our youngest competitive format and as such we expected some growing pains.  These aches were not healed by our bans.  It was not the bannings themselves or the printing of newer cards that fit too strongly with old ones, see Treasure Cruise, and Thought-Knot Seer, but it was our stubbornness and inability to adapt our approach in making changes to the format.


We wanted to approach changing the format in a different manner than before.  We will now be implementing restrictions in addition to bans for our Modern format.  Restrictions been a tool only and mainstay for our Vintage format.  We want Modern to be our most diverse format, and we hope that our restrictions will unlock new cards, archetypes, and aid decks that have been weakened by the recent metagame and prior bannings.

Restricting cards, as opposed to banning, allow us to depower archetypes without destroying them or dealing collateral damage to certain decks.  Eldrazi strategies utilizing Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple were so dominant while being such a small percentage of the field at Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch that a change was necessary.  Eldrazi remained a dominant and unstoppable force, winning multiple subsequent online PTQ’s and Grand Prix, even after the format had time to adapt.  The restriction of Eye of Ugin and Mox Opal, for example, will not necessarily destroy these decks like we have done to decks in the past.  We want to maintain as many different decks as possible which can be achieved through restrictions easier than bannings.  We are not eliminating archetypes, but attempting to push people to get more creative through deck building.

We have also decided to restrict Mox Opal.  We are aiming to slow the format down, and Mox Opal is a card that has broke our turn 4 rule time and time again.  It provides starts where it is often impossible to retaliate without dedicated hate.  It also now allows decks to use a huge early mana advantage to empty their hand and cast early and effective Ensnaring Bridge.  While this may seem harsh, we are hoping that the move from banned to restricted Artifact Lands will help artifact decks prosper.

Many of the cards we had previously banned, are only overpowered when they can be abused in multiples and built around.  Otherwise we believe many of them to be safe candidates for restriction and want to create a plethora of choices for players when building their decks.  As you can see, we not only turned banned cards into restricted ones, we also restricted a few cards that were previously legal, in order to keep the format balanced.  We made sure that many of the powerful “tutorable” cards, remained outright banned.

Our Modern restricted list will include cards that are not going to outright win the game on their own.  In Vintage for example, drawing a specific restricted card can determine a game.  In modern, none of the available cards will be able to have a too overwhelming effect on the game on their own.

The restriction of several cards previously banned creates interesting and difficult deck building with the management of potential powerful silver bullets.  We also think that this change will make games of Modern more interesting, since we aim to ensure that none of the restricted cards are so powerful that they dominate the game, but more that they are interesting to see drawn and played or potentially tutored for.  These restrictions will also aid a wide variety of Blue decks that had been previously in the format.  We wanted to push the format towards being more interactive, and unbanned cards in order to do this.

We want our players to have confidence in collecting Magic: the Gathering cards, and restricting cards will cause cards to maintain value to a reasonable extent.  Creating an environment with a friendly barrier to entry was another goal that we have addressed with several of these changes as you will see.


We find a common complaint about Modern is that it is too fast and non interactive.

All Zendikar and Khans to Tarkir fetchlands are banned.  We considered a restriction, but we think that banning is much more effective.  We did not want to have to ban fetchlands since they are such a core commodity in any Modern players collection, but we are trying to right our previous lack of ambitiousness in banning endeavors.

In the past, we actively tried to slow down the format, by keeping decks down that seemed to kill too consistently before the 4th turn of the game.

Fetchlands make Modern manabases too powerful, and after testing we determined that banning Fetches will ever so slightly increase the average length of any given game in Modern.  The good mana they provide let decks run too smoothly.

The bannings of fetchlands also coincide with the restriction of the delve spells Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time.

In addition to slowing down Modern, this ban will create more interesting deck choices and in game mana sequencing.  It will increase the use of many of Moderns Utility lands

Another concern was that physically playing with the Fetchlands is bad for tournament Magic, and lands are not meant to act in this manner.  We want players to focus on the game at hand while they play, and constant unnecessary shuffling and cutting takes away from players experience.

Blood Moon is banned.  This is another problem card that exacerbates the amount of non interactive games of Modern.  Blood Moon has always created unhealthy Magic.  Players need to have the ability to build diverse decks, and be free to cast their spells, which Blood Moon prevents.  Zendikar Fetches being banned makes Blood Moon all the better, and we do not want to see that a format with Blood Moon and no fetchlands.

Starting with the summer of 2016’s Eternal Masters, every year we will alternate a summer release of Eternal or Modern Masters respectively.

“Masters” formats provides us the opportunity to provide interesting, different draft  formats for all players.  One of our many goals for fixing Modern is improving the attainability of cards.  The market for Modern or Eternal cards is not as reasonable as we expected it to be, so we wanted to increase the frequency of Masters sets in order to reduce the barrier entry for our eternal formats.  We want keep people excited about the concept of “Modern Magic”.  Modern Masters 1 and 2 exceeded our expectations, and we hope a yearly Modern or Eternal Masters Release can become a mainstay of Magic: the Gathering.

The Modern Pro Tour will now consist of only 4 Rounds of Modern, and will now include 4 separate  Booster Drafts as well as a Top 8 draft.  Essentially we are shifting the Modern PT into a limited one, without eliminating Modern.

We will experiment with the idea of incorporating Modern Masters drafts or possibly even Eternal Masters drafts into these pro tours-likely either a 2/2 or 3/1 split with the current new set if any at all.

Many professional players have been calling for the elimination of the Modern Pro Tour, but, it was just the year before that players wanted Modern to be a format on the Pro Tour.  We feel as though with the new changes to Modern, we feel comfortable to keep Modern as a Pro Tour format, only to a lesser degree.

This change allows us to continue showcase Modern and potentially a Modern Masters limited format, being played by the games greatest.  Wizards of the Coasts wants people to play Modern Masters, which should cause people to play more Modern.

Modern Masters sets will now include reprints of cards before Eighth Edition.  This will allow cards to become legal in Modern without having  to be Standard legal at any point.  Research and Development is still working on the extent at which we will utilize this change.  This change, will keep the Modern Format a bit fresher.  This could allow us to potentially infuse or bolster new archetypes or new hate cards into modern if necessary.

People have shown much concern for limited recently, so this change will coincide with the following one in order to resurrect limited.

We are producing a new limited format.  Expect to see it within the next few years, and will likely be introduced to our new Limited Pro Tour as well as Grand Prix.

There has been much discussion lately over our lack of coverage at limited events.  Much of this has come down to the marketability of MTG and the fact that constructed is better for coverage.  We realize that this is a problem, and we don’t want limited to fall to the wayside.

Our solution, is to create a new limited format with a Top-down approach with coverage in mind.  Magic was designed without any potential coverage in mind.  In this day and age, we believe that we can produce a Limited format that is more coverage friendly.  This may be in the works for some time, but understand in the meantime we do mean to use this to resurrect limited, and are working very hard to make this happen.

People loved rochester draft and the control it gave, but it was just too cumbersome.

People have received our resurrection of team sealed well, but is not practical for our Pro Tours and PPTQ/RPTQ system.

We don’t know what it will look like yet, but know we do need a new limited format.

Wizards of the Coast is proud to announce a new Tournament Series, to go alongside Grand Prix, called the Modern Challenge Series, or MCS.

Wizards of the Coasts has always considered providing  large tournaments that were a potential alternative to our Grand Prix Circuit.  We have let other independents run tournaments, which we will continue to push, but we are taking a more active approach at bringing events to the public.  These events will not give Pro Points, and will be run in a similar fashion to our Super Sunday Series Championship.  We feel with our decreased Grand Prix schedule we can safely introduce a smaller tournament series to promote Modern.

We envision these tournaments being in the range of 300-1000 people, and are planning on scheduling around 30 next year.  These tournaments will be either Modern, or the current Modern Masters sealed.

We expect tournament organizers to provide their own prize support like in the Super Sunday Series, but Wizards of the Coast will provide a few rewards for participants:

-Qualification and plane ticket for each all finalists to Wizards of the Coast to compete in the Modern Challenge Series Showdown, in the summer the week after the new Modern Masters set is released. The tournament is similar to our Super Sunday Series in prize structure and tour of Wizards of the Coast.

-Including the finalists, the entire top 8 of the MCS will qualify for the next Regional Pro Tour Qualifier.

-Every entrant will not only receive an exclusive MCS Promo and Playmat.

-We want to provide further incentives and supper for people in playing Magic: the Gathering Online.  Expect to see more of these types of changes in the future.  Each participant will receive a voucher redeemable on Magic: the Gathering Online for 30 “Modern Tickets”, a new currency we are introducing, only acquired by playing in our Modern Challenge Series.  These tickets will be redeemable to enter only Magic Online Modern and Modern Masters Limited Tournaments, to be used as a replacement of event tickets.

These Modern Tickets will coincide with our introduction of the current Modern Masters set more frequently as a format on Magic Online.  We will be creating a new types of leagues, Modern Masters Sealed, to compliment these promotional tickets.  These events will be structured similarly to our current leagues, and play points, tickets, or modern tickets may be used for entry.  These leagues will have limited availability, but we aim to have Modern Masters drafts available online more frequently then we have previously.

This concludes the announcement.

Thanks for reading, remember that this is a faux announcement, and is not meant to reflect negatively on Wizards.  Rather, put forth the potential for out-of-the-box ideas.  They probably shouldn’t use these specifically, but I think they could benefit from the concept that they maybe can get a bit more unique with their approach.

Thanks for reading,

Steve Rubin