No Banned List Modern is the South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut of Magic. Playing No Banned List Modern today feels like sneaking Sharon Stone’s Basic Instinct on Sunday-afternoon cable when you were five. Or watching the opening fight of UFC #1, where a shirtless Vladimir Putin in karate-pants kicks the Hawaiian singer of Somewhere Over the Rainbow so hard his tooth flies out. Rock on, 1993. It’s fun to reminisce about those no-holds-barred glory days, but I’m older and wiser today than when my friends and I got busted for playing MS-DOS Doom in the basement when we told his parents we were playing Sim City. It’s 2016 and now I know the importance of regulation. There are some things you just can’t do: play Skullclamp and Hypergenesis in Modern, play Oddjob in GoldenEye, eat ten lemon Warheads, and give the Batsuit nipples. If we want Modern to thrive, we’re gonna need structure. We’re gonna need management. We’re gonna need a bigger banlist.
If you agree this is not ‘Nam, this is
bowling Modern, if you agree there are rules, and if you’ve ever wanted anything banned in Modern, then MAX BANLIST MODERN is the format you’ve been waiting for!
Can’t beat ’em? Ban ’em. All of them.
What is Max Banlist Modern?
Max Banlist Modern is a community-driven, unsanctioned (so far…) format where anyone can add anything to the official banlist just by submitting an Official Max Banlist Modern Submission Form. That’s right: anyone can select a card for bannning and any card can be banned. Not just R&D members. Not just a card in a 20%+ metagame deck. Anyone and anything, all for the sake of the format’s competitive diversity.
Here’s how the format works:
- Step 1: Open the Official Max Banlist Modern Submission Form.
- Step 2: Enter the offending card in the box (you can’t ban Basic Lands) and click “Submit.”
- Step 3: CONGRATULATIONS! The card has been banned.
- Step 4 (Optional): Fill out another Max Banlist Submission Form and return to Step 2!
- Step 5: Head over to the Max Banlist Modern: Official Banlist to see your hated card rot in ban purgatory. Die, fetchlands, die!
- Step 6: Play some Max Banlist Modern! Check deck legality regularly.
Once banned in Max Banlist Modern, a card can never become unbanned again. No second chances, take-backs, or do-overs. This isn’t after-school 2nd grade Chess Club. This is bet-fifty-bucks-per-game chess on a park bench. Better be sure you really want that Storm Crow banned because once it’s on, it’s never coming off. Think of it like Donald Trump’s grudge-list, except you’re Donald Trump and all of 8th and 9th Editions are Fox News. Speaking of “grudge,” how am I supposed to Goblin Charbelcher anyone with Ancient Grudge around? In the interest of competitive diversity, Ancient Grudge is banned.
…speaking of Charbelcher, how is that still legal? Banned too!
I’m sure some jokester has already added Island to the banlist before getting to this sentence, but remember: Max Banlist Modern has rules. Specifically, four rules.
- Rule #2: Nothing can ever be unbanned. That’s just not fair to those who wanted it banned in the first place.
- Rule #3: In casual settings, the official banlist goes into effect at the beginning of every match. No, not every “game.” Can’t you ban maniacs calm down even once? You can’t decide a card is totally, irredeemably broken once and for all after just a single game! That level of confidence takes at least 2-3.
- Rule #4: In tournament settings, the official banlist goes into effect at the beginning of the tournament but not every game. People actually need to play the format. If we wanted people tearing up their decks because everything got banned, we’d just play regular Modern.
I’m all about community organizing and community-driven, grassroots Modern, so I’m open to changing the rules. Just don’t waste your time arguing for or against a ban. Want something banned? Ban it. Want something unbanned? Tough. There’s always regular Modern for… well, unless your name is Golgari Grave-Troll, maybe not. And Golgari Grave-Troll is basically Ancestral Vision because Wizards more or less told me so, so consider the dredger gone for good. How else is Golgari Brownscale going to see play? In the interest of competitive diversity, Golgari Grave-Troll is REbanned.
Why Max Banlist Modern?
I know, I know. There are some horrified optimists out there who think Modern needs fewer bans, not hundreds more. That includes the thrill-seeking No Banned List crowd, the guy hiding his foiled Jund deck in his backpack while arguing for Bloodbraid Elf‘s unbanning, and the #TeamMaritLage conspiracy theorist with a 90% market share of foil Vampire Hexmages. It even used to be me!
Well, dear Nexus readers, I’ve participated in one too many Twitch chats since my idealistic days and I’m changing my tune. A man can only endure so many iterations of the MTG Salvation Banlist Discussion Thread before wondering if Leyline of Sanctity and Slippery Bogle really do need to be banned. Like I said earlier: games need rules. Magic is about casting spells, so why can my opponent play an untargetable creature? Why can they become untargetable themselves? Why are they winning when I’m not?? Talk about unfair design. Banned and banned.
Max Banlist Modern restores balance to the format and, more importantly, power to the people. If I wanted arbitrary and opaque decisions, I’d join the MPAA’s rating board. Frozen is PG? For “emotional thematic elements”? Toy Story 3 was rated G and I know mothers who are still recovering from that last scene. Max Banlist Modern sets the expectation bar at the Marina Trench bottom, puts the ban power in the players’ hands, and never looks back. Case in point: Frozen reminds me of ice. Ice reminds me of . Someone once suggested needs to be preemptively banned (THAT WAS A REAL SUGGESTION!) before Shadows releases, and we wouldn’t want to take the risk. In the interest of competitive diversity, is emergency banned.
Max Banlist Modern FAQs
New formats spark a lot of questions, and I’m here to preemptively answer some of the most common. I’m happy to address more in the comments, unless it’s about whether we can undo that Ancient Grudge ban (no: see Rule #2) or whether Dread Return can stay now that Troll is gone (no: I just banned it).
- “This format seems incredibly unfun. Doesn’t everything just get banned?”
Don’t be selfish. What’s more important in the long-term? Appeasing all the ban maniacs to ensure the widespread cessation of banlist talk? Or playing the same broken deck every week?
- “Max Banlist Modern feels very expensive if cards get banned every day.”
First of all, cards are banned by the second, not by the day. Second of all, if a card is too expensive for you to buy, just ban it. Then no one can play it: problem solved.
- “Why is most of the current Modern banlist still legal in Max Banlist Modern?”
Whoa there. This is a “power to the people” format. I don’t want Wizards or I influencing the list before you all get your hands on it! Except that Ancient Grudge and those hexproof cards from earlier. Keeping those around was just too risky.
- “Is Eldrazi Temple getting banned on Monday? Or Eye of Ugin?”
In Max Banlist Modern, both got banned before you finished typing that sentence. In that other, more volatile Modern, it’s probably going to be Eye of Ugin alone. I’ve banned it twice in Max Banlist Modern just for good luck.
- “What happens when we’ve banned everything and we’re just playing basics?”
Well, you’re definitely not playing Countryside Crusher too, because that creature can outclass even a Tarmogoyf and how is that fair? In the interest of competitive diversity, Countryside Crusher is banned. Tarmogoyf too, and I’m scared it took us this long to do it. As for Max Banlist Modern, once everything gets banned (over 9,650 more cards to go!) we can just go back to ban maniaing with boring Normal Banlist Modern. Or Standard. Minus Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, post-Shadows Standard shouldn’t be much different power-wise from Max Banlist Modern.
I’m excited to see where Max Banlist Modern develops after today. I can already envision Grand Prix and Pro Tour streaming in its future: it’s not as if the coverage team would have to change their rhetoric and banter much to fit the new Max Banlist format. Come find me in the comments with any rules changes you want to propose, particularly odious cards you’ve banned, or decks that you think will be absolutely, 100% ban-proof. I’ve got my money on Goblins. Is banning Exiled Boggart really going to advance the interest of competitive diversity? It’s Max Banlist Modern, so I’ll let you decide. Now, Wandering Goblins on the other hand…
Sheridan is the former Editor in Chief of Modern Nexus and a current Staff Author. He comes from a background in social science data analysis, database administration, and academia. He has been playing Magic since 1998 and Modern since 2011.