The last week saw the start of Hall of Fame season, a run up to next year’s Hall of Fame season, two Grand Prix, and a Banned List update. This is your week in Magic news.
This Week in Magic
Massive Changes Coming to Modern
The August 26th Banned and Restricted List announcement is primed to shake up Modern. In an expected move, Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis was banned. In a not unexpected move, Faithless Looting was also banned. In a somewhat unanticipated move, Stoneforge Mystic was unbanned.
The dominance of Hogaak forced Play Design to take a look at the card. The ability to consistently act as a threat, despite the massive amount of hate, meant that there was no way to contain the strategy without nuking Hogaak. Faithless Looting, on the other hand, provided the backbone to several graveyard strategies that have also had too much time at (or near) the top. As for Stoneforge Mystic, Play Design feels that now is a fine time to release that card back into the wild.
Other formats received updates as well. Rampaging Ferocidon was unbanned in Standard (but will remain banned in Arena Best-of-One play), and Vintage will see Karn, the Great Creator, Mystic Forge, Mental Misstep, and Golgari Grave-Troll restricted with Fastbond coming off the Restricted List. Ian Duke also opined that both Necropotence and Windfall are potential candidates to come off the Restricted List in the future.
These updates will go into effect today on Magic Online, on August 30th in tabletop, and on September 4th on Arena. The next Banned and Restricted List update will come on October 7th.
Hall of Fame
An article from Brian David-Marshall kicked off the 2019 Hall of Fame season. Currently the Magic Pro Tour Hall of Fame, the exclusive club recognizes sustained professional level success and contributions to the game. In 2019, the Hall has moved from using Top 8s as an indicator to Top Finishes, which includes Top 4 of World Championships (after 2012) as well as high finishes at Arena Mythic Championships. These changes will benefit players like Brad Nelson (who was already on the ballot). Newly eligible this year: Reid Duke.
On Thursday’s episode of Weekly MTG, Blake Rasmussen and Steve Sunu discussed what the Hall of Fame will look like next year. While they said the structure is currently undoing some changes, they said that the Hall is looking to recognize individuals who have made contributions to the game outside of professional play. This includes community builders and content creators. The duo, joined by Paul Cheon, went on to say that an announcement would be coming closer to the 2020 Hall of Fame season.
Companion App Open Beta
The Magic: The Gathering Companion App is now in open beta. Companion currently allows players to run events for anywhere from 2-16 players. Functionality will be added throughout the open beta phase. While other features were not detailed, the above linked article does say that changes will be made based on user feedback. The Companion app came about during the development of the Portal app, which did not meet user needs.
Two Grand Prix Las Vegas
MagicFest Las Vegas, arguably the most well-attended MagicFest in the calendar year, featured two Grand Prix: Modern Constructed and Modern Horizons Limited.
The first Grand Prix put Modern in the spotlight. In what was potentially the card’s swan song, Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis did not disappoint. Nearly 2,000 players descended to battle in Modern and 10% of them brought some variant of Hogaak. The Day Two percentage for the Arisen Necropolis? 20%. The Top 8? 62.5% Hogaak.
One Hogaak player in the Top 8 was Simon Nielsen, who piloted the deck to the finals of Grand Prix Birmingham last weekend. In Las Vegas, he did one better. In three games, he dispatched Zhivko Nedelchev in a Hogaak mirror to become Hogaak’s last champion.
Congratulations to Simon Nielsen on winning the #MTGVegas Modern Grand Prix with Hogaak!
— ChannelFireball (@ChannelFireball) August 25, 2019
Simon Nielsen’s Hogaak
While the Modern Grand Prix was wrapping up, the Modern Horizons Grand Prix was concluding Day One. Over 1,400 players were on hand to try their luck and skill at what has proven to be a deep draft format. The straight-to-Modern set has made for some memorable Limited Grand Prix winners and Las Vegas was no exception. Allen Wu – part of the winning team from Pro Tour 25th Anniversary – took home the title. This marked Wu’s second Grand Prix win this year, pairing his Las Vegas trophy with one from Cleveland.
— ChannelFireball (@ChannelFireball) August 26, 2019
The MagicFest circuit takes a week off before MagicFest Indianapolis which will feature Team Modern. What will the format look like in a world without Hogaak and Faithless Looting? What sort of Stoneforge Mystic deck will show up? We’ll know. soon enough.