I like to think of today’s Ban announcement as the conclusion of a 2-part story – we got to see Uro banned last time, but nobody really thought that was going to be enough. In a shocking twist, it was not, and Omnath Adventures completely dominated Standard. Today we got to see the inevitable end to Omnath, as the following cards just got banned in Standard:
The full article from Wizards is here.
These are good bans. I really didn’t like the last announcement, but this will actually give Standard a shot of being fun and diverse. I like that they went the extra mile and took out Escape to the Wilds as well, just to make sure that ramp decks weren’t dominant.
This had to go. A 0-mana 4/4 that gains four a turn and even nugs the opponent and their planeswalkers (not that anyone has many of those with Omnath around) is so far beyond the pale that there’s no way it could exist in Standard.
Adventures decks would easily have taken over if just Omnath had been banned, so I’m glad to see this one go as well. This just accumulates too much value and gives you too many free spells, and the only reason it wasn’t an issue before was that there were too many other broken cards running around.
Escape to the Wilds
I like hedging here, and really cutting off the possibility of a dominant Lotus Cobra/Escape/Ultimatum ramp deck. I don’t know that this one was strictly necessary, but I would much rather be more aggressive rather than less (see the last ban for that), and the cost of banning Escape once you’re already banning two other cards is low enough that it’s well worth it.
Should Anything Else Go?
I expected just Omnath and Clover to go, so this is a nice surprise. I don’t think more action is immediately needed, though ask me again in a week.
What About Embercleave?
I would definitely not ban Embercleave. Yes, it’s a powerful card, and yes, it’s likely to be among the best cards in Standard now. That’s not a bad thing, as it at least pushes creatures and attacking. While there is a world where this is over the line, I don’t think it’s this one. Now that Ramp is presumably much smaller, decks can play removal again, and aggro decks don’t have the best mana in this format anyways.
Overall, I like the bans, and for the first time in a while, have hope that Standard might be in a good place. Let’s see how that goes, and how soon it is until I’m writing another one of these.