Announcement Date: December 20, 2010
Effective Date: January 1, 2011
Scars of Mirrodin Block Constructed, Standard, Extended, Vintage
Wizards of the Coast R&D member Eric Lauer explained the decision to ban Survival and unban Time Spiral:
In recent months, Survival of the Fittest decks have been outperforming other decks in Legacy. This has caused the competitive format to become significantly less diverse. This has reached a point where the DCI concluded that it is appropriate to ban a card.
Other cards were considered, such as Vengevine. However some of the winning decks do not even play Vengevine; instead, they primarily rely on combinations with Necrotic Ooze. Also, Survival is a card that gives the decks a lot of resilience to potential answer cards. Some combination decks fail when they draw cards intended as answers to opponents’ decks instead of cards that are part of their winning combination. However, with Survival of the Fittest on the battlefield, a drawn Qasali Pridemage can be replaced with any other creature in the deck for one mana.
Time Spiral is unbanned to give the Legacy the potential for another deck. Time Spiral was overpowered in some formats. There are other reasons some cards are banned; some cards cause logistic problems for tournament organizers running large tournaments. For example, some cards cause so many matches to run out of time that it can cause a strain on judging and tournament organization, and even force tournaments to finish outside of the normal tournament venue. We identify such cards by whether they actually caused such problems when they were tournament-legal. Time Spiral did not cause such problems. In balance, the DCI believes the benefits of unbanning Time Spiral outweigh the risks.