DCI Banned & Restricted List Announcement

Announcement Date: December 20, 2010
Effective Date: January 1, 2011

Scars of Mirrodin Block Constructed, Standard, Extended, Vintage

No changes

Survival of the Fittest is banned.
Time Spiral is unbanned.

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.

68 thoughts on “DCI Banned & Restricted List Announcement”

  1. 100% necessary.

    Totally excited about the unbanning of Spiral! I wonder if there’s a new deck because of it?

  2. @goldleader – exactly who is this “they” you’re referring to?

    On a separate note, I’m not familiar with decks featuring Time Spiral. What decks were they?


  3. It´s silly.
    It´s only banned because becaus americans suck.
    In Europe survival isn´t nearly as dominant still when we go west people just claim it´s broken and should receive bannings instead.

    Bad call, very bad -_-

  4. If wizards look at decks of the week for MTGO for the last few months, they will notice a very healthy enviroment with no very dominating deck. Also they will see almost no survival decks in top 8? I disagree to the banning, since I think survival is one of the most intriguing and exiting cards they ever designed.
    Rest in Peace

  5. @MB

    You say it’s banned because Americans suck? Who are you to make such a bold statement? If an overwhelming amount of people saw this card as needing a ban, then it’s good they listen to the crowed and did something about it. Before you go ranting off, make sure you don’t sound like a fool first.

  6. @ dupond

    MTGO and real life magic have drastically different metagames. The fact that the cards that survival needs are very expensive on mtgo, and it’s pretty hard to borrow cards on MTGO, so many people just settle for cheaper decks.

    Any look at its dominance in SCGs, and what a variety of pros have had to say about it, and its win percentage against the field, there isn’t any doubt it needed to go.

    I mean, there was usually 1 renanimator and 1 Ad Nauseam decks in the top 8 of each SCG, and that was enough for them to ban mystical tutor. The fact that half the top 8 was survival almost all the time was just all the proof WoTC needed

  7. What happens on MTGO doesn’t have much bearing on paper MTG, as not all the sets are available for true Legacy online, and the availability to much different.

    As for the European metagame, all I can say is “who cares?” Clearly not the DCI.

  8. Good gods people bitch a lot about pop-ups. Use Chrome, it helps. If a random pop-up in the background is what it takes to keep this site free, then pop-up a-hoy. If you want pop-upless Magic and want to pay for your site, there are a whole heap of places you can go.

  9. @ Lord Faust:
    well, all the Europeans care. And since the current Top2 of the Worlds and the 2010 POY are from Europe …;)

  10. @flow
    2010 POY hasn’t been decided yet. Coinflip on him being from the US or from Europe, though.

    Also, this game originated in America, all the sets are designed in America etc. It only makes sense that the American metagame shapes these decisions moreso than the rest of the world.

  11. “Also, this game originated in America, all the sets are designed in America etc. It only makes sense that the American metagame shapes these decisions moreso than the rest of the world.”
    that´s so stupid, as if the americans were buying more cards than the rest of world together…
    WOTC has to satisfy the interests of the whole magic community to make their profit.
    And concerning the POY race: Since I am posting sth. on channelfireball I might know the official POY-standings, but do you really think Brad has a chance after this heartbreaking world and playing in Paris?

  12. Anyway,
    of course he has a chance, but I do think that Frere Jaques clearly has a psychological advantage on that one, because of how safe Brad felt before Worlds and how he got caught in the last second
    And if you ask the players travelling around the world for GP: It is definetely an advantage to play at home (no jetlag, used food, no travelling difficulties, etc.)

  13. So on topic:
    I don´t think banning Survival was necessary. They should have unbanned more other cards since it would be really interesting to see the new Survival-Deck matchup against Reanimator or ANT with mystical or even other decks which got the hammer
    But concerning Time Spiral: Does anybody think this was unsafe to unban? In High Tide this would not make the clock very much faster (still turn 3-4) while just making it slightly more consistent.
    And even more so playing Time Spiral while comboing of against a FOW-Deck is quite a gamble.
    It would be different if the unbanned Frantic Search.

  14. Tbh. Its not been dominating Europe as much as america because europeans didn’t realise how broken it is. Theres a much smaller community in europe so information takes longer to get to everyone.

    I think survival is right to be banned, its basically the only thing they could do. But time spiral? I don’t think anyone expected that.

  15. Sorry milna, but the americans are not the only ones who do have internet, even if that is what a lot of you are thinking

  16. Sorry, I don´t want to start ranting here, but I think that is just so arrogant. It´s not that america is always on top of tech everytime and all the others are just behind
    (if that would be the case, just look at the top standings of worlds, POY… – ok maybe forget POY, because that leads us to off-topic discussion again)
    But I think Europe and Japan as well have shown America before that they are not just 5 steps behind all the time (and if you think of the last legacy-GP: despite being in a vast majority in columbus the GP was not won by an american –
    although it was won be a CF-Member you could state, but that would lead us offtopic again – though to an interesting one)

  17. Marcus: Survival is only a problem in the states. If the reason why Survivla ísn´t a problem in europe was something like card availability then fine but Europe probably has a much bigger legacy community then north america so then why is it a healthy part of the metagame here and not in north america?

  18. @MB

    Are you still talking? You are making a big deal of a ban that just happened. Deal with it and move on.

  19. Wow, I can’t believe people are seriously debating which continent has better players.

    America: Finkel, Maher, Zvi to name a few.
    Europe: Kai, Nassif, Ruel brothers to name a few.
    Japan: Kenji, Nakamura, Saito (yes he’s banned, but he’s still really good).

    As for Survival being banned, I totally agree with it based upon statistics. Whether it was taking over Europe, America, Japan, or South Africa, it’s win-percentage against all non-Survival decks was well over 50%. According to Patrick Chapin, the lowest win-percentage for Survival decks against non-Survival decks was 58%. That was the problem.

    As for Time Spiral, I am betting it will do exactly nothing…

  20. “According to Patrick Chapin” , well that´s a very well founded reference and a good reason to ban anything, because somebody said X
    The problem I have with these bannings in legacy is, that they don´t wait for what is happening if they don´t ban anything. Legacy has such a deep cardpool so there is always an answer to problems it just takes time for the metagame to evolve.
    And the other thing: why don´t they unban sth. that was considered too strong before to handle the new problems? That could lead to a new metagame at a higher power level than before and not at a lower like now. I think people (me included) enjoy playing with their old cards they have been owning and playing for years (as like the duals). One reason for this banning-strategy might be that this way they keep up the need for the newer cards (now that everybody got their vengewines they have to get Jace for playing legacy as well), which means profit

  21. By the way, if you want to find out which continent has the best players overall -> just check the total ratings: 1.) Matignon, 2.) Wafo-Tapa, 3.) PVDDR
    If you want to find out which continent has the best players of all times -> check out the protour lifetime points: 1.) Budde 2.) Ruel 3.) Levy
    If you want to know who was the best player this year: check the POY-Race: 1.) Matignon … (That´s what the DCI-homepage is starting with, but maybe that´s just because the internet doesn´t work correctly here in Europe…)

  22. @flow

    Why the hell do you keep bringing up the player of the year? It’s yet to be decided yet you act like Matignon has already won it. The title is up for grabs so stop looking mindless.

  23. I just wanted to show that – despite some of the americans are thinking that – it´s not that the US are always on top of magic-technology and the others are just draging behind and an explanation that europe doesn´t just have the dominance of survival because they are just behind is flat out wrong and annoys me.
    If you think of GP Madrid – the metagame is just completely different and decks that could dominate an US-GP just didn´t there. (For further information just ask LSV et al.)
    It´s the same when everybody said Zoo was the best deck in Legacy because it put some good finishes in the US, and all the Europeans are just stupid, because the tournaments there were won bei Merfolk. If you played Zoo in a big European legacy tournament you just got crushed, because there was a large amount of ANT and that was the reason for Merfolk winning.
    (By the way later “he who must not be named on this homepage” won a GP with Merfolk in the US as well…)

  24. Ok, the reasons I bring this up repeatedly are:
    I think that the US-american arrogance concering Magic this year was kind of respectless and the POY-race is sth. that might be illustrating what´s going on.
    In the middle of the year I saw an interview (think on the magic show) of Patrik Chapin in which he was making fun of the Japanese like “oh, Japan, where are you now…”
    If you look at the results over the last years and even over this year where the US-Americans “dominated” (if you want to call winning ¼ PTs dominating): I don´t think that is appropriate.
    So when Brad Nelson was in his “uncatchable headstart” he was giving interviews/posting vids on this site about who was the best player in the world etc. Did you see that video? It was so arrogant. Don´t get me wrong – I really love this people for posting all this exciting stuff and making these great videos, and Brad is no exclusion (although he is not remotely as entertaining as LSV), but after all this talking about how he is yet the POY etc. I just wished someone else would win it. (In fact I hoped PVDDR would win it.)
    Pride comes before the fall, and now Brad has to become humble again and think about winning (instead of not losing) the POY-race

  25. flow you misjudge at one point. Wizards doesn’t care about changing card prizes like you stated. They made their profit after selling their boosters. And don’t tell me legacy players buy bunches of displays to get their playset of jace’s.

  26. Of course that´s right, but if there is a high demand for new cards (via ALL of the formats) they are selling more boosters. Maybe it´s not (just) the legacy players buying the boosters to get their Jaces, but the people that are selling them the jaces do and in order to get the necessary amount of jaces for all the players who want them, an adaequate amount of boosters must be opened

  27. I don’t think DCI bannings are based specifically on results. Regardless, it is evident that at least in the US, Survival is relatively dominant. Whether the answer is running more enchantment hate sideboard or graveyard hate is beside the question. The very fact that it exists shapes the meta game. Obviously something they want to avoid.

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  29. I just traded off both of my playsets of Vengevine to people who needed them for survival decks, glad I did. I bet they will drop in price along with survival of the fittest..

  30. The fact that DCI based its decision from third-party tournaments (SCG namely) says that they have no understanding of the Legacy meta and requires other parties to tell them how to run their own product. I know for a fact that Survival based decks are only rampant in the US and had DCI cared to look at European third-party results, they would’ve seen that the *overall* meta is healthy. Having spoken to “pros” in the US, you see a widespread amount of SV engines because unestablished players assume that this is the best way to win – due to the overwhelming amount of publicity and forum discussions that have since spawned.
    From personal experience, I have sold copies of SoTF to players even without Trops because they thought they can automatically T8 w/ a SV deck using Breeding Pools, only to lose to any other solid Legacy deck. Point is, when you have 80% of the field using SV decks, your bound to have a unproportional amount of it T8, but this has no correlation with and does not imply a “broken” deck that should merit a banning of its engine. I have never played a SV deck simply because it’s not my preferred way of playing MTG, so this is not a response from a bitter player.
    I’m only stating my opinion that DCI really needs to sanction more Legacy tournaments across the world and use their own statistics to validate the meta, not from SCG and rumors, hypes found online.

  31. Look, people played legacy before this survival deck got big, and people will continue to play after its banning. I know some of my friends wanted to play legacy but didn’t want to drop a few hundred on a deck only to be beaten out by a deck with little to no bad match-ups. Im saying this from my view in the US, Europeans will have a different view then mine, but I feel DCI did what they did for a good reason. ~ FLAME ON EUROS ~

  32. I think its good. Europeans would’ve eventually caught on when they saw that the BEST deck against survival was ANT and that it only won 45% of the time. Who wants to play hours and hours of survival mirrors? Not me.

    Plus this opens up all the aggro decks and makes counterbalance viable once again. Hopefully time spiral opens up combo. I’m sure people will play it, but will it be good? Hard to say.

  33. Damn this was some hardcore EU/US debate.

    Hard to say which continent is better but I’d have to say MTG is more present in the US.
    Just look at Ebay, just look at how many $$ tournaments, ETC

    Don’t know from which country in the EU you’re from, Flow, but I spent years in France and years in the US. It’s not even close…

  34. “On a separate note, I’m not familiar with decks featuring Time Spiral. What decks were they?”

    The last time it was legal outside of Vintage was 1999. So who knows what decks they will be now.

  35. I don´t think it´s very surprising there are more $-Tournaments in the US, but maybe there are more €-Tournaments in Europe…

  36. Well, the quantity of a community doesn´t necessarily correlate with it´s quality (as you may have seen in spain, which has a quite large legacy / magic community) nor do the numbers of $$$$tarcitygames-Tournaments

  37. Nice US/EU talk. I’m from Europe, and I like to say that I’m glad Survival has been banned. I really hated it 😛

  38. Anyone else thinking that unbanning mystical tutor might have empowered other decks and helped keep the survival decks in check? It seemed like a controversial banning at the time anyways, and I’d always rather fix the metagame by adding more cards rather than removing them

  39. Although I’m in acceptance of SOTF being banned (as I don’t own any). I feel that it might have been better to restrict rather than outright ban.
    In regards to TS being unbanned I feel it’s gonna be a hard hit for Green in Legacy. With no SOTF and both Vengevine and Tarmogoyf taking a bit of a hit from Wizards with TS – I wonder if this is WOTC attempt at driving down the price of Tarmogoyf and Vengevine.

  40. Hell, it weakens Dredge in general, still, I suppose you need access to 6 mana before you can use TS.

  41. Hey flow, you realize you started this with your “EUROS ARE BETTER” comment right? And that the whole comment line started because MB said that Americans suck?

    Long story short, I think the DCI might be a *bit* more informed of what’s going on than you are. Sure they make mistakes, but do you really think you know more about the magic metagames than the DCI?

  42. Gotta love the racism that flows from any non-us country. Every single country has arrogant players, america included. National pride is a waste of time when your supposed to be having fun playing a game enjoying both yourself and people of all nations. Stop being bad and be cool.

  43. yeah lets all stop being angry at each other and be angry at wizards for banning one card instead of unbanning 6 others

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