One of the latest spoilers from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty caught my eye. There’s not much talk about with the new white spells, but Banishing Slash is looking to be a great roleplayer for Standard, Alchemy and perhaps even Historic.
Not only is Banishing Slash a Disenchant variant, it also serves as a creature removal. Control decks in Alchemy in particular would like to have an effect to deal with artifacts or enchantments in their starting 60 (I’m looking at you, Key to the Archive), but can’t afford to mainboard a Disenchant because of the danger of having a dead card in your hand in other matchups. Banishing Slash being able to remove a tapped creature resolves this issue. Now, the card will only rot in your hand against someone without any creatures, artifacts or enchantments.
This already will make me want to play a copy or two in my UW Control deck in Alchemy. And it doesn’t end there – upon resolution of Banishing Slash, if you control both an enchantment and an artifact yourself, you get a 2/2 white Samurai creature token with vigilance. Even though I can’t envision many board states with control decks where I’d receive this bonus, this is pure upside on an already useful card. If you can actually assemble the right deck and consistently receive the 2/2 with Banishing Slash, you have an incredibly strong card in your hands.
You might ask yourself: what’s the upside compared to an Oblivion Ring variant, like Borrowed Time? Well, a couple reasons. First of all, Borrowed Time is not a permanent solution. It can be removed by commonly played Rite of Oblivion and Vanishing Verse or even bounced by Divide by Zero at the opponent’s choice.
Borrowed Time is also an enchantment, while Banishing Slash is a sorcery. First thing that comes to my mind is Lier, Disciple of the Drowned, which works great with the latter. Interestingly enough, if you’re going to try to get the bonus Samurai, you might just play Borrowed Time and Banishing Slash in the same deck. Last, but not least, the difference of one additional mana is huge and if you can afford to cast a double white spell early, you should almost always want to play Banishing Slash over Borrowed Time. The ability to not interact with planeswalkers is mitigated by the fact that Fateful Absence is covering this particular weak spot already.
The uncommon sorcery will almost surely replace Disenchant effects in white decks that can afford the WW requirement. I’m looking forward to trying it out in Alchemy UW Control alongside March of Otherworldly Light, which Luis talks about here.