Magic: The Gathering’s banned list for May 2019 has been revealed and one of Pauper’s most powerful decks took a big hit. Revealed in a blog post earlier today, three cards have been added to the ban list following a wave of community concerns and win percentage data.
Effective on May 24, Gush, Daze, and Gitaxian Probe will be banned from the Pauper format. According to Wizards of the Coast, Blue-Black Delver sported a 55% win rate on Magic Online. Given the absolute dominance of blue decks in the Pauper format, these bans were desperately needed. WotC explained that they didn’t want to remove one mana cantrips such as Preordain or Brainstorm since many lists use a mixture of these cards.
Inversely, cards such as Daze and Gitaxian Probe which can be cast for free are exceptionally powerful. Daze in particular thanks to its ability to counter your opponent’s spells even if you are completely out of mana. It’s a potent card and in a format where power levels need to be closely monitored, Daze had to go. Here is the full explanation as too why these three cards were banned from the format.
These spells, in combination with one-mana cantrips, give blue decks strong mana efficiency and card flow starting early in the game. Gush and Gitaxian Probe allow decks to play fewer lands and replace them with spells, increasing the effectiveness of Augur of Bolas and Delver of Secrets. Daze allows these decks to spend more mana casting cantrips to set up their game plan without having “shields down” moments against other strategies. As we discussed, it became clear that free spells, in addition to being extremely powerful themselves, were also powering up the other cards on the list. They are also the category that is most likely to continue to break as new cards are added to the format, similar to how Gush makes Foil problematic. Finally, Daze and Gitaxian Probe tend to lead to less interactive gameplay, fewer shields-down moments, and less bluffing.
With blue decks getting a hefty nerf, it will be intriguing to see how the format settles. The removal of cards such as Daze may inadvertently buff burn decks, as the lack of a “free” counter will force control players to take more risks. Outside of Pauper, no other format has received any changes to their banned cards.
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