June 20, 2015

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Unban Stoneforge

Modern unbannings are a popular topic of discussion. Among the unbannings discussion, there is one blue Planeswalker that gets most of the press. This article is not about him. I want to talk about his bff, (TEDitor’s Note: Big Food Fight!!!) and why Stoneforge Mystic should be unbanned in Modern.

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[According to Ryan]

If you are still reading allow me to explain my rationale. I believe that Stoneforge Mystic — yes, even with Batterskull— can be a good fit for Modern based on a couple points: Modern is a Lightning Bolt format; Modern is flooded with combo decks; and Modern has a pricing issue.

The first aspect of Modern that will keep an unbanned Stoneforge under control is the abundance of Lightning Bolts. Modern is a Lightning Bolt format in the sense that almost every deck has four copies of this one mana removal spell. Even the decks that don’t run Bolts have access to Path to Exile or even Sunlance out of the sideboard. Whats more, Abrupt Decay can ruin a Stoneforge’s day by killing both the Mystic and the Batterskill (leave this to) germ. So what happens when your Stoneforge gets killed on end step: which it most certainly will. At this point you’re stuck with a suspect equipment in your hand. Equipment are a mandatory part of playing with Stoneforge Mystic and the options aren’t even that great. Batterskull has been a sideboard card at best in Modern and Kolaghan’s Command is even pushing the one-of Batterskulls away. Sword of Fire and Ice and Sword of Feast and Famine are the next set of equipment that Stoneforge may bring along and no Modern deck has touched those in years. Overall, Stoneforge Mystic would be fine in the fair matchups because keeping a hand in Modern without Bolt or Abrupt Decay is tantamount to conceding anyways. Furthermore, if you aren’t running those to cards you likely have no plans to play fair.

Modern is currently overrun by combo decks. According to MTGGoldfish the top five decks are currently Twin, Jund, Affinity, Tron, and Bloom Titan. These decks have forced Modern to become a very interactive format where you need to stop these decks before they kill you. Stoneforge Mystic can do a lot of good work for the fair decks in these matchups. Stoneforge finding Batterskull is a powerful turn two that allows fair decks to hold up instant-speed interaction and establish a powerful clock on end step if they don’t need to stop a combo kill.

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– Man, if only the Zoo deck had a 1/2 in this spot.

This is the other issue, while Stoneforge is strong against combo decks it still requires you to stay alive past turn two or three. With big mana decks ramping up in popularity and Goryo’s Vengeance rising from the dead it is possible that Stoneforge won’t even be enough to stop these combo decks.

The final reason for unbanning Stoneforge Mystic is one which has also been getting a lot of press lately. Modern is a very expensive format. Once billed as the affordable non-rotating option, the prices of Modern staples have been on a rocketship over the past week. Staples such as Snapcaster Mage and Liliana of the Veil are snuggling up to $100 and some Modern cards have even sold for over $14’000! Stoneforge Mystic‘s price tag, on the other hand, has remained relatively consistent. Stoneforge currently sits at $35CAD at Wizard’s Tower and picking up a playset is actually possible unlike the Snapcaster Mages which are currently sold out [TEDitor’s Note: 2 instock currently, get rekt Ryan]

At the end of the day, Stoneforge Mystic is a safe and healthy card to unban in Modern. Stoneforge is easily handled by the fair decks, disregarded by the combo decks, and may even open up some archetypes who’s pricetag hasn’t shot through the roof. If nothing else, please stop asking for a Jace unban because Stoneforge is way cooler.