Changes Effective June 10th, 2019:
Fastbond decreased from 1 point to 0 points (REMOVED)
Flash decreased from 7 points to 6 points
Vampiric Tutor decreased from 3 points to 2 points
Below are the justifications for the following changes:
Fastbond – Decreased from 1 -> 0 (REMOVED)
It has been a hot minute since Fastbond has taken down a tournament, and while the card does have a place in archetypes with potential for victory, nearly a half-decade of lacklustre appearances has it in a position for reduction. As mentioned when covering Crop Rotation/Strip Mine/Tolarian Academy, there is a considerable amount of hesitation to unpointing the enchantment, but we rather take chances, make mistakes and get messy, than to have Fastbond remain in pointed purgatory.
Please do not @ Serge, he knows.
As mentioned in the Watchlist post, unpointing Fastbond isn’t something the council is doing without keeping a constant watch on other prominent cards in our format; with Crop Rotation, Strip Mine and Tolarian Academy being the other big players. While we can’t say for certainty that the position of the other cards mentioned will stay the same six months down the road, we can confidently say that if there’s any issue Fastbond isn’t the primary culprit. Requiring significant deck building restraints, necessary additional resources and a healthy life total, at this time the council is happy to give Fastbond some freedom off the points list.
Flash – Decreased from 7 -> 6
Modern day Flash-Hulk decks are a far cry from the boogieman of 2015/2016, especially when their points spreads come under examination. Three years is a long time in Magic, and since then we’ve seen points increases to the following:
Dig Through Time
The general feeling of the council is that making a change to one of these two former behemoths would not spark the total destruction of the format, but instead the biggest issue at hand is whether or more Flashs, Hulks and Flash-Hulks are conducive to a healthier format.
Folks, put away your pitchforks. Another card the council has approached with strict apprehension across several years, Flash will finally leave the 7 point peak of Ancestral Recall and Black Lotus, joining the Time Twins (Vault & Walk appropriately) at 6 points. Of course Flash isn’t just a stand-alone card, with Protean Hulk interactions being a large point of consideration for any future changes involving the gruesome twosome, but at this point in time it is hard to dispute Flash’s absence from any competitive metagame. As the watchlist notes, Summoner’s Pact and Protean Hulk are also in the conversation, but we’re in the camp of taking this one slow, as Flash-Hulk certainly has a history of ruining formats.
Vampiric Tutor – Decreased from 3 -> 2
Comparing Vampiric and Demonic Tutor will often leave the one mana spell coming up short, and while it occasionally pops up in the more degenerate A + B combo decks, those decks have been slowly pushed out by a menagerie of “fair” threats packed with the tools to fight a variety of combo strategies at minimal cost.
This is another slow churn change coming off of a steady year long discussion. Reducing tutors always comes at a risk, but A + B combo in a 2019 climate is a dangerous game, with “fair” strategies being able to answer whatever problem you present without breaking much of a sweat. The notable archetypes that could benefit the most would be High Tide, Reanimator and Time Vault strategies, all of which have been relatively drowned out within a sea of Mana Crypts, Black Lotuses and Natural Orders. We’re keeping a close eye on this one in regards to Time Vault, but finally giving Vampiric Tutor a fair shot is a change the council is enthusiastic about making.