Ban announcements for July 5 are on the rise and only one format is affected. Alchemy had to ban its first card since the format iteration. Along with that, there are a lot of nerfs and a few buffs that MTG Arena’s digital formats will see. However, the most exciting topic to discuss is that one of the most important benefits of having digital formats just failed before our eyes. Here is the map joining the MTG banned list.
Grinning Ignus is FORBIDDEN in alchemy
For those wondering why Grinning Ignus got the boot in a format that isn’t supposed to ban things, it’s because of some ridiculous interactions that would be really hard to fix. Ignus smiling has always walked the line between being broken and useless. Unfortunately, perpetual effects exist in alchemy. These effects are usually granted to cards that are not in play and persist between different areas. This would be the equivalent of a creature receiving a +1+1 counter in your hand that still has it when it comes into play.
racketeering boss broke the fine line that kept Grinning Ignus from being arrested. Since it perpetually allows Ignus to create a treasure token when streaming, this could be used to loop Ignus smiling infinitely between your hand and the game. With infinite enter-the-battlefield triggers, a tool like Cabaretti feasts can quickly assemble a death combo that kills your opponent. Grinning Ignus has more powerful iterations of his archetype in other formats, but the level of power he represents was unmatched by the rest of the metagame. Due to the difficulty in balancing and the gigantic power level discrepancy, Grinning Ignus is the first card to appear on Alchemy MTG’s banned list.
That’s not the only format Grinning Ignus has promised. If you’re interested in trying to abuse the recent victim of the banlist, we recently wrote an article describing its uses in multiple formats.
The Meathook massacre is nervous
Nerfs are coming for Alchemy cards that Wizards might change. Meathook Massacre got the same nerf treatment as the exclusive digital map blood brushstroke. While it’s collateral damage for the real reason it’s banned, it should make aristocrat decks less grumpy for aggressive players.
The real reason Meathook Massacre saw a nerf is in regards to the Golgari Food archetype standing atop Historic. This, alongside Izzet Phoenix and Rakdos Midrange, dominated the format for an absurd amount of time. With how Historic is at the highest level for what can seriously be a year, this is a VERY welcome change.
Everything from this point is strictly history related. That’s not all the ad said, but that’s the majority.
Insane Cauldron Familiar Nerf!
Of everything on this list, this is, quite honestly, the most relevant change. Cauldron Familiar can no longer block. This means that the age-old strategy of blocking in Cat Fight, sacrificing it to witch oven, and bring it back, is gone! For the first time in a long time, aggressive decks have the ability to respawn in Historic. Hopefully it adds some much-needed diversity to a format that’s been outdated for far too long.
Unholy Heat is nervous!
Unholy Heat was too adaptable before the changes. When Delirium is activated, six points of damage guarantee that the creature or planeswalker hit is dead. Nerfing Delirium’s damage to four should allow for some counterplay in large creature decks and ensure there are clashes where the card drops. Not being able to one-shot one Teferi, Hero of Dominariais a massive change.
READ MORE: This small change could make MTG Arena a whole lot more fun
Dragon-Rage Channeler is nervous!
In an attempt to do Dragon’s Rage Channeler, or RDC, easier to manage, it received a major nerf. As Unholy Heat, the card became too powerful when Delirium activated. As a result, instead of getting a +2+2 buff, he now gets a +2+0. Along with his surveillance ability, this allows DRC to continue to be a delirium enabler, but makes him a less oppressive threat later on. While it still features the same amount of damage, it should be easier to remove and interact with in combat.
These are not all the changes…
There is one more change to mention, but this is not the place to do so. It’s a unique thing that’s affected by many nerfs on this list. Therefore, addressing it should be done in a different discussion.
Either way, this example shows that MTG issues can’t be solved by nerfs and buffs alone. Due to how close Grinning Ignus is between being broken and useless, nerfing him will render him useless. Therefore, ironically, Wizards added Grinning Ignus to the MTG banned list. However, this is an exciting development as we now have an example of the nerf and buff system failing for the first time. No matter how we try to get away from it, the MTG banned list is necessary to keep the formats healthy.
For those who want to see everything Wizard of the Coast’s newest change has to offer, You can find them here.