Restricted Options

Posted in Latest Developments on March 2, 2007

By Aaron Forsythe

March 1st, here we go again. This time, the set on the Restricted List chopping block is Betrayers of Kamigawa. As usual, I'll present the Restricted List changes in five segments: cards to be restricted from the most recent set that has aged past the two-year mark, cards from that set that were considered for restriction but are now on the official "Watch List," cards to be restricted from the set previous that we had overlooked or were on the Watch List, cards from older sets that require "sudden restriction" due to recent increases in popularity, and finally a few cards that are being taken off the list.

Restricted Betrayers of Kamigawa Cards

Umezawa's Jitte

Finally, Umezawa's Jitte's four-of days are over, and there was much rejoicing! The overbearing equipment has been simultaneously one of the most loved and hated cards in Constructed play for the past two years, although recent sentiment has been more hateful than loving. Hopefully its effect on games will be mitigated now that decks can only play a single copy, although I'm not holding my breath; after all, we all face Skullclamp day in and day out, and the fact that there's only one copy of that card per deck doesn't make it hurt any less.

The other cards were restricted based almost solely on popularity as procedure dictates. As I've said a thousand times before, great older cards have to be marginalized to entice players to include newer cards in their decks. Think of them as dying and going to Heaven. I really wish someone would come up with a better way to handle this problem…

Betrayers of Kamigawa Watch List

The cards on this list have been spotted in tournament decks multiple times over the past month, and should they reach the critical mass of popularity over the next three months, they shall be added to the Restricted List on June 1.

Additional Restricted Champions of Kamigawa Cards

Jugan, the Rising Star

The following Champions of Kamigawa cards are being added to the Restricted List, as they have been showing up in multiples in various players' tournament decks. We either overlooked these cards the first time around, or their increased play is due to similar, more powerful cards being restricted previously.

Additional Restricted Older Cards

The following cards from older sets are being restricted due to sudden rises in popularity:

Most of these cards have seen usage spikes because of their positive interactions with cards in the Time Spiral set. I sometimes wonder why in the world we're restricting cards that are encouraging people to pay with the newer cards, but rules are rules.



The DCI admits that, as part of the Great Affinity Purge of 2005, we went little overboard restricting artifact cards. The following three cards have been deemed safe for play and are being taken off of restricted status:

The Restricted List is now a whopping 1,134 cards long. You can find the Magic Restricted List Mnemonic Memorization Sonnet - now reformatted to fit on four pages, front and back - elsewhere on the site. Be sure to print out copies for all the new players you try to teach the game to.

Even Better News!

Those of you who slogged through the announcement may have noticed something much more noteworthy than another score of cards to be restricted. May I remind you of last week's poll question?

Should the Constructed deck size minimum be raised from 90 to 100 cards?
Yes 812 86.5%
No 127 13.5%

You spoke and we listened! The DCI could not ignore the voice of the masses - when nearly one thousand people turn out for a web vote, I know I struck a nerve! In honor of your requests, the minimum size for Constructed decks will be increased to 100 cards effective April 1st, 2007, the first such increase in eighteen months. Sideboard size will remain at 20 cards.

What impact will this change make? Let's figure it out by taking a look at a recent high-finishing 90-card deck.

Green Non-ThallidsDavid Ferris

Download Arena Decklist

That's one sleek list - just restricted cards and in-print cards, all of which add up to a speedy green death. David piloted it to victory through a Top 8 full of decks that packed Balance; luckily none of his opponents could find it in time to avoid being stomped.

Mire Boa

This archetype got a huge shot in the arm when Call of the Herd was unrestricted with the release of Time Spiral, and should get another such boost when Troll Ascetic comes off with Tenth Edition. In the mean time, it loses three of its Umezawa's Jittes (a difficult loss) and three of its Iwamoris (less so). Additionally, the deck will now need to fill ten more card slots, of which 3 or 4 will probably be Forests. What to do?

May I recommend some of the awesome green cards from our newest expansion, Planar Chaos! Mire Boa is just like the restricted River Boa - how can you go wrong?! Similarly, Groundbreaker is a green version of the red restricted card Ball Lightning! And Harmonize is a green version of the blue restricted card Concentrate! If those don't catch your eye, take a gander at Timbermare! Or Magus of the Library! Or Gaea's Anthem!

See that? That right there is at least six good reasons to continue purchasing new cards, and that's just for fans of the Green Non-Thallid archetype alone! Your decks can only get better and better! And just think, even if you don't put those new cards in your deck right away, on the day we restrict Ohran Viper and Boreal Druid - you know it's coming - you'll be happy that you already have great cards lined up to replace them.

Card Watch: Apocalypse

Check out this amazing concoction that our spies caught wind of at the recent Grand Prix:

Suspend-O-LypseJason Hillman

Download Arena Decklist

Talk about creative! This deck is the first sighting of the card Apocalypse in a Constructed deck since the tail end of the 70-card era. Although Jason only managed to go 4-3-1 with the deck (not including his one bye), multiple opponents commented on how surprising and cool the deck was.


The main idea is to have some number of Time Spiral's suspend creatures removed from the game ready to enter play, and then, the turn before the last counter would be removed from them, wipe the whole game (and your own hand) away with Apocalypse, clearing a path for the suspended guys to attack unopposed. Obliterate, Upheaval, and Jokulhaups are arguable better board wipers, but their restricted status makes them much less reliable. Sway of the Stars fills in as resets #8-9, giving Jason a critical mass of redundancy with which to execute his plans.

What excites me the most as a designer and developer is the creative blending of new cards - those with suspend - with old. There's so much to be done with this game that I never cease to be amazed.

Of course, it's all fine and dandy for Jason to show up with this homebrew by himself to a big event like a Grand Prix, but if the deck caught on and two or more people came to the next such an even brandishing such decks, we would add Apocalypse to the next restricted list in a flash.

And Sway of the Stars, too.

This Week's Poll

Which would you rather see happen in the future?Deck size increased to be greater than 100.The four-of card limit changed to be the three-of card limit.Let me out of this alternate reality, I want to go home!
What is 'What If?' Week?

It's "What If?" Week here on, and in the spirit of Planar Chaos, we're presenting you with a variety of "What If?" alternate reality scenarios. Some of them, like Mark Rosewater's column, explain the premise up-front; others, like Kelly Digges' feature article, encourage you to figure out the "What If?" on your own. Ask Wizards and Card of the Day are in on the fun as well, containing implied "What If?" questions, but Arcana is "normal" – we didn't feel alternate reality scenarios would play well in that format. Thanks for reading, and enjoy "What If?" Week!

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