On February 12th, 2018, Wizards of the Coast did their latest Ban & Restrictions announcement.. And this one left us SHOOK. (That’s what the cool kids are saying, right?)
WotC has announced that they are removing the ban of Jace, the Mind Sculptor (JTSM) and Blood Braid Elf (BBE) from Modern. The community is collectively losing their shit right now, but I’m here to tell everyone, “Don’t Panic”.
Let me start off by saying I’m not a Modern Master or a Pro Player…
I’m just a guy that plays a bit of modern and has been playing since Urza’s Saga, and mostly an EDH player. With that being said, I do know a thing or two about the card game and I think everyone needs to stop treating JTSM as RhysticStudy puts it, the “Boogie Man” of the game.
RhysticStudy does a really good job talking about the card, it’s legacy, and explain how maybe the ban removal has been a long way coming.
Since the very beginning of Modern, JTSM has been on the ban list and with fairly good reason. When Modern was first created, Stoneforge Mystic had recently been banned in Standard. It was the first Standard banning in over 5 years. Stoneforge Mystic was banned because it was just too powerful in Standard, so they figured Jace, The Mind Sculptor was also a good candidate.
At this time, there was a good reason behind the banning. It wasn’t just the power behind the card that legitimized the ban, but it was also the lack of ways to counter it. During that time, there weren’t many ways to deal with Planeswalkers.
Some might think that attacking or bolting it is enough to deal with it, but to be honest in the meta of Modern that was not even close to enough. On top of that, Modern had a rough start. It was new and not a lot of players were jumping on the train, and a lot of people weren’t thinking outside the box just yet when it came to deck building in a brand new format. With that in mind, I can only imagine the hot mess that JTMS would’ve caused in Modern if it was legal from the get go.
This isn’t the case anymore.
There’s actually a solution in almost every color. Saffron Olive from MTG Goldfish does a pretty good job of making a list of options for counters.
Hero’s Downfall, Ruinous Path, Dreadbore, Maelstrom Pulse, Anguish Unmaking, Pithing Needle, Sorcerous Spyglass, Beast Within, and even Silumgar’s Command are just a few of the options these days.
On top of that, let’s not forget that targeted discarding isn’t an option on how to deal with him. A Turn 1 “ThoughtSeize” has a way of putting a damper on your opponents game and while sure, your opponent will run with more than 1 Jace, forcing him to discard a single one will surely slow him down.
The unbanning of BBE is also a good solution to dealing with Jace. She is a 3/2 body with haste, but also comes with the Cascade ability that will let you free cast a lot of the mentioned solutions and then some. Back in the day, BBE into Blightning was a good way to get a 3 for 1 and Kolaghan’s Command is now a more versatile option to free-cast with the Cascade trigger. On top of that, BBE is a bad target for Jace’s -1 Bounce ability seeing that at that point, your opponent is just giving more ways to Cascade into free spells.
To summarize… Don’t Panic. Jace has been seen as this Boogie Man because we, ourselves, made him this way. We let our imaginations run wild without actually seeing him in action. I say that we should see what kind of splash he makes when it comes to Modern before we start panicking. And to be honest, I’m more concerned with a T3 Karn / T4 Ugin than a Jace seeing that both of them have built-in spot removal and thus seeming a lot more dangerous.