May Madness Patch Notes

April 20, 2020

On May 1st, we will be releasing perhaps the most exhaustive patch notes to date. Usually every month we have a small to medium sized series of patch notes addressing balance changes, nerfs, bug fixes, and the odd buff or two when warranted.

 

This month, we've hunkered down and dug beyond what isn't working and into the why things aren't working. We looked over cards (played and unplayed) and made some sweeping changes to some of the format's more problematic designs. 

 

Many of the nerfs and changes addressed two key issues:

  1. Hitting cards that were leading to Turn 3 Kills. MSEM2 has always been a Turn 4 format but multiple cards had slipped through leading this to no longer be really the case. Fast, powerful bodies and excessive early mana were the two biggest targets.

  2. Hitting cards that were objectively offensive, even if those cards weren't currently problems in the format. As an example, we had multiple strictly better  Night's Whisper. NW is a perfectly playable card, so having this many versions with upside just ended up looking bad for the format. Now again, that's but one small example among dozens of cards we felt impacted MSEM2 to the point where it was pushing away interested parties.

We hope that with the following changes, MSEM2 will continue to grow as a format over the coming years.

 

It would be unfeasible to list the reasoning behind every card, but please, feel free to join us on Discord, and we can happily provide some card-by-card explanations if you'd like.

 

MAY MADNESS PATCH NOTES

 

Banlist Changes
• Aether Leak is banned.
• Chigau, the Red Market is banned.
• Deadly Manipulation is banned.
• Mercantile Accords is banned.
• Scrapyard Sovereign is banned.
• Sentinel of Latter Days is banned.
• Vidal, Rune Thief is banned.
• Zetla, the Dragon's Voice is banned.

 

Renamed Cards
• Monument of Kings has been renamed Monument of Queens.

 

Ability Changes
• Excess damage has been changed to WotC's version, which results in a edge case change as excess damage is now calculated before damage modification, identical to trample.
• Prophecy has been tweaked again. Instead of paying {1}, there is a limit of exiling one prophecy per turn. It has lost its uncounterable rider.
• Dylso Charmer's prophecy cost has changed to {1}{G} (from {G}).
• Seek Prophecy's prophecy cost has changed to {1}{U} (from {U}).
• Summoner's Call's prophecy cost has changed to {2}{G} (from {1}{G}).
 

Card Changes
• Aether Leak's cmc cap has been removed for posterity.
• Almsgrove Champion now has first strike instead of double strike.
• Arcane Duelist now gives the card flashback instead of returning it to your hand.
• Archive Guardian's conjure cost has changed to {1}{B}{G} (from {B}{G}).
• Ardy's Study's mana cost has been changed to {G}{G} (from {1}{G}{G}) and now allows you to play "land cards from the archived library" instead of "permanent cards from the top of the archvied library".
• Burgeoning Blooms now only abounds once.
• Burning Revelations's mana cost has changed to {3}{R} (from {2}{R}).
• Cane Dancer can now only target blue cards (still with cmc 2).
• Carnival Yatiri now grants trample instead of haste.
• Declare, the Mother Bear's mana cost has changed to {2}{G}{W} (from {1}{G}{W}).

• Dryad of the Grove's mana cost has been changed to {1}{G} (from {G}) and its pt has been changed to 1/3 (from 1/1).
• Farwander Guide's mana cost has been changed to {W}, its pt has been changed to 1/2, and its activation cost has been changed to {1}{W} (from {1}{W}, 2/2, and {W} respectively).
• Fated Challenge's mana cost has changed to {2}{U}{U} (from {1}{U}{U}).
• Favor of the Emperor's mana cost has been changed to {2}{B} (from {1}{B}).
• Felice's Study's mana cost has been changed to {W}{W} (from {1}{W}{W}).
• Feeding Time no longer triggers when blocking creatures die.
• Glimmer's mana cost has been changed to {1}{U} (from {U}).
• Grave Tutor now has to exile two cards with the same cmc.
• Gyreon Smuggling's mana cost has been changed to {1}{B} (from {B}).
• Hanabira, Kogane's Legacy now only targets one creature on attack.
• Hate-Driven Arsonist can no longer target players.
• Holy War now only buffs token creatures.
• Honorless Offering can no longer hit opponents.
• Iken Troubleshooter's mana cost has been changed to {1}{B}{R} (from {B}{R}) and its pt has been changed to 3/2 (from 2/2).
• Imagine has been reworked. It now says "Shuffle any number of cards from your graveyard into your library. Scry 1, then draw a card."
• Imperial Artisan's mana cost has been changed to {2}{U} (from {1}{U}).
• Intrepid no longer has vigilance.
• Ketsueki, Kiyomi's Legacy now reanimates a creature with cmc 2 or less (from 3 or less).
• Mana Ascetic is now "{T}: Add one mana of any color." How many times do we have to teach you this lesson, old man?
• Memories Reignited's mana cost has changed to {3}{U}{R} (from {2}{U}{R}).
• Mindstorm's Eye is now a sorcery.
• Monument to the Fallen Man's tax ability has been replaced with "Players can't cast creature spells with converted mana cost greater than the number of lands they control."

• Newcomer's Luck's mana cost changed to {1}{R} (from {R}).
• Ninhasir’s March no longer scry 3s. Ninhasir, God of Creation's on-transform trigger is now 'discard your hand, then draw that many cards plus one' (from 'twice that many cards').
• Nomadic Patriarch's trigger has been replaced with "Remove a +1/+1 counter from ~: Put a +1/+1 counter on each other creature token you control."
• Offworld Surveyors's aetherize ability cost has changed to {1}, {T} (from {T}).
• Osrius Royalty's mana cost has changed to {2}{B}{R} (from {1}{B}{R}).
• Outlander Division now gives +0/+3 instead of +1/+3.
• Passionate Congregation's mana cost has changed to {2}{R} (from {R}{R}).
• Past Unresolved's mana cost has changed to {B}{B} (from {1}{B}).
• Pocket Aces now wishes for up to four cards with the same name and shuffles them into your main library.
• Possibility Engine's mana cost has changed back to {R} and its trigger is now "When ~ enters the battlefield, exile the top two cards of your library."
• Prismatic Leyline's mana cost has changed to {1}{G} (from {G}).
• Prying Inquiry now makes the caster lose 1 life.
• Pyrus, the Undying Flame no longer has indestructible.
• Reflected Moment now shuffles into your main library.
• Replicator Mage's pt has changed to 2/2 (from 2/3).
• Roggar's Frenzy's tokens now enter the battlefield tapped.
• Scion of Calamities now impulse draws two cards instead of casting cards from your grave.
• Seabreen Nullmage is now an etb trigger instead of a cast trigger.
• Seeds of New Life now makes the land a 0/0, in order to not cheat Animus animate costs.
• Seek Prophecy now puts the remainder of the cards on the bottom of your library instead of the grave.

• Seeker of New Horizons has been reworked. It is now a 3/5 for {3}{G}{G} with "You may play two additional lands on each of your turns." and "Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under you control, look at the top card of your library. If it's a land card, you may put it onto the battlefield tapped. If you don't put the card onto the battlefield, put it into your hand."
• Selene the Cruel's counter ability now only hits noncreature spells.
• Singularity's Grasp is now a sorcery.
• Starlit Raze//Scarlet Haze's backface Blood Moon effect has been replaced with "Whenever enchanted player taps a nonbasic land they control, that land doesn't untap during its controller's next untap step."
• Syzygy Navigator now loots instead of draws on casting a spell from not your hand.
• Twin Lis of the Divine Realm now puts one extra counter on creatures instead of doubling counters.
• Unraveling's land freeze mode now hits up to three target lands. Its shrink mde has changed to -4/-0 (from -3/-0).
• Untethered Disciple's mana cost has been changed to {2}{G}{G} (from {1}{G}{G}) and its pt has been changed to 3/2 (from 3/3).
• Vivid Mirage now only makes two tokens if a land you control was targetted (from three).
• Warrior's Pride now gives an extra +1/+0 and first strike instead of double strike.
• Window Shopping has been changed back to a sorcery with mana cost {3}{U} (from {2}{U}{U}).
• Worlds Colliding has been reworked. Its effect is now "Each player shuffles their hand and each non-Revelation card from their graveyard into their library, then draws seven cards. You may put any number of land cards from your hand onto the battlefield." Its mana costs remain the same.
• Zhedina Envoys's mana cost has been changed to {1}{W} (from {W}) and its pt has been changed to 2/2 (from 1/1). Its token ability remains the same.

 

Cards we have mindfully not changed but are keeping an eye on in the new world order:

 

Acceleration


Chratteri Restoration: With Snowtron and land auras addressed, Chratteri is the last Big Mana engine on our radar. However, the symmetry has proven to be a real liability; its most successful deck was Chart Control, which didn't run the full playset, and fell off after Dreamsight Well. We'll be watching that it doesn't lead to ramp decks going over the top too quickly, but it seems to help fair decks as much as unfair ones.


Leyran Alpha: With the hit to early accelerants, Leyran Alpha will not be hitting the field t3ish and should be more in line with Roll again. 


Primal Resurgence: Two of our better 1 mana accelerants remain, Mana Ascetic and Primal Resurgence. As they are generally behind Modern's equivalents (BoP and Utopia Sprawl), we're keeping them for the time being, as well as the Llanowar-alikes.

 

Card Advantage


Dark Bargain: We've cut down on a lot of our card advantage across the board, from our three mana draw fives to our aggressive cantrips to our strictly better Night's Whispers. Dark Bargain wasn't quite that last category and doesn't have a change to lower the power without obliterating or greatly changing it, so it's been left for now.

 

Dreamsight Well: No, we didn't miss the two-mana draw-five. Dreamsight's deck had several of its key cards hit, making its midgame grind harder to sustain. With the format slowing down, more late game decks might be able to contend with Dreamsight's stranglehold, particularly with the loss of

Deadly Manipulation and nerf to Grave Tutor. Dreamsight is one of the most unique decks in the format, and we have decided to see how it performs after this wave before knocking it any further.

 

Combo Pieces


Eldritch Egg: While Egg is one of our most powerful cheat out cards, the DOA nerf made it more reasonable, making it more a tricky card than a raw powerful one, and with our suite of artifact and grave hate, Egg has plenty of checks to it. If the card becomes dominant or proves to too frustrating to interact with, we are prepared to change it.


Petal-Weaver Alexa: Two-mana walkers were another element we looked at, as they like to cause trouble here and for WotC. However most of them are performing pretty poorly, with the exceptions of Alexa and Zetla. As Alexa's performance so far has been tied almost entirely to her synergy with Worlds Colliding that she no longer has, she has been let be.


Suzume Oshiruko: We are willing to see how Granny plays out after the Monument change, as everyone has access to Sorcerous Spyglass and other answers. We do know she is quite divisive, and we are prepared to deal with her if she remains too much so.

 

General Power


Cursory Glance: Another goal of this update was to reduce the power level of cards that perhaps haven't yet caused issues in MSEM, but have a power level well passed the range of a general Magic context. Cursory Glance is the most powerful counterspell in the format, and skirts the Wizards power level. We also had concerns that it was crowding out other counterspells. Ultimately, we concluded that a large portion of its strength is due to the current linearity of the format, and by slowing down the format, it would lose part of that power. It is unlikely that Cursory Glance will have to be changed in the future.


Exeunt: While people like to cite Innocent Blood as why Exeunt does trip that power level, the more recent Liliana's Triumph shows it is more in line. Exeunt does enough work as a safety valve that we're leaving it for now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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