Full Disclosure: This article written by an Azorius fan boy.
Not here to beat a dead horse, but the Reflector Mage banning doesn’t make sense, no matter how you cut it. It is universally agreed and basically implied in WoTC’s statement that the ban does not have to do with the card’s power-has that even happened before? If not power, that leaves it being “disliked” and powering down U/W Flash.
Reflector Mage Is No Fun?
This idea just isn’t valid. Functionally, this card is more U/W than any other multi-color card in Standard at the time of its banning, save maybe Spell Queller. Just read the description of the Azorius Signet.
“The maze-like design embodies the core of Azorius law — strict structure designed to test wills and stall change.”
In my short time with the game, I have noticed that most people don’t like playing against U/W, but that is true with or without Reflector Mage. Despite MTG being a game of interactions, people just don’t like their plans being ruined. It seems that most of the current meta revolves around going so quickly that you can’t be interupted. Is that really what this game is about? Reflector Mage might be disliked, but he represents a fundemental part of the game and is hugely representative of his colors. If you are truly stoked about his ban, you probably don’t much like the interactive part of the game in the first place.
For me, MTG is all about the interaction. I personally think playing against the drag race decks is boring. Boring and dislike-able are subjective and the fact that this is the likely reason for the ban is disappointing.
Powering Down U/W Flash
I have never piloted U/W Flash, but I have watched it played and read about it. Until the recent banning, I was playing a deck I call Azorius Tuner’s Club (similar-ish, see below). Of all of the cards in that deck, how can my boy be the one to go? Avacyn and Gideon are indisputably more powerful. Spell Queller might be, too. Banning tier a 1.5 card to hurt a tier 1 deck just doesn’t make sense. It did, undoubtedly hurt the deck, but it sets a really strange precedent.
If it is about fun, why not ban something more expensive/tier 1 to make the game more accessible to players less willing to dump money on singles?
Another Theory On The Ban
In Seth Manfield’s post about it on tcgplayer, he speculates the ban was in preparation for what is coming, instead of what already is. Specifically, the Saheeli + Cat Guard combo and how the mage falls within their Jeksai colors. He goes on to explain how Reflector is powerful with each of them and they are even more powerful as a group, and he might be right. That said, could there be a worse reason to ban a card? Banning one card to safely release another is another dangerous precedent. Will WoTC just start adding cards to add some sizzle to standard and revoke privileges, instead of properly balancing the game?
Ultimately, I tend to believe they banned it because some people thought it was not fun, which is disappointing. There are plenty of cards that aren’t fun when they are inflicted upon you, but are super-fun to play. I enjoy U/W for the same reason others enjoy their colors of choice, because its fun to me. Whatever your thoughts are, feel free to leave them in the comments below. Regardless, I am campaigning for Reflector Mage to be the next Grand Arbiter of the Senate.
Azorius Tuner’s Club – https://goo.gl/viLwlN
Azorius Senate Info – https://goo.gl/9NvFvm
Seth Manfields Article – https://goo.gl/0JWZfV