elcome back to the second week of Journey into Nyx previews here on DailyMTG.com. Today's preview card will, undoubtedly, see a lot of play in competitive Block-Constructed and Standard decks. Until now, it has been very difficult to push the enchantment envelope too far without leaving ourselves dead in the water against Planeswalkers or specific problem cards. Journey into Nyx offers up a new tool for the dedicated enchantress, a tool that may bring the strategy out of obscurity and into the spotlight.
Today's preview card isn't just a tool for enchantment decks, though. The card effectively deals with any problem permanent.
Oblivion Ring has been one of the more widely adopted removal options of the last few years. The card's versatility and easy casting cost has made it a removal option for control, aggro, and combo decks alike.
Aggressive strategies don't always know what kind of permanent they may need to deal with; those decks need to be using the majority of their space to play creatures that can apply pressure, so having only a few slots to be interactive means that a versatile piece of permanent removal could be the best option.
Control decks often have a lot of options in the way of reactive cards, but it's easy to lose a game if your opponent happens to be playing a problematic permanent that doesn't die to Doom Blade or Supreme Verdict. Playing a few copies of Oblivion Ring allows the control player to never be caught off guard by something like Underworld Connections.
Some combo decks need to be worried about hateful permanents in post-sideboarded games. It's impossible to know what the opponent is bringing in. For example, if we're playing a graveyard-centric strategy, we may be up against Leyline of the Void, Grafdigger's Cage, Yixlid Jailer, or many others. Any one of these cards could throw a wrench in our plans and we can't know which one our opponent will have. Oblivion Ring does a nice job of dealing with any of these cards while never being a dead card, even if the opponent doesn't have hate for us.
It's clear that Oblivion Ring has done a lot since its first printing nearly seven years ago. Over the last few months, we've all overheard players wondering where the marquee enchantment had gone.
"I would build that deck, but it needs Oblivion Ring."
"Why don't we have an Oblivion Ring? Isn't this an enchantment block?"
The bad news is that we won't be getting Oblivion Ring. The good news is that we'll be getting this!
We get Oblivion Ring, and we even get a second copy of Oblivion Ring for our Commander decks! Banishing Light deals with any permanent, including Detention Sphere, and is sure to be a format staple for Standard in the coming years.
The versatility of Banishing Light means that it's going to be in a lot of decks that don't care that it's an enchantment. Players will be happy to pick up this kind of removal without having to play both blue and white in their deck.
This is the preview column, though, and we'd be doing ourselves a disservice if we didn't go as deep as possible here!
There are a lot of enchantments in Standard right now and it seems like there's finally a good opportunity to abuse them with cards like Eidolon of Blossoms and Kruphix's Insight, a powerful card advantage tool that was recently previewed by @Wizards_MagicEU.
With access to both Detention Sphere and Banishing Light, our Kruphix's Insight is bound for greatness. It will usually find us an answer to anything while filling our hand with a random assortment of other goodies.
Eidolon of Blossoms is a lightning rod that draws us a card when it comes into play. If our opponent can't or doesn't kill it right away, he or she will be dealing with a barrage of card advantage that's sure to end the game.
Courser of Kruphix is one of the best cards in the current Standard format. The card provides a very reasonable 2/4 body for three mana and passively gains us life and card advantage just by sitting around. Conveniently, this is also an enchantment, so we can tutor for it with Kruphix's Insight and draw cards off of it with Eidolon of Blossoms.
Banishing Light and Detention Sphere will serve as spot removal that can deal with tough threats like Planeswalkers.
Primeval Bounty is a nice top-end enchantment for a deck like this. The card can win a game by itself when it goes unchecked, and this deck's Banishing Light should do a nice job of preventing it from being detained in a Sphere for more than a turn cycle.
Ethereal Armor can be very big for one mana in a deck like this. I'm not sure if this deserves a slot, but the sheer power available here makes me want to try it out before dismissing it.
Fiendslayer Paladin will give the deck some extra strength against fast burn strategies while also providing us a very nice target for our Ethereal Armor.
After sideboarding, the deck gains access to Sphere of Safety, which should cause massive problems for aggressive opponents.
Unflinching Courage comes in against the decks without nonred spot removal.
Skylasher does a lot of work alongside Unflinching Courage in the Blue Devotion matchup after sideboarding.
Voice of Resurgence gets to replace Ethereal Armor in post-boarded games against Black Devotion or Supreme Verdict/Sphinx's Revelation decks.
Here's what the deck would look like!
Jacob Van Lunen's Bantchantments!
The more mainstream application of Banishing Light is in the Naya Hexproof strategy. The recent incarnation of Hexproof deck suffers from consistency issues. Chained to the Rocks isn't the best card imaginable when we're only playing eight Mountains in a deck.
With Banishing Light, we no longer need to play red in our Hexproof deck. Instead, we get to be a streamlined green-white strategy with a lot of consistency.
Luckily, there's already been a great deal of work put into the Hexproof strategy. This list, played to the Top 8 of Grand Prix Cincinnati by Jacob Maynard, has been doing well on Magic Online for the last few months:
Grand Prix Cincinnati 2014 – Standard - Top 8
Boon Satyr can make an appearance as a good instant-speed threat that can makes our hexproof guys more impressive with bestow or by adding to our enchantment count for Ethereal Armor.
Trollhide is a great option against the Supreme Verdict decks. Resolving Trollhide with regeneration mana up on a hexproof creature can make the game very difficult for a player with dreams of Sphinx's Revelation.
Ajani's Presence serves as a way to save hexproof creatures from spells like Supreme Verdict while also being a strong combat trick for the situations where an opponent can block with a bunch of creatures to deal with our big hexproof threat.
Here's how the deck would look:
Jacob Van Lunen's GW Hexproof
This deck seems like it could be very strong. I'm excited to see if this has what it takes to be a contender in the upcoming Standard format.
Banishing Light | Art by Willian Murai
Banishing Light is sure to be a major part of competitive Magic for the coming years. The card provides players with an extremely versatile removal spell that's sure to find its place in countless archetypes going forward. We'll keep our ears to the ground and discuss all the latest Standard technology as it comes to fruition here at Perilous Research! Remember, space is limited at most Journey into Nyx Prerelease events. Don't miss your opportunity to be among the first to play with exciting new cards like Banishing Light.
Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published.