Greetings everyone ,
the Archon Council decided to put several changes to the vote. You can vote on the following changes:
Unbanning Baral, Chief of Compliance as a Commander
Unbanning Food Chain
You can had over to our Discord to cast your vote! You have time to do so until 15-Mar-2023 12:00 CET.
Here are the reasoning for the proposed changes:
Unbanning Baral, Chief of Compliance as Commander:
Baral has been part of the Archon ban list since its creation, being a leftover of the Duel Commander ban list that was initially adopted. Baral was a menace back in the day, with his ability to stall games out for long with reduced mana costs for counterspells and his added looting to dig for more interactions, setting up slowly to create drawn-out combo turns usually involving cards like High Tide and Turnabout in combination with Timetwister effects to dig through his library. A problem with this style of play is not necessarily its power level alone, but the time requirements of the deck in a tournament setting, taking long and nondeterministic turns while slowing down the opponent in the process.
With the unbanning of Baral, he could once again provide mono blue combo/control with a solid commander choice. The added speed of the format over the years also means that the once oppressive force of Baral is not as present in modern Archon, with decks using every opportunity to punish a missing interaction piece. As the decks combos are largely nondeterministic, playing Baral in a very predatory meta seems less strong than a few years ago. He is reliant on hitting the right cards at the right moment and even then could fizzle mid-combo due to bad draws. The higher density of interaction and overall lower mana cost to cast these interaction pieces also makes it harder to stick Baral and protect him with the decks also being very reliant on keeping Baral on field in most cases.
While Baral might not be the most fun to play against, we think that the overall higher format speed makes it harder to draw out games with and against Baral due to time issues.
For these reasons, we think that Baral, Chief of Compliance should be unbanned in Archon.
Unbanning Food Chain
Although Food Chain was designed as a flavourful mana generation engine for creature decks, it has a long standing reputation as an enabler for infinite mana combos.The exile cost, which is supposed to be a downside compared to similar effects, like Phyrexian altar or Ashnod’s altar, turns out to be an upside, if you combine it with creatures that you can cast from exile (e.g. Squee, the Immortal, Eternal Scourge, or Misthollow Griffin). One of these creatures together with Food Chain net you infinite mana of any color that you can spend on creatures only. Archon, as a Commander format, further mitigates this downside by automatically giving you access to a creature that enables either multiple recasts (Prossh, Skyraider of Kher) or an outlet for the infinite mana you are generating.
Without doubt, introducing Food Chain into the Archon format enables new infinite mana combos for brewers. With this addition, two questions come to mind:
(1) Are these combos more dangerous than already existing ones?
(2) Does adding the combos increase the format’s combo density to an unhealthy amount?
The format has plenty of different combos that require two cards and have less requirements on deck construction (e.g,. Painter’s Servant and Grindstone) or are easier to set up (e.g., Underworld Breach/Brain Freeze Combo, which can be set up using Gifts Ungiven or Intuition). On top of that we currently have a combo available in the format, which only needs to find a single piece to win the game (Inalla with Spellseeker). Regarding the amount of combo pieces, one should keep in mind that Food Chain and an “exile creature” themselves only generate infinite mana and still require a third outlet to win the game. Even the only Commander that requires just Food Chain and the Command Zone (Prossh, Skyraider of Kher) does not win the game right on the spot without a third card. We therefore believe that Food Chain would not introduce a combo to the format that exceeds the power level of Archon.
Secondly, one could argue that Food Chain just adds another combo piece to dedicated creature-based “combo piles” like Tymna/Thrasios, which try to combine different combo lines into a single deck (Cephalid Breakfast, Devoted Druid, Aluren …). From our current experience these kinds of decks do not struggle from the amount of available combos in the format, but rather suffer from the fragility of deck’s strategy in our interaction heavy format. Thus, we do not foresee the addition of Food Chain to be a problem with regard to combo density.
Overall, we propose the unbanning of Food Chain, because it might further open up the format’s diversity by giving currently underrepresented green midrange decks a mana/combo engine and maybe reintroducing the otherwise outclassed Prossh, Skyrairder of Kher into our current Jund-less format.