November 2023 Votes

Hi everyone,

the Archon Council decided to put several changes to the vote.

You can vote on the following changes:

Ban Underworld Breach

Ban Inalla, Archmage Ritualist as a commander

You can had over to Discord to cast your vote! You have time to do so until 14-Nov-2023 12:00 CET.

Here are the reasonings for the proposed changes:

Ban Underworld Breach
Since its release in Theros Beyond Death in the beginning of 2020, Underworld Breach has been a mainstay in combo-centric decks across different formats. In Archon, it is often used as a pseudo-infinite finisher, using mana producing cards (like Lion’s Eye Diamond) and Brainfreeze to fuel Breach. While Breach is a very good card itself, it benefits from a plethora of small details that when combined, push this card over the edge as a card in our format: Unlike cards like Yawgmoth’s Will, Breach does not exile the cards you are re-using from your graveyard, thus relying on a high graveyard count alone is sufficient to loop specific cards. When resolved, it also enables the players tutors and interaction from the graveyard. This means that a Demonic Tutor alone can lead into a Breach line, given sufficient mana and cards to pay Escape costs, while being able to protect itself onboard with reused countermagic or other interrupting pieces. But even on lower graveyard and mana counts, Breach can be set up easily using Intuition or Gifts Ungiven in combination with Sevienne’s Reclamation, providing an instant speed setup in decks that are Jeskai at least. This also makes Breach a recurrable combo, as its main pieces can be assembled again if recursion elements for Breach are still available and makes it a one-card-combo at times, relying on a sufficient tutor alone to close out games. When compared to other combo finishers in our format, Breach is by far the most flexible and hardest to interact with generic combo that can be included into a plethora of decks (the core combo is Izzet, but excels in anything at least Grixis) with very little investment. Arguably, the only dead card outside the combo is Brain Freeze, with all other elements finding some use outside of combo lines. It’s enchantment type makes it hard to deal with in comparison to creature based combos and graveyard-interaction can be played around at times

Ban Inalla, Archmage Ritualist as a commander
Although the card Inalla, Archmage Ritualist reads as a wizard-tribal commander to the uninitiated, in Archon, it is known as the de facto combo commander of the format. Its main combo revolves around Spellseeker, which single-handedly is sufficient to produce a game-winning series of spells if you have a minimum of four lands in play. Usually, the deck contains a second combo, e.g. Underworld Breach, to finish the game, if the main combo line has been disrupted. Inalla is considered to be at least one of, if not THE best combo deck of the format for a couple of reasons:

  1. Consistency: Spellseeker in Inalla is a one-card combo as opposed to almost all other combos in the format. Being a one-card combo makes it much more likely to either draw the combo naturally or tutor for it. One has to expect a turn-four combo win out of Inalla when playing against it. It is even possible for the deck to win on turn three with Acceleration like Dark Ritual or LED.
  2. Resiliency: The combo itself does not falter to regular creature removal. One needs a well-timed exile removal spell or instant-speed graveyard hate to disrupt the combo for good. Given that there is only a narrow set of answers, one has to consider that the Inalla deck is prepared for this kind of interaction. The deck features discard spells, counterspells (like Pact of Negation), and bounce spells to deal with hate pieces. It is also quite likely to find them because it can use additional tutors for interaction once it has already found Sellspeeker. The Spellseeker itself scales well into the late game as more mana allows you to tutor for interaction or even parts of your backup combo.

Those two factors allow Inalla to be a strong combo deck, which in other formats would be considered a “Game One Deck”, i.e., a deck that is supposed to win its first game and then has to win a second game through strong sideboard hate (e.g. Living End in Modern). In a singleton format without a sideboard, a game one deck with a consistent and resilient combo is problematic, therefore we suggest banning Inalla, Archmage Ritualist. Why ban Inalla to get rid of the combo and not another card? Inalla seems like the cleanest and most long-term way to disrupt Spellseeker lines without banning Spellseeker. Additionally, Inalla belongs to the Eminence cycle of Commanders which brings a problematic mechanic to the format anyway. In contrast to Arahbo and The Ur-Dragon whose Eminence effects are clearly constrained, Inalla’s ability might prove to be problematic in the future as new Wizards get printed in almost every set.