Now about four months later, Wizards has recently banned this card from both Modern and Legacy and restricted it in Vintage, which certainly seems to indicate that it might be problematic. Interestingly enough, they chose not to ban the card in either Standard or Pauper, despite the fact that it has made a major impact in the latter.
Opinions in the Standard Pauper community are divided on this card, although it seems the majority are fine with it. However, there are certainly a growing number of others who would like to see the card banned from the format. Among these is a player named Zoltan, whose claim to fame is that he has played White Weenie (WW) in pretty much every format he can, often with very good results. After this week's MPDC, I offered him a chance to submit a short guest-post on why Treasure Cruise should be banned in Standard Pauper. Today and Saturday, I want to share with you, my readers, what he has to say, in his own words:
I took my beloved WW deck and won last week's MPDC (Standard Pauper) event with it. I am an aggro player at heart, and I have played WW in Standard Pauper for years now, spanning and surviving multiple rotations. But I've had a hard time recently putting up good results because of this one maddening card.
I want to talk to the people today about such a card: a little card known as (Treasure Cruise). I don't think that it is any secret among the Standard Pauper players that I hate Treasure Cruise, for every conceivable reason that could be given. As far as I am concerned, the fact that R&D printed this card (as a common, no less) indicates that their extracurricular activities probably include copious amounts of alcohol and LSD ingestion However, aside from personal opinion and taste, an objective evaluation of this card's power level would, in my opinion, suggest it to be banned in Standard Pauper, just as it was banned in Modern and banned/restricted in other formats. And I am not here to make jokes, draw flashy pictures, or try to win internet points by entertaining you. I am here to write an opinion piece and give a wordy analysis on why this card needs to be banned in Standard Pauper.
We have gone far enough with this broken card. Tap an island: draw 3 - the heir to Ancestral Recall, one of the strongest cards printed of all time since the early dark days of magic known as the Power 9 - not only shouldn't be a usable card anymore, but shouldn't exist as a common to be used in Standard Pauper. This is a format whose major benefit - among others - is the ability to help newer players play with easy-to-use cards, in a relaxed atmosphere, without having to worry about the sharks with more expensive and complex decks in other formats competing for more lucrative prizes, and having Power 9 type cards floating around in this format seems to not be very congruous with the general theme.
Since I already know what the proponents of Ancestral Recall #2 will say in its defense (who are, largely, control players playing control decks - surprise, surprise), I will do my best to list their arguments, and refute them as being invalid. The most common counter-arguments appear first:
1) It isn't always cast for 1 mana.
To that, let me ask you - how often have you seen someone use Cruise for 8 mana? I've played many games in the current Standard Pauper format, and even there, a format weaker in power level than the normal standard, casting Cruise at 1 mana or 2 mana isn't a big deal or hard to achieve. It isn't hard for control decks in constructed - U/R or U/W - to dump cards in the graveyard with counter-magic, burn, bounce, other card draw, even saclands, to the point where the graveyard is filled by mid-game, around turn 5 or so, where a Cruise for 1 mana to refresh one's hand is not uncommon. Even without a full delve, I've heard that 3 cards for 2 mana isn't so bad either. Cruise is a flexible card, and the same card that can draw you 3 cards for 2 mana - already good enough - could even reduce the mana cost even further to a broken level. Whenever someone taps an island for 3 cards in ANY circumstance, it doesn't matter who wins or loses at that point - the opponent on the receiving end is being cheated, and it isn't Magic anymore.
Next time, we'll take a look at how he responds to the other two most common counter-arguments. In the mean time, I'd love to hear your thoughts about whether Treasure Cruise should be banned. Let me know in the comments below.