announced last week, this week Self-Assembler was banned in both of our Standard Pauper tournaments. At least at MPDC, I had several players thank me for the decision and strongly urged me to continue the ban for next week. Now, it's important to remind my readers that this was not a decision to ban the card entirely. Instead, this was a fact-finding expedition, an experiment if you will, to see how the metagame would shift without having Self-Assembler appearing in every deck. So, what did the metagame look like this week?
By and large, it didn't really seem that different, at least accordingly to my quick examination. Blue, Black, and Green continue to be the dominant colors, split closely among Dimir, Simic, and Sultai. Izzet also made an appearance, in both a typical build and one splashing Black. There was also an Orzhov Artifact build and a Golgari build as well. I did see a few new cards among the decklists, including Dukhara Scavenger and Kessig Dire Swine, but overall I didn't really see anything that felt like it would have been bad had Self-Assembler still been a possibility.
On the other hand, it's clear to me that, if nothing else, Self-Assembler has been having a psychological effect on our player base, making them feel like the format is stale or revolves around who can resolve the first Assembler the soonest in a game. If removing this card from the metagame, even if temporarily, makes people feel more encouraged or excited to play, then that alone is a pretty good reason to exclude it.
However, I would love to see some conclusive evidence that the format is able to grow and evolve without the presence of Self-Assembler. For now, my recommendation would be to continue to ban Self-Assembler, at least for the next two weeks, after which we go on our Holiday Break. That will give us more time to get a better sense of what's going on in the card's absence.
So how did this week feel differently to you? I'd love to hear about it below. Thanks for reading.