Why Did Magic: The Gathering Ban Fury?

The world of Magic: The Gathering has been shaken up as an announcement from publisher Wizards of the Coast has announced a new round of bannings that have hit multiple formats. One of the most heavily hit formats from the bannings was Modern with the exclusion of the card Fury from competitive play.


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Fury was released back on June 18, 2021 in the direct-to-Modern and other Eternal formats set Modern Horizons II and quickly became a key card in plenty of decks. For players who have been playing Fury, you probably know why it was banned, but for everyone else, here’s everything you need to know about the banning.


What Is Fury?

More Than Just Rage

Image of Fury card from Magic: The Gathering, featuring art by Raoul Vitale

Party of a cycle of five mythic, Elemental Incarnation creatures from Modern Horizons II, Fury is a five-mana that comes with a unique ability that turned out to be pretty darn good when combined with other cards, evoke.

Evoke is an alternate casting cost that lets you skip the five mana cost and instead cast it for zero mana so long as you exile a red card from your hand. The downside is that as soon as the creature hits the battlefield, a second trigger hits the stack requiring you to immediately sacrifice Fury. The goal of this is to make use of its powerful enter the battlefield ability, which lets you deal four damage divided across any number of creatures and planeswalkers.

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If you cast Fury normally, you’ll have to wait until turn five to be able to play the 4/4 Elemental Incarnation, which also has double strike. Still, an aggressively cost creature for that power, that has a single-use alternate casting cost, turned into an extremely problematic creature for many decks in Modern.

Why Is Fury Good?

Lots Of Damage

Feign Death by Maria Zolotukhina

Fury is good on its own, it’s still a five-mana 4/4 with double strike that can deal a huge amount of damage on its own. Fury becomes immensely better when combined with cards that let you cast it for its evoke cost and then still keep it around. The two main perpetrators of this have been Feign Death and Undying Malice.

These two one-black mana spells give your creature a triggered ability that until the end of the current turn, when that creature dies you get to return it to the battlefield tapped, but with a +1/+1 counter on it. Since these spells are at instant speed, you can cast them in response to the evoke trigger that would force you to sacrifice Fury, giving your creature the ability to return to the battlefield. This in turn, gives you another instance of Fury’s enter the battlefield trigger, mopping up any lingering creatures that might have survived the first trigger.

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This line of play costs you three cards in total to resolve, you need Fury itself, a red card in hand to exile to its evoke cost, and then either a Feign Death or Undying Malice and an open black mana to cast it. There aren’t many decks whose board state can survive a total of eight damage spread out across any number of targets, and then take down a pumped up 5/5 creature with double strike.

Why Was Fury Banned?

Removing One Card Saves Others

Undying Malice by Igor Kieryulk

The ability to push out an incredible amount of damage at practically any time and for little to no mana is what caused Fury to receive a banning. Even though Fury’s enter the battlefield effect only lets it hit creatures and planeswalkers, it could easily remove several turns worth of building a board in a single turn. If your opponent is playing a deck like Elves or Humans, a deck with plenty of little creatures that can quickly grow over the course of a few turns, dealing upwards of eight damage to their creatures in a single play, effectively wipes out any chance of that deck recovering.

This has pushed out both decks that rely on smaller creatures, hamstringing entire strategies in favor of decks that can fight Fury efficiently, as well as preventing more popular competitive decks from playing smaller creatures, warping the meta of Modern to be designed around creatures that can combat or survive an encounter with Fury.

Since Fury was having such a huge impact on the format, Wizards of the Coast determined that it was time that Fury gets the ban. The hope is that with Fury out of the way, other decks will be able to return to the format, shaking the meta up a little bit and reducing the percentage of decks that were playing Rakdos Scam, the primary deck that Fury was featured in.

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It is important to note that the other cards in the Elemental evoke cycle are safe for the time being, including the other most popular card, Grief. These cards, while having the same mechanics and are open to having similar shenanigans played with them to avoid the evoke cost, are more focused on dealing with a single card, and don’t have the potential to destroy anywhere between four to eight creatures in a single turn.

Even if you’re able to play Solitude, the white Elemental whose ability lets you exile another creature, giving its controller life equal to its power, and then use a similar work around to the evoke cost, you’ve spent three of your own cards to deal with two of your opponents, which is a much more balanced trade.

Can I Still Play Fury?

Kinda, Sometimes

Fury Alternate Art by Svetlin Velinov

You absolutely can still play Fury, just not in Modern. Fury is still playable in Legacy, Vintage, Commander, and Oathbreaker or any casual game you want, though it might not feel casual to your opponents if you’re dropping a Fury on them. Chances don’t seem great that Fury is going to be unbanned anytime in the near future, especially if the Modern meta balances out to a more healthy iteration.

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