Should Fleet Swallower Get Banned?

The card Fleet Swallower is a seven cost 6/6. Its ability is why it should be banned, it can exile the top half of its targets deck. Should it get banned? Please tell us.


  • *Nervously hides own copy of fleet swallower behind back*
    Heh heh, no I don't think so. Heck, it's good, but it's too good to ban it. I love it!
  • You poor sweet innocent soul. I hope you never match up against Nissa.
  • A seven mana card getting banned is about as likely as Mark Rosewater professing his love for bananas.
  • edited February 14
    If you think that Fleet Swallower's scary then I know a card that'll really Traumatize you:


    I'm not sorry.

    Talking a little more seriously, it certainly doesn't need banning. It's too expensive, too inefficient, too slow and too vulnerable. Mill just isn't a deck that ever wants to be reaching seven mana, and to be honest I can't think of any formats where mill is even all that viable (except for EDH, and practically anything goes there if your playgroup's casual enough).

    It's possible that the card's pretty scary in kitchen table magic, but even there it doesn't seem that bad. After all, you've still got to reach the seven mana and there's a decent chance that your deck won't be streamlined enough in its mill capabilities to capitalize on the milling it gets done.

    It's still a neat combo with Fraying Sanity, but Traumatize does that job far better.
  • Agreed. Its a powerful ability on a high mana creature. By the time it hits the board, you are much better equipped to deal with it somehow: targeted removal, boardwipes, auras, powerful creatures of your own, etc.

    NOW. Ajani's Pridemate, there's a card that needs banning lol
  • @RohanDragoon Forget Ajani's Pridemate. What about Gideon's Company? It's Ajani's Pridemate x 2.
  • @ArchieTaylor
    Okay, here's my gripe. Yes, I hate the lifegain to +1/+1 counter. For that matter, i think that Ajani's Pridemate, Bloodthirsty Aerialist, and Gideon's Company are all poorly designed cards. But they should be banned in that order. Why?

    Ajani's Pridemate hits the board turn 2 usually. with that being said, you can't immediately remove it other than burn. By the time turn four comes around, you're looking at a massive creature. No joke, I was once attacked on turn 4 by like an 8/8 ajani's pridemate and a 5/5 ajani's pridemate. I had three lands. At most, I could use targeted removal like mortify or murder to remove one and still be guaranteed a loss. in the long run because the next turn I'll still be hit for like 10+ damage with no blockers and no mana.

    Bloodthirsty aerialist will come down turn 3, which means she's more into the realm of removal, however, she's much harder to block. For that reason, i think she's a close ban behind Ajani's pridemate cause she's almost impossible to chump block.

    Gideon's company has neither of these problems. It comes down turn four and can be chump blocked. Sure, it has massive growth, but so does giving something hydra's growth.

    What it comes down to is pacing. Ajani's Pridemate (and to a lesser extent, Bloodthirsty aerialist) imo makes the pace of standard really fast. Like approaching modern fast. I think that cards like ajani's pridemate are why we see such use of mono-red calvacade aggro (tbh i also think calvacade needs a ban for the same reason). It's not that I have a problem with aggro type decks, my problem is that I don't think that these cards are beneficial to the overall pacing of the standard format. It seems to me (and I will make a disclaimer that I'm not like any type of professional nor analyst or anything. Just my poor opinion), that standard is gravitating towards aggro and 4-turn wins, which is already imo filled by modern and also makes about 70%+ of new cards in any given set absolutely useless because you can't even cast them before you die.

    Apologize for the rant. I just don't think cards like these are fostering the creative fun aspect of magic that standard should be fostering. While there is some competitive side to it, because of standard's rotation, it's appeal to newer players, and it's easier to grasp (you don't have to understand thousand of cards and interactions), i think that cards like these are really poor choices.

    (Note: I mostly play combo decks, so that's probably why I have such a big problem. I care less about winning and more about genuinely building cool and fun decks built around themes and synergistic abilities i.e. ramp deck including cards with X casting costs to cast the finales, interventions, etc. at x=10+, superfriends, dreamshaper shaman and enigmatic incarnation, etc.)
  • Are you speaking from experience on Arena or in paper? Generally speaking, Ajani's Pridemate hasn't made a splash at all in Standard. It's hardly ban-worthy - there are multiple strategies that blow it out of the water, both more aggressive and more controlling. If you're playing a deck that folds to a 2-drop, consider making some edits to your list rather than suggest the offending card be removed. There are plenty of ways to shore up the early game until you have board wipe for example, or maybe if you're combo-oriented you go for a graveyard-based plan or something with tokens (Pridemate doesn't have trample after all).

    Basically and honestly, there's nothing wrong with the cards you mentioned. They help promote a certain style of deckbuilding and they do need to be built around to be effective. If they're not fun for you, don't sweat it - not every card is for every player.
  • @DomriKade
    I speak from experience in both. You're absolutely right that there are more aggressive and difficult decks. I just think that it's cards like Ajani's Pridemate, these under-the-radar annoying cards, that push for the more difficult and aggressive decks to be built. All in all, I don't dislike Ajani's Pridemate because of the actual card. I dislike it because I think it turns standard into a more aggressive and difficult format in general, which is problematic because standard's the starting point for many new players in addition to some place that's supposed to avoid "constant-meta"

    I hope I didn't come off as a jerk! I absolutely love magic and I love to see people build creative decks. And I totally get that everyone's got a different playstyle. My gripe is just with cards that in the long run seem to push heavily into one playstyle over another, ya know? Cheers!
  • edited February 15
    image vs image

    Walk the plank, fish.
    And it somehow works.
  • @AxNoodle
    Because fish can't walk nor breath air?
  • Isn't this a set that's not legal in standard anymore?
  • @Bowler218 Yep. The Ixalan block rotated out of standard a little while ago.
  • edited February 15
    Fleet Swallower is certainly an interesting card. However, even considering it within its standard format, it was not a banable card. The biggest issue with it is its 7 CMC cost. By the time you're casting a 7 CMC card, you are:
    A) Likely a control deck.
    B) Likely playing this as a finisher against an opponent out of resources in hand
    C) Need it to be winning the game for you
    At that point, and at all points it was legal in standard, there were better options for that role. The big issue was a 6/6 with no keywords to back it up isn't a particularly threatening body. Similarly, it has no way to protect itself from targeted removal, and even a control deck can run out of steam when the win condition isn't drawing cards for them. That being said, Fleet Swallower has no way to draw cards for its controller. Win conditions seeing play when it was legal in standard like Nezahal, Primal Tide and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria had ways to draw you at least one card every turn cycle. Nezahal even had the bonus of being able to exile itself out of the way of removal for a turn.

    Now, you bring up the ability, however it might be worse than you think it is. Milling the opponent's top half of their deck is devastating. However, because the card states specifically "half of the deck" and not 30 (50 in EDH) cards, it only hits half of the existing deck. This means the ability's effectiveness exponentially declines. For example, let's say the opponent has 41 cards left in their deck when you cast fleet swallower. You pass because it has summoning sickness, the opponent goes through their turn, and it becomes your turn. You attack with Swallower and its ability triggers. The opponent drew a card at the start of their turn, meaning there deck is at 40 cards. You mill them for 20. Hooray! However, the next time you go to attack with it, the opponent's deck will only have 19 cards in it (20 minus one for the draw on the opponent's turn). You now mill them for 10, which means the mill was half as effective. Following that, you mill them for four (9 cards in deck, they draw 1, 8 when you attack), which is less than half as effective as before. After that you mill them for two (4 in deck, they draw 1, 3 when you attack). This puts the opponent with 1 card in their deck and essentially one more turn to stop you. This means it took having Fleet Swallower five turns (Play it, mill 20, mill 10, mill 4, mill 2) to probably win you the game. Of course, the opponent might not be able to stop the 6/6 body coming at them every turn, but, as I already discussed above, a 7 mana 6/6 with no other abilities isn't particularly reliable as game closer in control. If it milled the opponent for, say 15-20 at a time, it'd be a lot more devastating as a game closer because it could win a typical game in 2-3 attacks.

    TL;DR, 6/6 body isn't particularly threatening in the late game of most formats, ability gets less effective the more it attacks and takes too long to win, not banable.
  • It shouldn’t be banned. It gets progressively worse if it even survives.
  • edited February 16
    @AxNoodle The fish would actually be dried on the plank. It never gonna hit the ocean ever. Hence the name 'walk the plank', but not 'walk the plank then get shoved into the ocean'.

    But Merfolks are exception because the creator of the card is obviously into a mermaid porn.
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