Monday, 09 March 2020 10:07

Banned & Restricted List updates affect multiple formats

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Underworld Breach gets banned in Legacy. Underworld Breach gets banned in Legacy. WOTC

Wizards of the Coast has made changes to the Magic: The Gathering Banned & Restricted list.  The changes affect not just one format, but four: Legacy, Modern, Brawl, and Historic.

Legacy:

Underworld Breach is banned.

The Theros Beyond Death card Underworld Breach has found comparisons to the extremely powerful Urza's Saga (and Legacy-banned) card Yawgmoth’s Will.  Both are quite powerful cards and the former has been paired with Lion’s Eye Diamond and Brain Freeze.  While Wizards of the Coast typically allows new breakout combos to play out to see if the metagame can adapt, but that didn’t seem to be working this time around.

“It became clear from the rising win rates that Underworld Breach’s interaction with Lion’s Eye Diamond would remain problematic in Legacy going forward,” states Ian Duke in WotC’s official announcement.  “Rather than allowing these decks to become a large part of the competitive metagame before likely still needing to make a change in the near future, we’re choosing to ban Underworld Breach now.”

Modern:

Once Upon a Time is banned.

The Throne of Eldrane card Once Upon a Time has become one of the most popularly played cards in Modern, according to Wizards of the Coast, and it contributes to several of the most powerful, popular, and highest winning decks.  Unfortunately, thanks to providing more reliable early-game plans, the card has found to lead decks to less divergent gameplay paths.

“Going forward, Once Upon a Time poses a design constraint in making it too easy to assemble creature- and land-based combinations,” explains Duke.  “In order to facilitate more varied gameplay and mitigate future risk, Once Upon a Time is banned in Modern.”

Brawl:

Golos, Tireless Pilgrim is banned.

Wizards of the Coast say that in Brawl on Magic Arena, players are using Golos, Tireless Pilgrim as their deck’s commander roughly 10% of the time.  This is twice as popular as the second-most popular commander in the format.  While that’s not a problem on its own, WotC states that the cards’ five-color identity circumvents deck-building restrictions that most other Brawl decks are beholden to, as well as the card’s land tutoring ability that the company says is “inconsistent with the spirit of a singleton format.”

Historic:

Once Upon a Time, Veil of Summer, and Oko, Thief of Crowns are banned, but Field of the Dead is unsuspended.

In WotC’s previous Historic update on Magic Arena, four cards (above) were temporarily suspended due to the decks in which they’re run having problematic win rates and reducing diversity within the field.  Due to the digital nature of Historic, WotC will be adding new historic cards to the format that can prove to be answers to suspended cards.  In the case of Field of the Dead, answer cards Ghost Quarter and Goblin Ruinblaster will soon be joining the format, which the company feels makes the card much less problematic.

In the case of Oko, Thief of Crowns, Once Upon a Time, and Veil of Summer, however, that won’t be the case.  Due to the cards being overly powerful and extremely difficult to interact with, the three remaining cards are being banned from the format.

“After observing the health of the format with and without these cards, we’ve decided to upgrade the suspensions to bans,” Duke states.

The changes are effective March 10 (tabletop and Magic Online) and March 12 (Magic Arena), and the next announcement will occur on January 6, 2020. The full list of banned and restricted cards in each Magic: The Gathering format can be found at this link.

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