Monday, 18 November 2019 10:26

Oko, Wren and Six, and others receive bans

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Oko, Thief of Crowns gets banned in both standard and brawl. Oko, Thief of Crowns gets banned in both standard and brawl. WOTC

Sweeping changes are coming to multiple Magic: The Gathering formats as Wizards of the Coast adds a number of cards to the game’s banned and restricted lists.

Standard is being hit the hardest with three cards – Oko, Thief of Crowns, Once Upon a Time, and Veil of Summer – all receiving bans.  A relief to many players, the banning of Oko was largely due to not only the card’s proliferation in the format (nearly 70% of decks at Mythic Championship Richmond ran the card), but also the extremely high win rate (53%) in non-mirror matches.

“Oko, Thief of Crowns has also reduced metagame diversity and diversity of gameplay in standard by shutting off build-around creatures and artifacts,” writes Ian Duke.  “Ultimately, Oko’s power level has proven higher than is healthy for the current metagame, and higher than intended for future environments, including Theros: Beyond Death and forward.”

Oko also received a ban in brawl, WotC’s rotating 60-card EDH knockoff.

The bans of Once Upon a Time and Veil of Summer are to address the overall dominance of green in the current standard format.  WotC considers the color to be overrepresented in standard at this time and Once Upon a Time’s ability to provide a high consistency of strong starts to games for players to be problematic.

As for Veil of Summer, WotC has found that the card is preventing the metagame from being able to self-correct.

“Cards that played similar roles in the past, like Autumn’s Veil and Display of Dominance, proved a lower power level than desired in their respective standard environments, leaving green with a weaker option compared to the other ‘color hate’ cards in those cycles,” explains Duke.  “Veil of Summer is at the other end of the spectrum.  It’s too much more efficient than the other cards in its cycle, and by comparison to other tools available in standard, gives green decks too much resilience against removal and disruption.”

In a slightly surprising move, Wizards of the Coast has decided to ban the Modern Horizons planeswalker Wren and Six in legacy.  Citing the relative dominance of Temur Delver decks in Magic Online in recent weeks (56.5% win rate and three-times the number of 5-0 finishes than the next best deck), WotC says the ban is necessary to keep the legacy metagame healthy and bring better balance overall to the format.

“While a strong card in general, Wren and Six is especially powerful in legacy because of its interaction with Wasteland and the historic prevalence of metagame-defining one-toughness creatures like Mother of Runes, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, and Young Pyromancer,” further explains Duke.

Finally, vintage’s banned and restricted list gets an update as Wizards of the Coast adds the planeswalker Narset, Parter of Veils to it.  Now restricted to one copy per deck, WotC says the decision is based upon the results of Eternal Weekend North America 2019.

“In the context of the fast mana and efficient card draw available in vintage, Narset, Parter of Veils is contribuiting to one-sided games at a higher frequency than is healthy,” Duke writes.  “In order to reduce the frequency at which an early Narset, Parter of Veils’ static ability soft-locks the opposing player out of the game, Narset is restricted.

The aforementioned bans and restrictions will take effect Nov. 22 in paper and Nov. 18 digitally.

The next scheduled Banned and Restricted announcement is Dec. 16.

Magic: The Gathering's full banned and restricted lists are available online.

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