Bans Hit Pioneer, Modern, And Pauper While Smuggler’s Copter Returns to Pioneer

Scheduled Banned & Restricted announcement impacts three formats

Wizards of the Coast (WotC) took action in Modern, Pioneer, and Pauper, banning multiple cards across the three formats while unbanning one in today’s scheduled Banned & Restricted announcement.


Geological Appraiser Karn, the Great Creator

After about a year and half of no intervention, WotC is shaking up Pioneer by banning Karn, the Great Creator and Geological Appraiser. Mono-Green Devotion has been a staple of the format from its inception thanks to the power of Karn enabling an infinite combo and answering problematic cards via his access to the sideboard. The deck keeps Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, so the ramp deck can still exist in the format, but its flexibility and inevitability will no longer be there.

Karn’s range is so broad, it can facilitate convoluted infinite combos that make the format less approachable, at little to no opportunity cost. Additionally, Karn’s ability to naturally suppress artifacts is likely keeping a spread of interesting cards from being played. While it has recently been on the decline in terms of metagame share, it is clear that the deck has had a warping effect on the metagame for too long, and for these reasons Karn, the Great Creator is banned.”

Dan Musser

While the power level and resiliency of the Discover decks in Pioneer is still up in the air, Dan Musser made it clear that the format will not move forward by having to shape itself around possibly losing on the third turn to Geological Appraiser chaining into a lethal attack out of nowhere. The other Discover deck built around Quintorius Kand will remain, as it offers opponents more time to interact with it.

If every deck must run one or two mana-interaction spells, the format shrinks. For these reasons, Geological Appraiser is banned.”

Dan Musser

Smuggler's Copter

In a surprise move, WotC unbanned Smuggler’s Copter in Pioneer. The aggressive vehicle has been banned for four years, but Pioneer has changed substantially since it was removed from the format.

Smuggler’s Copter only existed in Pioneer for a blink of an eye, but its presence was felt in practically every aggressive deck. It will find an easy home in the Abzan Greasefang deck, an archetype that already plays well with vehicles and actively wants to put key cards in the graveyard. The format will have to adjust as players get reacquainted with a two-drop artifact that only existed in Standard and Pioneer a short time.

Reintroducing it will create new deck-building puzzles (or revive old ones) and provide additional diversity. Smuggler’s Copter is unbanned.”

Dan Musser


Fury Up the Beanstalk

Last week’s Weekly MTG stream made it sound pretty clear that Up the Beanstalk was on the chopping block, but the other card that might get the axe in Modern was still unclear. WotC decided to go with Fury in addition to Up the Beanstalk to rebalance the format.

Action needed to be taken against Rakdos Evoke, leaving the ban hammer to fall on one of the Elemental Incarnations from Modern Horizons 2. Fury took the fall as a two-pronged answer, not only weakening Rakdos Evoke, but opening up the format for more creature decks to thrive. Only time will tell whether or not the cheap creatures can put up a fight against decks packing Orcish Bowmasters and Wrenn and Six.

We believe the removal of Fury will widen the format, allowing players to explore additional strategies, especially with low-toughness creatures.”

Dan Musser

Up the Beanstalk has proven problematic with the many free spells in Modern, making it the prime card to cascade into — even over things like Crashing Footfalls and Living End. Because interacting with a two-mana enchantment is tough to do profitability, especially when the Beanstalk player can recoup the card with a free spell, the uncommon from Wilds of Eldraine takes the fall.

 It is remarkably difficult to interact with the two-mana enchantment profitably, as the card replaces itself immediately, with players often playing a free spell on the same turn since they get such a great return on the deal. It is particularly telling when players have concluded that cascading into Up the Beanstalk is more advantageous than the zero-mana options like Crashing Footfalls and Living End. For these reasons, Up the Beanstalk is banned in Modern.”

Dan Musser


Monastery Swiftspear

Lastly, the Pauper Format Panel banned Monastery Swiftspear due to its speed and polarization of the format. Monastery Swiftspear shows up in a number of aggressive decks and slants the format in a way where it is hard to break serve if an opponent gets on the board early with one or more of this iconic one-drop.

Other decks were looked at, but action was only taken on Monastery Swiftspear as the data didn’t back taking action on other archetypes and cards. Gavin Verhey wrote a lengthy article on the decision to ban Monastery Swiftspear and made a Good Morning Magic video on the topic.

The changes go into effect today for tabletop play and on Magic Online. MTG Arena will see the changes tomorrow.

Read the official announcement from WotC.