WotC Bans Arcum’s Astrolabe, Unbans Oath of Nissa In Today’s Banned & Restricted Announcement

Wizards of the Coast drops the hammer on several problematic cards across multiple formats!

In today’s Banned & Restricted Announcement, Wizards of the Coast (WotC) has banned Nexus of Fate in Historic, Arcum’s Astrolabe in Modern, and Expedition Map and Mystic Sanctuary in Pauper. Additionally, Burning-Tree Emissary has been suspended in Historic, and Oath of Nissa has been unbanned in Pioneer.



Nexus of Fate Winota, Joiner of Forces

Agent of Treachery Fires of Invention

After the recent suspension (and now ban) of Winota, Joiner of Forces and friends, WotC reported seeing a drastic rise in metagame share of Nexus of Fate decks — starting from a healthy 15% share of the top two decks, up to “roughly 35%”.

Nexus of Fate is a card we have been watching closely for a long time in Historic. While it is very powerful, we had hoped that Traditional Historic would be a place where it could remain a balanced option for its fans. While this held true for a long time, with the deck showing strong but within-bounds play and win rates, it has now risen to a level where it is starving out other options and warping the format around itself.

Joining Nexus of Fate on the Historic banned list are Winota, Joiner of Forces, Agent of Treachery, and Fires of Invention, which have all been upgraded to banned from suspended.


Burning-Tree Emissary

The newest addition to the suspended list, Burning-Tree Emissary enabled several Historic aggressive decks to have explosive starts.

Gruul and Nexus are each now played more than three times as much as their closest competition in best-of-three, and Gruul has one of the highest win rates in both best-of-three and best-of-one.

Unlike Nexus of Fate, WotC believes that over time, the Historic metagame could shift to accommodate Burning-Tree Emissary once again, but for now it is “overall reducing the number of balanced, interesting, and varied deck options in format.”



Oath of Nissa

In a move that surprised many, WotC has opted to unban Oath of Nissa — one of the first cards banned during the early states of Pioneer.

According to WotC, unbanning Oath of Nissa is a “reasonable step to take as far as adding some power back to Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx ramp decks and other archetypes that revolve around key creatures, lands, or planeswalkers.”

Overall, WotC is happy with the current Pioneer metagame, but is still “keeping an eye on the populations of combo decks in the environment”.



Arcum's Astrolabe

In a move that many Magic fans predicted, WotC has banned Arcum’s Astrolabe in Modern due to its widespread play and ability to create “excellent mana” at a low cost for many muticolored decks.

According to WotC, Astrolabe simply “…adds too much to these decks for too little cost, resulting in win rates that are unhealthy and unsustainable for the metagame.” For similar reasons, WotC is also actively monitoring the powerful artifact in Legacy as well, but currently do not feel the need to take action.



Expedition Map Mystic Sanctuary

Tron decks in Pauper have remained consistently powerful, “sometimes nearing 25% of the field among top finishing decks in Magic Online Pauper tournaments.” While WotC wants to keep the Tron archetype alive in Pauper, they have also observed “some negative effects in terms of repetitive game play, recursive play patterns and lock states…” and as such, decided to ban Expedition Map as a means of cutting some of the deck’s consistency.

As for Mystic Sanctuary, several decks started using it to create “repetitive loop or lockout states…” and WotC has predicted it will continue to cause more problems in the future if not addressed now, despite only a couple copies being included in most of the blue-based tempo decks.

Our intent is that this combination of bans should considerably reduce the speed and consistency with which Tron decks assemble their mana engine and eventual loop or lock states, as well as reducing the amount of repetitive game play coming from various blue-based tempo decks.


Despite leaving Standard untouched, WotC acknowledges “concerns that Growth Spiral ramp decks, in aggregate, have recently represented a larger than ideal portion of the metagame”, but have decided to not ban anything due to a recent improvement in metagame diversity (thanks to Core Set 2021) and the impending rotation, coming this fall.

Read the original article from Wizards of the Coast.