In today’s Banned and Restricted Announcement, Wizards of the Coast (WotC) have banned Fires of Invention and Agent of Treachery in Standard, suspended both in Historic, and have completely overhauled the Companion mechanic.
Agent of Treachery
With a rise in archetypes designed to cheat Agent of Treachery onto the battlefield as early as possible, WotC has witnessed that this “can be uniquely frustrating to play against and difficult to come back from”, leading to “decks built around unique permanents or big creatures [having] less chances to succeed.”
Fires of Invention
After closely monitoring play patterns over that last few weeks, WotC has observed Fires of Invention decks boasting a “55% win rate and having even or favorable matchups against each of the other top ten archetypes…” meaning shifts in the metagame alone are not enough to pressure the archetype.
WotC also notes that Fires of Invention decks have been gaining momentum with each new set release. The powerful enchantment, if left unchecked, would continue to “gain power as new high-mana-cost spells are added to the environment”, inevitably creating “significant design and balance constraint[s].”
While citing the same reasons as the Standard bans, WotC opted to begin with suspending these two cards, rather than banning them outright.
As the Historic format continues to expand, WotC intends to closely monitor the format’s play patterns to determine “…whether it’s appropriate to unsuspend each of these cards or whether these suspensions will become bans.”
MTG Arena Collections
Players who have copies of Agent of Treachery and Fires of Invention in their MTG Arena collection prior to the update on June 4 will be receiving an “equal number of rare Wildcards added to their collection as part of the update”
Additionally, the rate at which these cards appear in Throne of Eldraine and Core Set 2020 packs is being greatly reduced. This reduction will not impact the “collation of cards in Limited boosters” however, meaning players will have the ability to open them at the normal rate in Draft or Sealed events.
Also important to note — players will not be receiving any wildcard compensation for the changes made to companion (see below), as “these cards are still playable in both Standard and Historic.”
The change to the way companion works was made in response to “metagame data and play rates of companion decks across all formats, and on player feedback on repetitive gameplay patterns.”
According to WotC, companions simply have “too high of win rates and metagame share in Standard, Pioneer, and Modern, and have already necessitated bans in Legacy and Vintage…” and despite assessing multiple options, they feel this change best “mitigates the potential for repetitive gameplay and provides a wider window of interaction.”
With this change, WotC believes players are “more likely to cast their other spells before their companion, resulting in more divergent game paths.” Requiring extra mana be paid to utilize a companion will often “slow the companion down by a turn, allowing the opponent to interact with it while in the companion player’s hand or otherwise giving the opponent an additional turn to plan ahead before the companion hits the battlefield.”
While WotC continues to monitor the impact of companions, the change made “isn’t something we have plans to do in the future”, but is still “…preferable to potentially needing to make multiple bans across different formats over time.”
At this time, no further Banned and Restricted announcements have been scheduled.
Read the original article from Wizards of the Coast.