WotC B&R Announcement Shakes Up Multiple Formats

The March 9 Banned & Restricted announcement makes big changes in several different formats.

In today’s Banned and Restricted Announcement, Wizards of the Coast (WotC) has made changes to several different formats, including Modern, Brawl, Historic, and Legacy


Once Upon a Time

Since it’s release in Throne of Eldraine, Once Upon a Time quickly became ubiquitous across green decks in multiple formats, and Modern was no exception. The instant-speed dig spell was swiftly banned in Standard and Pioneer, but was given a grace period in Modern to gauge if the format could adapt. As of today, WotC has determined that “…the consistency provided by Once Upon a Time allows these decks to much more reliably enact their early-game plan compared to other archetypes in the metagame, leading to less divergent gameplay paths.”


Golos, Tireless Pilgrim

As more players flock to Brawl on MTG Arena, the percentage of decks utilizing Golos as their commander has “risen to become about 10% of the field”, making Golos twice as popular as the runner up. Golos’ versatility and popularity limited gameplay and represented Brawl in a “way that’s inconsistent with the spirit of a singleton format.”


Oko, Thief of Crowns Veil of Summer Once Upon a Time

Previously on the suspended list, WotC has opted to now fully ban these multi-format all-stars in Historic, citing the metagame-warping capabilities each of these powerful cards represents.

Field of the Dead

More surprising yet, WotC has also decided to move Field of the Dead from suspended to legal, meaning as early as the next MTG Arena update we can expect to see a resurgence of decks featuring the powerful land.


Underworld Breach

Perhaps the least surprising change, WotC has banned Underworld Breach in Legacy. The red enchantment from Theros Beyond Death fueled too many broken combos in Magic’s most popular eternal format, taking advantage of cards like Lion’s Eye Diamond and Brain Freeze to dominate the metagame.


No changes were made to Pioneer in today’s B&R announcement, though WotC did let players know that they’re keeping their eyes on the Dimir Inverter deck, as well as the Heliod, Sun-Crowned + Walking Ballista combo that many are concerned about:

We are aware of community concern about some of the new combos that broke out around the time of the Players Tours, including the Dimir Inverter deck; the Lotus Breach deck; and the Heliod, Sun-Crowned plus Walking Ballista combo. In general, we’re okay with combo having a presence in the Pioneer metagame, but it is certainly possible to have combos that are too strong or too prevalent. Combo decks can be unhealthy in large doses, especially when they are difficult to interact with, win quickly, or win too often.

Read the March 9, 2020 Banned and Restricted announcement from Wizards of the Coast.