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WotC Schedules Banned & Restricted Announcement To Impact Four Formats

Historic, Pioneer, Modern, and Pauper all to be affected in upcoming Banned & Restricted announcement.

Arcum’s Astrolabe, illustrated by Igor Kieryluk

Wizards of the Coast (WotC) has announced that there will be a Banned & Restricted update impacting four formats on Monday, July 13:

Notably, Standard isn’t one of the formats mentioned in the Tuesday afternoon tweet from the Magic: the Gathering account. Historic, Pioneer, Modern, and Pauper all look to be targeted, leading to plenty of speculation on what will get hit.

Historic

While Historic has been leaning on suspending cards as it is only a format on Magic Arena, many are looking at either Nexus of Fate or Wilderness Reclamation as the go-to problem card. While Simic and Bant builds of Nexus/Reclamation have been performing well in online events, Gruul Aggro is also a front-runner, but no single card stands out for the deck. Embercleave or Burning-Tree Emissary could be possibilities if both top decks take a hit.

Pioneer

Pioneer has stagnated to the point where online events struggle to fire as Dimir Inverter has a stranglehold on the format. What was the best deck earlier this year has only gotten better with the addition of Eliminate from Core Set 2021, giving the deck a flexible removal spell that also hits Gideon of the Trials and Narset, Parter of Veils. Possible options to ban include Inverter of Truth, Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, Thassa’s Oracle, or even Dig Through Time.

Removing Inverter of Truth stops the deck altogether, while both blue cards could weaken the strategy. Thassa’s Oracle could be the best option, leaving the deck Jace while also getting an easy combo enabler out of the format. Banning Jace would simultaneously weaken Dimir Inverter while hitting Lotus Breach as well.

Modern

For Modern, the potential targets are plentiful. Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, Arcum’s Astrolabe, and Mystic Sanctuary all fuel blue decks ranging from Bant Control, Sultai Control, and Temur Control. Each of those decks rip through their library and set up Cryptic Command loops with Mystic Sanctuary while Arcum’s Astrolabe fixes mana for the greediest of decks. The one-mana artifact enables four and five-color control decks while making them tough to disrupt even with cards like Blood Moon. Don’t forget Veil of Summer is still legal in the format.

Pauper

Pauper already did away with Arcum’s Astrolabe, so this update is a bit tougher to predict. Mystic Sanctuary shows up in most blue control decks, but green decks have been putting up strong results in recent Challenges on Magic Online. Delver of Secrets decks also could be hit with any number of cantrips like Preordain or Ponder. A new addition from Core Set 2021, Frantic Inventory could also be putting up problematic numbers.

Players took to Twitter to post their predictions and wish lists across all formats.