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WotC’s Most Recent Banned & Restricted Update Hits Five Formats, 14 Cards

Massive update to B&R list will change Historic, Pioneer, Modern, Legacy, and Vintage.

Wizards of the Coast (WotC) announced an update to the Banned & Restricted List today that impacts five formats.

While the upcoming banning of Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath in Historic, Pioneer, and Modern was teased last week in the Secret Lair article, today’s update did much more than that. Fourteen separate cards were banned or unbanned across the formats along with an update to the cascade rules, which will put an end to an early Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor.

Though many of the cards getting hit with the ban hammer today are on similar power level lines, the announcement made it clear that some of the adjustments are in response to community discussion and player frustration with certain formats and cards.

Modern

  • Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath banned
  • Field of the Dead banned
  • Mystic Sanctuary banned
  • Tibalt’s Trickery banned
  • Simian Spirit Guide banned

Uro, Field of the Dead, and Mystic Sanctuary have been grouped together in the top performing Modern deck (Four-Color Control) until the Five-Color Cascade deck ripped through the format. Control decks of many shapes and sizes utilized Mystic Sanctuary alongside Cryptic Command to lock opponents out of the game.

Field of the Dead also gave control decks another viable win condition while allowing Amulet Titan a non-hasty Primeval Titan route of victory. All of these bans should allow other types of midrange and control decks to exist that don’t revolve around Uro or Mystic Sanctuary locks. The lands were banned specifically due to them creating repetitive and noninteractive games.

Tibalt’s Trickery short life in Modern has come to an end, the latest card allowing incredibly quick Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and other nonsense with cascade. It’s noted that this ban isn’t predicated on win-rate, but due to its impact of making the format less fun with the addition of more non-games.

Conversely, Simian Spirit Guide’s long life in Modern is over as well. A card that has only been used in unfair fashion — whether it be fast lock pieces or in combo decks — is finally gone. From Ad Nauseam, Belcher, Oops All Spells, Five-Color Cascade and many already banned archetypes, Simian Spirit Guide’s removal will drastically change the landscape of Modern.

Legacy

  • Arcum’s Astrolabe banned
  • Dreadhorde Arcanist banned
  • Oko, Thief of Crowns banned

Oko somehow survived in Legacy long past his banning in all other formats from Modern through Standard. Oko is now relegated to Vintage after its ubiquity in Legacy from midrange, control, and even combo decks. In conjunction with Dreadhorde Arcanist, Temur Delver dominated the format by giving the tempo deck answers to basically everything in the format through Oko and eight pitch counterspells while Arcanist provided the deck a never-ending supply of cantrips or removal to grind out long games when Delver didn’t finish the job earlier.

Arcum’s Astrolabe allowed four and five-color decks to thrive and dodge typically punishing cards like Blood Moon and Wasteland. It was another piece in the snow-based control decks that provided value with Yorion, Sky Nomad while fixing mana to play any answers the format called for at the time.

Notably, Uro wasn’t banned in Legacy, though the card is still being monitored. It was called more in line with the power level of Legacy, unlike the other formats.

Pioneer

  • Balustrade Spy banned
  • Undercity Informer banned
  • Teferi, Time Raveler banned
  • Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath banned
  • Wilderness Reclamation banned

Oops All Spells play rate and win rate were problematic for Pioneer along with the difficulty to interact with the combo deck, leading to the banning of Balustrade Spy and Undercity Informer. After the introduction of modal DFC lands from Zendikar Rising, filling out the “no land” deck was trivial with some builds of the deck even opting to play Yorion as a companion.

Uro got the axe here as well along with its old Standard counterparts Wilderness Reclamation and Teferi, Time Raveler. These cards have overstayed their welcome, similarly to their life in Standard. Teferi supercharged the Five-Color Niv-Mizzet decks and his banning comes with the responsibility of taking out Wilderness Reclamation, a card held in check by the three-mana planeswalker.

Historic

  • Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath banned
  • Omnath, Locus of Creation banned (was suspended)

Uro-based decks have been the most played in Historic for far too long and have had dominance on ladder and in tournaments. Uro’s impact on other older formats shows a banning over a suspension is the move here, with the idea of the format moving to a point where Uro is balanced doesn’t appear possible. Omnath is also now banned, getting the upgrade from a suspension.

Vintage

  • Lurrus of the Dream-Den unbanned

Lurrus was originally banned before the companion errata due to its absurd strength in the format, being the only card banned on power level and not even being able to be hampered by a restriction. Now with the companion errata, Lurrus will be set free once again in Vintage as an experiment.

Cascade Rules Change

Lastly, WotC is changing the rules in regards to the cascade mechanic after the fallout in eternal formats where decks are producing Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor on the first and second turn reliably. Cascade previously only checked for a lower converted mana cost cards once, allowing players to hit Valki, God of Lies then choose to play the back side due to the rules around modal DFCs. The new rule will check on the CMC a second time after picking a card to play so that a player can still reveal Valki, God of Lies to a cascade card like Ardent Plea, but will not be able to play the back side due to Tibalt’s CMC of seven.

The change isn’t limited to just modal DFCs, as it will also apply to cards like Adventure creatures and any other card with a “dominant” set of characteristics.

Read the original article from WotC.