March 13, 2017 Banned and Restricted Announcement

Posted in News on March 13, 2017

By Erik Lauer

Erik Lauer is a senior game designer who works on final game design and development. Recently, he has led the Return to Ravnica, Modern Masters, and Theros development teams.

Announcement Date: March 13, 2017

No changes to any format.

The list of all banned and restricted cards, by format, is here.

Next B&R Announcement: April 24, 2017


R&D met earlier this month to review several formats—notably Standard and Vintage—and discuss competitive play balance. While several issues were raised and discussed, it was concluded that the best move for all formats was to leave things as they are while continuing to monitor and gather data over the coming weeks and months.

For Standard, there has emerged a Big Three—Mardu Vehicles, Black-Green Constrictor, and various Felidar Guardian/Saheeli Rai decks. While having three top-tier decks isn't unusual, we were concerned that they could be so strong as to crowd out all other decks. In particular, we looked closely at the effect Felidar Guardian has on a format when it can be used in a game-ending combo. However, at Grand Prix Utrecht we began to see some movement in the format—particularly the rise of Temur Dynavolt Tower as a potential addition to that upper echelon. With that kind of movement in the format, we thought it best to gather more data—including more Grand Prix and the inclusion of Amonkhet at the Pro Tour—while watching the format continue to shift before making any changes.

In Modern, we've just come off two very exciting Grand Prix in Vancouver and Brisbane that saw Death's Shadow rise to the top, but a variety of decks put up strong results. While Modern certainly has its share of powerful cards, the format is in a spot right now that players seem to greatly enjoy.

For Vintage, data is often difficult to gather because the sample size is so small. However, we have a large data set coming with the European Eternal Weekend Vintage Championship at the beginning of April. We'll be watching that tournament closely. For now, we are watching the results, and continuing to listen to feedback from the community.

As such, there are no changes to any formats at this time.

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