Announcement date: May 11, 2022
Winota, Joiner of Forces is banned.
Tibalt's Trickery is banned.
MTG Arena effective date: May 12, 2022
Winota, Joiner of Forces
Winota, Joiner of Forces is a known powerhouse, allowing aggressive decks to quickly present overwhelming boards against unprepared opponents. Although decks centered around Winota currently coexist alongside other viable archetypes within the full Pioneer format, she has proven to be just as effective when working within the confines of Explorer's smaller card pool. Decks built around her are showing both an extreme amount of play and high win rates across Explorer game modes, and the card has quickly dominated the format. As a result, Winota, Joiner of Forces is banned in Explorer.
As this is our first Explorer ban since the format's launch, we want to reaffirm our intentions that cards banned specifically in this format will become playable again as we realign the ban list to match Pioneer. One of Explorer's primary goals is fidelity to the Pioneer experience, so we intend to maintain this ban for only as long as it proves necessary. When additional cards are introduced to the format, they will naturally change Winota's relative standing. As such, we currently plan to unban Winota and reevaluate her position shortly after the release of Dominaria United this fall.
Explorer has once again given Tibalt's Trickery access to the cost-effective enablers and powerful payoffs required to threaten a very early combo kill. Even without Throes of Chaos to provide a backbone of consistency, these decks still aim to finish the game as quickly as possible, win or lose, without any opportunity for meaningful interactions from the opposing player. This creates an extremely negative experience when playing against the card, and its play rate is growing quickly. As a result, Tibalt's Trickery is banned in Explorer.
Since Tibalt's Trickery is currently not a mainstay of Pioneer play, this ban will not be reevaluated as aggressively as Winota's. Players can expect a follow-up by the time MTG Arena formally switches from Explorer to Pioneer, or if Trickery decks become a relevant pillar of the Pioneer metagame (whichever comes first). Barring that, changes to its legality will not be a top priority before then.
Players who have Winota, Joiner of Forces and/or Tibalt's Trickery as part of their in-game collection on MTG Arena prior to May 12 will receive an equal number of wildcards of the appropriate rarity for every copy they have not previously received a wildcard grant for as part of the May 12 game update. If a player has crafted or otherwise collected additional copies between format bans (i.e., Historic and Explorer), they will receive reimbursement for those additional copies, however, players do not receive multiple reimbursements for the same individual card.
Due to late-breaking technical issue, players will not receive in-game notifications of the ban and will not be shown the number or types of wildcards they received. We apologize for the inconvenience, and we hope to have this corrected for any future bannings. Once the ban is in effect, players will see additional in-game warnings on the card's format legalities when crafting additional copies.