April 13, 2020 Banned and Restricted Announcement

Posted in News on April 13, 2020

By Ian Duke

Ian Duke is a developer in Magic R&D and has been with Wizards of the Coast since 2012. A gift of an Ice Age starter deck in 1995 sparked Ian's lifelong passion for Magic. He also enjoys math, physics, board games, and puzzles. To the surprise of few, his favorite guild is Azorius.

Announcement Date: April 13, 2020

Brawl:

Lutri, the Spellchaser is banned.

Tabletop Effective Date: April 16, 2020

Magic Online Effective Date: April 16, 2020

MTG Arena Effective Date: April 16, 2020

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


The new companion mechanic from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is a reward for imposing an extra restriction on how you build your deck. Our goal in designing these cards was to give players more choices in deck building and more options for self-expression.

In the case of the companion card Lutri, the Spellchaser, the deck-building restriction is to play "singleton," with no more than one copy of each nonland card in your deck. The idea is to reward a player for choosing a diversity of different cards rather than multiple copies of the most efficient card for the job. This makes a lot of sense in most formats, where it often dramatically alters the way a player would choose to build their deck in exchange for starting the game with an extra powerful card.

In Brawl, however, the Singleton deck-building restriction is already built into the format rules. This means that there is no trade-off against how one would normally build a deck. Any deck including both blue and red would benefit from including Lutri at no deck-building cost. This isn't in line with the design intent of the companion mechanic, and we believe it would create a large imbalance between decks capable of including Lutri and those that can't. Therefore, we've decided to begin Ikoria's release with Lutri, the Spellchaser banned in Brawl.

This isn't an oversight or a case where we underestimated a card that was too powerful. In fact, discussions surrounding the legality of this card in Singleton formats began early in the design process. As we playtested with Lutri, we decided that the fun deck-building challenge and opportunity for self-expression it presents in other Magic formats clearly made the design worth printing, even if it didn't make sense in Brawl.

Banning cards in any format is something we take seriously, and it has been and will continue to be a rare situation in which we ban a card before its release. In this case, we felt an exception was clearly warranted based on the design goals of the card.

Other companion creatures will still be usable in Brawl and may even be chosen as your companion (in addition to Brawl's usual Commander mechanics). We're looking forward to the release of Ikoria and hope you enjoy building around and playing with Ikoria's companion creatures as much as we have!

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