March 11, 2019 Banned and Restricted Announcement

Posted in News on March 11, 2019

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: March 11, 2019

No changes to any formats.

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

Next B&R Announcement: May 20, 2019


A Discussion of Nexus of Fate

There's been a lot of community discussion surrounding Nexus of Fate, including recently at 2019 Mythic Championship I in Cleveland. We want to take this opportunity to reinforce that we have no current plans to ban Nexus of Fate in the tabletop Standard and Arena Traditional (best of three) formats.

Our data gathered from MTG Arena, Magic Online, and Mythic Championship I all show that Nexus of Fate decks, while part of the competitive metagame, are not problematic from a balance perspective. In fact, the current Standard environment is proving to be one of the most balanced and robust in quite some time. Nexus of Fate decks, all variants grouped together, represented about 14% of the MC Cleveland metagame and just one of the Top 8 decks. This is very much in line with what we see as a healthy metagame share, and we're still seeing the metagame continue to evolve.

The complaints surrounding Nexus of Fate mainly focus on the amount of time those decks take to win, and the fact that the card is only available in premium treatment. The latter has implications with respect to potentially marked cards in competitive play. While there's validity to both these concerns, the bar for banning a card in Standard is high.

Unlike nonrotating formats, where the best option for making balance adjustments in a timely fashion is by banning cards, we prefer whenever possible to use Standard's rotation to help phase out problematic cards and pave the way for new strategies in a natural and predictable cycle. We respect the effort players make to assemble the cards they need to create their favorite deck and don't take disrupting that process lightly. This is especially true for Standard, which we know is often where players first experience building Constructed Magic decks.

Likewise, in competitive play, we have solutions for marked cards (not just copies of Nexus of Fate) causing unfair play, up to and including judge-issued proxies. We'll continue to employ those solutions going forward. While not ideal, we prefer this to making a ban based on logistical reasons rather than balance reasons.

As always, we'll continue to monitor the evolution of the Standard environment and are willing to make changes when needed. That said, we don't currently anticipate needing to make changes to the Standard banned list.

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