Announcement Date: November 18, 2019
Oko, Thief of Crowns is banned.
Once Upon a Time is banned.
Veil of Summer is banned.
Oko, Thief of Crowns is banned.
Wrenn and Six is banned.
Narset, Parter of Veils is restricted.
Tabletop Effective Date: Nov 22, 2019
MTG Arena Effective Date: Nov 18, 2019
Magic Online Effective Date: Nov 18, 2019
The list of all banned and restricted cards, by format, is here.
Next B&R Announcement: December 16, 2019
Over the past several weeks, the Standard metagame has been in an unhealthy state, so we're taking significant steps to rectify it. The two major issues are the dominance of Simic-based Food decks featuring Oko, Thief of Crowns and the general overrepresentation of green in the competitive metagame.
Food decks featuring Oko, Thief of Crowns have been the most popular and most winning for the majority of the Throne of Eldraine Standard season. This culminated with almost 70% of decks at Mythic Championship Richmond including the card. Based on data from high-ranked Arena traditional (Best-of-Three) play, only one of the other ten most-played decks (Simic Flash) had a favorable matchup against Simic-based Food decks, and only just above 50%. Food decks maintained an average of about a 53% non-mirror match win rate, even with the metagame focused on beating them.
Oko, Thief of Crowns has also reduced metagame diversity and diversity of gameplay in Standard by shutting off build-around creatures and artifacts. Ultimately, Oko's power level has proven higher than is healthy for the current metagame, and higher than intended for future environments, including Theros Beyond Death and forward.
To address green's general dominance, we're also choosing to remove Once Upon a Time and Veil of Summer from the environment. Alongside Oko, Thief of Crowns, Once Upon a Time is one of the key reasons green has been overrepresented in the environment. It contributes to a high consistency of strong starts and provides a level of early mana fixing that other colors don't have access to. This advantage is especially important in the context of a small five-set Standard card pool with less flexible mana bases. Arena data indicates that, without also removing Once Upon a Time, green decks would still continue to be too powerful and consistent going forward.
Finally, Veil of Summer is also playing an important role in preventing the metagame from being able to self-correct. Cards that played similar roles in the past, like Autumn's Veil and Display of Dominance, proved a lower power level than desired in their respective Standard environments, leaving green with a weaker option compared to the other "color hate" cards in those cycles. Veil of Summer is at the other end of the spectrum. It's too much more efficient than the other cards in its cycle, and by comparison to other tools available in Standard, gives green decks too much resilience against removal and disruption.
We believe these changes are necessary and sufficient to open up the Standard metagame to a much higher degree of diversity, and the resulting environment going forward will more closely match design intent.
For more information about what these bannings mean on Magic: The Gathering Arena for collections, pack collations, and events, click here.
For similar reasons outlined in the Standard discussion, and to bring tabletop and Arena Brawl into alignment, Oko, Thief of Crowns is also banned in tabletop Brawl.
Since their adoption of Wrenn and Six, Temur Delver variants have become dominant in Legacy. In Magic Online league play over recent weeks, Temur Delver has maintained a 56.5% win rate and earned over three times as many 5-0 finishes as the next deck. Most importantly, it has a favorable matchup against each of the other ten most-played decks.
While a strong card in general, Wrenn and Six is especially powerful in Legacy because of its interaction with Wasteland and the historic prevalence of metagame-defining 1-toughness creatures like Mother of Runes; Thalia, Guardian of Thraben; and Young Pyromancer. Prior to the addition of Wrenn and Six to Temur Delver decks, the Legacy metagame was generally looking healthy. In order to weaken Temur Delver decks and bring the metagame into a better balance again, Wrenn and Six is banned in Legacy.
Following up on the recent changes to the restricted list and the results of Eternal Weekend North America 2019, we're making one additional change. In the context of the fast mana and efficient card draw available in Vintage, Narset, Parter of Veils is contributing to one-sided games at a higher degree than is healthy. In order to reduce the frequency at which an early Narset, Parter of Veils' static ability soft-locks the opposing player out of the game, Narset is restricted.