October 12, 2020 Banned and Restricted Announcement

Posted in News on October 12, 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.

Standard:

Omnath, Locus of Creation is banned.

Lucky Clover is banned.

Escape to the Wilds is banned.

Historic:

Omnath, Locus of Creation is suspended.

Teferi, Time Raveler is banned.

Wilderness Reclamation is banned.

Burning-Tree Emissary is unsuspended.

Brawl:

Omnath, Locus of Creation is banned.

Effective Date: October 12, 2020

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


Historic and Brawl Sections by Jay Parker

Standard

With last month's Standard banned and restricted update, we highlighted that we'd continue to monitor the Standard metagame as well as Omnath, Locus of Creation decks and would make further changes if necessary. Observing ladder play and tournament results over the following weeks, as well as the field of the Grand Finals over the weekend, we've concluded that additional changes are necessary.

The two most popular decks in the Standard metagame, Four-Color Ramp and Four-Color Adventures, both feature Omnath, Locus of Creation as a key component. While we did see a marked decline in the win rate of Four-Color Ramp after the banning of Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, particularly against red and green aggressive decks and Blue-Black Rogues, Omnath ramp decks continue to have a warping effect on the metagame. Moreover, Four-Color Adventures has become the deck with the highest overall win rate and has a favorable matchup against 9 out of 10 of the other top decks that don't play Omnath.

This metagame dominance manifested itself in players' deck choices for the Grand Finals. While it's common in a small-field invitational tournament for players to test together and converge on a few decks, in this case the field was a striking 23 Omnath decks out of a total of 32.

To address the dominance of Omnath, Locus of Creation, it is banned in Standard.

Without Omnath in the environment, ladder play data makes it clear that Adventure decks would remain as the strongest strategy. Therefore, we're also choosing to ban Lucky Clover as a powerful and difficult-to-interact-with part of that deck's engine. We expect that individual creatures with adventure and decks using Edgewall Innkeeper will continue to show up but that after this change, a greater number of other decks can successfully compete with them.

Finally, as a further step to ensure that ramp decks don't continue to dominate the Standard metagame, we're also choosing to ban Escape to the Wilds. This card plays a unique and powerful role as a bridge between strong ramp enablers, like Lotus Cobra, and powerful payoffs, like Genesis Ultimatum and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. Of nonland cards in the Grand Finals, Escape to the Wilds was played in the second greatest number of copies. As the card common to many ramp variants, this is the most straightforward way to weaken that strategy as a whole and ensure a shift away from recent Standard metagames.

Historic

Much as we've seen in Standard, Omnath, Locus of Creation is proving to be a powerful contender in Historic as well. Though win rates for these decks are lower in Historic than Standard, we are still seeing the meta share of decks using Omnath, Locus of Creation increasing steadily, particularly in Best-of-Three (where it is currently the most played deck). Historic also provides a wider range of tools for enabling the multiple land drops the deck is looking for, such as Explore and Growth Spiral. To ensure greater diversity and health for the Historic meta, Omnath, Locus of Creation is suspended in Historic.

We also have three current suspensions in Historic to resolve. Looking at how the meta has developed as a result of these suspensions, we feel that the removal of Teferi, Time Raveler and Wilderness Reclamation have increased the diversity and interactivity of the format, improving overall health and balance. As a result, both Teferi, Time Raveler and Wilderness Reclamation are banned in Historic.

Burning-Tree Emissary is a different case. Since that suspension, the power level of Historic has increased considerably with the release of Jumpstart and Amonkhet Remastered, and we have seen the meta share of Gruul Aggro fall off notably. After considering the overall power level of the format and the matchups for Gruul Aggro, we think there is room for Burning-Tree Emissary to be a healthy and interesting addition to the format again. Burning-Tree Emissary is unsuspended in Historic.

Brawl

Omnath, Locus of Creation is, by far, the most played Commander in Brawl and currently has the highest win rate. Brawl is a format where we particularly value diversity, so Omnath, Locus of Creation is banned in Brawl. Omnath, Locus of Creation will remain legal in Historic Brawl events on MTG Arena, however, we will be using our Commander weighting system so that he will more frequently be paired against other, similarly powerful Commanders.

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