Announcement Date: August 7, 2023
- Tabletop and Magic Online: August 7, 2023
The list of all banned and restricted cards, by format, is here.
In the last announcement, we talked about the new cadence of changes and Standard rotation growing from two years to three. In that article, we stated that most format changes would happen once a year at this timing—just before previews of the fall set that (normally) accompany a rotation. While our goal is to make changes only once a year to promote more confidence and stability in Standard, we've left ourselves a window with each major set release (the next one is October 16)—windows we plan to use sparingly. In that smaller window, we will be more amenable to making changes to non-rotating formats over Standard. Because the previous announcement also contained several changes to Standard, and because the format has looked healthy and varied in that time, today we will focus on Pioneer, Modern, Legacy, and Vintage. Unless there is a significant issue, expect our next Standard update to happen next year at this time.
Written by Michael Majors
A lot has happened in Modern since our last Pro Tour-level event, which also took place in Barcelona, four years ago. During that time, various strategies rose and fell, more changes were made to the B&R list, we released Modern Horizons 2, and Modern transformed into a more interactive format.
Recently, our third set with direct-to-Modern legality in The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth™ released to set the stage for the Pro Tour that occurred last weekend. Early buzz was that
When the metagame preview for the Pro Tour was showcased, it was initially concerning. While the metagame share of decks is in normal ranges and is relatively diverse, the play rates of brand-new cards in
As we watched the tournament unfold, and after we had many conversations with players both competing in the Pro Tour as well as attending MagicCon: Barcelona to play Modern, much of our concern subsided. A variety of decks were performing well, and the games and interactions within those games looked healthy. We saw some amazing matches over the weekend that were textured, interesting, and interactive.
While it is true that these two cards made big waves at the Pro Tour and within the format, these cards—
Games can be frequently decided by having
That said, while we aren't taking action against any cards from The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth today, we do want to be clear that these cards are on our radar. Despite the healthy tournament results and there seemingly being plenty of wiggle room to explore further in the format during the upcoming Regional Championship Qualifiers, the play rates of these cards are still high. We'll be monitoring the long-term fun of
So why are we unbanning
On average, Modern is a lot more interactive now, in part due to the Modern Horizons sets. It was a goal of those releases to offer powerful options to stop your opponents' combos and play longer, more interactive games. As a result, we believe that
This is also part of a goal to give something back to Blue-Red Murktide, which was one of the most popular decks in the Modern metagame between the release of Modern Horizons 2 and The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth but has since fallen out of favor in part due to the release of
Pioneer, Legacy, and Vintage Written by Carmen Handy
The Pioneer metagame continues to have a wide spread of play styles and archetype representation from tournament to tournament. While there are known pillars in Mono-Green Devotion, Rakdos variants, and creature-centric aggro decks, their metagame shares rise and fall at a healthy clip. Recently, new versions of Lotus Field Control have gotten some extra attention, but its win rate and metagame share sit about where we would expect any reasonable deck to fall. Without a clear top dog or unanswerable archetype pushing other decks out, we've elected for no change at this time.
Magic has a rich and storied history, including the fastest-banned card in the history of the game:
Two decades have passed since
Outside the spell's combo presence, the Legacy metagame is still evolving with the release of The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth.
Finally, Vintage players have been given a new tool recently in the form of
We'll be keeping an eye on the aforementioned cards as the format evolves, but the success of decks without either card communicates that there isn't a need to act yet.