Announcement Date: December 4, 2023


No changes


Karn, the Great Creator is banned.
Geological Appraiser is banned.

Smuggler's Copter is unbanned.


Fury is banned.
Up the Beanstalk is banned.


No changes


No changes


Karn, the Great Creator is banned.
Geological Appraiser is banned.


Monastery Swiftspear is banned.

Effective Date:

  • Tabletop and Magic Online: December 4, 2023
  • MTG Arena: December 5, 2023

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

We have a lot to discuss today, but before diving into each of the formats, we'd like to provide a bit of clarity to our announcement dates and windows. Going forward, we'll be operating with a slightly more flexible announcement cadence. Future banned and restricted announcements will occur two to five weeks after each set's release. This allows us to capture data from large events like Pro Tours while ensuring we make changes before the next set begins previewing. We want to establish a clear picture of each format before you start evaluating and collecting cards from the next set.

So we have a window following each main set release. It is still our goal that most and/or all changes to Standard happen once per year during the fall banned and restricted window that's associated with the new three-year Standard rotation. Changes to Pioneer, Modern, Legacy, and Vintage can happen during any main set release window. The next such window in 2024 will be around March 11 following the release of Murders at Karlov Manor.

If you missed it last week, we talked about our overall philosophy for our banned and restricted announcements, the timing, and much more. You can check out that video here:


We've talked about Standard a lot this year, and we're happy with the state of the format since we took actions on a few cards earlier back in May. The format has evolved since then, incorporating cards from Wilds of Eldraine and The Lost Caverns of Ixalan.

We view Standard as healthy when each of the macro-archetype strategies (aggro, midrange, control, and combo) are present and when new sets add cards to existing decks and spawn entirely new decks. We've seen this happening since the bans in May, even as Standard has grown to now incorporate ten sets in total.

In the current Standard environment, multiple different strategies are available for each of the listed macro-archetypes. If you'd like a more aggressive style of play, you can turn to Mono-Red Aggro, Azorius Soldiers, Boros Aggro (either more traditional convoke or newer variants with Inti, Seneschal of the Sun), or even Gruul Dinosaurs. Midrange enthusiasts have options as well, namely Esper Legends, Esper Midrange, Golgari Midrange, and Orzhov Life Gain. Control shells exist in a few forms, such as Bant Control, Esper Control, and Domain Ramp. We've even seen a couple combo decks in recent months utilizing Bramble Familiar/Invasion of Alara and Agatha's Soul Cauldron.

It remains true that our goal is to make Standard changes only once per year during the fall rotation window, barring any extremely warping outliers, of course.


Karn, the Great Creator is banned.
Geological Appraiser is banned.

Smuggler's Copter is unbanned.

We want Pioneer to provide as diverse an experience as possible. It is a place where you can have fun using cards from past Standard environments without content being printed directly into it or having content naturally rotate out of it. It is our largest format that gets its content solely through the Standard pipeline. As a large format, generally only the most powerful or synergistic of cards printed through Standard will find a home here. And since it is a format full of powerful cards, proper caretaking is required to ensure it stays as fun as possible.

The last time we took action on the format was in June of 2022, about one and a half years ago. The plan is to return to a more active role in managing Pioneer. During the year after its creation, changes to Pioneer were frequent, sometimes with multiple changes in a single month. Moving forward, we'll be actively using our main set release banned and restricted announcement cadence to take better care of Pioneer.

Even though the metagame share and win rate of Mono-Green Nykthos decks have been within a reasonable range, the deck has simply been a large component of the Pioneer metagame for most of the format's lifetime. With Karn, the Great Creator capable of finding threats and solutions to whatever the deck encounters, it can be quite difficult to go over the top of this strategy. This causes the metagame to either try to go underneath it or try to ignore what it's doing with their own combo strategy, effectively bending the metagame due to its existence. The consistency and strength of the deck also makes it very difficult for various types of fair midrange strategies to exist.

Karn's range is so broad, it can facilitate convoluted infinite combos that make the format less approachable, at little to no opportunity cost. Additionally, Karn's ability to naturally suppress artifacts is likely keeping a spread of interesting cards from being played. While it has recently been on the decline in terms of metagame share, it is clear that the deck has had a warping effect on the metagame for too long, and for these reasons Karn, the Great Creator is banned.

The introduction of The Lost Caverns of Ixalan brought new toys to the format. The discover mechanic, featured on cards such as Geological Appraiser, Trumpeting Carnosaur, and Quintorius Kand has given rise to brand-new strategies that don't play any other cards naturally costing four or less aside from cloning effects. When left undisturbed, these decks can either produce enough creatures to win via combat or enough Quintorius triggers to deal lethal damage to an opponent directly.

Being able to win the game on the spot on turn three with Geological Appraiser after creating a single Treasure token puts a bit too much pressure on folks to be a good thing for the long-term health of the format. While it's not clear that this is the strongest thing to be doing in Pioneer, without some form of interaction, players can lose the game as early as their own second turn. This doesn't meet our long-term vision for the format, where players can enjoy a variety of macro-strategies before losing the game so early. If every deck must run one or two mana-interaction spells, the format shrinks. For these reasons, Geological Appraiser is banned.

We'll keep an eye on Quintorius decks in Pioneer. It can win as early as turn four after resolving solely its namesake card. But that extra turn allows opponents to set up their own game plan and prepare for the pivotal turn more successfully.

We banned Smuggler's Copter back in December 2019. Since then, many new sets have entered the format, and as such the format has naturally grown in power over time. While unbanning is not something we do very often, we believe the format can absorb it successfully. Reintroducing it will create new deck-building puzzles (or revive old ones) and provide additional diversity. Smuggler's Copter is unbanned.

With the actions we're taking today, along with the impacts caused by recent sets, Pioneer is going through a good amount of change. We're excited to see how the format adapts, and we'll be monitoring both the data and your sentiment to help us continue pushing the format toward the most fun place it can be!


Fury is banned.
Up the Beanstalk is banned.

When we last spoke about Modern in August, we were most concerned about new cards from The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth™, namely Orcish Bowmasters and The One Ring. While these cards are powerful players in the metagame, another card has continued to suppress what's possible in the format even more. Fury, most often played as a 4/4 double striker that clears the opponent's board, makes playing with creature decks nearly impossible. Rakdos Evoke has only risen in metagame share since the Modern Pro Tour this summer, and coming in right behind it is Four-Color Omnath, also featuring Fury. Played in a smattering of other decks as well, Fury is keeping several diverse and interesting strategies at bay, and for this reason Fury is banned in Modern.

Removing Fury will impact both the play rate and win rate of Rakdos Evoke. Players are currently using four or more copies of "undying" effects like Not Dead After All to rebuy Grief or Fury. Without Fury, the opportunity cost of playing so many undying effects increases, reducing consistency in the deck and becoming a real cost to include. It is possible these decks begin to transform into white versions that utilize Solitude and/or Ephemerate, however, a rebought Solitude is not as threatening as a 4/4 with double strike and provides the deck less coverage against the metagame.

We believe the removal of Fury will widen the format, allowing players to explore additional strategies, especially with low-toughness creatures. Finally, fewer overall Rakdos Evoke decks in the metagame will also likely reduce the total number of Grief and Orcish Bowmasters players will encounter.

Up the Beanstalk is one of Modern's newest inclusions, subsidizing many cards in the format that cost five or more mana. However, it is rare for a player to pay anywhere close to five mana to cast the cards they are using with Up the Beanstalk. While removing Fury from the format will certainly impact the usage of Up the Beanstalk, we don't believe that to be enough. It is remarkably difficult to interact with the two-mana enchantment profitably, as the card replaces itself immediately, with players often playing a free spell on the same turn since they get such a great return on the deal. It is particularly telling when players have concluded that cascading into Up the Beanstalk is more advantageous than the zero-mana options like Crashing Footfalls and Living End. For these reasons, Up the Beanstalk is banned in Modern.


When making changes to Legacy, we often look at data through the lens of community sentiment. The community is passionate, and we believe the pillars of Legacy that players have enjoyed for many years are very important. Players want to play with Brainstorm, Force of Will, and Wasteland, and thus they remain even though they would have been removed from other formats long ago due to their ubiquity. Legacy is also powerful enough to absorb cards that would otherwise need to be banned in other formats, hence we seldom take action.

Since the introduction of The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth™, and with the releases of Wilds of Eldraine and recently The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, the Legacy metagame has incorporated several new cards and strategies have been evolving.

To name a few: Orcish Bowmasters, Lórien Revealed, Troll of Khazad-dûm, Forth Eorlingas!, Up the Beanstalk, Questing Druid, Beseech the Mirror, and Molten Collapse have all impacted the format in various ways. Bowmasters, being the most impactful of the bunch, has been adopted by various tempo, control, and midrange decks. Even so, the metagame has ample representation from each macro-archetype. With new cards making an impact, strategies adapting, and the metagame shifts taking place, we've decided to move forward with no changes at this time.


Our management of Vintage is like that of Legacy: we incorporate community sentiment along with data. Cards like The One Ring, Lórien Revealed, Orcish Bowmasters, and Beseech the Mirror have recently found homes in new and existing archetypes. The format is huge, and despite being around forever, it is remarkable how much exploration of new cards and strategies is possible after all these years! A great sign that this format, which contains Magic's most powerful cards, is in a healthy place.

While it's not a particularly new card, Urza's Saga has propagated its way into a myriad of macro-archetypes. The introduction of Lórien Revealed has allowed folks to essentially glue their Urza's Saga mana bases together with the ability to find blue sources using colorless mana, acting as a mana source that can pitch to Force of Will or, at worst, cast a five-mana Ancestral Recall!

We'll keep our eyes on how these cards continue to impact the format, especially as the current Eternal Weekend events come to a close, but Vintage is an extremely powerful format, and we're happy with no changes for now.


Each card banned in Pioneer that is available on MTG Arena is also banned in Explorer. To maintain this, Karn, the Great Creator and Geological Appraiser are banned in Explorer as well. (Note: Smuggler's Copter, now unbanned in Pioneer, is not available on MTG Arena.)


Monastery Swiftspear is banned.

To read the full explanation for this banning, see Gavin Verhey's article covering updates to Pauper.