Announcement Date: March 11, 2024


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Violent Outburst is banned.


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Ponder is unrestricted.


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Effective Date: Tabletop and Magic Online March 11, 2024

The next banned and restricted announcement will be May 13, 2024. The list of all banned and restricted cards, by format, is here.

As we discussed during our most recent banned and restricted announcement on December 4 at the end of last year, we planned today's announcement such that we could observe and gather data from recent events both before and after the release of Murders at Karlov Manor. Since the beginning of the new year, we've seen nearly a full season of Standard Regional Championship Qualifiers, a full season of Modern Regional Championships, and the Pioneer Pro Tour at MagicCon Chicago featuring Murders at Karlov Manor.

With that information under our belts, we'll dive into the health of each format individually, whether a change has been made or not. Additionally, if you'd like to hear more about our thoughts on each of these formats, tune in to WeeklyMTG on Tuesday, March 12 (that's tomorrow if you're reading this the day it's posted), to hear more from Andrew Brown and Dan Musser.


A little more than 10 months ago, we set out to revitalize Standard. We updated the rotation, tweaked our banning philosophy, added more events and opportunities to play, and released several new sets. And we're thrilled to say that Standard is incredibly healthy right now—both in terms of the play environment and the interest in playing the format.

Over the past year, the number of players participating in tabletop Standard play has trended upward, culminating this past week with numbers higher than any other week since the pandemic. There are more than triple the number of "tickets" (individual entries into an event) for Standard this year when compared to the same period last year. In fact, Standard has now returned to being the most-played 60-card tabletop format (in addition to remaining the most-played digital format)! So thank you to all the players and stores that explored Standard and found it really … fun!

As alluded, Standard looks healthy and fun, with each macro-archetype having multiple flavors and new cards from Murders at Karlov Manor making an impact. Cards like Novice Inspector and Case of the Gateway Express have powered up Boros Convoke, while No More Lies has elevated Azorius Control. Trusty Domain and Esper Midrange decks remain strong, and nearly all decks have adapted the new surveil lands. We have even seen some exciting, new combo decks with cards like Steamcore Scholar, Reenact the Crime, and Conspiracy Unraveler. Perhaps one of the more interesting developments in Standard comes from the winner of the $75k open at MagicCon Chicago, Rei Zhang (aka cftsoc), whose deck featured Aftermath Analyst; Nissa, Resurgent Animist; and Slogurk, the Overslime!

With a larger card pool than ever, players are having fun seeing what winning strategies they can concoct in this new, larger sandbox of cards. As such, we have no changes for Standard and are excited to see what players cook up for Pro tour Thunder Junction in April.

If you haven't tried Standard lately, but your interest is piqued, find a store near you with our store and event locator.


We made a few changes during our last announcement, with the goal of setting the stage for a more fun and diverse Pioneer metagame. The Pioneer Pro Tour at MagicCon Chicago has since played on that new stage, and the results were exciting.

Recent sets continue to impact the format with cards printed over the last year appearing in top decks. No More Lies, Deduce, and Meticulous Archive in Azorius Control. Amalia Benavides Aguirre as the centerpiece of her namesake creature combo deck. Picklock Prankster and Sleight of Hand adding consistency to Izzet Phoenix. Archdruid's Charm providing utility to Lotus Field combo. But the breakout deck of the tournament was a variation on Rakdos Midrange featuring our old friend Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord with his new best friend Vein Ripper, which took down the whole event! Congrats to the ChannelFireball team, the winning pilot Seth Manfield, and the deck's creator Paul Rietzl.

The recently unbanned Smuggler's Copter also made an appearance in the aforementioned Rakdos Vampires deck as well as Izzet Ensoul lists.

With new cards impacting the format, and a slew of viable strategies, Pioneer is in a great spot for your upcoming Regional Championship Qualifiers beginning in April.


Each card banned in Pioneer that is available on MTG Arena is also banned in Explorer.


Violent Outburst is banned.

In our previous Modern update, we removed Fury and Up the Beanstalk from the environment. Doing so has returned Rakdos Midrange to an acceptable level without deleting it from the metagame entirely. Since then, we've seen Temur Rhinos, Living End, Golgari Yawgmoth, Amulet Titan, and Izzet Murktide rise in metagame share. More recently, players have had some success with Leyline of the Guildpact from Murders at Karlov Manor in Domain Zoo and Rhinos variants featuring Scion of Draco and Leyline Binding.

Over the past Regional Championship season, Temur Rhinos has begun to approach previous levels of Rakdos Midrange metagame dominance. While we want to preserve the cascade strategies as viable options in Modern, we'd like to remove one of the more powerful aspects of their strategy. Namely, the ability to cascade into a payoff card at instant speed. Casting Violent Outburst during an opponent's turn reduces a lot of the risk inherent in such a strategy. It allows the cascade player to untap with all their mana open and Rhino tokens or cycling creatures ready to attack. Both decks also include Force of Negation, which costs zero mana on opponents' turns, enabling a streamlined defense of the combo.

Violent Outburst is banned. Removing Violent Outburst from the format will necessitate cascade players to adopt Ardent Plea or Demonic Dread and force them to play on their own turn more often, weakening both cascade strategies and reducing them to an acceptable level of metagame share, much like the Fury ban did to Rakdos Midrange.


The Legacy format has changed slightly since we last checked in, mainly with the inclusion of Broadside Bombardiers in both Goblins and Red Prison decks. Control, combo, and tempo decks in addition to these updated red decks all jockey for position at the top of the metagame, giving players plenty of options to choose.

Orcish Bowmasters has crept into many of the macro-strategies, featured in Delver of Secrets tempo variants, Sultai Control, and Reanimator. While the play rate of Orcish Bowmasters isn't quite at the level of format staples like Brainstorm, Ponder, and Force of Will, it is something we're keeping an eye on. For the time being, we're happy with the fact that many different decks can win at the top levels of Legacy.


Ponder is unrestricted.

Ponder has been restricted in Vintage since 2008! It's not necessarily true that we want to reintroduce every card that has been restricted for over a decade, but evidence suggests Ponder is ready to come back into the four-of club.

While not much has changed in Vintage since our last announcement, we believe that spell-based combo decks in Vintage could use a little boost. The top of the metagame features decks like Lurrus Saga, Initiative, and Mishra's Workshop shells. Even if many of the Lurrus decks contain blue, they generally feature zero copies of Ponder.

While this shouldn't cause a huge shift, it should give a few percentage points back to decks looking to find specific cards to enact their strategy more consistently.