March 6, 2023 Banned and Restricted Announcement
Announcement Date: March 6, 2023
Effective Date: March 6, 2023
The list of all banned and restricted cards, by format, is here.
While we've only made changes to Legacy, we closely examined our competitive formats. We quickly discuss the state of each below.
Since the last update, the Legacy metagame has evolved such that two major archetypes combine to make up a large portion of the field. These are the perennially popular Izzet Delver and the recently enabled Mono-White Initiative. With their combined presence approaching 30% of the field in some circles of competitive play, we're choosing to ban one card from each deck to lower their respective win rates and metagame shares.
Izzet Delver has been popular for quite some time in Legacy, and it has picked up some notable recent additions, including
In addition to removing a generally strong card, our hope is that by removing
Since the release of Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate, the initiative mechanic has had a large impact on the Legacy format and continues to rise in popularity. The current second most popular deck uses fast mana to power out an initiative creature, gaining an early advantage that's difficult to recover from. To reduce the consistency and speed of this gameplay pattern, we're choosing to ban the efficient three-mana initiative creature
According to our data, these two decks are holding each other in check, as well as stymieing additional metagame movement. Therefore, we're choosing to impact both decks together. We'll continue to monitor if these changes are enough to open up the metagame and evaluate further changes if needed going forward.
When last we updated the Standard banned list,
The recent Pro Tour Phyrexia in Philadelphia showcased excellent diversity in deck building and gameplay in the Pioneer format. Among the popular decks were Rakdos Midrange, Mono-Green Devotion, Gruul Vehicles, Lotus Field Combo, Izzet Creativity, and more. Almost 20% of the field chose unique archetypes that didn't fall into the most popular categories, which indicates a good amount of space for innovation and format growth. With the spotlight having recently returned to the Pioneer format, we expect to see continued evolution of the metagame as time goes on, but for now, things are in a good place.
As with the last update, Modern continues to be in a healthy spot, with plenty of different viable archetypes and a relatively flat spread among the top decks' metagame shares. Izzet Murktide is currently the most popular archetype in competitive play, but not by a large margin, and the deck isn't showing a concerning win rate. As of now, things are looking good, but as always, we'll keep our eyes on the Modern metagame as more high-level competitive play unfolds in the future.
Mono-White Initiative is also making a mark in Vintage, but our data shows this as additive to the usual metagame pillars rather than a win-rate outlier. With all the powerful strategies available in Vintage, a mostly monocolor creature-based deck represents a novel addition to the competitive metagame, and we're eager to see how things play out. Since last time, we've also seen
The Vintage metagame can tend to evolve at a slower rate due to sparser opportunities for competitive play, so we'll be watchful as things unfold. But we're hearing mostly positive things from Vintage fans, so we have no changes at this time.