Announcement Date: May 29, 2023
- Tabletop and Magic Online: May 29, 2023
- MTG Arena: May 30, 2023
The list of all banned and restricted cards, by format, is here.
Banned and Restricted Philosophy Update with Changes to Standard
Recently, we released an article talking about tabletop Standard and our renewed focus to improve it at every level. Today represents our second step toward delivering on that goal.
When talking to players about bans in Standard, most of the community feedback we've received —whether coming from players competing at the top tables of the Pro Tour or those enjoying a more relaxed Wednesday night Standard at their local game store—has focused on how disruptive our current banning cadence can be. Bans are a pain point for Standard engagement. They are too unpredictable, too inconsistent, and hurt players' ability to have confidence in building and playing their decks.
Moving forward, we are going to change the cadence with which we manage our formats, particularly Standard. Our goal is to make most of our format changes once a year for greater consistency. This announcement will happen annually before fall previews begin. This will not only include Standard but also Modern, Pioneer, Legacy, and Vintage.
Broadly, our goal of Standard remaining a fun and healthy play environment hasn't changed. However, we will be placing more scrutiny on cards and play patterns that have been in play longer to ensure Standard is a fresh, engaging, and continually exciting format.
In addition to the yearly announcement, we will also have a banned and restricted update on the third Monday after every set release specifically dedicated to addressing large environmental imbalances. These will, by and large, happen after the Pro Tour.
Our intention is that it should be very rare for us to use this three-week window to make Standard changes. If a new card immediately and dramatically has a negative impact on a format, we believe it's important that our players don't feel "stuck" with a bad format for upwards of a year. We will reserve this window for cards on the level of
That said, we are banning three cards from Standard today to help make this transition. We felt it was important to begin this new era of Standard with a clean slate, so to speak, without the specter of recent ban talk hanging over the format. To do so, we decided to make the following changes:
- Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki is banned.
Reckoner Bankbusteris banned. Invoke Despairis banned.
We've been watching the rise and dominance of the core three-color shell based in black-red over the past several set releases and premier-level tournaments. We believe that these changes will help reduce the win rate of the dominant strategy in the format and create an exciting shake-up and entry point to the format preceding the summer and release of Wilds of Eldraine.
Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki has been the backbone of strategies based in black-red and one of the strongest cards in the format for the entirety of its tenure in Standard. Its ability to generate resources, card flow, and be a must-kill threat is unmatched at its level of efficiency. Counterplay available to it is low and frequently costs much more than three mana, and it is especially difficult to beat on the draw. By removing Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki, we hope to reduce the power of black-red decks but also make deck-building choices for these strategies more meaningful as to whether they want a threat, card selection, or the ability to enable reanimation. For these reasons, as well as the high play rate of the card across many decks, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki is banned.
We will have our first yearly banned and restricted announcement on August 7, 2023, ahead of Wilds of Eldraine previews.