Wizards of the Coast has announced a bunch of MTG bans in a new December 4 update that will shake up the Modern, Pioneer, and Pauper formats. Fury and Up the Beanstalk are banned in Modern, while Karn the Great Creator and Geological Appraiser has gotten the chop in Pioneer (and, by extension, Explorer). Meanwhile, Pauper players are losing access to Monastery Swiftspear.
On the other hand this update doesn’t just have additions to the MTG banlist; one card is being removed. It’s Smuggler’s Copter, which Wizards feels is no longer overpowered compared to all the other high strength MTG cards available in Pioneer. Fans definitely called this one, which can be seen from the way Smuggler’s Copter variants have spiked in price over the past week.
Going over a few of the bans, and Wizards’ reasoning for them, we’ll start with Modern. Basically, Fury, and the rest of its brethren are plain unfair, as players can cheat them into play all too easily, ignoring their casting cost. Wizards’ article explains that Fury is the worst offender by far thanks to its board clearing ability which “makes playing with creature decks nearly impossible”.
Not only was its Rakdos deck impressively dominant, Fury was also creeping into all the other best Modern decks too. This was the card we were pretty sure would be getting banned, as Wizards of the Coast telegraphed it pretty heavily in a video last week.
Meanwhile, Up The Beanstalk was deemed too efficient a card-draw option, and it doesn’t help that players don’t have to pay 5 mana when they’re using the Evoke elementals (at least Fury is gone now). “It is remarkably difficult to interact with the two-mana enchantment profitably,” explain the designers, as it provides instant value.
Pivoting to Pioneer, Karn, The Great Creator is banned for his place in Mono Green Nykthos decks. Essentially, the card’s -2 ability, which can fetch artifacts out of your sideboard, gives the deck too wide an arsenal of tools, allowing it to handily tackle any strategy it comes up against.
We explained why Geological Appraiser was so busted when we looked at a clone card it caused to jump in price. It could create a backbreaking combo which won the game within two to three turns. Presumably now the card is banned, Discover players will switch back to the MTG planeswalker Quintorius… if the Discover deck survives at all.
Designer Gavin Verhey has written a separate piece about why Swiftspear was banned in Pauper. Apparently, other popular options included All That Glitters and Tolarian Terror. Essentially, while the red aggro deck’s win-rate was only just above 50%, it seemed to be too format-warping in how much it dictated players’ sideboarding choices.
Wizards says it is happy with the state of Standard and the variety of strategies found among the best MTG Arena decks. Check out the MTG release schedule to find out what’s coming out in Magic next year.