It looks like a bunch of MTG cards are about to get hit with the ban hammer. On Tuesday, November 28, Wizards of the Coast released a 53-minute video where it announced that new card bans would be revealed on Monday. It looks like the main formats impacted will be Modern and Pioneer, and we’ve got some pretty good ideas about what cards might be struck down.
While not revealing exactly which cards are getting added to the MTG banlist on Monday, Wizards of the Coast had quite a frank discussion about various problem cards and decks, and that gives us plenty to work with.
For example, here’s a big hint in the video, from Magic designer Dan Musser: “It didn’t look like the metagame has adapted very well to the Black-Red deck’s dominance.” He then says that even the deck below that, the 4-color Omnath deck, shares at least one card in common with Rakdos Scam. “So we thought now seems like a good time to change that.”
The card that’s common to both those MTG Modern decks is Fury. It’s a pivotal card in Rakdos Scam, a deck archetype that’s literally named after how unfair it feels to play against, and has become increasingly dominant in recent months.
The designers also named a bunch of potential problem cards from recent MTG sets: The One Ring, Up the Beanstalk, and Orcish Bowmasters.
As for Pioneer, “The discover decks are all over the place”, says Musser, adding that losing on turn three all the time is not that fun. We’ve seen all sorts of cards spiking for that deck in recent weeks, and can expect crashes if they’re banned, so if you’ve got a bunch of copies, it could be time to abandon ship and offload them. Wizards also hinted that the format might see some additional cards unbanned on Monday.
If you’ve been paying attention, you might be a little confused about why we’re getting new ban announcements now. Didn’t Wizards of the Coast recently say it would only be making banlist tweaks once a year? It definitely already had this year’s banlist update – in August 7, when Preordain was unbanned.
Well, perhaps realizing this was too restrictive for the company to stick to, Wizards of the Coast gave itself a get-out-of-jail-free card in the form of a three week window after each MTG set release, with the intention that it would use these windows to enact new bans sparingly.
Lost Caverns of Ixalan came out on November 17 – so the window is technically open to December 8, 2023. And in fact, in this video Musser says Wizards thinks it needs to expand this to a “2 to 5 week” window after a main set’s release. Judging by the packed MTG release schedule, that seems to mean there’ll be almost as many weeks where we’re in one of these windows as weeks where we’re not.