Wizards of the Coast has printed their long-awaited Banned and Restricted Announcement right now, with adjustments to each single format with the Companion nerf, and to 2 particularly with bans/suspensions. MTG Arena can be affected from June 4th 2020, when the replace is launched, onward. The adjustments can be as follows:
Once per sport, any time you may solid a sorcery (throughout your primary section when the stack is empty), you may pay Three generic mana to place your companion out of your sideboard into your hand. This is a particular motion, not an activated potential.
- Tabletop Effective Date (Rules and B&R): June 1, 2020
- MTG Arena B&R and Companion Rules Effective Date: June 4, 2020
- Magic Online B&R Effective Date: June 1, 2020
- Magic Online Companion Rules Update Effective Date: June 3, 2020
Read beneath for extra particulars, with explanations and commentary from myself, Drifter, on the components surrounding every change. Some of the commentary can be closely primarily based on my opinions and interpretations; in the event you don’t agree then that’s fully affordable, and I’d love to listen to your causes within the feedback!
You may take a look at the official record of all banned and restricted playing cards, by format, here.
Companion Rules Change
Companions will not be castable from exile every time it’s handy; as a substitute it’s essential to first pay Three generic mana at sorcery velocity to place your Companion into your hand out of your sideboard.
Companion is the primary mechanic to obtain a direct nerf to its general performance all through Magic’s historical past, and it’s actually a extreme one! Companions will not be castable from exile every time it’s handy; as a substitute it’s essential to first pay Three generic mana at sorcery velocity to place your Companion into your hand out of your sideboard. This counts as a particular motion; it’s not an activated potential so your opponent can’t Tale’s End it, for instance, and it doesn’t go on the stack – basically it occurs instantly and in a manner that may’t be prevented.
This is a large change in that it removes a lot of Companions’ energy as a curve play, and makes all of them late sport worth playing cards moderately than tempo choices – three mana is a big sufficient extra price that it’ll closely tax the Companion participant’s mana at any level within the sport, being a full flip within the early sport. While Lurrus and Kaheera could be deployed on flip 4 (assuming no ramp), it can price you two turns to take action, a price that can hardly ever be value it. Instead, Companion prices will merely be paid every time a participant has the mana left over on a flip which relegates them to virtually all the time being late sport performs – the participant will both be enjoying Kaheera for the total 6 mana on the identical flip, or they are going to be unable to make use of a good portion of their mana on one other flip, which most likely signifies their hand is on the empty aspect within the late sport anyway. The indisputable fact that the particular motion can solely be carried out at sorcery velocity is a major blow – because of this decks can’t maintain up instants like counterspells and then pay the Companion tax in the event that they don’t use their mana on a given flip.
All this being stated, free flood prevention continues to be one thing each deck is pleased to have – the price of one sideboard slot continues to be minuscule. The query can be how free it’s for any given deck – earlier than, Companion stipulations have been value sacrificing rather a lot for, immensely warping the form of decks and being effectively value it. The greatest Companions on this courageous new world would be the ones which might be worth oriented with low deckbuilding constraints, so mainly Yorion and Lurrus (in decks that don’t need costly permanents anyway).
Now, the chance price is one thing each deck must take into account, because the acquire is a lot smaller and Companions are a lot extra restricted in software – the acquire from having them received’t be helpful in most aggro/tempo-oriented video games, the place you may’t afford to be spending Three mana on nothing, in order that they actually perform as an anti-Control/sluggish sport device solely now. Additionally, establishing stuff like Yorion combos can be far more troublesome even in these matchups – when you’ve paid the three mana, your Companion is weak to discard, the place counter-magic was the one clear reply to it earlier than, and your opponent is aware of it’s coming quickly and can plan round it i.e. by eradicating permanents that Yorion would flicker. But like I stated, any deck which will get a free Companion like Mutate with Umori (assuming there’s no good noncreatures they might need to add) or Cycling with Lurrus (assuming there aren’t any 3+ price permanents), will fortunately hand over that one sideboard slot – it simply must be truly free or very shut, moderately than throwing out 16 playing cards like we have been earlier than.
Theoretically, Fires of Invention can be a great way to get across the Companion Tax, and which will nonetheless be the case in Pioneer, however, as luck would have it, we’re about to see Fires of Invention take a fall from grace of its personal in Standard and Historic… nonetheless, mana acceleration in different methods can be a good way to mitigate the harm of this nerf – Companions can be at their greatest in decks with both loads of ramp like Bant Yorion, or different methods to cheat equivalent to by means of Wilderness Reclamation; the secret actually can be minimising the affect of this nerf, since Companions have been so ludicrously highly effective earlier than it.
Remember that the foundations adjustments have an effect on each single format; I’m pleased to report that Ikoria Limited, a superb format, must be even higher consequently – although the three mana tax will not be value practically as a lot as a superb additional card in Ikoria Draft, so Companions are nonetheless nice bombs. Modern will most likely go and not using a Lurrus ban on account of all this, and I think the latest Legacy bans of Lurrus and Zirda are a bit over-the-top with this new change, however I’m glad that Wizards didn’t topic these poor Magic Online gamers to a different three weeks of a damaged format. Check out my commentary on the Legacy bans here, with full in-depth explanations for these of you who don’t know a lot concerning the format!
Note: Companions are nonetheless authorized in Standard and Historic. Hence, there can be no wildcards refunded for them on Arena (that’s their reasoning at the very least, which I don’t essentially condone).
COMPANION RULES CHANGE
While Magic guidelines adjustments aren’t usually part of the banned and restricted record updates, on this case, we’re introducing a change to the companion mechanic that’s motivated by sport stability and metagame share throughout play environments. Effective with this replace, the companion mechanic (and all playing cards that includes it) will now work in another way from earlier than. The new model of the mechanic will work as follows:
Once per sport, any time you may solid a sorcery (throughout your primary section when the stack is empty), you may pay Three generic mana to place your companion out of your sideboard into your hand. This is a particular motion, not an activated potential. It occurs instantly and can’t be responded to. It can’t be countered or stopped by playing cards like Phyrexian Revoker.
Our purpose for making this transformation is predicated on metagame knowledge and play charges of companion decks throughout all codecs, and on participant suggestions on repetitive gameplay patterns. As a bunch, decks utilizing companions have too excessive of win charges and metagame share in Standard, Pioneer, and Modern, and have already necessitated bans in Legacy and Vintage. This pattern represents a long-term drawback for the well being and variety of all codecs. Rather than go down the trail of constructing a number of particular person changes to the banned record for every format, we really feel the higher resolution is to scale back the benefit gained from utilizing a companion throughout the board.
The end result we intend is to scale back the metagame share of companion decks whereas nonetheless capturing the spirit of the mechanic’s design and nonetheless having companions be value constructing round in lots of circumstances. We count on that this new model of the companion mechanic will lead to a deck-building problem and technique of self-expression that some gamers can choose into, moderately than being an enormous a part of the aggressive metagame.
We mentioned a number of different guidelines adjustments however in the end settled on this one, because it greatest mitigates the potential for repetitive gameplay and gives a wider window of interplay. By charging extra mana, enjoying a companion turns into much less environment friendly relative to enjoying the opposite playing cards the participant has drawn. In this fashion, gamers usually tend to solid their different spells earlier than their companion, leading to extra divergent sport paths. Next, this extra mana will typically sluggish the companion down by a flip, permitting the opponent to work together with it whereas within the companion participant’s hand or in any other case giving the opponent an extra flip to plan forward earlier than the companion hits the battlefield.
It’s uncommon that we use a guidelines change to handle metagame stability, and this isn’t one thing we’ve got plans to do sooner or later. In this case, the problem wasn’t with one particular person card however moderately the companions as a bunch. We consider this resolution is preferable to probably needing to make a number of bans throughout completely different codecs over time.
Fires of Invention has led to among the most devastating midgame turns Standard has ever seen, in an enormous number of decks ever since its printing. Fires made it too straightforward to overload your opponent with must-remove threats alongside a creature or planeswalker; it contributed to removing and different solutions being at their worst in Standard most likely all through historical past, since Fires would trigger you to lose large tempo by enjoying devoted solutions, and Companions would trigger you to lose large worth. If you answered Fires, you’d be behind because of it basically costing zero mana with the spell they received to play alongside it; in the event you didn’t, you’d simply lose to the sport to 2 5 drops performed proper after, and the flexibility to activate these 5 drops’ activated skills to their coronary heart’s content material. When the most effective playing cards within the format are 4 and 5 drops anyway, the 2 spells per flip restriction hardly ever ended up mattering!
All in all, giving gamers the flexibility to cheat on mana to such an absurd extent hardly ever ends effectively, and I’m pleased to see Fires go. It’s value noting that Fires would have been the easiest way to get across the Companion Tax, and so much more video games would have been selected drawing the cardboard going ahead, had it not been banned.
Not one however two methods have been printed in Ikoria to cheat Agent of Treachery out for a lot lower than 7 mana; this was along with it already being a superb card earlier than then, because of Growth Spiral and Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath offering Simic decks with a ton of ramp at barely a price. Winota, Joiner of Forces and Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast took a sluggish card with insane worth and versatility and made it far too quick for consolation, changing it right into a mechanism that basically locked gamers out of the sport, and Yorion, Sky Nomad gave decks the flexibility to transform that lock right into a straight-up win, generally instantly with Fires.
All that being stated, nonetheless, I believe the Agent of Treachery ban is a transparent case of ignoring the actual drawback playing cards – till Ikoria, Agent was generally a superb inclusion meta decks pivoted in direction of to one-up one another on greed or that ramp decks wished some copies of, however not a dominant card by any stretch. The drawback with this ban is that I worry we haven’t seen the top of Winota & Lukka doing metawarping issues to a Standard setting, within the 18 months they’ve left… all Lukka wants is for good costly creatures to be printed, and I’m certain at the very least one or two can be in such an extended stretch of time – even proper now, one thing like End-Raze Forerunners is probably not practically nearly as good as Agent of Treachery, however I can’t see it being all that satisfying a card to face on turns 3-5 (Goose -> Goose -> Lukka, for instance) both, particularly when Lukka himself sticks round and threatens to do it over again if unanswered. As for Winota, Wizards had higher watch out to not print any affordable costly Humans within the subsequent 18 months – they don’t need to be all that good whenever you’re getting them free of charge, typically in multiples! Design area being restricted by these playing cards is a price in itself.
I went into extra element in my Predictions article here however I felt some extra/completely different bans have been warranted. This is an efficient begin and I strongly agree with the Fires ban, however I worry the cautious strategy right here will result in extra bans down the road, with future Standard metagames paying the value within the interim. Furthermore, I believe it’s completely legitimate to consider different causes for playing cards to be banned, equivalent to homogenising Standard environments, making them much less enjoyable, and oppressing different decks; I used to be actually hoping for a Teferi ban, as a result of the cardboard does all of these issues and has for thus lengthy, and I’m unhappy to see the set off has nonetheless not been pulled on that. Making selections for a format’s long-term well being and attraction is among the hardest elements of banning playing cards, and for my part, these bans have been too short-term.
Over the course of the final a number of weeks, Fires of Invention decks have risen to have a dominant win price and metagame presence in Standard, attaining a 55% win price and having even or favorable matchups towards every of the opposite prime ten archetypes. This signifies that metagame forces alone aren’t enough to maintain the deck in verify.
In addition, as we craft and check future environments, we’ve discovered the cardboard Fires of Invention to be a major design and stability constraint. Because of the versatile nature of the fee discount impact, Fires of Invention decks would proceed to achieve energy as new high-mana-cost spells are added to the setting. As new units have been launched, we’ve seen the win charges of Fires of Invention decks enhance in comparison with previous Standard metagame environments.
Because of the Fires of Invention deck’s present excessive win price and metagame share, and the dangers and design constraints it poses to the setting going ahead, Fires of Invention is banned in Standard.
Next, not too long ago we’ve seen an increase in archetypes that use both Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast or Winota, Joiner of Forces to place Agent of Treachery immediately into play. While a part of the design intent of those playing cards was to supply artistic methods to deploy highly effective high-mana-cost creatures, we’ve noticed that utilizing them to play an early Agent of Treachery could be uniquely irritating to play towards and troublesome to return again from.
The impact of stealing any lands or key playing cards, when at a excessive play price, reduces variety within the metagame. Decks constructed round distinctive permanents or huge creatures have much less probabilities to succeed when opponents can steal their key playing cards with out particular deck-building intent.
Therefore, to be able to permit for extra comeback potential towards Lukka and Winota decks, and to advertise deck-building variety in Standard, Agent of Treachery is banned.
I’m going to be sincere – I’m not attempting to put into Wizards right here, I used to be fairly optimistic concerning the Standard bans, however I don’t actually perceive these Historic suspensions. As far as I can inform, they do treasured little by way of truly affecting Historic: they do nothing to affect Naya Winota, the format’s greatest deck; they didn’t even droop an enabler of that deck for making Winota too constant and quick, equivalent to Llanowar Elves or Fauna Shaman. Agent of Treachery wasn’t seeing play in Naya Winota anyway; there are different nice costly Humans in Historic, and that deck is proud of the likes of Angrath’s Marauders and Haktos the Unscarred, playing cards which they will hardcast if the combo plan isn’t understanding. Naya Winota is a uniquely depressing deck to play towards, doing an ultra-consistent busted factor and having an awesome aggressive back-up plan even when they will’t combo; it has already taken down one tournament and I think that received’t be the final.
Outside of Naya Winota, Agent of Treachery noticed little play anyplace else in Historic both; it was generally boarded in towards Field decks to attempt to assault that technique, and some Ramp decks have been attempting to have it as their payoff earlier than Ulamog got here out – maybe they might proceed to have 1-2 however I do suppose Ulamog does the job higher. Other Winota decks ran Agent generally, actually, and maybe a Jeskai Winota construct was poised to steal the subsequent match as a substitute, however I might nonetheless really feel like that success must be attributed extra to Winota, the cardboard I hoped they might ban, and to not Agent – I do consider that in Historic, Agent is a good card with out Winota because it prices one million mana in a format with higher high-end choices..
The Fires ban additionally appears a bit unusual; the cardboard noticed solely sporadic play in Historic, a format full of higher ramp and the place low-cost spells are considerably higher, so the 2 spells per flip restriction issues extra. If it was busted there too, it hadn’t actually proven indicators up until this level.
In all probability, Wizards most likely felt the meta was nonetheless too early to make a transfer, which I respect, however I’m confused as to why they might droop playing cards in Historic now within the first place, if that have been the case – and that also doesn’t reply the query of why these two. My greatest guess (apologies to Wizards if I’m flawed about this!) is that this announcement was a bit rushed, and Wizards was of the notion that Standard and Historic’s issues are extra comparable than I really feel they’re. Perhaps my perspective is simply too restricted, and the meta was about to swing right into a Fires/Agenty route, or their winrates have been simply that top within the small quantities they have been being performed, however I’ve some issue seeing it…
I might wager that these playing cards is not going to make the transfer from suspension to ban in a number of months time. I used to be anticipating a Winota ban, most likely as the one one, however gave another possibilites within the predictions article; verify that out in the event you’re (the quote is from there), it would nonetheless be good planning for the subsequent Historic suspensions announcement!
For comparable causes as in Standard, we’re selecting to droop Fires of Invention and Agent of Treachery in Historic. As we proceed to look at Historic develop and monitor the evolution of the metagame, we’ll sooner or later reevaluate whether or not it’s acceptable to unsuspend every of those playing cards or whether or not these suspensions will develop into bans.
Wildcard Refunds and Events
Read on for the logistics of the banning course of, and the way it applies to Arena! Players can be receiving refunds as Wildcards for the bans for every copy of Fires of Invention and Agent of Treachery you personal. If you don’t have already got them in your assortment, we advocate you craft them earlier than the June Four replace in an effort to proceed to make use of them in different codecs the place they’re authorized. You should be capable to use them in Historic in a while down the monitor in the event that they develop into unsuspended (like Field of the Dead). Unfortunately, no refunds can be given for Companions.
MTG ARENA PLAYER COLLECTIONS
Players who’ve Fires of Invention and/or Agent of Treachery as part of their in-game assortment on MTG Arena previous to the sport replace on June Four will obtain an equal variety of uncommon Wildcards added to their assortment as a part of the replace. Players will obtain an in-game notification when the ban takes impact.
Players can nonetheless redeem Wildcards for Fires of Invention and/or Agent of Treachery for play in codecs the place the cardboard is authorized, equivalent to Brawl or pleasant Direct Challenge matches. There can be an extra affirmation messaging when crafting these playing cards to remind gamers that these playing cards are at present banned in Standard.
Players is not going to be receiving Wildcards on account of the companion guidelines change, as these playing cards are nonetheless playable in each Standard and Historic.
We can be adjusting the Throne of Eldraine and Core Set 2020 pack collation to vary the speed wherein Fires of Invention and Agent of Treachery seem in booster packs. After the June Four sport replace, gamers will solely obtain copies of those playing cards if they’ve collected playsets of each different Standard-legal uncommon card accessible within the respective boosters.
These adjustments is not going to affect the collation of playing cards in Limited boosters utilized in Throne of Eldraine or Core Set 2020 Sealed and Draft occasions (playing cards will nonetheless seem at their unique distribution price).
There aren’t any adjustments to pack collation as a part of the companion guidelines change.
INDIVIDUAL CARD REWARDS (ICRS)
Companion playing cards will nonetheless be obtainable as ICRs.
A NOTE ON MTG ARENA EVENTS
If you have been taking part in a Traditional Standard, Traditional Historic, Standard Event, and/or Historic Event utilizing a deck that included these playing cards previous to the June Four sport replace, you’ll nonetheless be capable to full the occasion along with your present deck. Please notice that your deck can be flagged as invalid due to the ban, nonetheless, this is not going to stop you from ending a beforehand entered occasion. Once you have got completed the present occasion, you’ll not be capable to submit decks that comprise these playing cards.
These card bans and suspensions will instantly go into impact for all Standard and Historic play queues as soon as upkeep on June Four is full. This contains Standard Ranked, Traditional Standard Play, Traditional Standard Ranked, Traditional Historic Ranked, and Historic Ranked.
- What do you consider the adjustments? Did they go far sufficient/too far?
- What would be the greatest decks within the upcoming Standard/Historic metas?
- How good will Companions be post-nerf? What form of decks will most need them?
- As all the time, keep tuned for our deck guides/metagame breakdowns! Which decks would you want us to cowl first?