Wizards of the Coast has announced a wave of new bans and limitations to various cards across different Magic The Gathering formats. The worst-hit card in the game is Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, which is now banned in almost every single format in the game, and was revealed during the announcement of Secret Lair Smitten.
Magic The Gathering And The Banhammer Of Doom
The latest swathe of bans to affect Magic The Gathering comes hot off the heels of the latest set for the game, Kaldheim, which was released on 5th Feb 2021. The bans are pretty evenly-spread amongst the various different formats of Magic, including 5 bans for Modern, one of the game's most popular formats. Historic, the Magic: Arena exclusive format, is losing Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath because it's pretty much the only deck seeing play in the format right now. They also opted to make Omnath, Locus of Creation, a permanent ban from suspended.
Similarly, Pioneer is losing, Tefari, Time Traveler, Wilderness Reclamation, Balustrade Spy, and Undercity Informer, alongside Uro to try and help make a more healthy metagame. All of these cards are part of various deck archetypes that are either over-used in the format now or that Wizards of the Coast believes would become so with their oppressors removed. Although both Balustrade Spy and Undercity Informer on their own seem like weird bans, they're crucial to the fiddly "Oops! All Spells!" archetype that relies on cards that aren't technically lands while they're in the deck.
Modern is also losing some weird cards. Both Field of the Dead and Mystic Sanctuary are cards used by ramp decks that create non-interactive board states, and that's just no fun for everyone. Simian Spirit Guide is getting removed from the format after being a key enabler for many broken combos. The newly released Kaldheim card Tibalt's Trickery is being removed from the format, despite not having an overwhelming amount of wins due to creating non-interactive games.
Legacy is joining the rest of the formats in a card cull, losing highly flexible planeswalker Oko, Theif of Crowns to promote more variety in deckbuilding. It's a similar story with Arcum's Astrolabe and Dreadhordge Arcanist, which enabled insane land diversity, and was becoming overly prominent respectively. The only outlier is Vintage, which actually had a card unbanned. Lurrus of the Dream-Den is a card with the companion ability that was disturbing the balance of power in the Vintage format, but after some rule changes to how companion works, WotC is experimenting with unbanning the card.
Changes To Other Rules Too
It's not just a huge number of bans, but some changes have been made to the rules thanks to new card types being added to the game. The cascade ability allows players to play certain cards for free by exiling cards from their deck, but the updated rule for cascade forces the player to only cast a spell cheaper in converted mana cost than the card with the cascade effects, and not alternative more expensive options that dual-faced cards may have.
The reason for this change was new card-types like the dual-faced cards in Kaldheim, and most particularly the Loki-like Valki, God of Lies which on the front is a 2 mana creature, but it has another play version as the 7 mana planeswalker Tibalt, Cosmic Imposter. Decks were being built to cheat the planeswalker in with cascade, sometimes resulting in the insanely powerful card hitting the game as early as turn 2.
It looks like Wizards of the Coast might be doing a little house cleaning in general. In a recent series where head designer, Mark Rosewater, answers questions about Magic The Gathering, he revealed that old Phyerxian cards will be gaining "Phyerxian" as a card type, without losing any of their already existing types. Someone at WOTC is trying to get the game in order.
What do you think of the latest bans for Magic the Gathering? Do you think the new rule changes will make the game better? Let us know in the comments below.