Ban Announcement Uncovered for Tomorrow, July 21
[UPDATE: The Announcement has been made- Brainstorm is Suspended in Historic.]
Clever minds in the Magic social media sphere have discovered that banned and restricted announcements from Wizards of the Coast are usually created the day before they go public. This means that if anyone can find the URL, it is possible to visit the page before the announcement is made, although it only displays the text “You are not authorized to access this page.” This technique has been used in the recent past to very accurately predict that a ban is coming, and today, MTG writer and Twitter user Robert Taylor @fireshoes discovered that a ban is impending for tomorrow, July 21st, 2021.
As of the writing of this article, entering that exact web address from Robert Taylor’s tweet does bring up the “Access denied” page as pictured. Up to this point, the existence of these pages has always meant that a ban is impending, so it’s now only a question of what card or cards will be banned or unbanned.
Tomorrow marks exactly one week since the most recent banning, The Book of Exalted Deeds, which only affected the Standard 2022 format on MTG: Arena. It’s highly unlikely that Wizards would target Standard 2022 again so soon, and current Standard has hardly been impacted by Adventures in the Forgotten Realms- certainly not to the point where a ban would be in consideration, anyways.
So that leaves Historic, or other formats that aren’t available on MTG: Arena. Brainstorm has been on the radar in the Historic format since its printing in the Strixhaven Mystical Archive. At the Strixhaven Championship in June, Brainstorm was the most played nonland card in the entire tournament, and recent results don’t suggest that has changed: Brainstorm was played as a four-of in six out the top eight decks at the recent Insight Esports Tier 1 Historic $5k Open. It’s not surprising, then, that some players are speculating that the announcement tomorrow will ban Brainstorm in Historic.
Observant Reddit user u/davidemsa points out that Wednesday is the day when Wizards typically makes Arena announcements, so perhaps that’s an indication that the banning will affect the Arena client. Of course, this is only speculation at this point and we have no way of knowing for sure what’s coming.
u/davidemsa is not the only person to be discussing potential bans in the Pauper format, and there is also speculation that there may be bannings or unbannings in Modern as the format adjusts to the recent addition of Modern Horizons 2. In particular, Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer is an extremely powerful card in Modern, and some have seen it as a potential problem since its printing. Since the power of Modern has been slowly rising, many players have been discussing cards that may be unbanned from Modern that were banned years ago, including possibly Splinter Twin. Chatterstorm, also from Modern Horizons 2, may be a potential target for Pauper where Storm is a powerhouse. Neither of these formats are available for MTG Arena.