June 8, 2020 Banned and Restricted Announcement: Winota, Joiner of Forces has been Suspended in Historic

In a previously unannounced surprise move, Wizards has decided to suspend Winota in the Historic format, effective from 2 pm PT today. Winota had already taken down a few tournaments, and led to an extremely uninteractive and hard-to-counter playstyle, resulting in losses sometimes as early as turn 3 and often by turn 4. With Fauna Shaman and Llanowar Elves as key roleplayers alongside the presence of Angrath’s Marauders in Historic, which meant that the recent Agent of Treachery suspension had barely an impact on the deck, Wizards seems to have decided that enough is enough!

Long-term, this kind of rapid suspension signals a change in Wizards’ policy with regards to Historic. Their announcement (posted below) indicates that Wizards is willing to move quickly and provide much less notice when enacting Historic changes, when they feel there is a problem.

Check out the previous announcement from May 18th here.

Unfortunately, wildcards aren’t usually granted for suspensions until they become bans, so we may need to wait a few months, assuming she doesn’t become legal again at that point (which Field of the Dead did, so there is precedent).

iko-216-winota-joiner-of-forces

Here’s the updated list of Historic suspensions:

  • Agent of Treachery
  • Fires of Invention
  • Winota, Joiner of Forces

The following cards are banned in Historic:

  • Oko, Thief of Crowns
  • Nexus of Fate is banned in best-of-one only
  • Once Upon A Time
  • Veil of Summer

Today, we are making an update to the Magic: The Gathering Arena digital format Historic. We’ll discuss why we’ve made the following change as well as the timing of this announcement.

Winota, Joiner of Forces is Suspended

MTG Arena Effective Date: June 8, 2020 at 2 p.m. PT

Since Ranked Historic returned in late May, we have been closely watching decks using Winota, Joiner of Forces. The early data for this deck showed it to be both popular and strong, but, since the deck was so new in the format, we wanted to allow some time to see how the rest of the field adapted. And though the field has recently shifted due to last week’s announcement, the data show that this is not significantly reducing the performance of this deck. In fact, with the data now available, we see the popularity roughly doubling since its emergence and the win rate remaining problematically high. Decks using Winota, Joiner of Forces currently represent too large a portion of the Historic metagame, and the quality of enablers and payoffs in the format means that this is unlikely to change without further action. Because of this, Winota, Joiner of Forces is Suspended in Historic.

A NOTE ON TIMING FOR HISTORIC

We are making this suspension effective immediately, which is a change from our previously announced practice of providing one-week notice. As we have worked and learned more about how to manage Historic as a digital-focused format, we feel that the notice period is, on balance, more problematic than beneficial here. The digital nature of Historic play allows us to observe the full format much more closely, and it allows players to respond to format changes more quickly as well. For Historic only, there will be times that we feel the case is compelling enough that we should act immediately, without providing a one-week notice.

As with other formats, changes like this will not occur in any major event using the Historic format. This includes both organized play events such as a Mythic Invitational, as well as MTG Arena-specific events geared toward high-level competitive play such as an Arena Open. The one-week notice period will remain the standard (no pun intended) for all formats other than Historic, and we will continue to work closely with both our esports organization as well as our own events team to ensure the timing on these announcements.

MTG ARENA PLAYER COLLECTIONS

As Winota, Joiner of Forces is still playable in Standard and only being suspended to Historic, we will not be issuing any Wildcard grants or making changes to any pack collation or individual card rewards (ICRs) as a result of this suspension. Please note that this card is currently only available as a Standard ICR.

If we ultimately decide to ban Winota, Joiner of Forces, we will include any information on changes to player collections at that time.

A NOTE ON MTG ARENA EVENTS

CONSTRUCTED EVENTS

If you were participating in a Traditional Historic or Historic Event using a deck that included Winota, Joiner of Forcers prior to today’s maintenance, you will still be able to complete the event with your current deck. Please note that your deck will be flagged as invalid because of the suspension, however, this will not prevent you from finishing a previously entered event. Once you have finished the current event, you will no longer be able to submit decks that contain these cards.

PLAY QUEUES

The Winota, Joiner of Forces suspension will immediately go into effect for all Historic play queues once today’s maintenance is complete. This includes both Traditional Historic Ranked and Historic Ranked.

Discussion

  • Was the Winota suspension warranted?
  • What do you think of Wizards surprise suspending cards in Historic, without notice?
  • What other cards would you like to see suspended, if any?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Drifter

Drifter is a draft and strategy specialist, of special mention are his Limited Reviews and draft coaching service.

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