The Strixhaven Championship which just took place over the last weekend was dominated by Jeskai Turns, a deck that was largely focused around casting and recasting Time Warp. The Mystical Archive from Strixhaven has brought many powerful cards to Historic, but Jeskai and Izzet decks seem to have disproportionately benefited. Five of the top eight players at the Strixhaven Championship were playing Jeskai Turns, and it was clear that it was a problem in the format.
Wizards of the Coast has responded very quickly to this by banning Time Warp in Historic today, June 9. They cite the deck’s dominance at the tournament as well as data from ladder gameplay as reasons for the ban, pointing out that the deck has very few bad match-ups in addition to its raw power level. Although this effectively shuts down the existing Jeskai Turns deck for now, Izzet Phoenix and Jeskai Control remain the next best decks in the format by a seemingly wide margin. We expect to see more metagame diversity in the short term, but Izzet and Jeskai are likely to remain at the top unless and until more changes are made.
On Arena, this will be effective from tomorrow, June 10. Remember that anything banned will incur a wildcard refund, so you’ll get a wildcard back for any copies of Time Warp that you have crafted, drafted, or opened in packs.
Time Warp is the only card included in today’s ban announcement with no changes to any format besides Historic. This is the second time in a row following the banning of Thassa’s Oracle where Wizards has decided to ban a card altogether rather than following their typical procedure of suspending the card first. Please scroll down for the official announcement transcript with explanations provided by Jay Parker from Wizards of the Coast.
Current Historic Banned Card List
JUNE 9, 2021 BANNED AND RESTRICTED ANNOUNCEMENT
Announcement Date: June 9, 2021
Time Warp is banned.
MTG Arena effective date: June 10, 2021
When Strixhaven was released, we expected to see significant changes in the Historic metagame due to a host of powerful Mystical Archive cards. We are certainly seeing those results now.
In the recent Strixhaven Championship tournament, five of the Top 8 and all of the Top 4 Historic decks were Jeskai Turns decks prominently featuring Time Warp. In addition to the results of this event, our ladder play data from Historic also shows this to be an extremely powerful deck that is challenging for many other decks to disrupt and boasts very few bad matchups.
Though we often like to see how the metagame adjusts to tournament results like these, when the deck involved has play patterns that prevent the opponent from playing the game and when our data suggests that it lacks a significant number of bad matchups, we favor acting quickly. For these reasons, Time Warp is banned in Historic.
More broadly, the Strixhaven Championship Historic metagame was clearly dominated by blue-red based decks, with Izzet Phoenix and Jeskai Control also proving to be both popular and successful. Much of the discussion has centered on the power of Mystical Archive additions—most notably Brainstorm—and the addition of these cards is something we have been monitoring closely. However, with these decks we see a different pattern than with Jeskai Turns. Both decks provide more opportunities for an opposing deck to counter their strategies, and we also see multiple other top-tier decks that show strong records against one or both. Furthermore, neither deck is demonstrating win rates at the same level as Jeskai Turns. Because of this, we do think a wait-and-watch strategy is best here to see how the metagame adapts to the removal of Jeskai Turns.
We will be monitoring closely to see how the rest of the metagame can adapt, and we are prepared to take further action soon if we do not see things moving in a positive direction.
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