March 9, 2020 Banned and Restricted Announcement: Brawl and Historic Changes!
Wizards of the Coast has made their Banned and Restricted Announcement today, making changes to multiple formats. MTG Arena is also affected as of March 12, 2020 (when the update arrives) in the Brawl and Historic formats. Modern and Legacy also received a change each, so check out the link for more details on those formats. The changes will be as follows:
|Brawl||Golos, Tireless Pilgrim||Banned|
|Historic||Oko, Thief of Crowns||Banned|
|Historic||Once Upon a Time||Banned|
|Historic||Veil of Summer||Banned|
|Historic||Field of the Dead||Legal|
|Modern||Once Upon a Time||Banned|
Read below for more details, with explanations on the changes. You can also check out the official list of all banned and restricted cards, by format, is here.
Golos follows Oko into MTG Arena’s Brawl banlist, as its generic nature and land tutoring effect was a bit too powerful (and not really fun on the receiving end) for a singleton format that only allows Standard legal cards. Another similar culprit is Niv-Mizzet Reborn, who remains unbanned for now.
This means we cannot use it both as a commander and as part of the deck; though players will be able to play it in this week’s Wednesday Brawl once more before the update. We do not get any Wildcard refunds for this Brawl bans.
In Brawl play on Arena, decks using Golos, Tireless Pilgrim as their commander have risen to become about 10% of the field. This makes Golos twice as popular as the next most popular Brawl commander. While this isn’t inherently problematic, Golos’s five-color identity also circumvents deck-building restrictions that most other Brawl decks need to work within. Additionally, Golos’s ability to tutor for specific lands which can, among other things, help pay for future commander taxes, reduces variety of gameplay in a way that’s inconsistent with the spirit of a singleton format. For these reasons, Golos, Tireless Pilgrim is banned in Brawl.
Oko, Thief of Crowns, Veil of Summer, and Once Upon a Time moves from the suspended list to the banlist. Field of the Dead is cautiously removed from the suspension list, as Wizards introduce various ways to deal with the powerful land through Virulent Plague, Ghost Quarter and Goblin Ruinblaster in Historic Anthology 2. Whether that is enough, we will find out soon!
Wildcard refunds have been given out for these cards when they were banned from Standard last year, but if you have crafted any of the banned ones between then and now, you will be reimbursed. As per the Historic Suspension announcement post from December:
When cards are fully banned in Historic you will receive Wildcard reimbursement as normal, with the caveat that you won’t receive multiple reimbursements for the same, individual card.
For example: A player has collected two copies of Card X when it is banned in Standard, and they receive two Wildcards at that time. Later, the card is also banned in Historic. Though they still have two copies, they won’t receive additional Wildcards because they’ve already been reimbursed for the copies they have. However, if they had crafted (or otherwise collected) more copies between the Standard ban and the Historic ban, they would receive reimbursement for those new copies after the Historic ban.
In the last Historic update, four cards were suspended from the format for having problematic win rates and reducing diversity. We now have updates to those suspensions with Field of the Dead becoming unsuspended and Oko, Thief of Crowns; Veil of Summer; and Once Upon a Time becoming banned.
Because of the digital-first nature of Historic and its unique approach to adding card content, our philosophy is, when possible, to introduce answers to problematic cards rather than ban them. In the case of Field of the Dead we’re introducing some new answers with Historic Anthology II, including Ghost Quarter and Goblin Ruinblaster. With these new options and other decks picking up powerful additions, we’re optimistic that we can reintroduce Field of the Dead without decks that use it becoming dominant.
Oko, Thief of Crowns; Veil of Summer; and Once Upon a Time are powerful cards that are difficult to interact with in an advantageous way. After observing the health of the format with and without these cards, we’ve decided to upgrade the suspensions to bans. For more information on why these cards were originally suspended, please see the December 2019 announcement.
Overall, we’re pleased with the current state of Historic and the variety of archetypes that have been performing well. We’ll continue to keep watch on how the format develops with the addition of Historic Anthology II and the unsuspension of Field of the Dead. If issues arise, we’re likely to suspend problematic cards temporarily to see how the metagame responds.