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Reckoner Bankbuster Art by Steve Prescott

May 29, 2023 Banned and Restricted Announcement: Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Invoke Despair, and Reckoner Bankbuster Banned in Standard

The anticipated Banned and Restricted Announcement for Standard is now here! Following our predictions and potential impact, the three cards have been banned for Standard:

The update for MTG Arena will be going live tomorrow with the patch, so if you do not have these cards already then you can craft them now to receive the Wildcard refunds after the patch. You can still use them in other formats, and players will be able to enter events with banned cards and play with them until their event run finishes (so don’t be surprised if you see them after the ban!).

The next (yearly) Banned and Restricted Announcement will be on August 7, 2023, right before Wilds of Eldraine where Standard rotation will not be taking its place.


May 29, 2023 Banned and Restricted Announcement

Announcement Date: May 29, 2023

Standard:

Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki is banned.

Invoke Despair is banned.

Reckoner Bankbuster is banned.

Effective Date:

  • Tabletop and Magic Online: May 29, 2023
  • MTG Arena: May 30, 2023

The list of all banned and restricted cards, by format, is here.


Banned and Restricted Philosophy Update with Changes to Standard

Recently, we released an article talking about tabletop Standard and our renewed focus to improve it at every level. Today represents our second step toward delivering on that goal.

When talking to players about bans in Standard, most of the community feedback we’ve received —whether coming from players competing at the top tables of the Pro Tour or those enjoying a more relaxed Wednesday night Standard at their local game store—has focused on how disruptive our current banning cadence can be. Bans are a pain point for Standard engagement. They are too unpredictable, too inconsistent, and hurt players’ ability to have confidence in building and playing their decks.

Moving forward, we are going to change the cadence with which we manage our formats, particularly Standard. Our goal is to make most of our format changes once a year for greater consistency. This announcement will happen annually before fall previews begin. This will not only include Standard but also Modern, Pioneer, Legacy, and Vintage.

Broadly, our goal of Standard remaining a fun and healthy play environment hasn’t changed. However, we will be placing more scrutiny on cards and play patterns that have been in play longer to ensure Standard is a fresh, engaging, and continually exciting format.

In addition to the yearly announcement, we will also have a banned and restricted update on the third Monday after every set release specifically dedicated to addressing large environmental imbalances. These will, by and large, happen after the Pro Tour.

Our intention is that it should be very rare for us to use this three-week window to make Standard changes. If a new card immediately and dramatically has a negative impact on a format, we believe it’s important that our players don’t feel “stuck” with a bad format for upwards of a year. We will reserve this window for cards on the level of Felidar Guardian as a tool we hope never to use. Ideally, most Standard updates should take place only once per year to renew players’ confidence in their deck selection and construction.

That said, we are banning three cards from Standard today to help make this transition. We felt it was important to begin this new era of Standard with a clean slate, so to speak, without the specter of recent ban talk hanging over the format. To do so, we decided to make the following changes:

We’ve been watching the rise and dominance of the core three-color shell based in black-red over the past several set releases and premier-level tournaments. We believe that these changes will help reduce the win rate of the dominant strategy in the format and create an exciting shake-up and entry point to the format preceding the summer and release of Wilds of Eldraine.

Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki has been the backbone of strategies based in black-red and one of the strongest cards in the format for the entirety of its tenure in Standard. Its ability to generate resources, card flow, and be a must-kill threat is unmatched at its level of efficiency. Counterplay available to it is low and frequently costs much more than three mana, and it is especially difficult to beat on the draw. By removing Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki, we hope to reduce the power of black-red decks but also make deck-building choices for these strategies more meaningful as to whether they want a threat, card selection, or the ability to enable reanimation. For these reasons, as well as the high play rate of the card across many decks, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki is banned.

Reckoner Bankbuster has been the go-to card-advantage engine for many decks in Standard since its release. As a colorless card, it has been effortless to slot into a wide variety of colors and strategies. Its general ubiquity and strength have pushed out other card-advantage options too much as a colorless card. It has also put stress on creature sizing, as creatures that can crew Reckoner Bankbuster have been more favored than others. To promote more diversity and give power back to other types of cards in different colors, Reckoner Bankbuster is banned.

Invoke Despair has been the premier curve-topper in most black-red decks and black-based strategies for most of its lifetime. Not only is it powerful for managing the battlefield and generating card advantage, but it has also been excellent for shoring up some of black’s weaknesses. Traditionally, playing a wide variety of permanent types is strong against decks with a lot of one-for-one removal. Invoke Despair makes it especially difficult to find ample counterplay to black strategies as it is an effective card to cast on empty boards and preys upon the enchantments and planeswalkers that are historically effective against these types of removal-heavy strategies. Due to its power level and negative impact on card diversity, Invoke Despair is banned.

We will have our first yearly banned and restricted announcement on August 7, 2023, ahead of Wilds of Eldraine previews.

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