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The Book of Exalted Deeds BANNED in Standard 2022: MTG Arena Announcements, July 14, 2021

Wizards of the Coast published a new set of announcements for MTG: Arena today, and this time the posting included something very unusual: a ban announcement for the new Standard 2022 best-of-one format. Ever since the newest set, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, was released on Arena, many players have been keeping their eye on a new two-card combo that prevents the opponent from winning the game. In short, The Book of Exalted Deeds is able to grant the game winning ability to a Faceless Haven, which is then extremely difficult for the opponent to remove. The link above provides a more detailed breakdown of the combo, but Wizards took the step of banning The Book of Exalted Deeds from Standard 2022.

According to the Wizards of the Coast, the Book/Haven combo decks weren’t overly dominant either in terms of winrate or metagame share, but they were “very frustrating” to run into on the ladder. Most decks, especially in Standard 2022 where there is no access to Field of Ruin (the cleanest answer in regular Standard), have no land removal in their main deck to stop this combo once it has been executed. In addition, the Standard 2022 queue is best-of-one only, and therefore there is no option to sideboard into more answers for the combo. Wizards also points out that if both players are able to execute the combo, the game goes on indefinitely until one of the players concedes because neither player can win or lose the game. In paper Magic, this would be considered a draw, but MTG: Arena does not currently support drawn games.

The Book of Exalted deeds continues to be legal in current Standard, and Wizards says that it will be legal in regular Standard when rotation actually happens in the fall along with the release of the next set, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. It’s clear that Wizards wants the Standard 2022 queue to remain a fun and interesting experience for players at a time where interest in the current Standard format is pretty low. This also seems like an indication that Wizards’ team may not have realized the interaction that The Book of Exalted Deeds would have with Faceless Haven, as it seems unlikely they would have wanted a ban in a brand new, small cardpool format so soon after the release of the newest set. There will be no wildcard refunds for this ban.

Besides the banning, the announcements also include a smattering of bugfixes, including all three of the major bugs that have been reported by players since release: the inability to fetch nonbasic Forest cards with Binding the Old Gods, the screen shaking at incorrect times during animations, and Paladin Class giving an incorrect power/toughness boost at level 3.

Wizards also announced that the Standard Metagame Challenge will be returning from July 17-20, along with the usual updated event schedule. Read below for full details from Wizards of the Coast:

MTG Arena Announcements, July 14, 2021

Play Adventures in the Forgotten Realms Now on All Platforms!

The wait is over—Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is now available on MTG Arena! Check out Jay Parker’s State of the Game article for a closer look at what awaits you in the new set that brings together two of the most popular fantasy games in history.

Standard 2022: The Book of Exalted Deeds is Banned

In the Standard 2022 format, The Book of Exalted Deeds is now banned. This will happen with the MTG Arena release this Friday morning, July 16. It will not require a client update.

When The Book of Exalted Deeds is combined with Faceless Haven, a player could control a land which prevented them from losing the game and it was highly unlikely the opponent had a way to remove it.

While this deck was not dominant either by win rate or percentage of players playing the combo, running into it was a very frustrating experience. If both players were using it, the game would have no way to end until one player finally decided to concede. This is not the game play experience we are aiming to provide.

It should be noted that this ban does not mean The Book of Exalted Deeds will be banned in Standard after format rotation with the release of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt.

Standard 2022 is Best-of-One, which removes the ability to sideboard against the combo. It’s also only a format on MTG Arena, which has different considerations than formats played in tabletop. And, of course, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt will be legal in Standard after rotation but is not available in Standard 2022.

Note that wildcard grants are not used for bans in Standard 2022. The Book of Exalted Deeds can still be used in both Standard and Historic play on MTG Arena.

Recent Bug Fixes

A deployment on Friday, July 9, fixed some high-profile bugs that occurred with the Adventures in the Forgotten Realms release:

  • Fixed: a bug that caused effects that search for basic lands by type (like the second chapter of Binding the Old Gods) to only be able to get basic lands.
  • Fixed: a bug that caused the screen to shake at inappropriate times.
  • Fixed: a bug that caused level 3 of Paladin Class to provide the wrong power/toughness bonus.

FNM at Home is now Midweek Magic!

The first Midweek Magic event is now in progress: Future Precons! Play with preconstructed decks legal in Standard 2022 (sets include Zendikar Rising, Kaldheim, Strixhaven: School of Mages, and Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms).

Midweek Magic events run weekly from Tuesday at 8 a.m. PT through Thursday at 8 a.m. PT with a different format each week. Midweek Magic has no entry fee, and you can earn two rare individual card rewards—just like FNM at Home.

Codes for an MTG Arena cosmetic are still available from your local game store (in person, if pandemic restrictions allow in your area, or online).

Standard Metagame Challenge

Returning this weekend, July 17–20, is the Standard Metagame Challenge!

Bring your 60-card Standard deck and compete in Traditional Standard Best-of-Three (single-elimination) matches to win great prizes—including chances for Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms packs. Make it a seven-win sweep, and you’ll score 5,000 gold and 30 packs! Entry is 2,000 gold or 400 gems.

Sharpen Your Standard 2022 Skills

Here’s a chance to get ahead of the next Standard rotation! Join Standard 2022 Play and Standard 2022 Ranked Best-of-One queues in MTG Arena to play with the sets that are legal in Standard after the rotation: Zendikar Rising, Kaldheim, Strixhaven: School of Mages, and Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms.

Available Now: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms Cosmetic Bundles

These cosmetic bundles are available now in the MTG Arena Store:

Module Treatment Land Bundle

Cost: 1,800 gems or 8,000 gold

Get awesome land card styles featuring the module treatments in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms! This bundle includes:

Sticker Bundle

Cost: 1,000 gems or 5,000 gold

New stickers to express yourself during matches:

Beholder Bundle

Cost: 3,000 gems or 15,000 gold

  • Beholder pet
  • Xanathar card sleeve

Plus, look for more bundles in the Store, including card styles for borderless planeswalkers and borderless Dragons!

Upcoming Events

Midweek Magic

  • July 13–15: Future Precons
  • July 20–22: Artisan
  • July 27–29: Standard All Access

Quick Draft

  • June 25–July 9: Strixhaven: School of Mages
  • July 9–23: Zendikar Rising
  • July 23–August 10: Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms
    *Yes, this event does last until August 10. This is a single off-cycle change; after this the schedule will return to the normal changes every other Friday. Why? Sorry to keep you in suspense, but more details to come!

Other Events

  • July 17–20: Standard Metagame Challenge
  • July 24–27: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms Constructed
  • July 31–August 1: Arena Open
    • Day 1: Standard or Traditional Standard
    • Day 2: Traditional Standard (must qualify for entry during Day 1)

July Ranked Season

The July 2021 Ranked Season begins June 30 at 12:05 p.m. PT (1905 UTC) and ends on July 31 at 12 p.m. PT (1900 UTC).

  • Bronze reward: 1 Strixhaven pack
  • Silver reward: 1 Strixhaven pack + 500 gold
  • Gold reward: 2 Strixhaven packs + 1,000 gold + Flunk card style
  • Platinum reward: 3 Strixhaven packs + 1,000 gold + Flunk depth art card style + Academic Probation depth art card style
  • Diamond reward: 4 Strixhaven packs + 1,000 gold + Flunk depth art card style + Academic Probation depth art card style
  • Mythic reward: 5 Strixhaven packs + 1,000 gold + Flunk depth art card style + Academic Probation depth art card style

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Dude from Vermont who likes to play Magic and Escape from Tarkov. Musician, writer, and gamer. Submit feedback or corrections to @Paul on the Discord.

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