Oko, Thief of Crowns, Once Upon a Time and Veil of Summer Banned in Standard
Oko, Thief of Crowns, Once Upon a Time and Veil of Summer are now banned from the Standard format and events, in both best-of-one and best-of-three play – effective in MTG Arena immediately as of the game update on November 18, 2019. This is the second Standard banning in just as many months since the emergency banning of Field of the Dead on October 21, with now four cards in total banned from the format.
Reasoning of the Ban
The full explanation of the bans are detailed below. You can view the full post via the source link (other cards have been banned from other tabletop formats also).
Over the past several weeks, the Standard metagame has been in an unhealthy state, so we’re taking significant steps to rectify it. The two major issues are the dominance of Simic-based Food decks featuring Oko, Thief of Crowns and the general overrepresentation of green in the competitive metagame.
Food decks featuring Oko, Thief of Crowns have been the most popular and most winning for the majority of the Throne of Eldraine Standard season. This culminated with almost 70% of decks at Mythic Championship Richmond including the card. Based on data from high-ranked Arena traditional (Best-of-Three) play, only one of the other ten most-played decks (Simic Flash) had a favorable matchup against Simic-based Food decks, and only just above 50%. Food decks maintained an average of about a 53% non-mirror match win rate, even with the metagame focused on beating them.
Oko, Thief of Crowns has also reduced metagame diversity and diversity of gameplay in Standard by shutting off build-around creatures and artifacts. Ultimately, Oko’s power level has proven higher than is healthy for the current metagame, and higher than intended for future environments, including Theros: Beyond Death and forward.
To address green’s general dominance, we’re also choosing to remove Once Upon a Time and Veil of Summer from the environment. Alongside Oko, Thief of Crowns, Once Upon a Time is one of the key reasons green has been overrepresented in the environment. It contributes to a high consistency of strong starts and provides a level of early mana fixing that other colors don’t have access to. This advantage is especially important in the context of a small five-set Standard card pool with less flexible mana bases. Arena data indicates that, without also removing Once Upon a Time, green decks would still continue to be too powerful and consistent going forward.
Finally, Veil of Summer is also playing an important role in preventing the metagame from being able to self-correct. Cards that played similar roles in the past, like Autumn’s Veil and Display of Dominance, proved a lower power level than desired in their respective Standard environments, leaving green with a weaker option compared to the other “color hate” cards in those cycles. Veil of Summer is at the other end of the spectrum. It’s too much more efficient than the other cards in its cycle, and by comparison to other tools available in Standard, gives green decks too much resilience against removal and disruption.
We believe these changes are necessary and sufficient to open up the Standard metagame to a much higher degree of diversity, and the resulting environment going forward will more closely match design intent.
For more information about what these bannings mean on Magic: The Gathering Arena for collections, pack collations, and events, click here.
- The next banned and restricted announcement is to be made on December 16, 2019.
- The official list of all banned and restricted cards, by format, is here.
- Also read today’s article Play Design Lessons Learned about their process for creating cards
Implementation of the Ban in MTG Arena
Wildcards will be refunded according to how many copies of Oko, Thief of Crowns, Once Upon a Time and Veil of Summer you have in your collection. You do not lose them. Please see the full MTG Arena announcement below.
MTG Arena Effective Date: November 18, 2019
The ban applies to both Traditional (best-of-three) and Arena (best-of-one) Standard constructed formats and events. This includes Play, Standard Ranked, Traditional Standard Play, Traditional Standard Ranked, Standard Event, and Traditional Standard Event. This does not include Direct Challenge matches except for Tournament Mode. As a general reminder, Brawl maintains a separate ban list from other Standard formats.
To read more about this change, please refer to today’s Banned and Restricted Announcement.
IMPORTANT: SCHEDULED MAINTENANCE
We will be deploying a data only patch to implement the changes outlined below. While no downtime is expected, these changes may not be in effect until maintenance is complete. Please refer to our status page for more information.
Players who have Oko, Thief of Crowns, Once Upon a Time and/or Veil of Summer as a part of their in-game collection on MTG Arena prior to 1.01.00.04 game update on November 18 will receive an equal number of Wildcards of the appropriate rarity to their collection as part of the update. Players will receive a notification in-game when the ban takes effect as well as the number and types of Wildcards they have received.
Players can still redeem Wildcards for Oko, Thief of Crowns, Once Upon a Time and Veil of Summer for play in non–Standard formats. There will be confirmation messages reminding players that these cards are currently banned in Standard.
We will be adjusting the Throne of Eldraine pack collation to change the rate in which Oko, Thief of Crowns and Once Upon a Time appear in booster packs. After the 1.01.00.04 patch, players will only receive Oko, Thief of Crowns if they have collected playsets of every other mythic rare card and will only receive Once Upon a Time if they have collected playsets of every other rare card available in Throne of Eldraine boosters.
Veil of Summer will still appear in Core Set 2020 booster packs at its normal distribution rate.
These changes will not impact the collation of cards in Limited boosters used in Throne of Eldraine or Core Set 2020 sealed and draft events (cards will still appear at their original distribution rate).
INDIVIDUAL CARD REWARDS (ICRS)
Oko, Thief of Crown and Once Upon a Time will be removed from ICRs. Players may still receive Veil of Summer from ICRs. Players will receive vault progress for any copies of Veil of Summer they receive beyond a playset.
A NOTE ON IN-GAME EVENTS
If you were participating in a Traditional Standard and/or Standard Event using a deck that included any of these cards prior to the 1.01.00.04 game update, 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 ban, 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.
If you want to check out the best MTG Arena decks and learn from the best players for the post-ban meta, these upcoming tournaments will be the ones to watch out for. You can also follow our Standard Metagame Tier List and our Standard Deck section as the new meta unfolds.
Twitch will be holding a two day tournament starting tomorrow for 275 Twitch Affiliates and Partners (that includes Magic Pro League members!) to compete in this open metagame. We do not predict too much innovation here, likely to be a battle between Sacrifice decks, Adventure decks and Simic/Bant Ramp decks without Oko. It should be a much more diverse metagame regardless, and will be a fun watch.
Mythic Championship VII
Another Standard Mythic Championship is in the books from December 6 to 8. This will be the last one of the year before the beginning of the new esport structure. This marks about a month before Theros: Beyond Death release on January 16, 2020 and we will likely to have seen a more settled metagame by then.
Wrapping Up – Giveaway Winners!
Now that the announcement is done and dusted, we will be drawing the winners for our Twitter giveaway! Users who predicted the ban correctly will be messaged with a Core Set 2020 Prerelease Code, good to redeem for 6 Core Set 2020 booster packs.
We also want to take this opportunity to say that MTG Arena Zone has now been open for 6 months! We believe we have now taken a small step forward in achieving our dream – to build a positive MTG Arena community supported by the best content. We have a long way to go, but we would love it if everybody joined us in our journey to grow along side the game itself for as long as possible. We can’t thank you enough for visiting every day, the support and kind words we receive – and for that, we hope to do more giveaways more frequently.
Remember, we are always available in our Discord server should you have any feedback that we value greatly, need any help with MTG Arena and wish to join our community.