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Rampaging Ferocidon (XLN) Art by Jonathan Kuo

Rampaging Ferocidon Unbanned in Standard

The latest Magic: The Gathering Banned and Restricted Announcement is now out, and the Standard format has received a surprise shakeup. Rampaging Ferocidon has now been unbanned from Standard - in MTG Arena, this will be effective from September 4, 2019 in best-of-three matches only!

The latest Magic: The Gathering Banned and Restricted Announcement is now out, and the Standard format has received a surprise shakeup. Rampaging Ferocidon has now been unbanned from Standard – in MTG Arena, this will be effective from September 4, 2019 in best-of-three matches only!

In the grand scheme of the Magic: The Gathering world, the Modern and Vintage format has received bigger news (which you can read all about in the link above), but here in this article, we will discuss the implications in MTG Arena. We will review the details of this announcement, how it works, and the impact this card might have on current decks and the metagame.

What is Rampaging Ferocidon?

Rampaging Ferocidon

Rampaging Ferocidon is a card from the Ixalan set that has been banned from Standard since January last year, even before the release of MTG Arena. This was also during a completely different Standard format, where a different Red deck was affecting the format with other cards that have already rotated out.

It has remained banned ever since, and many new players probably may not have even realized the card ever existed – its visibility in MTG Arena was minimal, and could only be obtained through drafting the Ixalan set when it was around or crafting mode via Wildcards.

What are the details of the unbanning?

Rampaging Ferocidon will be unbanned from Standard in MTG Arena, effective September 4, 2019 from best-of-three matches only. The date also coincides with the new ranked ladder season (Core Set 2020 Season 2). Note that the card will still be banned from best-of-one matches, similar to how Nexus of Fate is at the moment. This is due to Mono Red Aggro decks already dominating the best-of-one metagame (see official explanation below).

Another important point is that due to the upcoming Standard rotation with the release of Throne of Eldraine on September 26, this gives us just about three weeks for the card to be available for play in Standard.

Should I Craft Rampaging Ferocidon?

Crafting Rampaging Ferocidon

Currently, the only way for you to obtain Rampaging Ferocidon is to use your Wildcards (unless Wizards decides us to give them to us for free – though unlikely to happen). We recommend you wait a few days and see how the card plays out and other players use it before you think it is worth crafting.

Even so, it may really be only worth it for players that are trying to grind out a lot of wins on ladder or constructed events until Standard rotation. 4 Rare Wildcards are a precious resource that can be better used when Throne of Eldraine is released as there will be a whole lot of new cards and decks you would want to try out.

How will this impact the current Standard metagame?

Decks Getting Weaker

Currently, the strongest decks in the metagame are the ones involving Field of the Dead and Orzhov Vampires. Both strategies involve creatures coming into play with incidental lifegain, which makes Rampaging Ferocidon a strong card choice against both decks. It can also be quite strong against decks going wide with creatures involving Risen Reef and Chandra, Acolyte of Flame.

In the grand scheme of things, Scapeshift decks are impacted the most here, as you have to be even more mindful of how many zombies you want to summon. Sultai versions involving no Scapeshift and Field of the Dead might be a bit better positioned, as it can also include a few more removal spells.

Decks Getting Stronger

The most obvious decks Rampaging Ferocidon will fit into is Mono Red Aggro and Gruul or Jund Dinosaurs. The card will undoubtedly be a strong card choice, whether it be maindeck or sideboard. How the decks will fit in another 3 casting cost creature – contesting spots with the likes of Goblin Chainwhirler and Rotting Regisaur – will be the point of contention.

Another interesting inclusion is in Boros Feather. The deck currently runs creature flex spots such as Legion Warboss and Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin – which Rampaging Ferocidon can easily replace. The fact that it also has Menace makes the deal much more enticing.

The Official Explanation

Here is the official announcement straight from Wizards of the Coast.

We periodically review the banned and restricted lists for cards we can remove that will positively impact a format. Rampaging Ferocidon was banned during Ixalan-year Standard in order to weaken aggressive red decks and provide more counterplay by blocking with creatures and gaining life. Since that time, aggressive red decks have become weaker in the metagame as stronger and more varied strategies have emerged.

Two popular new Standard decks enabled by Core Set 2020‘s release are Scapeshift and Orzhov Vampires. Both decks seek to win by putting lots of small creatures onto the battlefield, and the Orzhov Vampires deck has many ways to gain life. Rampaging Ferocidon should give red aggressive strategies and other decks, like Jund Dinosaurs, an additional option to fight Scapeshift and Orzhov Vampires. While we’re generally happy with the health of the Standard metagame right now, we believe Rampaging Ferocidon will further improve the metagame’s general balance and ability to self-correct for the remaining Core Set 2020 Standard season, until rotation with the release of Throne of Eldraine.

Note that Rampaging Ferocidon will be unbanned in traditional best-of-three Standard on MTG Arena(as of September 4), but will remain banned in best-of-one play. This is due to differences in the metagames between those play modes, with aggressive red strategies already performing well in best-of-one.

August 26, 2019 Banned and Restricted Announcement

Wrapping Up

What do you think of this change? Do you think it will affect the metagame heavily, or do you still think the other decks will be more well prepared against this single card threat? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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