Rebalanced Historic Banned Cards Datamined for the Mirror, Mirror Event in Early July: Meddling Mage Reveals it All!

Once Upon a Time Art by Matt Stewart
Once Upon a Time Art by Matt Stewart

In early July, MTG Arena will be holding an event called Mirror, Mirror, where players can play with decks that include rebalanced (essentially nerfed) versions of cards currently banned in Historic. The format is currently digital-only, which gives us an impression that Wizards of the Coast are exploring a potential way to patch the format without having to outright ban cards.

Update June 28, 2021: The cards have been added to the client and can be named with Meddling Mage by typing “A-“. The complete list are below. Thanks to u/Zllsif from reddit for the discovery!

This initially came to light when Andre Liverod, developer of the third party tracker application MTGA Assistant, datamined the cards belonging to the set code “ANC” and seeked help from the reddit community on what they could be used for. With a bit of detective work, they were able to deduce what these cards were doing in the game files, and even how they are planned to be changed in the upcoming event!

Datamine ANC Mirror, Mirror Cards

Historic Banned Card List

For your reference, here are the cards currently banned from the Historic format with a link to their announcements if you want to find out why they were deemed banworthy at the time.

Card NameSuspension DateBan Date
Nexus of FateJuly 13, 2020
Oko, Thief of CrownsDecember 10, 2019March 9, 2020
Once Upon a TimeDecember 10, 2019March 9, 2020
Veil of SummerDecember 10, 2019March 9, 2020
Fires of InventionJune 1, 2020July 13, 2020
Agent of TreacheryJune 1, 2020July 13, 2020
Winota, Joiner of ForcesJune 8, 2020July 13, 2020
Field of the DeadAugust 24, 2020
Teferi, Time RavelerAugust 3, 2020October 12, 2020
Wilderness ReclamationAugust 3, 2020October 12, 2020
Uro, Titan of Nature’s WrathSeptember 28, 2020February 15, 2021
Omnath, Locus of CreationOctober 12, 2020February 15, 2021
Thassa’s OracleMay 19, 2021
Time WarpJune 9, 2021

Without further ado, let’s review the planned card changes for the Mirror, Mirror event one by one and see if they will still make an impact on Historic. A few things to note, before we start:

  • The changes listed here may not be final and be different when the event goes live in a few days. The final version of the cards will be shown here when the patch goes live.
  • Thassa’s Oracle and Time Warp was recently banned from Historic, and is not listed here. We cannot confirm if it will be in the event.
  • Having said that, many cards were banned a while ago when Historic’s power level was lower. Now with Mystical Archive, Anthologies and the Remastered sets, some of these cards may not even need any changes before being unbanned!

Agent of Treachery

m20-043-agent-of-treachery
Before
After

Change: The enters the battlefield ability triggers only if cast from the hand.

This card was never meant to be highly playable because of its prohibitive mana cost. Since Throne of Eldraine, increased power level of cards have allowed Agent of Treachery to be cheated out and exploited in various ways. From Winota to Lukka combined with Yorion, the card sucked the fun out of many games by stealing other people’s permanents. With this change, the card will likely not be in many deck’s radar.

Field of the Dead

m20-247-field-of-dead
Before
After

Change: The land is now Legendary and Zombies enter the battlefield tapped.

This controversial card spent some time in Historic being banned, then unbanned, and now banned again due to the excess ramping cards available in Historic. Though now probably considered too slow to be played with the likes of Scapeshift, this powerful card has become ubiquitous and “free to include” in many decks. With this change, the card still looks playable in more controlling shells.

Fires of Invention

eld-125-fires-of-invention
Before
After

Change: Mana cost increased to 3RR.

It’s been a while since we saw this card in play, and the metagame looks very different now than when it dominated Standard along with its Cavalier buddies. Even without the single mana cost increase, it’s not certain whether this card will see play now that we have access to much more powerful cards in the format.

Nexus of Fate

Before
After

Change: The card exiles itself when cast and does not shuffle itself into its owner’s library.

For some reason, Nexus of Fate unlike similar cards that grant extra turns, allow itself to be recurred over and over. It also didn’t help that it can be cast at Instant speed. The card caused a lot of grief in the early days of MTG Arena especially in best of one games where there is no time limit for matches. It didn’t take long for it to be also banned in best of three. With this change, it could potentially still see play because of its Instant speed and the ramping strategies available.

Oko, Thief of Crowns

eld-197-oko-thief-of-crowns
Before
After

Change: The first ability gives +1 loyalty and the second ability now takes -2 loyalty.

Oko has been the hallmark card of Magic: The Gathering’s greatest power creep that also coincided with MTG Arena’s official launch. For three mana, this card instantly became a multiformat all-star, and players had to include sideboard cards in their main deck just to have a chance against a turn two Oko that came with Gilded Goose. This change seems much more sensible and what it should have been in the first place, though that probably means it’s much harder to find a home now.

Omnath, Locus of Creation

Omnath, Locus of Creation
Before
After

Change: Scry 1 when entering the battlefield rather than drawing a card.

One of the more recent additions to the Historic banlist, this change seems more subtle than the others so far. The Landfall abilities are still pretty powerful and with the Historic mana base getting better and better, the nerf may not be enough.

Once Upon a Time

eld-169-once-upon-a-time
Before
After

Change: Costs 1 instead of 0 when it’s the first spell each game.

With this change, this card can be compared to Abundant Harvest, which has seen decent play in Historic since its introduction in Historic.

Teferi, Time Raveler

war-221-teferi-time-raveler
After

Change: Mana cost increased to 2WU.

One of Magic’s redeeming factors is Instant speed spells that players can respond to one another and Teferi shut that down very effectively just for three mana. We can’t say that this card was beloved at the time, but it was definitely a controversial decision. The mana cost increase is reasonable, but it would still be interesting to see how it would perform in the current meta in its original mana cost.

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath

thb-229-uro-titan-of-natures-wrath
Before
After

Change: No longer allows you to put a land card from your hand onto the battlefield.

Another Green and Simic card that joined the Historic (and Standard) banlist, Uro was an auto-include in most decks that could accommodate it. Without the ramping part, the card looks to be on a similar level to the much more balanced Kroxa, if not a bit worse.

Veil of Summer

m20-198-veil-of-summer
Before
After

Change: Mana cost increased to 1G.

We are not sure if the Mirror, Mirror event is best of one like most other Arena events and whether if it will even have a best of three version, but Veil of Summer will surely be a solid sideboard card at best with this change.

Wilderness Reclamation

rna-149-wilderness-reclamation
Before
After

Change: Untaps two lands instead of all.

The change looks a little bit too overdone especially with the Teferi and Nexus of Fate nerf as they were all played in the same kind of decks previously, but it’s better safe than be sorry!

Winota, Joiner of Forces

iko-216-winota-joiner-of-forces
Before
After

Change: Look at the top four cards of your library instead of six.

Many will agree that Winota does not likely need any changes and can probably just be unbanned as it is now. It was a victim of its time, and now that we know even cards like Muxus is losing power against all the new flashy cards in Historic. In fact, it can’t even be used with the new version of Agent of Treachery and Angrath's Marauder competes with Blade Historian in the same spot. Free Winota!

Are you an avid Historic player? Let us know in the comments below if you are itching to play with these rebalanced cards and whether you have any cool deck ideas for them!

Terence

Korean gamer in Australia. Proud owner of the DotGG and its network of websites. I especially enjoy fantasy worlds, role-playing games, and collecting things! Favorite games include World of Warcraft, Magic: The Gathering, and League of Legends.

12 Responses

  1. BazaarOfBaghdad says:

    Your commentary nailed it. Fires always seemed to me to be a ridiculous ban in Historic. If WInota needed to be fixed, I would have preferred that it put your top three cards at the bottom of your library before looking at the next six.

  2. Brian T says:

    Veil of summer is a fine card. It needs to be 1 CMC to fight thoughtseize and duress effects. It does fine in modern… If a nerf is absolutely needed… Remove the card draw.
    Teferi cost isnt the problem. The problem is the one sided counterspells. A fixed version would be “opponents cannot cast instant spells during your turn” or “players may not cast spells at instant speed” meaning both players are affected by the restriction.
    I think Uro should change to a choose 1 of 3 modes, life gain, draw, or ramp… Multi modes on a cheap recurring body is the problem.
    Omnath mana gain is the problem.. Since you essentially get to play the card for free. Yes the card draw is powerful but the big body plus draw plus play something else is what pushes it to far.

    • Prism_Zet says:

      Without the card draw, its just autumn’s veil, (with the corner case of aura’s you cast whiffing too) which I think is fine, but wasn’t even a blip for most people till veil of summer came and cantrip’d into peoples hearts. if they added autumn to historic I think it’d fit fine.

  3. GuruDubs says:

    Just split historic already. Similar to when Type 1 and 1.5 were first created

  4. W1LD_M0NGR3L says:

    half of these fixes won’t really fix anything…omnath’s draw isn’t the problem, teferi’s casting cost isn’t the problem, fires casting cost isn’t the problem, field of the dead being legendary solves nothing… only agent and oko seem decent fixes, but even for those I have doubts.

  5. Fernando says:

    No es mejor banerarlas y ya nmms es mucha estupidez

  6. Night Potato says:

    wizards need to accept that they have created some cards that are just trash and own it. ban them and keep them banned.

    let’s not get into why they decided to make a card that does everything (omnath). there is no fixing it. especially by changing the etb ability when it’s landfall that is broken.

    many of these changes are too soft.
    problem with teferi wasn’t a cost of 3 mana (not that it’s adequate, far from it). it shut down all of opponents responses, permanently with no upkeep. plus it bounced the best thing opponent had on board. we’ve seen 6-cost planeswalkers do far less.

    i can get behind wilderness reclamation, the change is not too much.

  7. Chrysologus says:

    As an Arena-only format, this is probably the future of Historic. Even some paper games (e.g., Star Wars Destiny) have used this approach instead of banning. It’s a no brainer for a computer game.

  8. wizzerinus says:

    Let’s start with good changes:
    Oko, Thief of Crowns: this is basically what Oko should’ve done. He’s definitely still historic playable but not “oops i’ll beat creature decks by itself and also beat aggro by itself”. Good job.
    Teferi, Time Raveler: this is waaay less oppressive at 4 mana. That said, the problem was that he incidentally one-sidedly shuts down stuff like Cascade while doing other things, but I think he’s fine at 4.
    Winota: Top 6 was basically “demonic tutor a human into play”, which is pretty dumb. Top 4 is better.
    Once upon a time: No longer represents a mana dork while in opening hand, which was one of the main reasons it succeeded
    Veil of Summer: pretty sure this card should’ve always cost 2 mana. It does make it a lot better on the play rather than draw, which is not great, but I think that’s a good change

    the rest of the changes aren’t as good. the mediocre changes:
    Field of the Dead: Notably if you scapeshift into it you can get multiples, sacrifice them to legend rule, but still create multiple 2/2s per land, so its main problem isn’t fixed. However, it will stop putting FotD into random ramp decks
    Omnath, Locus of Creation: yes everyone here says “you play him for landfall!!!!” but one of the things why Omnath is too good is that there’s almost no opportunity cost in putting him into your deck. 4 mana 4/4 etb draw a card is playable already. his main problem isn’t fixed as people still would goldfish, but i think this fixes it

    and now the bad changes
    Nexus of Fate: is now like the worst time walk ever printed. Yes it’s instant speed, but 7 mana is too much. I wonder what would happen if they kept the shuffle on graveyard, but exiled nexus on cast. That would be interesting albeit weird
    Wilderness Reclamation: two lands??? so just a bad Overgrowth??? thats awful. i think the correct way to fix Rec was giving it the Prophet of Kruphix’s text so it can’t be stacked
    Fires of Invention: 4 mana is already borderline unplayable in historic. mizzix’s mastery exists at 4 mana. 5 mana makes this just unplayable
    Agent of Treachery: another 7 mana spell which you have to cast. maybe there’s some way to cost-reduce it, but this card sucks otherwise

    • wizzerinus says:

      i didn’t write about Uro as I don’t know if it’s a good change or not. I don’t put a lot of lands into my decks so to me it looks like the same card