Wizards Confirm Next Banned and Restricted Announcement on May 19th

Thassa’s Oracle Art by Jesper Ejsing
Thassa’s Oracle Art by Jesper Ejsing

Update: Announcement is now out – Thassa’s Oracle is banned.

It appears that the Wizards of the Coast website has a banned and restricted announcement article queued up and ready to go for May 19th, which usually goes live at 8 AM Pacific Time. The speculation is that we would just get a 404 “page not found” error on visiting this page, but instead as a placeholder it says “Access denied” and we’re not authorised to access the page. This method has been used in past ban announcements to speculate ahead of time, when Omnath, Locus of Creation was banned last year.

Possible Targets

Currently in the Magic: The Gathering world, competitive focus has been mostly on Standard and Historic, and with the Strixhaven Championship coming up on June 4, Wizards will be reluctant to make any significant changes unless it is urgently required. The announcement can be expected to affect either format – and there are arguments that can be made for a few specific cards.

Tainted Pact Combo

Currently, the most obvious target to be added to the Historic suspension list is the two card insta-win combo dominating Historic, Tainted Pact and Thassa’s Oracle:

Despite having a deck building restriction to be mostly singleton, similar to Companions this is proving to be less of an issue as long as the payoff is powerful enough and the format card pool has enough depth to have redundancy. The dominance of the deck was shown in the latest May Strixhaven League Weekend, where it represented over 50% of the field combined for both the Dimir and Grixis versions.

May-Strixhaven-League-Weekend-Metagame-Rivals-Historic
May-Strixhaven-League-Weekend-Metagame-MPL-Historic

The results from the league matches also suggests that the win rate of the deck also supports its tier 0 status in the format:

Image
Source: MTG Data

Another issue is how the combo is clunky to pull off on MTG Arena due to the length of the turn allowed. This meant that although a turn 3 kill was technically possible, players could not execute the combo fast enough to actually win the game. There are clever ways around it, however:

There are even ways to disrupt the combo in your favor if you have Baleful Mastery in your deck:

As for which part of the combo might get the chopping block, we have a similar precedence last year when Inverter of Truth was banned from Pioneer, also pairing up as a two card combo with Thassa’s Oracle. Tainted Pact being suspended from the format tomorrow means that it will completely remove the deck from the format, but it has only recently been introduced to Historic so there is a chance that it might stay.

Banning Thassa’s Oracle would keep the deck alive and allows the use of other slower and easier to disrupt win conditions such as Jace, Wielder of Mysteries. Stifle is also being introduced in Historic Anthology 5, which gives us another cheap and efficient way to deal with such triggers in addition to Nimble Obstructionist. Either way, it will be hard to rationalize the same combo existing in the same form after tomorrow.

Winota, Joiner of Forces

iko-216-winota-joiner-of-forces

A case could be made for the unbanning of Winota, which is currently legal in Standard. When it was banned last year in July, the Historic format was very different and the power level was still low. Players have been comparing it with Muxus, which is mostly out of the spotlight now as well as the format evolved. Without Agent of Treachery, it won’t suck the fun out of games as much either!

Standard

Suffice to say, Strixhaven has not had a huge impact on Standard. Although Throne of Eldraine has been plaguing the format for almost 2 years now, it will soon be rotating out in September 2021. Cards have been banned very close to their rotation last year such as Teferi, Time Raveler, Wilderness Reclamation and Growth Spiral. Having said that, the format is a little bit stale, but still relatively stable as different decks fluctuate back and fourth between the top tiers. We do not expect the format to undergo any changes tomorrow.

Current Historic Banned Card List

For your reference, below is the current Historic banlist; no cards are suspended as of today.

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

The following cards in the Mystical Archive are also banned, though you can still find them in booster packs:

Discussion

In early July Wizards of the Coast are experimenting the digital side of Magic: The Gathering with the Mirror, Mirror event, where they are featuring rebalanced versions of some of Historic’s iconic banned cards (such as Oko, Uro, Omnath). Do you think this is the way to go for the future, and more prompt changes to the format? What do you predict will happen tomorrow?

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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.

17 Responses

  1. Zafarion says:

    In addition to Winota, I guess FIres of Invention can be unbanned now.

    • Jeremy says:

      I hope not, Winota is a turn four combo that you can interact with by killing the non-humans that have to be played beforehand. Fires is a turn 3 play as the decks will almost certainly ramp on turn 2. It would be different if Fires was three red and one generic, rather than 3 generic and just one red.
      Also, and I know this is unscientific, but I have far worse memories of Fires than of Winota.
      Please, not Fires…

  2. PBeetheFox says:

    Do the Historic banned Mystical Archives cards actually show up in booster packs? I’ve opened about 170 packs of Strixhaven and haven’t opened a single copy of any of the banned cards. I just assumed there’s some kind of protection against opening cards that are almost unusable, and that players were required to craft them. Am I just lucky?

  3. Evan Kranzler says:

    why does this article say “confirmed” when there’s no actual confirmation?

    • DoggertQBones says:

      The page wouldn’t exist if they didn’t intend on using it so that is a functional confirmation.

      • Evan Kranzler says:

        that’s not a confirmation, that’s just a clue

        • DoggertQBones says:

          I don’t think we need someone literally saying that somethings getting banned today to see that it’s confirmed that something is going to be changed. For example, go to the url and change the date to May 20th, the webpage changes because there’s nothing there. However, this webpage has access denied since there is something there, they just haven’t released it yet. I would say that’s about as good of a confirmation as them saying it.

  4. Chrysologus says:

    Wizards has not in fact confirmed this.

  5. Kainius says:

    May 19….well that was a lie lol

  6. muribundi says:

    Yep seems it was not that confirmed…

  7. Samuel Shupe says:

    I don’t see any ban announcement on the mothership.