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Lutri, the Spellchaser Art by Lie Setiawan

Wizards Confirm Next Banned and Restricted Announcement to be Made April 13

Wizards of the Coast has just confirmed that the next Magic: The Gathering banned and restricted announcement will be made on April 13, and will be discussing the new Lutri, the Spellchaser card in Brawl – even before its release. No other changes will be made to any other formats.

This Elemental Otter features the revolutionary Companion mechanic, which allows you to play the card from outside the game if you meet the requirements in your starting deck, similar to how Commanders work in Brawl.

The card is already preemptively banned in the paper Commander format, with the following reasoning:

We’ve never banned a card before its street release date, but we feel strongly compelled to do so for Lutri, the Spellchaser.  It is a card unlike any other in Magic’s history.  While we are firm believers in giving cards their opportunity in the format, it’s clear that Lutri would be banned almost immediately.  It doesn’t have an opportunity cost; you don’t have to sacrifice a spot in the 100 in order to play it—meaning if you have the card and are playing the right colors, you can simply include it.  It becomes a thing we’re not fans of, namely a “must play.”  A big part of this decision is that we don’t want players to acquire the card thinking it might remain legal. There was consideration for letting it loose for a quarter with the likely plan to ban it later just in case it was as bad as we thought, because from where we sit, Lutri as a 101st card is intensely problematic.  In the end, this is a special case, and we think that the conservative approach is the better option. 

This decision, and the Companion mechanic itself, has sparked some controversy in the Magic community, with some pro players claiming the mechanic to be too powerful. This is especially in the context of Lurrus of the Dream-Den, which has a more loose restriction for your deck – allowing any permanent rather than a specific type, which means your deck can include more expensive Instant and Sorcery if desired.

The Companion mechanic allows your starting hand to be essentially increased by 1, and thus reduces the variance of the game even further in conjunction with the recent London Mulligan changes. It also further expands the “outside of the game” mechanic, which Fae of Wishes have demonstrated to be very powerful with its impact on Standard.

  • We could expect Lutri to be given a chance in the Brawl format, given its relative lower power level and given Brawl is essentially a format that is only really played in MTG Arena, they can reverse the changes more quickly, or;
  • Wizards could be banning it as well, following the actions of the Commander format.

Whatever happens, the Companion mechanic is sure to impact Magic in an unprecedented way and it will be interesting to see how it all unfolds.

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