Wizards of the Coast has just confirmed that the next Magic: The Gathering banned and restricted announcement will be made on November 18, and no changes to Standard are to be made before the big tournament next week.
This weekend the Mythic Championship VII Qualifier took place, which saw a whopping 94.1% of the top 102 decks decks containing green cards and 66.6% of them containing Oko, Thief of Crowns. This converted to 12 of the top 16 qualified players using Oko in their decks. As a consequence, players are putting in Noxious Grasp in their main decks, which is typically used as sideboard card.
The shift in metagame since the banning of Field of the Dead on October 21 was not wholly unexpected. The Golos decks were keeping Oko decks in check and now that is gone, naturally the strongest deck took its place and at the moment there has not been a reliable way found to counter this ramp and food strategy. Here’s a brief timeline of the events:
- October 9: Wizards announce the next banned and restricted announcement will be on October 21, as Golos decks start to show their dominance in the metagame.
- October 18 – 20: Mythic Championship V – saw the expected dominance of Field of the Dead decks, but also started to show the metagame shift toward Oko ramp/food decks as they demonstrated a strong showing as well.
- October 21: Field of the Dead banned – Wizards react by emergency banning Field of the Dead.
- October 26: Mythic Championship VII Qualifier – The metagame is dominated by the Sultai Food deck, which plays maindeck Noxious Grasp to counter opposing Oko decks.
- November 8 – 10: Mythic Championship VI – the next upcoming tournament, in which the format is Throne of Eldraine limited and Standard. No changes to be made.
- November 18: The next banned and restricted announcement to be made.
- December 6 – 8: Mythic Championship VII – the next big MTG Arena tournament.
- January 16, 2020: Theros: Beyond Death new set release.
Many players, including pros, are voicing their concern for the power level of Oko, Thief of Crowns which is no doubt the centre of attention. The issues players are raising are summarized as follows, other than its own abilities:
- It can tick up out of Fry range, its own hate card
- It can be powered out on the second turn by Gilded Goose and whoever plays first will have a huge advantage in this scenario
- Combination with other powerful green cards (namely Nissa, Who Shakes the World and Once Upon a Time) makes it even more oppressive and consistent
The play design team of Wizards also addressed this in their Weekly MTG stream:
Wizards are in a precarious position as this planeswalker is still being sold in Throne of Eldraine products, only released a bit over a month ago. However, there is no denying that Oko is in a whole different power level as a 3 mana planeswalker and is warping the metagame heavily. The next set to be released is Theros: Beyond Death on January 2020, which means we still have 3 months left of this Standard cycle. It will interesting to see what decision they make (or not make) in the next announcement.