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21, Jul, 21

MTG Arena Banned and Restricted Announcement Brings Anticipated Historic Suspension

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Yesterday, we caught wind that there was going to be a Banned and Restricted Announcement coming down the pipeline today from Wizards of the Coast. We that announcement just dropped and it’s pretty close to what we thought, but we’ll cover it today.

c21-115-brainstorm
Wizards of the Coast

Effective July 22, 2021

Brainstorm is suspended in Historic

The Reason

While we initially thought that Brainstorm was going to get flat out banned, Wizards has taken the approach of suspending the card first. As we talked about in our piece yesterday, Wizards had stated that in their June Banned and Restricted announcement that they would be keeping an eye on Brainstorm, post Time Warp ban. While this card doesn’t inherently have any broken power in of itself, the card was a heavily influence in the top 2 decks of the format, Izzet Phoenix and Jeskai Control. Both maintained a high metagame share in Best of 3. Even though these decks individually have seen a slight decline in overall meta share, and the existence of strong decks to combat these two, the combined meta share of these two decks were far and away the most played decks in the format.

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Wizards also states that when they evaluate a format, they look to create a format that is fun, balanced and diverse. Now, Izzet Phoenix and Jeskai Control were not over powered to the point of threatening balance, the consistent high meta game share was definitely a hinderance to format diversity and fun. Wizards has decided to go with the suspension method with Brainstorm, even though their last 2 actions in the format were bannings. For Time Warp and Thassa’s Oracle, bannings were appropriate since there was clear data that showed that these 2 cards were causing problems for the format where they would very likely end up being banned if suspended first. In this case, they data is much less clear on their end, so they will look to monitor the meta of Historic over the coming months, and determine if there’s a time to safely reintroduce Brainstorm to the format or not.

Of note, there was a lot of anticipation that there would be changes to the Pauper format, as apparently Chatterstorm is running rampant in that format. There’s no such change here, but hopefully we’ll see something there soon as well.

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What are your thoughts on these bannings? We saw it coming, but are you happy that it’s gone or not? Let us know in the comments!

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