In a huge surprise, Wizards of the Coast just dropped a MASSIVE Banned and Restricted Announcement! This comes with a lot of anticipation, as players are concerned about the state of the Standard meta game, and have been hoping that WotC would make some changes. Let’s get into this one because it’s substantial!
No Changes… Wait.. No Changes? Yup! WotC acknowledges the concerns of the player base around cards like Alrund’s Epiphany and Esika’s Chariot being problematic cards for the format. Wizards has been monitoring the meta since the rotation heavily, and also acknowledge that Innistrad: Crimson Vow is going to be coming out next month as well.
The reason that they give for no changes right now, is that based upon some recent online event data, which included the World Championships, and considering the release on Crimson Vow being right around the corner, they want to hold off. They did say that they will reevaluate and make changes to the Standard environment after Crimson Vow releases and seeing what it’s impact on the meta will be.
But that’s not all from today’s B&R!
Historic had some MASSIVE changes come down the pipe.
- Tibalt’s Trickery is BANNED
- Memory Lapse is SUSPENDED
- Brainstorm is BANNED from Suspended.
- Five Digital Only Cards are being rebalanced
- Davriel’s Withering and Davriel, Soul Broker‘s thrid ability now only affect “target creature an opponent controls”.
- Faceless Agent is now a 2/2 (from 2/1).
- Sarkhan, Wanderer to Shiv‘s second ability is now a +1 (from +0).
- Subverseive Acolyte now costs 1B (from BB), is a 2/3 (from 2/2), and had the toughness increase from becoming either of it’s modes reduced by 1.
MTG ARENA EFFECTIVE DATE: OCTOBER 14, 2021
There is a LOT to unpack here. Jumpstart: Historic Horizons has been a massive boost to the variety of the Historic metagame, which has been awesome to see. That being said, there’s a few cards from the set that were problematic. Additionally, some of the key offenders from the Mystical Archives were on the watch list and have finally been hit. Let’s start with Tibalt’s Trickery.
Tibalt’s Trickery is one of those kinds of cards that is purely a random card. It embodies RNG to the max, but when the decks are built around this to maximize it’s benefit, it can become a problem. With the release of Throes of Chaos to the format as our reliable way to hit Trickery, the deck has the potential to go FAR over the top of a lot of the fair decks in the format. There really is only a few ways to actually hate on this card, namely Drannath Magistrate. With the lack of hate and the speed and consistency of the deck, Wizards doesn’t think that there’s a time and place for this card to be healthy in the format so it’s banned.
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Memory Lapse and Brainstorm
The next two cards that we’ll talk about are Memory Lapse and Brainstorm. These two cards have been incredibly powerful tools for all Blue based decks in the format in all varieties. They provided so much consistency and time for those decks to get online, even such that Brainstorm had to be suspended. Since that, Memory Lapse continued to be an auto include, and is the most played card in the previous Arena Opens, and Best of 3 ladder. The team believes that this card hinders diversity in the format, but the case is less clear than Trickery, so Memory Lapse is getting Suspended.
Regarding Brainstorm, the format and metagame became a lot healthier post suspension. While I’m sure that a lot of that also had to do with Historic Horizons, the team believes that the meta will be healthier without Brainstorm, so it has moved from Suspended to Banned.
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This next bit is very interesting. This is the first time that Wizards of the Coast has the ability to buff and nerf cards within Magic. The changes made to Sarkhan and Faceless Agent were definitely buffs, and Subversive Acolyte got neutral changes, skewing towards a buff. The real story with these changes were the massive nerfs to Davriel, Soul Broker and Davirel’s Withering.
The changes to make these target only opponent’s creatures completely kills the Vesperlark combo decks. While this deck was more of a meme when Historic Horizons released, requiring the deck to play too many bad creatures and needing multiple combo pieces to work, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt brought the deck into real competitive viability. The deck turned into an Orzhov Control deck with a combo finish, featuring The Meathook Massacre as it’s combo enabler and a board wipe.
Ultimately, these changes are very exciting and hopefully the Historic format shapes up to be a healthy and diverse place to play. The one deck that we’ll have to keep an eye on is the Indomitable Creativity deck. Whether or not the Memory Lapse suspension was enough to bring that deck down a peg or two remains to be seen. It’s good to see that Wizards was on the same page as us with identifying the problem with the format.
We will have to wait and see what happens when Crimson Vow releases to know how Standard will change, if at all. What are your thoughts on these changes? Let us know in the comments!