Recently, Wizards of the Coast trialed a new casual event over on MTG Arena, and it was a bigger hit than anyone could have expected. Thanks to MTG Arena keeping up with paper Draft formats as closely as possible, a few powerful cards like Mishra’s Bauble and Intruder Alarm have found their way over to MTG Arena through the Bonus Sheets of various Standard sets. Unfortunately, some of these cards have proven too powerful for any of MTG’s existing formats. This leaves players unable to use some cards like Blood Moon and Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer in any 60-card constructed format.
According to the MTG Arena team, with Khans of Tarkir and Modern Horizons 3 coming to MTG Arena soon, this list of unusable cards is just going to get longer.
In order to remedy this, MTG Arena created the Historic No Banned List event; a free event allowing players to utilize any card across the MTG Arena platform in a best of one 60-card deck format.
Arena Developers were shocked with how popular the No Banned List event was. According to a recent article from Wizards of the Coast, a staggering 3 million games were played throughout a two-week period!
As such, it’s obvious now that players loved the Historic No Banned List event, so the event is returning! That said, a few strategies proved to be too powerful for the rest of the Historic No Banned List event and, as such, the event is returning as the new ‘Basically No Bans’ MTG event. Here’s what will be banned in the upcoming Historic All Access, Basically No Bans MTG event.
Historic All Access, Basically No Bans
With three million games across the MTG Arena platform over the past two weeks, it’s safe to say that the No Banned List event was a huge hit. Players on the more active side of the MTG No Banned List event reportedly played more than 100 games daily.
A big reason why the No Banned List event was so popular is likely due to players not needing cards in their collection to participate. No need to craft the banned cards that you cannot use anywhere else. Simply build a decklist and battle!
That said, a few strategies proved to be a bit too powerful for the Historic No Banned List event. Anyone trying to explore the event’s options were likely to get squashed by one recurring strategy. For that reason, the Almost No Banned List event will have three banned cards.
Channel is the problematic card that took over the original No Banned List event by storm. It was, by far, the most casted card over the last No Banned List event, and it generally ends the game immediately. Allowing one to turn their life into colorless mana, there’s a reason why Channel is banned and restricted in every other MTG format. Channel allows you to cast a powerful Eldrazi like Emrakul, the Promised End for just two green mana. This, more often than not, will simply end the game on the spot.
Channel proved to be far too overwhelming in the last Historic No Banned List event, making it difficult for players to explore other deck ideas. In order to promote more diversity in the event, the Historic All Access, Basically No Bans event will be banning Channel.
After playing a bit of the Historic No Banned List event myself, I wholeheartedly support this decision. Channel’s combo potential combined with cards like Thoughtseize and Demonic Tutor was far too consistent and made exploring other deck options that weren’t heavily warped to beat the Channel strategy difficult. This should help open up the event to new possibilities.
Alongside the problematic Channel card, Demonic Tutor will also be banned in the Basically No Bans event. According to the MTG Arena team, Channel and Demonic Tutor were cast 25% more than any other cards in the Historic No Banned List event. Those cards were mostly played together to line up the two-card Channel combo consistently.
Like Channel, Demonic Tutor is either banned or restricted in every other 60-card format. The card simply provides too much consistently when played in multiple copies. Players can still use Demonic Tutor in Commander. It remains one of the most powerful cards in all of Commander to this day.
The worry with keeping Demonic Tutor around is that the Channel combo deck will simply be replaced with a different combo deck that becomes too consistent. In order to prevent this from happening, Demonic Tutor will be removed in the Historic All Access, Basically No Bans event.
Tibalt’s Trickery is a little more bizarre than the other two cards being banned in the upcoming Historic All Access, Basically No Bans event. A deck began to develop surrounding this card that could end the game on turn one. The deck created an unhealthy amount of concessions, with 90% of the games involving Tibalt’s Trickery ending by conceding. The MTG Arena team is worried that having such a gimmicky deck be somewhat popular will harm the event. For that reason, Tibalt’s Trickery is banned.
“Tibalt’s Trickery can be used to trigger game-ending combos by enabling the casting of any number of powerful spells like Omniscience, Dragonstorm, and Emergent Ultimatum. In combination with An Offer You Can’t Refuse and a zero-cost artifact, the combo can end the game on the first turn. Though inconsistent, having a turn-zero combo is not incredibly fun or interesting to play against, as 90% of games with Tibalt’s Trickery ended by conceding. We believe Tibalt’s Trickery is doing more harm than good in the event.”Dave Finseth
While I do not think that Tibalt’s Trickery necessarily needed to be banned, I also agree that this card is not adding anything to the MTG Arena event.
The Wildly Popular Event Returns!
While banning a few cards in a No Banned List event is rather ironic, it appears that this wildly popular casual MTG Arena event may actually end up shaping up to become a real format. MTG Vintage, or something of the like, has been a speculative reality from the playerbase’s perspective for quite some time, especially considering that Fetch Lands should be gracing the MTG Arena platform sooner than we think.
Through some careful steering, what was an incredibly popular No Banned List event could end up becoming a new format for MTG Arena. That said, we have no confirmation that any of this is in the works.
If anyone wants to explore this MTG Arena event seriously, banning Channel was a necessity. It will be interesting to see how the event format shapes up now that the turn two Eldrazi menace is gone.