Raffine, Scheming Seer
14, May, 24

Surprise Upcoming MTG Ban Announcement Confirmed to be Standard-Focused

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Article at a Glance

On Monday, May 13, a major ban announcement took place. For those who were hoping for massive changes to be made in Pioneer or Modern, the announcement sadly did not impact either format. Standard was also unaffected, though this isn’t too surprising. Wizards of the Coast has made it clear that any Standard bans (barring something absolutely broken emerging) would take place in a window “once a year during the summer.”

Instead, the cards banned mostly affected Pauper and Legacy. First of all, All that Glitters bit the dust in Pauper. With the prevalence of Artifact Lands, All that Glitters has the potential to provide an absurd buff to a Creature for only two mana. Beyond just All that Glitters, though, every card referencing Stickers or Attractions have also been banned in Pauper, Legacy, and Vintage. While “Name-Sticker Goblin” is definitely the biggest offender, the complications associated with registering and utilizing Sticker sheets at tournaments caused Wizards of the Coast to take action.

Interestingly, though, the ban announcement also came with a notice that the next announcement will take place June 24, 2024. This comes right after the release of Modern Horizons 3. As we will see, the specific timing of this announcement garnered a lot of discussion. Fortunately, some much-needed context has been added surrounding the focus of June’s announcement that should put some minds at ease. Let’s take a closer look at what’s in store for us.

Modern Pro Tour Unaffected

Grief

Modern Horizons 3 is set to release June 13, 2024. Notably, this gives players qualified for Pro Tour Amsterdam (Modern format) roughly a two-week period to test out exactly what new cards they would like to register. If either of the previous Modern Horizons sets were any indication, Modern Horizons 3 could have enormous implications for the format.

As it turns out, the June 24 ban announcement comes less than two days before decklist submission closes for the Pro Tour. This certainly led to some concern amongst the player base. Luckily, for anyone competing or simply looking to purchase new cards for specific Modern decks, it’s important to note that Modern as a whole will not be affected in any way by this announcement!

In a very recent WeeklyMTG video on Twitch, Play Design Team member Andrew Brown confirmed that Pro Tour players would not have to fret over any potential bans looming. Roughly 19 minutes in, Andrew Brown clarified that the main emphasis for this ban announcement is actually centered around Standard. This begs the question: will Standard be in for a shakeup?

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Standard Speculation

Raffine, Scheming Seer

The reality is, even though the emphasis for the June 24 ban announcement is on the Standard format, there’s no guarantee that the format will be impacted at all. Multiple signs point to there ultimately being no changes made in the format.

First and foremost, the Standard section within the May 13 ban announcement did not highlight any likelihood of something getting banned in the near future. In fact, the language provided highlighting the diverse Pro Tour Outlaws of Thunder Junction top eight and the rise of intriguing archetypes like the Orzhov Caustic Bronco shell suggests that Standard is not in for any large changes.

Second, Standard is in for a big shakeup no matter what with the release of Bloomburrow just roughly five weeks after June 24. This is because four sets are scheduled to rotate out of Standard. More specifically, some of the most problematic cards in Standard at the moment are rotating, too. Likely the biggest concern from Pro Tour Thunder Junction was the immense presence of Esper midrange. If any cards are to get banned, Raffine, Scheming Seer definitely feels like the culprit.

The fact that Raffine is rotating, though, means that Wizards of the Coast may choose to just let the card run its course. Similarly, multiple Land cycles that provide the backbone of two other top-tier archetypes are leaving Standard. Lands like Brokers Hideout that enable the Temur Aftermath Analyst combo decks will be gone.

On top of that, so will the tri-color Lands like Spara’s Headquarters that keep Domain ramp intact. Esper midrange and Domain ramp (to a smaller extent) likely remain on the watchlist, and Wizards of the Coast will clearly continue to monitor the Standard metagame in the coming weeks. With a lack of other major Standard tournaments coming up, though, an unhealthy shift in the Standard metagame would be a bit shocking. With all this in mind, keep an eye out for a Standard ban, but “no changes” could ultimately be the final decision.

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Changes to Other Formats?

Treasure Cruise

One final thing to note regarding the June 24 ban announcement is that formats like Pioneer and Legacy could theoretically still be hit with bans. Many players have called for bans of Treasure Cruise in Pioneer and Grief in Legacy. Both Izzet Phoenix and Dimir Reanimator were brought up in the May 13 ban discussions, but neither deck received a nerf of any kind.

With the June 24 ban announcement obviously focused on Standard, it’s unlikely anything drastic enough changes between now and then to warrant changes to Pioneer or Legacy. However, Wizards of the Coast acknowledged that they wanted to “see how [Legacy] evolves as it absorbs Modern Horizons 3.” If Modern Horizons 3 fails to lower the stranglehold that Grief and Orcish Bowmasters decks have on the format, seeing one of these options get the axe would make a lot of sense.

Modern Horizons 3 is almost here, sure to bring change to Modern, Eternal formats, and MTG Arena formats alike. Even if the announcement June 24 leads to no changes, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for any ban decisions in the near future.

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