The Explorer Format is pretty wide open and fun! It brings a sense of Pioneer to the game, but Wizards of the Coast did say when they announced the format that they’d be monitoring the health of the format, and make bans if needed. Well in a surprise MTG Arena B&R Announcement today, WotC decided it was time to make a move on the format. This B&R hit THE top deck of the format, and an archetype that has been historically problematic in others.
The Ban Hamer
Here are the cards that got hit with the Ban Hammer
- Winota, Joiner of Forces is BANNED
- Tibalt’s Trickery is BANNED
Winota, Joiner of Forces
So, let’s talk Winota first. Winota is definitely the top deck of the format. It’s consistent, fast, and generally ends the game out of nowhere. The deck is the top deck for Pioneer, but the margins at which it’s played over other decks are not nearly as large as they are in Explorer. Not to mention, the win rate for the deck is incredibly high across Best of 1 and Best of 3. Thusly, Winota is banned.
Since Winota is a staple of the Pioneer format, the legality of this card will be reevaluated regularly. Wizards committed to the idea that as Explorer becomes more and more like Pioneer in card pool, that cards that get banned will become unbanned. They state that they plan to unban / reevaluate Winota when Dominaria United launches in the fall.
As for Tibalt’s Trickery, this card has been a problem child for a few other formats, particularly Historic. This card allows easy and fast access to some of the most powerful cards in the format. While the Explorer version is not quite as strong as the Historic version, the consistency and ability to end the game with little interaction from the opponent is still there. This leaves WotC with the only option to ban the card.
When it comes to the legality checks on Trickery, WotC will not be assessing this nearly as aggressively as they would for Winota. Trickery isn’t a staple in the pioneer metagame, and so regular checks aren’t needed. They did say that they will evaluate it as the MTG Arena card pool gets closer to Pioneer, or if Tibalt’s Trickery becomes a pillar in the Pioneer format, whichever happens first.
Wild Card Reimbursement
One topic that Wizards addressed is the Wild Card Reimbursement for these two cards. They stated that if you have not previously received a WC reimbursement for these cards in the past, you’ll get one for each copy that you have in your collection. Additionally, if you crafted either of these cards between the time they were banned in Historic to now, then you’ll also get a reimbursement. This will take place as part of the May 12th game update.
So with these two powerhouse cards removed from the format for the moment, where does this leave Explorer? Stay tuned as we’ll talk about the top decks in the format coming out of this banning.