Magic: Banned & Restricted Announcement
Today marks the first new mid-season Banned & Restricted announcement that Wizards of the Coast promised. These are to be put forth in order to deal with emergency problems in the game’s myriad forms of competitive play. The previous announcement included the ban of three cards from Standard (Emrakul, the Promised End, Reflector Mage and Smuggler’s Copter in Standard), which is the heaviest ban since Mirrodin was in Standard in 2003.
However, today’s announcement abated fears of further bannings in the face of what many are considering to be a very narrow and trite Standard format:
Announcement Date: March 13, 2017
No changes to any format.
The list of all banned and restricted cards, by format, is here.
Next B&R Announcement: April 24, 2017
Eric Laurer of Magic’s Research & Development team went on to acknowledge the problem of the Big Three dominating Standard – Mardu Vehicles, Black-Green Constrictor and Saheeli Copy Cat decks – and that they were dominating the format. He furthermore raised concerns about them crowding all other decks out of the format, but the rise of Temur Dynavolt Tower at Grand Prix Urtrecht convinced them to give Standard some more time.
However, at Grand Prix Utrecht we began to see some movement in the format—particularly the rise of Temur Dynavolt Tower as a potential addition to that upper echelon. With that kind of movement in the format, we thought it best to gather more data—including more Grand Prix and the inclusion of Amonkhet at the Pro Tour—while watching the format continue to shift before making any changes.
Many consider the announcement of no new bans to be both a welcome and problematic announcement. Standard has been suffering poor attendance and turn out for nearly a year now and the game feels tumultuous after banning three major cards, with fears of further bannings and a growing lack of confidence in Wizard’s ability to manage the format. On the other hand, the Big Three decks in Standard feel so oppressive that many are opting not to play, regardless. It appears to be a lose-lose situation for Wizards of the Coast, who seem to be relying on Amonkhet to bring the changes needed to the format to bring it back to life.
If you’d like to check out the official Banned & Restricted Announcement you can click here. Stay tuned here on QueueTimes as the Amonkhet preview season approaches!