The July 13th Banned and Restricted List update has dropped. Targeting Historic, Modern, Pauper, and Pioneer, these changes will take effect July 13th in tabletop and Magic Online, and on July 16th on MTG Arena.
- Agent of Treachery, Fires of Invention, and Winota, Joiner of Forces have been banned (from the suspended list)
- Nexus of Fate is banned
- Burning-Tree Emissary is suspended
Agent of Treachery, Fires of Invention, and Winota, Joiner of Forces were on the suspended list and the resulting changes to the Historic metagame were viewed as a positive improvement. As such, all three have been banned. In the wake of their suspension, decks featuring Nexus of Fate have picked up steam. While these decks also run a powerful card in Wilderness Reclamation, Nexus is banned as it removes the opportunity for the opponent to take meaningful actions.
Burning-Tree Emissary is being added to the suspended list in an attempt to rein in Gruul Aggro. Both Nexus of Fate decks and Gruul Aggro were winning three times as much as the next best decks in Historic. Burning-Tree Emissary is being suspended in an effort to contain Gruul.
- Arcum’s Astrolabe is banned
Arcum’s Astrolabe will be banned in Modern because it provides multicolor “good stuff” decks fantastic fixing at too low of a cost. Astrolabe decks have a 55% non-mirror win rate and makes running the best cards trivially easy. Of note is that Play Design is also monitoring the impact of Astrolabe in Legacy as the card is doing similar things in that format, although not at the rate in Modern.
Tron decks in Pauper have been at the top of the metagame since Daze, Gitaxian Probe, and Gush were banned. The current version of Tron tries to assemble a lock with Ephemerate/Ghostly Flicker, Mnemonic Wall, and Stonehorn Dignitary. In an effort to reduce the consistency of these decks and slow down their development, Expedition Map was banned.
Mystic Sanctuary decks also utilize repetitive loops. These involve either Deprive or Tragic Lesson to generate an endgame advantage or Ghostly Flicker to rebuy enter-the-battlefield triggers. Additionally, Sanctuary is likely to cause problems “down the road” and as such has been banned.
- Oath of Nissa is unbanned
Oath of Nissa was banned early in Pioneer’s life cycle. It has been unbanned in an effort to give green ramp decks a boost. Play Design is also monitoring the combo decks of the format – Dimir Inverter and Lotus Breach – to make sure they are not detrimental to overall metagame health.
While there were no changes made to Standard this time, there have been some concerns raised regarding Growth Spiral. No action was taken at this time due to the fact the metagame has been shifting away from ramp strategies.