Speculation has been running wild for the past month, ever since Field of the Dead received its emergency ban, players have been wondering what is next on the chopping block?
In our article at the time, we speculated that Oko, Thief of Crowns would also have to be banned to help balance out the Standard environment metagame and as it now appears, we were correct in this early assessment.
However, today’s ban update announcement still caught many off guard with just how aggressively Wizards of the Coast targeted the green mana color, taking out not just Oko, Thief of Crowns, but two other problematic cards along with it.
As already pointed out, Oko, Thief of Crowns is out of the standard format.
This was because of his overwhelming representation within Wizards of the Coasts number one, most important format.
This three mana cost Planeswalker has caused the entirety of the standard metagame to warp around him and even after decks started to be constructed, specifically to defeat him, they still largely proved unable to do so in the last Mythic Championship, in which Oko was represented in numbers that rival any other broken card in Magic: the Gatherings long and rich history.
This caused many fans of the game and even Magic: the Gathering pros to sharpen their axes and get out the pitchforks, applying tremendous pressure on Wizards of the Coast to act and ban the card that was ruining the Standard format.
Fortunately, they have listened to their playerbase and Oko, Thief of Crowns is no more, however he is still playable in other formats, such as Pioneer, Modern and Vintage, for now.
The second card that was banned today was Veil of Summer, a card that was printed in Core Set 2020 and one that was only meant to be a very niche sideboard playable card.
Unfortunately, it appears that the Wizards of the Coasts research and development team underestimated the power level of this card and just how problematic it would become, forcing them to ban the card in the Pioneer format last week and in the standard format this week. It simply has become that powerful.
The problem with this card is that it can completely swing the game in the casters favor for just one green mana, giving your creatures hexproof, acting like a counterspell, while at the same time drawing you a card, putting you significantly ahead in the resources.
Veil of Summer was truly overpowered and it had to go.
The final card banned in the standard format today was Once Upon a Time, yes ANOTHER green mana colored card and yes another card that appears to of slipped past the R&D’s fingertips, that should of been powered down before reaching the printing presses.
This is an instant card that is free, as long as it is your first spell cast within a game. It fixes mana problems, it digs for creatures, it helps you mill through your deck, it truly is an amazingly powerful card.
Although this card was only banned in the standard format today, it is widely speculated that it is also going to be banned in additional formats, as time proceeds forward, with the most notable other format being Pioneer.
A question we are seeing floating around the internet after this ban announcement, of which specifically only targeted the mana color green, is whether or not green is now unplayable?
The answer to this question is a resounding no.
Green still has a number of incredibly powerful cards, including Questing Beast, Wicked Wolf, Lovestruck Beast and powerful Planeswalkers such as Nissa, Who Shakes the World and Vivien, Arkbow Ranger, just to name a few.
With these creatures and Planeswalker in mind, green is still going to be a force to be reckoned with and we expect it to have many competitive and powerful decks, that will be more than capable of taking down the toughest opponents that the format has to offer.
However, what is likely, is that after these bans, the green mana color is going to fall back to its much more traditional, “stompy” style of gameplay, which sees large creatures ramped onto the board, that will hopefully crush your opponent under their sheer strength alone.
Although players who pilot green mana colored cards today may feel disappointed with just how heavy the Wizards of the Coast ban hammer came down on them, it was largely expected by the majority of the Magic: the Gathering community, as everyone was more than well aware of just how broken the standard format has become over the last few short months.
Fortunately, as we have previously stated, the green mana color is still a very strong and capable part of the color pie and is expected to perform well as we move forward into this new and exciting standard format, free of the Oko’s elkish tyranny.
With these cards being banned, you can expect to see many new and exciting brews to spring up over the coming days and weeks, leading to a much more diverse gameplay experience.
What you think of today’s ban announcements, are you happy with what they have targeted, or do you think more or less cards should of been banned?
Let us know in the comment section below and as always, thanks for reading!