Magic: The Gathering Bans Two Cards But There's Still A Problem

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Wizards of the Coast has made its Magic: The Gathering ban and restricted announcement today, and as many people in the Magic community have predicted, "Field of the Dead" is banned in Standard, and "Arcum's Astrolabe is banned in Pauper.

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It's easy to see why "Field of the Dead" was banned in Standard. The card enabled ramp decks that run Golos to create a constant stream of zombies while gaining mana and card advantage. Wizards of the Coast observed the high win rate and play rate of decks that run "Field of the Dead" in Magic Arena and Magic Online. At this past weekend's Mythic Championship V, 42% of the Standard decks ran "Field of the Dead".

Ian Duke explained how the zombie-producing Land card is a problem in the metagame. "Beyond just the strength of the strategy, 'Field of the Dead' presents a number of other problems for the metagame," Duke said. "The repetitive, on-board nature of its effect can cause games to frequently play out in a similar, deterministic way. Since "Field of the Dead" is a land, it can be difficult for many archetypes to interact with, further limiting the metagame's ability to adapt. Finally, the long-term advantage 'Field of the Dead' provides often leads to prolonged games. We've observed a marked increase in matches going to time in tabletop tournaments and in average game length in digital play."

Even though Wizards of the Coast banned "Field of the Dead", the Standard format may still have a problem. There's one other card in Standard that was dominant at the Mythic Championship V, and some Magic players already want it banned. That card is "Oko, Thief of Crowns". You can check out the explanation of why Oko should be banned here.

However, Duke said that they're aware of the issues that are still present in the Standard environment, saying, "Finally, we're aware of a few other community concerns regarding the Standard environment, including that early acceleration into planeswalkers can be frustrating and that the color green is strong across a variety of Standard archetypes. We'll continue to monitor the health of the environment, but feel it's important to allow the metagame to adjust to the absence of "Field of the Dead" before further evaluation."

Duke explains that "Arcum Astrolabe" was banned in Pauper because they've "seen three-plus-color Skred decks pick up substantial metagame share, at times representing 15–20% of the field with a win rate greater than 55%." It's also not surprising to see Astrolabe banned in Pauper after hearing many players on social media were complaining about it.

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Do you think Wizards of the Coast made the right decision to ban these two cards? Do you think Standard can still be enjoyable with "Oko, Thief of Crowns" still in Standard? Let us know in the comments section below.

Related: MTG Pro Lee Shi Tian References Hong Kong in Mythic Championship V Victory Speech