As part of today's scheduled Magic: The Gathering ban and restricted announcment, Wizards of the Coast has announced some changes that they will make when it comes to banning and restricting MTG cards. Going forward, there will no longer be scheduled B&R updates, but they still expect changes to come in a similar pace, and they will always announce changes on Mondays while allowing flexibility in exact week of changes.
"This will let us be more agile and responsive with changes when needed while respecting the needs and timelines of competitive events," R&D developer Ian Duke said. "We'll still do our best to avoid making changes to a format too soon before a major event so as not to negatively impact players' plans and preparations. That said, given the number of major events now being held nearly every weekend around the world, and the need to make sure we're addressing the health of formats in a timely manner, some conflicts may arise. We'll do what we can to give advance notice if we're able."
In recent months, MTG fans have complained about the imbalanced Standard format due to the dominance of powerful cards like "Field of the Dead", "Oko, Thief of Crowns", and "Once Upon A Time". Attendance have dropped in major MTG events, and some tournaments changed their formats from Standard to Pioneer because many players didn't want to play Standard.
"The most likely result of an imbalanced or unfun format is that players simply don't play," Duke explained. "They cancel plans, skip side events, or don't engage in a format that isn't healthy. Attendance numbers at MagicFests for formats that later received bans bear that out."
This seems to be the first time they've addressed that imbalanced and unfun formats lead to low Grand Prix attendance. They're probably noticing the significant decline of players attending these events, and it's good that they're allowing more flexibility when it comes to ban and restricted updates.
No changes were made in any formats in today's B&R update.
The next B&R update will likely be in January, and from that announcement onward, WotC will plan to sync up Pioneer updates with the rest of their B&R updates.