Wizards of the Coast issued a surprise update to its Magic: The Gathering Banned and Restricted Lists.

WotC appears to be clearing the decks to make way for the coming release of Zendikar Rising (see "'Magic: The Gathering' 'Zendikar Rising' Product Line Revealed!") as they went off and banned just about every problem card in the Standard and Pioneer format in a lengthy Banned and Restricted List Announcement. The list of current changes are as follows:

  • Wilderness Reclamation, Growth Spiral, Teferi, Time Raveler, and Cauldron Familiar are banned in the Standard format.
  • Inverter of Truth, Kethis, the Hidden Hand,  Walking Ballista, and Underworld Breach are banned in the Pioneer format.
  • Wilderness Reclamation and Teferi, Time Raveler are suspended in the Historic format.
  • Teferi, Time Raveler is banned in the Brawl format.

{IMAGE_2}The Standard bannings are truly format-altering, but only till the release of Zendikar Rising as three of the four cards will be rotating out of the format when the new set releases anyhow. Cauldron Familiar is the only card sticking around past the rotation, and it was banned because it enabled a sacrifice strategy that was outright oppressive. The Pioneer bannings are more significant because they essentially nullify the effectiveness of four different combo decks by removing key cards. With these decks defunct, deck variance in the Pioneer format will likely increase as the format opens up more.

These bannings will have some retail ramifications. This series of bannings was an attempt to clean up formats featuring recently in-print sets before Standard format rotation in October, which will motivate players to build new decks. WotC's moves here will inherently make Ikoria: Lair of the Behemoths (see " Details Revealed For 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths' Product Line ), Core Set 2021 (see "Wizards of the Coast Reveals More Deets on 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Core Set 2021'"), and later Zendikar Rising better sellers as players go searching through these sets for new deck tech.