Magic: The Gathering Bans a Key Card From Its Newest Format

Last week, Magic: The Gathering banned three more cards from the brand new Pioneer format. Now, it's added another to the format's ban list. After watching how official events in the Pioneer format went following the ban of Oath of Nissa, Leyline of Abundance, and Felidar Guardian, Wizards of the Coast announced on Monday that Veil of Summer will also be banned in Pioneer. Those initial three bannings were to curb the dominance of aggressive green ramp decks in Pioneer. While that move seems to have helped, Wizards believes that those bannings alone were not enough. Removing Veil of Summer will further weaken green's stranglehold on the Pioneer format.

"Observing the evolution of the Pioneer format after last week's bans, we're generally seeing positive changes to the metagame," writes senior game designer Ian Duke in the announcement on the Magic: The Gathering website. "However, green-based aggro and ramp decks still remain overrepresented in the competitive metagame at the expense of midrange and control. Therefore, we are banning Veil of Summer to better allow for natural metagame forces to provide counterpressure against these strategies. We expect this to increase incentive to play reactive strategies that will help keep the format in balance over the long term without fundamentally changing any of the diversity of decks currently available in Pioneer."

Veil of Summer has been a key sideboard card for green decks against blue and black decks. The card is used as a means of circumventing blue's counterspells and protecting creatures against black's removal spells. It is still legal in Standard play, where it is also a sideboard staple.

The next Pioneer banned and restricted announcement is set for the afternoon of Monday, November 18th. With this week's announcement, the complete Pioneer ban list is now as follows:

  • Veil of Summer
  • Oath of Nissa
  • Felidar Guardian
  • Leyline of Abundance
  • Bloodstained Mire
  • Flooded Strand
  • Polluted Delta
  • Windswept Heath
  • Wooded Foothills
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Wizards of the Coast hopes the Pioneer format will become what Modern once was, a format that is easy for newer players to transition into after experiencing their first Standard format set rotation. They want it to be a middle ground between the newbie-friendly Standard and the power-level of decks in the Legacy format. Pioneer launched with cards going back five years legal, with 2014's Return to Ravnica set as the format's unmoving start point.

“Pioneer will utilize sets from Return to Ravnica forward,” Wizards of the Coast’s Blake Rasmussen explained in the announcement. “One goal in creating Pioneer was for the format to be large enough to have cross-block synergies to give the format its own unique characteristics. Starting with RTR gives the format that is the most different from Modern, since Modern launched right before RTR.”

What do you think of the Magic: The Gathering bans? Let us know in the comments.