Magic: The Gathering Bans Its Most Popular Brawl Commander

Magic: The Gathering has banned Brawl’s most popular commander from the format. Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, the rare Legendary Artifact Creature from Core Set 2020, has been banned from the Brawl format. The news comes after Oko, Thief of Crowns was banned from the format in November 2019 (one of a series of format bans for the meta-warping Planeswalker). The ban goes into effect on Tuesday for tabletop and Magic Online events, but won’t go into effect on MTG Arena until Thursday. That means players will have one more day of Wednesday Brawl on Arena to enjoy their Golos deck before it becomes illegal.

According to the explanation given, Golos decks accounted for 10 percent of all Brawl decks played on Magic: The Gathering Arena. That’s more than twice the percentage of the format’s next most popular commander. Thanks to its activated ability, Golos’ color identity encompasses all five colors of Magic, meaning players can play any cards they choose. This circumvents the spirit of the format, which forces players to build singleton decks around their commander’s color identity.

Golos’ enters-the-battlefield effect allows a player to search their library for a land card and put it into the battlefield, circumventing the increased mana cost of playing a commander over the course of a game. Put all of that together and you have a card that works around everything that makes the Brawl format interesting.

Golos now joins the short list of banned cards in the format. The Brawl banned list at the time of writing is:

  • Golos, Tireless Pilgrim
  • Oko, Thief of Crowns
  • Sorcerous Spyglass
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Wizards of the Coast made some additional announcements regarding bans in other formats. As the Historic format is about to return to MTG Arena, Wizards has permanently banned three of the four cards it suspended during the previous Historic season. Oko, Thief of Crowns; Veil of Summer; and Once Upon a Time are now all on the Historic banned list.

The other suspended card from last season, Field of the Dead, has been restored to playable status. Wizards reasons that the Historic Anthology II adds enough answers to the powerful land card -- including land-destroying cards like Ghost Quarter and Goblin Ruinblaster -- that Field of the Dead should find a more balanced place in the new Historic metagame.

Wizards also announced Underworld Breach, one the cards introduced in Theros: Beyond Death, is banned in the Legacy format. One Upon a Time is now banned in Modern play.

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