Magic: The Gathering Bans Two Popular Cards

Magic: The Gathering today announced that two popular cards -- Fires of Invention and Agent of Treachery -- are now officially banned in both Standard and Historic play. That goes for tabletop, Magic: The Gathering Arena, and Magic: The Gathering Online., though the new bans are not yet effective in Arena and will instead kick in on June 4th. Given the popularity of both cards, and especially Fires of Invention, there's no telling exactly what the metagame might look like going forward.

Fires of Invention, if you're not aware, basically allows players to cast a limited number of spells during their turn for free, which basically removes all issue with high mana costs. By contrast, Agent of Treachery has a high mana cost, but can grab permanents from opponents with ease thanks to cards like Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast or Winota, Joiner of Forces putting it into play earlier than usual.

"[A]s we craft and test future environments, we've found the card Fires of Invention to be a significant design and balance constraint," the official explanation of the new Magic: The Gathering bans reads in part. "Because of the flexible nature of the cost reduction effect, Fires of Invention decks would continue to gain power as new high-mana-cost spells are added to the environment. As new sets have been released, we've seen the win rates of Fires of Invention decks increase compared to past Standard metagame environments."

The explanation notes that Fires of Invention decks have seen a 55% win rate, dominating the metagame in many ways against other popular archetypes. And given that it has only increased with new releases, the team deemed it necessary to go ahead and ban it to avoid boxing themselves in. Agent of Treachery's ban is a bit more straightforward, as it's seemingly working as intended but perhaps just a bit too well.

"[R]ecently we've seen a rise in archetypes that use either Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast or Winota, Joiner of Forces to put Agent of Treachery directly into play," the explanation for the bans continues. "While part of the design intent of these cards was to provide creative ways to deploy powerful high-mana-cost creatures, we've observed that using them to play an early Agent of Treachery can be uniquely frustrating to play against and difficult to come back from."

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Magic: The Gathering's latest and greatest set, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, is now available, and previews of the upcoming core set are expected to release this month. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the popular card game right here.

What do you think of the new bans for Magic: The Gathering? Were you playing either of these deck archetypes? Let us know in the comments, or hit me up directly on Twitter at @rollinbishop to talk all things gaming!

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