Magic: The Gathering Makes Unprecedented Banned and Restricted Announcement

Wizards of the Coast has made a new banned and restricted announcement for Magic: The Gathering organized play. While the company made no changes to the Standard format following the weekend's world championship tournament, it did change the Magic: The Gathering Arena-exclusive Historic format. Wizards banned Tibalt's Trickery in historic, along with the previously suspended card Brainstorm. The company also suspended Memory Lapse, meaning the card will leave play temporarily in the format play pending a final decision about its legality. The ban intends to address blue and red deck dominance for most of this year, particularly regarding decks that use Tibalt's Trickery in combination with Throes of Chaos.

In another move, Wizards of the Coast announced that it would rebalance five of the digital-exclusive cards it introduced into the Historic Format in the Jumpstart: Historic Horizons set: Davriel's Withering; Davriel, Soul Broker; Faceless Agent; Sarkhan, Wanderer to Shiv; and Subversive Acolyte. Players can find the details about the change in the post on the Wizards of the Coast site. The article also explains the philosophy behind rebalancing cards already in play, a new move for the company, especially since some tweaks make cards more potent than they were previously.

"Functional rebalancing is a significant change in how we're managing balance for our formats, and it merits a bit of explanation around what it does and doesn't mean. Going forward, we will be managing formats on MTG Arena in two different ways. "Print" formats, like Standard, will continue to work exactly like they do in tabletop Magic. For "Live" formats, like Historic, we are adding live balancing alongside banning and suspension as a tool to address problems and make improvements to the format.

"We are very aware that there are many MTG Arena players who want the game to be an authentic representation of tabletop Magic, and our "print" formats will remain exactly that. Here, a card will always work the same way that the printed version of the card does and balance will be maintained the same way it traditionally has been: through banning cards when they prove to be problematic.

"In addition to being an authentic version of tabletop Magic, MTG Arena is also a digital game. Digital games often make use of a wider array of balancing tools, like live rebalancing, and for good reason. The increased play rates and data collection possible in digital games tends to magnify the impact of power imbalances, which makes it valuable to have more tools to restore balance."

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The post does clarify that this will be a digital-only card practice for the foreseeable future. The changes will go into effect on October 14th.

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