Magic: The Gathering has announced a significant change to how companions function in the popular card game. Companions, if you're not familiar, were added to the game with the release of the latest set, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, and basically allowed players to add a card to their deck -- if said deck meets certain requirements -- that's sort of outside of play, but can be played at any point for its mana cost. Now, it will cost those players a bit more to actually do, and the way in which the companion enters the game has shifted.
Here's how the new mechanics work, direct from Wizards of the Coast:
"Once per game, any time you could cast a sorcery (during your main phase when the stack is empty), you can pay 3 generic mana to put your companion from your sideboard into your hand. This is a special action, not an activated ability. It happens immediately and can't be responded to. It can't be countered or stopped by cards like Phyrexian Revoker."
Effectively, this means that the cost of actually playing a companion is now increased across the board, and will likely delay said companion's use by at least a turn. Because the companion is now added to a player's hand, that also offers the opportunity for opponents to interact with it while it's there, which previously was not possible.
As part of the same update, Magic: The Gathering banned both Fires of Invention and Agent of Treachery in Standard and Historic. While the bans do not directly have anything to do with the companion rule change, the combination of all of this should lead to a fairly serious shakeup in terms of deck construction.
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 change to companions in Magic: The Gathering? Do you think it will have a significant impact on the metagame? Let us know in the comments, or hit me up directly on Twitter at @rollinbishop to talk all things gaming!