Magic: The Gathering has banned one of the most popular cards in the Standard format. Since the release of the Throne of Eldraine expansion and the 2019 Standard format set rotation, Golos Ramp decks have dominated the format’s metagame. The deck leverages ramp spells to play multiple lands per turn, then uses Golos, Tireless Pilgrim to hunt down copies of Field of the Dead. By the time Golos hits the battlefield, Field of the Dead is often already primed to trigger, spawning new 2/2 Zombie tokens with each additional land played. This leads to an opponent soon facing an impenetrable wall of Zombies, especially if more than one copy of Field of the Dead is in play. From there, it’s just a matter a time before the Field of the Dead player has enough zombies on the board to swing in and defeat an opponent in one or two turns. Even mass removal spells can’t stop the zombie apocalypse since all it takes is a land drop to begin spawning new zombies at no mana cost.
Wizards of the Coast has now ended the zombie threat in Throne of Eldraine Standard. Today, the company announced that Field of the Dead has been banned from Standard play. In the announcement on the Magic: The Gathering website, Wizards explains that the problems with Field of the Dead go beyond the Golos Ramp strategy: “Beyond just the strength of the strategy, Field of the Dead presents a number of other problems for the metagame. The repetitive, on-board nature of its effect can cause games to frequently play out in a similar, deterministic way. Since Field of the Dead is a land, it can be difficult for many archetypes to interact with, further limiting the metagame's ability to adapt. Finally, the long-term advantage Field of the Dead provides often leads to prolonged games. We've observed a marked increase in matches going to time in tabletop tournaments and in average game length in digital play.”
The post also noted the disproportionate number of Golos Ramp decks played at this weekend’s Mythic Championship V tournament and in digital versions of Magic: “Field of the Dead ramp decks represented 42% of the field at Mythic Championship V and maintain both a high play rate and win rate on MTG Arena and Magic Online. Due to the strength and prevalence of the archetype, its warping effect on the metagame, and the undesirable play patterns it creates, Field of the Dead is banned in Standard. (This includes both Best-of-One and Best-of-Three Standard on MTG Arena.)”
Wizards of the Coast moved this scheduled banned and restricted announcement up a month in order to closely monitor Field of the Dead’s effect on the metagame and so that it could implement a fix, if needed, before the next Mythic Championship event. Some Magic players feel that Throne of Eldraine Standard still needs tweaking, with Oko, Thief of Crowns being possibly too powerful in food-based decks. Players will have to wait and see how the metagame adjusts to this latest banning.
What do you think of Field of the Dead being banned? Let us know in the comments.