Wizards of the Coast has officially banned Field of the Dead in the Magic: The Gathering Arena-only Historic Magic format. Field of the Dead was already banned in Standard and was once suspended from Historic when it ran rampant following its introduction with the release of Magic's Core Set 2020. Later, after new land destruction cards like Ghost Quarter and Goblin Ruinblaster that can keep the land in check were introduced to the format via Historic Anthology releases, Wizards of the Coast reintroduced the card into Historic play. But the addition of cards from the Jumpstart and Amonkhet Remastered sets -- with Hour of Promise being the prime culprit -- have made Field of the Dead almost impossible to deal with, as evidenced by its disproportionate representation in the competitive Historic Metagame. Here's the reasoning provided by Wizards of the Coast with the announcement on Monday:
"Field of the Dead has been a powerful force in Historic for much of the format's life. While its overall win rate is rarely at the top, its matchups are extremely polarized. In particular, its high win rate against slower decks has made the format as a whole lean more toward aggressive strategies. This effect scales with the ubiquity of Field of the Dead decks, and recent sets have given the deck several powerful additions, including Cultivate, Explore, and, most recently, Hour of Promise. As a result of this we have seen both the popularity and win rate of Field of the Dead decks steadily climb, and it is currently one of the most played Best-of-One decks and, by far, the most popular Best-of-Three deck.
"Having watched the progress of this deck closely, we feel that this trend is unlikely to change. We also feel that Field of the Dead is unlikely to be a healthy part of the format anytime soon, so suspension is the wrong approach. In order to bring a greater diversity to the Historic meta, Field of the Dead is banned."
The ban comes as Historic begins to emerge as a format showcased in major competitions, including the upcoming Mythic Championship. Wizards of the Coast likely wanted to avoid a situation similar to past Historic events, where a single card has been able to dominate the entire tournament.
Historic's meta has been in flux over the past several weeks. The addition of Jumpstart introduced more than 300 new cards into the format, and Amonkhet Remastered did the same not long after. With the removal of the dominant Field of the Dead, the entire Historic landscape should reshape itself again.