Magic: The Gathering Bans 3 of Its Most Dominant Cards
On Tuesday, Wizards of the Coast announced it would ban three of its most popular cards from Standard format play. Alrund's Epiphany, Divide by Zero, and Faceless Haven are no longer Standard-legal effective immediately in tabletop play. The bans will come to Magic: The Gathering Online and Magic: The Gathering Arena with Thursday's updates. Alrund's Epiphany has been a staple of the Standard format since its introduction with the release of the Kaldheim expansion. Historically, allowing players to take extra turns is a powerful effect that's hard to counter. That's proven no different in Alrund's Epiphany's case, where it first found popularity in midrange Izzet Dragons decks and then in more control-oriented Izzet Turns Decks.
Divide by Zero has been another staple of Izzet Decks since its release in the Strixhaven set. The Learn keyword combined with the card's ability to bounce either a permanent or a spell provides its user with both tempo and card advantage that's difficult to deal with on turn three.
As Izzet has dominated the Standard metagame for months, Alrund's Epiphany and Divide by Zero's bans aren't shocking. Wizards of the Coast even hinted at a potential Alrund's Ephiphany ban in a previous banned and restricted announcement. Faceless Haven is another story. As a colorless "man-land," it's been popular in various decks, either as a finisher for control decks or a means of recovering from board wipes for aggro decks. The banned and restricted announcement says its removal from the format weakens the most popular aggro archetypes.
"The most winning decks on the MTG Arena ladder, and among the most popular, have been Mono-White Aggro and Mono-Green Aggro," the post says. "While each owes part of its success to preying upon Blue-Red Epiphany decks, both decks also have high win rates against the field, especially against many of the less popular decks on the fringes. Faceless Haven represents a lot of the power of these monocolor aggro decks by virtue of being efficient on its own and by providing resilience against creature sweepers and targeted removal. To weaken these two aggressive archetypes without fundamentally changing their core game plan, Faceless Haven is banned."
Other announcements include that Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer is banned in the Legacy format. In the MTG Arena-only Historic format, Wizards of the Coast will ban Memory Lapse after suspending the card previously. However, Teferi, Time Raveler has been rebalanced and unbanned, the first example of such rebalancing in the format since Wizards of the Coast introduced the concept for the Alchemy format.
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