Ban and Restricted Announcement for December 4th, 2023

Pioneer

Karn, the Great Creator has been banned. Despite both the metagame share and win rate of the Mono-Green Devotion deck shrinking recently, this has been a deck that has been a large piece of the Pioneer meta throughout the lifetime of the format. Karn’s passive ability to shut off artifacts added to the ability pull the perfect sideboard card out at opportune moments have warped the meta of Pioneer to a degree that keeps burgeoning decks from emerging, and forces currently viable decks to spend real-estate accounting for it. The hope is that this will allow for a more diverse meta going forward.

Geological Appraiser has been banned. While it isn’t clear based on win rates that this is the strongest thing you can do in Pioneer, the play pattern of creating a single treasure in the first two turns followed by winning the game on turn 3 if your opponent doesn’t have a specific kind of removal is unlikely to be good for the long-term health of the format. Much like with Karn, above, this requires every deck to account for this combo in some way, thus shrinking the format. The B&R team also has their eye on the Quintorious combo deck, however since it takes a full additional turn to combo off they are not taking any actions centered on that deck at this time.

Smuggler’s Copter has been unbanned. Since it’s banning in December of 2019, any new sets have entered the format and Pioneer has naturally grown in power over time. The B&R team doesn’t want to unban things very often, however they feel that re-introducing Smuggler’s Copter into the format will help to provide additional diversity and create new deck-building puzzles. (While this isn’t part of the article above, I asked in the main Magic Discord if there were plans to add Smuggler’s Copter into Arena, as it will be needed if Explorer is going to be a viable place to test for the upcoming PT. I was told that they’re aware of the gap and are actively discussing ways to close it, however no timeline was given.)

Modern

Fury has been banned. The B&R team continues to have their eye on Orcish Bowmasters and The One Ring, and while they see them as powerful players in the format they believe Fury is having a greater effect in suppressing what’s possible. Rakdos Scam play and win rates have continued to rise since PT:LOTR, and the second most powerful deck in the format, 4C Omnath, as well as a smattering of other decks have been making use of Fury. Without Fury, the B&R team believes that the opportunity cost of playing undying effects like Not Dead After All increases and therefor reduces the consistency of the Scam deck. The B&R team will keep an eye on the Scam decks, believing it’s possible they will evolve to include Solitude and/or Ephemorate, but they believe these options provide less coverage against the meta game. They also believe that removing Fury will allow players to explore additional strategies, especially being able to make use of lower-toughness creatures, as fewer overall Rakdos Scam decks will likely reduce the number of copies of Grief and Orcish Bowmasters found in the format.

Up the Beanstalk has been banned. While a new card, there are so many free or reduced cost spells that make use of this powerful draw engine that the B&R team believes simply removing Fury is not enough. Additionally it is a difficult to profitably interact with spell, as it replaces itself when it comes into play while allowing for more card draw if it hits a “free” spell. The B&R team finds it telling that players have opted to Cascade into this rather than cards like Living End.