Magic Agent of Treachery banned

Multiple formats took a hit from the latest Magic: The Gathering Banned and Restricted announcement. Wizards of the Coast fully banned multiple cards that were previously in the suspended category. At the same time, the TCG giant declared several cards too powerful and directly banned them. It’s not all bad news for Magic players though, as a few fan-favorite cards had their bans lifted and are now playable.

While several formats felt the impact of this new banning cycle, Standard was left untouched. However, Growth Spiral is on watch.

All the good Magic cards get banned

Wizards of the Coast was not playing around when it came to the most recent bans. The Historic format took the brunt of the bannings, with five cards taken out of play. None of the cards that were banned should come as a surprise to anyone, though. Agent of Treachery, Winota, Joiner of Forces, Fires of Invention, Nexus of Fate, and Burning-Tree Emissary are no longer playable in Historic.

Agent, Winona, and Fires were already on the chopping block since receiving a suspension in June 2020. It turns out being able to play cards for free is a bit too powerful for competitive Magic. Data that Wizards of the Coast collected since suspending these three cards showed a healthier meta without them. The nail in the coffin for these three spells is that as the Historic format grows, each of these cards only gets better. As more spells that synergize with these cards are released into the format, they will continue to command the top decks. 

Perhaps the best example of this is Nexus of Fate. Because it shuffles back into the deck as a part of the resolution, it never goes away. As Wizards prints new cards with tutor effects, it only becomes easier to find Nexus of Fate in a player’s deck. Instead of hampering future card development, Wizards chose to ban the card.

With Burning-Tree Emissary, having a creature that adds mana when it enters stifles deck variance. Why cast any other two-drop creature when you can cast Burning-Tree and have another for free?

Historic isn’t the only format to take a hit

Both Modern and Pauper suffered casualties as a result of the most recent ban. Modern lost Arcum’s Astrolabe. It was one of the most played cards in Modern before its ban, according to Wizards of the Coast. The biggest reason for its banning is that the Astrolabe provides just a little too much value for what it does. It’s a cantrip, so players never lose a card when they cast it, and the trade-off players have to make for a mana filter is too low.

Typically, artifacts that filter mana have some type of restriction involved. Players might have to pay a certain color of mana for the ability or the card enters the battlefield tapped. The Astrolabe does not have a restriction other than requiring players to pay a snow mana for the casting cost. This is easily done in a format with so many fetch lands available. 

Pauper lost a bit more than Modern, with both Expedition Map and Mystic Sanctuary both moving to the banned list. Expedition Map enabled Tron decks to never have to worry about assembling all three pieces of Tron. Being able to go into turn three with a minimum of seven mana finally became a bit too much “Magic.”

Mystic Sanctuary was preemptively banned, sort of. As it stands, it can be used to create loops in Magic to lockout opponents. While not fun, there is potential for these scenarios to become worse as more sets are released and more cards are introduced to the format. Wizards chose to nip the problem in the bud now, so as to not have to worry about it later.

Oath of Nissa is back in Pioneer!

The last bit of the announcement is that Oath of Nissa is now unbanned from Pioneer. While unbannings are not common, this one makes sense. At the time, Oath of Nissa was great at accelerating out Oko, Thief of Crowns. Since then, Oko and several other green spells, like Once Upon a Time, have also been banned, allowing Oath some space to develop. 

These are all major changes from this Banned and Restricted announcement. Both Standard and Pioneer dodged bans, thanks to the companion rules change that lowered the mechanic’s power level. Make sure to let us know in the comments below if any of these bannings affected your favorite decks! For all your Magic: The Gathering news, updates, and more make sure to follow Daily Esports.

Ryan Hay
Ryan Hay is a writer and content creator currently living in New York. Video games, anime, and Magic: The Gathering have all been strong passions in his life and being able to share those passions with others is his motivation for writing. You can find him @TheRyanHay on Twitter where he complains about losing on MTG Arena a lot.