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Magic: The Gathering Bans Three Cards in Pioneer

Magic Felidar card art

In Wizards of the Coast's Monday news post for Magic: The Gathering, the team that studies the game's metagame and manages what cards can be freely played in regulation matches has announced a rush of new card bans. These bans come as a way to balance the new Pioneer format that was announced on October 21st, and is expected to impact future Magic: The Gathering events, including both tabletop and Magic Online.

It had already been confirmed that there would be bans within Magic's Pioneer format this Monday, although the exact cards up for the axe had been hotly debated up until the announcement. However, after reviewing data from Magic Online, Wizards has decided to remove three cards from the Pioneer format in official play.

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The banned cards include: Felidar Guardian, Leyline of Abundance, and Oath of Nissa. Notably, some have referred to Felidar Guardian as one of the most busted beast cards in Pioneer for its ability to create an unbeatable combo when paired with Saheeli Rai, the exact strategy that Wizards cites for the ban. The other two, Leyline of Abundance and Oath of Nissa, have also been found to be crucial in strategies that can encourage specific deck builds in official play, and as a result dwindle the possible diversity of decks at all levels.

Diversity was the main sticking point of the announcement, claiming that the effectiveness of the three banned cards made them more desirable and therefor the majority of players would gravitated either towards them, or specifically to block them. This unhealthy environment can stifle the growth of more unique strategies and take some of the fun out of playing Magic: The Gathering in the first place. It is for these reasons that Wizards decided to ban these cards as the game move's forward with the Pioneer format, in order to best encourage a diverse collection of deck builds and strategies among players.

Banning cards is never a pleasant experience for companies like Wizards of the Coast, due partially to backlash from removing community favorites as well as the disappointment that a card that made it all the way through development needs to be scrapped, even though busted Magic: The Gathering cards crop up with every expansion. However, it is a crucial measure towards balance, especially for a brand with the scope of Magic: The Gathering that holds professional tournaments and events that need to be held up to standards that don't allow for exploits or broken metas.

The Magic: The Gathering Throne of Eldraine expansion set is available now.

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Source: Wizards News Blog

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