On Monday, Wizards of the Coast announced that Field of the Dead, a powerful, zombie-producing land, would be banned in Magic: The Gathering's Standard format. This announcement came immediately following Mythic Championship 5, where 42% of the decks that were played included Field of the Dead, and while WotC indicated that this tournament alone did not inform its decision to ban the card, this staggering figure certainly paints a picture of just how powerful the land was in MTG's new Standard format.
Indeed, it is unlikely that many Standard players would argue that Field of the Dead was having a positive impact on the format overall, and a great number of fans are sure to happy to see it banned. However, for some of these players, one question may still remain: Is the banning of Field of the Dead enough to save Magic: The Gathering's Standard format?
Since the banning of Field of the Dead in Standard MTG, one card in particular has been receiving a great deal of attention. That card is Oko, Thief of Crowns, a Planeswalker that was printed in MTG's recently released Throne of Eldraine set, and to simply say that Oko is powerful would be a gross understatement. Costing only three mana, and with a plus ability that can invalidate almost every creature ever printed, Oko, Thief of Crowns is a truly busted Magic: The Gathering card in the eyes of many players.
While the power level of Magic: The Gathering's Oko, Thief of Crown was in discussion prior to the banning of Field of the Dead, some fans are currently concerned that a Standard format that was unhealthily slanted towards Field of the Dead decks is now primed to become a Standard format defined by Oko. The Thief of Crowns was certainly no slouch while FotD remained legal, being played in decks like Simic Food, Simic Ramp, and Bant Ramp, and it stands to reason that many former-Field players will gravitate towards Oko post-ban.
Ultimately, this may mean that Oko decks will take a metagame share that is comparable to what Field decks inhabited previously. As indicated by the banning of Field of the Dead, this is something that Wizards actively looks to avoid, and it may only be a matter of time before Magic: The Gathering's Oko, Thief of Crowns is hit with a ban as well. That said, considering that this powerful Planeswalker is a primary draw for players to purchase packs of MTG's Throne of Eldraine set, it is likely that Wizards will look to avoid such a ban for as long as possible.
Without question, Standard always has a handful of cards that rise above the rest in terms of raw power, but when one or two are simply pushed too far, real problems can emerge for the format. Time will tell if the deck building space that has been opened up with the banning of Field of the Dead will allow more diverse decks to efficiently answer MTG's Oko, Thief of Crowns, but there is a very real possibility that Standard was not adequately fixed by Monday's banned and restricted announcement.
The Magic: The Gathering Throne of Eldraine expansion set is available now.