Hard on the heels of the last bans in Pioneer, Wizards has announced yet another. Although it warned everyone that it would be "banning cards on off-cycle dates," Pioneer seems to be on track to getting a new ban once a week. Today, Wizards announced that a popular green instant from Core 2020 would be banned: Veil of Summer.
Pioneer is a new, non-rotating format similar to Modern or Extended. It is cards from standard sets going back to Return to Ravnica, which was released in 2012. When Pioneer was first announced, it did not have any cards on the banned list except the fetch lands; this was coupled with an announcement that Wizards would be watching Pioneer closely for needed bans.
In the two weeks since it became a format, Pioneer has had four cards banned, including Veil of Summer, which was announced earlier today. Veil is an uncommon instant from Magic Core Set 2020, and reads:
Draw a card if an opponent has cast a blue or black spell this turn. Spells you control can't be countered this turn. You and permanents you control gain hexproof from blue and from black until end of turn.
For most players, it's pretty easy to see why this card has been banned in paper, Online, and Magic Arena's Pioneer. It's an incredibly powerful instant that renders both blue and black cards useless, and it draws players a card. For a one-drop uncommon, this card is both incredibly powerful and can be used very early game. This card has been showing up in nearly every mono-green aggro deck's sideboard since Pioneer was announced.
The Veil of Summer ban is for the good of the format. Wizards wanted to use Pioneer as a cheaper, more new-player friendly, non-rotating format that would replace Modern or Legacy as formats of choice at bigger tournaments and even local FNMs. Wizards has been on top of updating the Pioneer banned list and ensuring too-good cards are quickly dealt with. It's great to know that Wizards has decided to stay true to its word about quick bans and decisive action.
However, knowing that a ban can happen to any card at any time can be harrowing to many players. Especially since it seems to be banning any card that is performing well in any Pioneer event. It's incredibly difficult to feel confident in investing in any Pioneer staples that are pricey, especially when they can be banned at a moment's notice. This feels especially bad to players with small budgets that are excited to delve into a new format. Magic Arena has been pushing the Pioneer format to players, and some have invested heavily in cards that have quickly been made useless by bans, like Saheeli Rais.
Players are beginning to wonder exactly what will be next, and if perhaps the most expensive Standard planeswalker ever to be printed, Oko, will be on the chopping block next.
Magic the Gathering: Arena is available for Macs and PCs and Magic the Gathering Online is for PC.
Source: Wizards of the Coast