Magic: The Gathering Erratas Companion Rule, Updates Ban List

Wizards of the Coast, in a rather surprising move, has officially given functional errata to a major new rule in their acclaimed trading card game, Magic: The Gathering. This rule change, which affects the mechanics of the Companion mechanic from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, comes after an extreme influx of Companion cards used as such in Standard, Legacy, and other big-name competitive formats.

The artwork for Syr Konrad, the Grim, from Magic: The Gathering's Throne of Eldraine expansion. Illustrated by Anna Steinbauer.
The artwork for Syr Konrad, the Grim, from Magic: The Gathering's Throne of Eldraine expansion. Illustrated by Anna Steinbauer.

Wizards of the Coast has officially changed Companion to have a three-mana tax in order to move the cards from the sideboard to players' hands once per game. Originally, Companions were free to play from the sideboard once per game, but this has since clearly proved too powerful.

The new mechanic ruling is as such:

Once per game, any time you could cast a sorcery (during your main phase when the stack is empty), you can pay 3 generic mana to put your companion from your sideboard into your hand. This is a special action, not an activated ability. It happens immediately and can't be responded to. It can't be countered or stopped by cards like Phyrexian Revoker.

The artwork for Lurrus of the Dream-Den, a card from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths for Magic: The Gathering. Illustrated by Slawomir Maniak.
The artwork for Lurrus of the Dream-Den, a card from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths for Magic: The Gathering. Illustrated by Slawomir Maniak.

Additionally, Wizards of the Coast has elected to effectively remove two cards from both the Standard and Historic formats. The following cards have been added to the ban list of the Standard format, and the suspended list of the Historic format:

The artwork for Agent of Treachery, from the Core Set 2020 expansion set for Magic: the Gathering. Illustrated by Igor Kieryluk.
The artwork for Agent of Treachery, from the Core Set 2020 expansion set for Magic: the Gathering. Illustrated by Igor Kieryluk.

Agent of Treachery has been pivotal for various Magic decks in Standard for the simple reason that it could literally steal anything that wasn't unable to be targeted, via Hexproof, Shroud, Protection, or other such abilities. What's more, with two new cards from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths (Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast and Winota, Joiner of Forces), Agent has been notoriously easy to cheat into play, thereby mitigating its steep converted mana cost of seven.

As for Fires of Invention, this card has been able to cheat cards out with a great speed that belies its restriction of two spells per turn. As Wizards puts it specifically, Fires of Invention "would continue to gain power as new high-mana-cost spells are added to the environment." Simply, the more sets that come out while Fires is legal, the stronger Fires would deign to become.

Fires of Invention, a card from Throne of Eldraine, an expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.
Fires of Invention, a card from Throne of Eldraine, an expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.

These changes to Standard and Historic, as well as the Companion errata, will all come into effect as of June 4th, 2020. What do you think of these bans? Are they enough to stabilize Standard and Historic? Or, are they an indication of a Standard environment that's too much for the whole Standard format to bear? Let us know what you think!

About Joshua Nelson

Josh Nelson is a Magic: The Gathering deckbuilding savant, a self-proclaimed scholar of all things Sweeney Todd, and, of course, a writer for Bleeding Cool. In their downtime, Josh can be found painting models, playing Magic, or possibly preaching about the horrors and merits of anthropophagy. You can find them on Twitter at @Burning_Inquiry for all your burning inquiries.

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