Magic: The Gathering Establishes Drastic Bans In Eternal And Brawl

Wizards of the Coast, the creator of world-renowned card game Magic: The Gathering, tends to design and develop their Magic cards with very few oversights. Most of their sets are relatively tame in a general sense, save for the occasional uptick in power creep here and there. However, every once in a blue moon a card comes around that is so strong that it breaks the game in half. This is when checks and balances come in and the Banned and Restricted list is updated to reflect the removal of that card from the format. Think of these announcements as the acknowledgment that these cards are too good for the format they're being banned in; a reaping if you will.

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.

Today, Wizards of the Coast decided that bans were necessary to promote the overall health of the game, and announced today that quite a few additions to the Banned and Restricted list were forthcoming, effective in tabletop Magic as soon as May 21st. Here are the most recent additions to this list, as announced this morning.

In Brawl, both Winota, Joiner of Forces and Drannith Magistrate were banned. The short answer for why these cards are banned is pretty straightforward. Winota was deemed too powerful, to the point where she was starting to shape the format around her. According to some players, it was either the fact that everyone was playing a Winota deck in Brawl, or they were playing some means to try to stop her. On the Drannith Magistrate ban, the card is clearly not meant to be legal in Brawl, as it consistently and reliably stops any deck built around its commander while not being symmetrical at all. In this way, Brawl cannot be played the way it is intended to be played while the Magistrate is legal. Some players protest, citing "dies to removal"-style arguments to make the point of its inclusion in Brawl, but "dies to removal" is not a valid argument when the right removal can stop anything. As such, those cards are banned in Brawl.

Drannith Magistrate, a card from Magic: The Gathering's newest expansion, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths.
Drannith Magistrate, a card from Magic: The Gathering's newest expansion, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths.

In the Banned and Restricted lists of Eternal formats Legacy and Vintage, things were also shaken up in a major way. First off, due to an interaction with Legacy staple mana rock Grim Monolith, the new Companion card Zirda, the Dawnwaker has been banned in Legacy. Simply put, making an easy-to-achieve infinite mana combo that accessible isn't conducive to a healthy format. Lurrus of the Dream-Den was also banned in Legacy, surprising virtually nobody, but the real shock comes from its ban in Vintage. This multi-format ban is relevant because Lurrus facilitates the abuse of cards like Lion's Eye Diamond and Black Lotus, among other cheap mana sources and value-minded cards. The reason that Lurrus is banned from Vintage rather than simply being restricted is that as a Companion card, Lurrus is only really needed as a singleton, which means that restricting it would not deter the overuse of Lurrus in a major way.

Lurrus of the Dream-Den, another new card from the Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths set for Magic: The Gathering.
Lurrus of the Dream-Den, another new card from the Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths set for Magic: The Gathering.

This makes Lurrus the first card since cards with the Conspiracy card type to be banned from Vintage, and the first card that is otherwise fully-functional to be banned from Vintage since Shahrazad. What do you think of Magic: The Gathering's newest batch of additions to the Banned and Restricted list? Do you think they're fair? Should more have been banned? Should certain formats have been looked at more closely? Let us know your opinions on the matter in the comments below!

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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