Opinion: No Pioneer Bans? This Early? – "Magic: The Gathering"

Let's talk for a second about Pioneer in the context of Magic: The Gathering formats that have come before it. In this article, I'm inclined to discuss what older formats have had banned from them from the get-go, and how this early in the life of Pioneer, the relative lack of bans is preposterous.

On the Pioneer Format (and Early Financial Spikes) - "Magic: The Gathering"
The starting legality of cards in Pioneer. Source: Wizards of the Coast

So, as can be seen from the above list, all cards from Return to Ravnica on towards present day's current set Throne of Eldraine were legal from the creation of Pioneer, save for the fetchlands. These cards were always known to be powerful deck-thinning forces of eventual mana ramp, as well as amazing sources of landfall triggers, for where that mattered. I daresay that if they were legal today and Hedron Crab was in the revisiting of the Zendikar setting (Battle for Zendikar), we would have a mono-blue Mill deck in the meta, and even that would pale in comparison to decks that better utilize the fetches to their fullest extent.

Opinion: No Pioneer Bans? This Early? - "Magic: The Gathering"
Cute little guy. Source: Wizards of the Coast

At whatever rate, other formats have had far more extensive lists of banned cards from their inception. Twenty cards were banned from the original set of cards as of the creation of the very first DCI ban list for Magic, not counting the "ante" cards. 21 cards were initially banned from Modern when that first came into being. And now Wizards has created a format that, almost a month into its run with weekly ban list updates, has less cards banned total than either of those formats began with. For the sake of information, there are exactly nine total cards banned from Pioneer. Let me rephrase that: Pioneer has, three weeks in, less than half the cards banned from it that either Modern or the original ban list had.

Opinion: No Pioneer Bans? This Early? - "Magic: The Gathering"
Granted, the early ban list for Magic contained Rukh Egg, so… Source: Wizards of the Coast

I do not think this is because of a better quality of card creation. Far from it, as the most recent Standard bannings show. I think this may be a further grasp at customer/consumer retention, which I can't exactly fault Wizards of the Coast for, but I'm of the opinion that they can do this in a better fashion with the tools they already had.

What do you think? Should Wizards of the Coast ban more cards in Pioneer? What cards, if so? Are any of the cards there for undue reasons? Let us know!

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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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