After two weeks bearing no changes, Wizards of the Coast has finally made the decision to ban more cards from the Pioneer format of Magic: The Gathering. The three cards banned from Pioneer as of yesterday are Once Upon A Time, Field of the Dead, and Smuggler's Copter.
Wizards of the Coast had exactly this to say on the subject:
Over the last several days, a series of Pioneer PTQ tournaments were held as a part of Magic Online's Pioneer week. The results of these tournaments, and data from league play, show how the environment has evolved under further competitive pressure.
While the results look promising and changes so far have been moving the format in a good direction, our data shows three outstanding issues that are preventing the metagame from arriving at a better balance. These are:
- The strength of Mono-Black Aggro and other aggressive decks featuring Smuggler's Copter
- That Field of the Dead ramp decks are suppressing controlling and reactive decks
- The general prevalence and dominance of green decks as a group, with Once Upon a Time being a key common factor to those decks' success
As a result, we're choosing to ban Smuggler's Copter, Field of the Dead, and Once Upon a Time in Pioneer. We believe that these changes will result in greater diversity among aggressive decks, a clearer role in the metagame for reactive and controlling decks, and a push toward better color balance among competitive decks.
While it's a surprise that some other standout cards such as Oko, Thief of Crowns (a common complaint!), Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, or Nissa, Who Shakes The World haven't been called out, it's still great that Wizards has taken the initiative to remove some troublesome cards in a nondiverse meta from the format.
What do you think should also be banned from the Pioneer format? Is Magic: The Gathering a healthier game without some of the newer overpowered cards released recently? Let us know in the comments!