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Breaking Down the Magic January Banned and Restricted Announcement

Faceless Haven

Ban and Restricted announcements are back again, just a week after Wizards revealed several bans for the Pauper format. Standard, Modern and Legacy are all on the table for this round of changes, and players are both nervous and excited for the new announcement. A few cards have dominated Standard, to the point where Wizards created a brand new format to solve the issue. For Modern and Legacy, one funky little monkey has terrorized the eternal formats, warping both to either play the mono-red one drop or play around it.

After a week of speculation, Wizards finally released the list of banned cards on Tuesday, January 25.

Standard Bans

Alrund’s Epiphany
Divide by Zero
Faceless Haven

The format hit  the most in the announcement on Tuesday was Standard. The format that has been the recipient of months of criticisms has finally received a much needed change.  Alrund’s Epiphany was the card that most players felt that had to play in order to find success in the meta, and caused blue decks to either include it or play with a sub-optimal list. The same can be said for Divide by Zero. Both cards generate too much advantage to exclude from a deck. Both get the ban-hammer as they are partners in crime, where the crime is making for very un-fun matches once the game hits a certain stage.

To even the playing field, Faceless Haven had to hit the bench the as well. Faceless Haven is one of the key tools for aggro decks to always have a lethal attacker when the game draws long. The card also rewards players for playing in mono-color decks, which in a format without powerful blue cards, could easily take over Standard.

Pioneer Bans


Not very surprising to see nothing happen to Pioneer. Wizard’s will just continue to pretend this format doesn’t exist.

Modern Bans


Shockingly, nothing changed in Modern. For a format that is dominated by companions and Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, many players assumed something would be removed to make way for more decks to appear. Without any removals, the meta for Modern will remain the same for quite some time.

Also unexpected is the absence of any unbans this time around. Notably, Splinter Twin is the card that most players see as completely safe to welcome back into the format. Seeing as multiple cards have entered the format that can easily dispatch the combo, it does feels as though the 4-mana enchantment could easily make a safe return to Modern. Maybe next time Twin players.

Legacy Bans

Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer

Though Ragavan narrowly avoided being banned in Modern, the fan-favorite couldn’t evade capture in Legacy. The prominence of free counter spells to defend Ragavan ultimately meant that one or the other had to go. Because Ragavan provides far more card advantage than a counter spell, the B&R team made the correct call and removed the creature from the format. Overall Legacy plays much cheaper spells, and Ragavan had a higher chance of swinging the game in one combat step than any other card. Legacy will still feature a powerful UR Delver deck for a while, but players can rest easy knowing that there is no longer a Ragavan laying in what to dash in at any moment.

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Featured image courtesy of Wizards of the Coast

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1 comment

Winners and Losers from the MTGA Alchemy Rebalancing Announcement January 27, 2022 at 10:58 am

[…] of the Coast unveiled a massive rebalancing effort for Alchemy and Historic, shortly after the Ban and Restricted announcement on Tuesday January 25. The clear focus of this round of rebalancing was to push weaker cards into the more […]


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