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Fires of Invention and Agent of Treachery-based decks are no more in Magic: The Gathering‘s Standard and Historic. In a new Banned and Restricted announcement, Wizard of the Coast chose to ban both cards, though for different reasons.
Fires of Invention ended up dominating much of the meta and had very good win percentages against other top decks. Meanwhile, decks that could cheat Agent of Treachery into play a few turns earlier than intended often took too much of a lead. While many players also expected some type of companion-related banning, these instead received a major rule update to curb their power.
Today's updated to the Banned & Restricted list features changes to Standard, Historic, and the Companion mechanic. Read the full update here: https://t.co/IFeTiY3TDA
— Magic: The Gathering (@wizards_magic) June 1, 2020
When you’re too good in Magic
Wizards has deemed two cards, Fires of Invention and Agent of Treachery, too good for Magic. Both cards are now banned in Standard and the Magic Arena Historic format. Players who had cards banned will receive wildcards for each banned card they own. Wizards will also remove these cards from packs, so players can’t open them until they have collected every other rare from their respective sets.
Fires of Invention was particularly bad, holding a 55% match win rate. Decks with Fires even had favorable matchups against other top decks, making it a pretty oppressive deck. Wizards also commented on how Fires of Invention was problematic with future Magic sets, meaning Fires was not likely to go away any time soon.
“In addition, as we craft and test future environments, we’ve found the card Fires of Invention to be a significant design and balance constraint,” said Magic senior game designer Ian Duke. “Because of the flexible nature of the cost reduction effect, Fires of Invention decks would continue to gain power as new high-mana-cost spells are added to the environment.”
Magic 2020‘s Agent of Treachery received a ban for different reasons – namely that it just isn’t fun to play against. When put into play off of a Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast, or Winota, Joiner of Forces, it put opponents too far behind to come back from. Decks that focused on larger creatures or special permanents in play often found themselves much further behind once they lost that card.
For tabletop and Magic: The Gathering Online players, the ban is effective immediately. For Magic Arena players, the ban will go into effect on June 4. Make sure to follow Daily Esports for more updates, bannings, and other Magic: The Gathering news.
Ryan Hay is a writer and content creator currently living in New York. Video games, anime, and Magic: The Gathering have all been strong passions in his life and being able to share those passions with others is his motivation for writing. You can find him on Twitter where he complains about losing on MTG Arena a lot.