Magic: The Gathering Pioneer is still in the rough stages of development. From the earliest stages to now, we’ve seen cards veer from completely dominating the format to pushing other cards out. Some of those cards have been Smuggler’s Copter, Once Upon a Time, and Veil of Summer. Wizards of the Coast wants the format to be balanced and so is continuing its policy of weekly banlist updates. This week’s banlist saw two more cards banned: Oko, Thief of Crowns and Nexus of Fate.
Oko, Thief of Crowns
Oko, Thief of Crowns has been a problem in every format he’s existed in. The metagames of all formats, including Vintage and Legacy, have had the 3-mana Planeswalker see play. Because of this, Oko has been banned from multiple formats already. These include Standard, Brawl, Historic, and now Pioneer. If this pattern continues, it may be possible Oko is banned in Modern next. Turning any high-cost permanent on the battlefield into a worthless 3/3 Elk is powerful enough on its own. Combine that with high loyalty, cheap mana cost, and a large amount of flexibility, and the card presents an insane amount of power. It may be going out a limb to say this, but Oko, Thief of Crowns is turning out to be an incredible mistake in card design for Magic: The Gathering. Pioneer will not miss this card one bit.
Nexus of Fate
Nexus of Fate decks have been a bane since they first appeared in Standard. The card is notoriously tedious to play against. Players effectively stall until they can loop Nexus of Fate pseudo-infinitely. Then they eventually win the game or sometimes don’t and just hope their opponent concedes out of boredom. The card is also incredibly powerful, especially for what was a buy-a-box exclusive promo card. Therefore, WotC decided it needed to go. I doubt anyone is going to miss having to play against Nexus Reclamation decks. On the bright side, at least the card will hopefully be cheaper for those Commander players needing a copy.
Watchlist and conclusion
The Pioneer format looks to be fairly open again with these, with the exception of Blue-White Control. The deck was already strong before this banlist. With Oko gone primarily, the deck gets even better. We could see a hit to the deck as soon as next Monday, possibly in the form of Teferi, Time Raveler.
What did you think of this new banlist? Are you sad to see these cards go? What other cards need to be hit to keep Magic: The Gathering Pioneer format balanced? Let us know in the comments or social media!