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Wizards of the Coast has revealed an interesting alternative to banning cards in the MTG Arena Historic format in the form of suspensions. The cards being suspended are: Once Upon a Time, Field of the Dead, Veil of Summer, and Oko, Thief of Crowns.
The suspension marks the second time Oko, Once Upon a Time, and Veil of Summer have been removed from competitive play on MTG Arena. The first round of bannings came in the Standard format exclusively. Though slightly different from a ban, the suspension still makes certain cards unplayable in Historic. Players will not receive wildcard compensations for the suspended cards, as it is meant to be a temporary solution to a problem.
Suspensions vs. bans
“For gameplay purposes, a suspension works like a ban, in that the card will not be legal to use in the format while it is suspended,” said Wizards. “But unlike how we handle banning cards, we plan to use the flexibility that the digital format provides to move cards onto and off of the suspension list more commonly. The “off of” portion there is important. The suspension isn’t a final verdict, it’s an indication that we think this card may be causing issues, and we’d like to see what the meta looks like without that influence.”
The suspended cards could be returned to a playable status in March, following the release of the next set, Theros: Beyond Death. Wizards pointed out, however, that if they feel that the cards deserve a true banning they could end up fully banned too.
The reason for these suspension appears to be similar to what got these cards banned from Standard. Oko proved too consistent in the decks he was played in, with high-level players seeing above 55% win rates. Veil of Summer limited the power of counterspells and removal. Field of the Dead was also too powerful against control decks, and players have limited options for dealing with lands in Historic. Finally, Once Upon a Time was present in most green decks, leading to green decks becoming too powerful in the meta. Turns out free spells are really good.
Historic moving forward
The blog went on to state that because Historic is an exclusively digital format, providing answers to a powerful card is easier and preferred than banning it. Upcoming Historic Anthologies can be used to print answers to format-warping cards and overbearing metas. However, if a card remains problematic, a full banning may still be issued. When this happens, Wizards will issue wildcard reimbursements for the banned cards.
As it stands, Wizards is happy with how the Historic format has shaped up. Since the first Historic Anthology was released, Wizards claims that those cards appear in more than 20% of high-level matches. Burning-Tree Emissary has been particularly powerful in Gruul and Jund aggro decks. Soul Warden and Serra Ascendant have also put up good numbers in Soul Sisters life gain style decks.
How do you feel about suspending Magic cards? Did Wizards just suspend your favorite deck in Historic? Let us know in the comments below, and we can talk about how Once Upon a Time is the best green card Wizards has printed in years. Make sure to follow Daily Esports for more MTG Arena and Historic 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.