Today, Star City Games announced that it was removing Standard as a format for its upcoming Season 2 Invitational and replacing it with Magic’s newest format: Pioneer.

Star City Games’ Invitationals traditionally feature two constructed formats. The Season 2 Invitational, which runs from November 14-17, was set to feature both Standard and Modern in the swiss rounds with a Modern Top 8. But with this change, the Invitational will now have swiss rounds of Pioneer and Modern with a Pioneer Top 8.

In the announcement, Cedric Phillips said that the decision boiled down to the impact that Oko, Thief of Crowns has had on Standard post-Field of the Dead ban. “Oko is a card that has warped Throne of Eldraine Standard around itself . . . [s]o much, in fact, that maindecking cards that are typically seen as sideboard cards (Noxious Grasp, Aether Gust, and Veil of Summer) is becoming commonplace.”

“Unfortunately, Oko’s dominance in Throne of Eldraine Standard has led many to . . . find the format unfun to play,” Phillips continued, and “our attendance numbers have shown that more and more players are actually electing to not participate in the Throne of Eldraine Standard tournaments we’re holding at events altogether.”

Yesterday’s announcement by Wizards of the Coast that no emergency bans would occur before the next scheduled Banned and Restricted update on November 18, 2019—the day after the Invitational—seems to have been the final straw. “In situations like this,” Phillips said, “when we can make a change that we believe will impact our fans’ experience with the SCG Tour in a positive way, we do our best to make it. And we believe that with this confluence of factors at hand, changing the Standard portion of the Season Two Invitational to Pioneer will do exactly that.”

Last week, Wizards banned Field of the Dead from Standard after it Golos, Tireless Pilgrim decks made up over 40% of the Mythic Championship V metagame. Since the ban, Food decks with Oko, Thief of Crowns have seen a marked increase in metagame share, from its 29.6% share at the Mythic Championship to making up over 60% of the Day 2 metagame of last weekend’s Mythic Championship Qualifier Weekend.

Wizards’ statement is an acknowledgement that week’s worth of results aren’t enough to justify a ban, but given that the current state of Standard has caused a major tournament to change the formats it will use, it seems likely that Wizards will have to use the next Banned and Restricted announcement to take action.

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