Wizards of the Coast has suspended Winota, Joiner of Forces in Magic: the Gathering’s Historic format. The suspension will go into effect today at 5 PM Eastern.

“Since Ranked Historic returned in late May, we have been closely watching decks using Winota, Joiner of Forces,” Wizards said. “The early data for this deck showed it to be both popular and strong, but, since the deck was so new in the format” — Winota itself was released in April as a part of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths — “we wanted to allow some time to see how the rest of the field adapted.”

One of the more powerful plays that Winota’s ability enabled in Historic was to cheat in Agent of Treachery as early as Turn 3 or 4, allowing the Winota player to remove blockers or even steal their opponents’ lands. Last week, Wizards acknowledged “that using [enablers like Winota] to play an early Agent of Treachery can be uniquely frustrating to play against and difficult to come back from.”

However, Wizards believed that the core problem of that interaction lay with the consistent, early stealing of permanents, rather than the ability to cheat in large creatures without paying their mana costs. They therefore banned Agent of Treachery (and Fires of Invention) in Standard and suspended them in Historic, rather than taking action against the enablers like Winota, Joiner of Forces or Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast.

“[T]hough the field has recently shifted due to last week’s announcement,” Wizards continued today, “the data show that [the suspensions are] not significantly reducing the performance of this deck.” In fact, last week’s suspensions resulted in the popularity of Historic Winota decks doubling and “the win rate remaining problematically high.”

This has lead to Winota decks making up “too large a portion of the Historic metagame, and the quality of enablers and payoffs in the format means that this is unlikely to change without further action,” Wizards said. “Because of this, Winota, Joiner of Forces is Suspended in Historic.”

Unlike last week’s suspensions, which had a multi-day period before they were implemented, Winota will be suspended immediately starting at 5 PM Eastern today. Wizards said that, because Historic as a digital-focused format, they “feel that the notice period is, on balance, more problematic than beneficial.” And since Winota is only being suspended, not banned, Wizards won’t be offering wild cards to players who have crafted the card on MTG Arena.


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