Wizards of the Coast has banned Field of the Dead in Magic: the Gathering’s Historic format.

Field of the Dead has been a powerful force in Historic for much of the format’s life,” Wizard said. “While its overall win rate is rarely at the top, its matchups are extremely polarized. In particular, its high win rate against slower decks has made the format as a whole lean more toward aggressive strategies,” reducing the metagame’s diversity.

As a result, Wizards has seen “the popularity and win rate of Field of the Dead decks steadily climb, and it is currently one of the most played Best-of-One decks and, by far, the most popular Best-of-Three deck.”

Wizards believes that the Zombie creation effect on Field of the Dead will continue to scale well and only get more powerful as cards are added to Historic. Recent additions, such as Cultivate, Explore, and Hour of Promise, have helped the deck become more and more powerful and “we feel that this trend is unlikely to change,” Wizards said.

“We also feel that Field of the Dead is unlikely to be a healthy part of the format anytime soon, so suspension is the wrong approach,” they concluded. “In order to bring a greater diversity to the Historic meta, Field of the Dead is banned.”

Historically, Ramp decks tend to struggle against more controlling strategies that can easily answer their slow, expensive threats. But ramp decks found the perfect card to fight back against control decks in Field of the Dead. The land allowed ramp decks to continually create Zombies, often without spending mana or casting a spell, forcing opposing slower decks to spend resources to deal with new—free—threats turn after turn.

Historic Sultai Ramp

Creatures (11)
Hydroid Krasis
Elvish Rejuvenator
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
Oracle of Mul Daya
Massacre Wurm

Planeswalkers (1)
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

Spells (18)
Growth Spiral
Extinction Event
Hour of Promise
Lands (30)
Blast Zone
Bojuka Bog
Breeding Pool
Drowned Catacomb
Fabled Passage
Field of the Dead
Hinterland Harbor
Ifnir Deadlands
Indatha Triome
Overgrown Tomb
Radiant Fountain
Temple of Deceit
Temple of Malady
Temple of Mystery
Watery Grave
Woodland Cemetery
Zagoth Triome

Sideboard (15)
Grafdigger’s Cage
Heartless Act
Ashiok, Dream Render
Cry of the Carnarium
Maelstrom Pulse
Elder Gargaroth
Massacre Wurm
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

A Problematic Card from the Start

Today’s ban isn’t first time that Field of the Dead has been in the Banned and Restricted hot seat.

After it was released on in Core Set 2020, the card won Grand Prix Denver in the hands of Luis Scott-Vargas as a part of a very powerful Bant Scapeshift deck. Though Scapeshift rotated a few months later, Field of the Dead found a new partner in crime, Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, forming a new Bant Golos deck that made made up 40% of the decks at Mythic Championship V last October. As a result, Wizards banned Field of the Dead in Standard the following Monday in an attempt to reduce the effectiveness of the deck.

A few months later, in December 2019, Wizards “suspendedField of the Dead in Historic, along with Upon a Time, Veil of Summer, and Oko, Thief of Crowns. At the time, they said that, despite being a much narrower card than the others, Field still managed to cause similar problems in Historic that it caused in Standard. Its ability to produce a consistent stream of threats at virtually no cost was “having too large of a damping effect on controlling and reactive deck options,” necessitating its suspension.

Field of the Dead spent four months suspended in Historic. Last March, Wizards decided that the format had evolved enough to justify removing the card from the suspended list. Thanks to the digital-first nature of the Historic format, which allows cards to be added through Historic Anthologies, they felt that they been able to provide additional answers to Field of the Dead like Ghost Quarter and Goblin Ruinblaster. “With these new options and other decks picking up powerful additions, we’re optimistic that we can reintroduce Field of the Dead without decks that use it becoming dominant,” Wizards said at the time.

But after five more months of legality, Wizards has changed its mind and outright banned Field of the Dead in Historic.

The ban comes two and a half weeks before of the next major Historic tournament: the Mythic Invitational. Given the current state of the Historic metagame, in which Field of the Dead was the most popular archetype, today’s update is likely to change the format significantly heading into the event.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.