As part of a massive Banned and Restricted announcement, Wizards of the Coast banned Balustrade Spy, Undercity Informer, Teferi, Time Raveler, Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, and Wilderness Reclamation in Magic: the Gathering’s Pioneer format.

Don’t miss our coverage of today’s other news: bans in Modern, Pioneer, and Legacy, plus the unbanning in Vintage and the change to the cascade mechanic.

“Our vision for Pioneer is to be a collection of the most fun, powerful, and iconic cards and strategies from recent Standard formats,” Wizards said. “However, there is a dividing line between ‘powerful and iconic’ and ‘overbearing and unfun.’ In this update, we’re addressing several cards and strategies that we feel cross that line and aren’t representative of the play experience we’d like Pioneer to offer.”

Standard Bans Come to Pioneer

To that end, Wizards banned Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath in Pioneer—as well as in Modern and Historic. Uro became “one of the most dominant creatures in Pioneer and is featured in several of the most played and most winning decks,” Wizards said, and the same was said about the card in other formats, as well. “Play data indicates, and community feedback supports, that the metagame will be more fun and diverse without Uro.”

Uro had previously been banned in Standard, where it joined both Teferi, Time Raveler and Wilderness Reclamation (among others) on one of the largest Standard ban lists in Magic history. Today, Wizards also decided to ban both of those cards in Pioneer because they had “oversatyed their welcome” in Pioneer just as they did in Standard.

“Removing Teferi, Time Raveler will have the added benefit of lowering the power level of Niv to Light decks, which were among the most played and most winning archetypes,” Wizards said. However, “[w]ithout Teferi, Time Raveler to hold them in check, we’re concerned that metagame share of Wilderness Reclamation decks would rise, so we’re choosing to preempt that outcome” by banning both cards at the same time.

Pioneer Temur Reclamation

Creatures (4)
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath

Spells (21)
Growth Spiral
Into the Roil
Mystical Dispute
Sinister Sabotage
Sweltering Suns
Behold the Multiverse
Expansion // Explosion

Enchantments (7)
Wilderness Reclamation
Shark Typhoon
Lands (28)
Blast Zone
Breeding Pool
Castle Vantress
Fabled Passage
Hinterland Harbor
Ketria Triome
Rootbound Crag
Steam Vents
Stomping Ground
Sulfur Falls

Sideboard (15)
Magma Spray
Aether Gust
Into the Roil
Scavenging Ooze
Anger of the Gods
Bonecrusher Giant
Mystical Dispute
Behold the Multiverse
Shark Typhoon

Oops! All Spells Gets the Banhammer

Glass cannon decks have a long history in Magic. They often try and abuse mana-generating effects (like mana rocks or Desperate Ritual and Simian Spirit Guide) to avoid putting lands in their deck in order to one-shot opponents with cards like Goblin Charbelcher.

But the introduction of modal double-faced cards in the Zendikar Rising expansion last Fall meant that Magic now had lands that counted as spells when in the library since those lands were on the back side of a modal double-faced card. This resulted in the rise of decks that use Balustrade Spy and Undercity Informer to mill their entire libraries on turn two or three and win the game with a combination of Creeping Chill, Narcomoeba, Prized Amalgam, and Thassa’s Oracle.

“[W]e’re seeing a concerning win rate and metagame share for the Oops! All Spells deck,” Wizards said. “Given the difficulty of interacting with the strategy, it isn’t easily held in check by natural metagame forces. We don’t believe Pioneer can be at its most fun with Oops! All Spells being a large part of the metagame. So, we’re choosing to ban Balustrade Spy and Undercity Informer.”

Pioneer Oops! All Spells

Creatures (35)
Paradise Druid
Sylvan Caryatid
Tangled Florahedron
Thassa’s Oracle
Kazandu Mammoth
Prized Amalgam
Silversmote Ghoul
Undercity Informer
Balustrade Spy
Haunted Dead
Worldspine Wurm

Spells (39)
Agadeem’s Awakening
Bala Ged Recovery
Eldritch Evolution
Pelakka Predation
Creeping Chill
Driven // Despair
Hagra Mauling
Emeria’s Call
Sea Gate Restoration
Turntimber Symbiosis
Sideboard (15)
Pithing Needle
Abrupt Decay
Back to Nature
Reclamation Sage
Leyline of Sanctity
Leyline of the Void

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