On today’s Weekly MTG, Wizards of the Coast announced that Magic: The Gathering will be moving to a once-yearly Banned and Restricted update schedule, with mini-updates possible three weeks after each new set. This change is a direct result of the recently revealed three-year rotation cycle.

Wizards also revealed that the next Banned and Restricted announcement is scheduled for May 29, 2023 and will impact the Standard format.

The Future Of Bans

The panel on Weekly MTG discussed the challenges Standard has faced in recent years and what the design teams are doing to overcome them. Principal Game Designer and Game Balance lead Andrew Brown fielded many of the questions that were asked in Twitch chat.

Brown disclosed that, with the extension of the Standard season, Banned and Restricted announcements are only guaranteed to occur once a year moving forward. This announcement will occur before the preview season of the Fall set, with this year’s taking place before spoilers begin for Wilds of Eldraine.

These Fall announcements can include bans across any format in Magic and there will be plenty of communication with players before the bans go into effect. There is also going to be consideration taken to unbanning cards, as well as more leniency given to cards that have been out longer compared to new, potentially problematic cards.

Shortly after each set’s release, Wizards is also reserving a three-week window where they can emergency ban cards across all formats. Brown anticipated that this ban window will rarely be utilized and that it would likely only need to be used in the case that a card is breaking an eternal format.

Upcoming Sets

Transitioning from a two-year rotation to a three-year rotation in Standard has been a work in progress for some time, but the next two expansion sets were designed before the decision to switch was made. Because of this, Wilds of Eldraine and The Lost Caverns of Ixalan were not designed to fit into this three-year rotation cycle. These could present some minor difficulties, as  Innistrad: Crimson VowInnistrad: Midnight HuntKamigawa: Neon Dynasty, and Streets of New Capenna will still in Standard but weren’t originally intended to be in Standard alongside Wilds of Eldraine and The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. However, Wizards believes that this won’t be a problem for the long term.

Moving to a larger Standard format opens the possibility of better mana bases being present, Brown acknowledged. Brown revealed that upcoming sets will provide relatively the same number of multicolored lands while also introducing a higher number of utility lands. Lands of this type could see similar restrictions as the Castles (e.g. Castle Locthwain) from Throne of Eldraine.

The Next Ban Cycle

Wizards also revealed that there is a planned Standard Banned and Restricted announcement scheduled for May 29, 2023, just after Arena Championship 3. This announcement will likely address the dominance of Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and will also provide more information for players concerning upcoming bans. The B&R update are intended to provide some breathing room for Wilds of Eldraine to shine once it enters Standard this Fall.

Players will have to wait until the end of May to find out more, unfortunately, but given how much of a stranglehold Rakdos Midrange has on the current meta, don’t be surprised to find some major rebalancing coming soon.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.