Ban list grows in MTG Pioneer format

Two more overpowered cards were banned from Pioneer.

MTG Throne of Eldraine spoilers
Image via Wizards of the Coast Magic: The Gathering

Nexus of Fate and Oko, Thief of Crowns were banned in the Magic: The Gathering Pioneer format yesterday, increasing the number of illegal competitive cards to 14.

The result of yesterday’s bans stem from data that Wizards of the Coast has been collecting since the release of Pioneer. Simic Ramp and Simic Nexus were “outliers” in a mostly balanced meta, according to WotC. Both decks had higher than normal win percentages in the Magic Online leagues.

“Over the past weeks, Simic Food Ramp has had a nearly 60% non-mirror match win rate on Magic Online and has earned more than twice as many 5–0 league finishes than any other archetype,” WotC said. “The Simic Nexus deck has had the second-highest win rate and a number of 5–0 league finishes among top decks.

The Pioneer format was launched with a limited ban list. It’s now grown to a total of 14 cards.

  • Bloodstained Mire
  • Delidar Guardian
  • Field of the Dead
  • Flooded Strand
  • Leyline of Abundance
  • Oath of Nissa
  • Oko, Thief of Crowns
  • Once Upon a Time 
  • Nexus of Fate
  • Polluted Delta
  • Smuggler’s Copter
  • Veil of Summer 
  • Windswept Heath
  • Wooded Foothills 

For a format that includes 29 Magic sets, starting with Return to Ravnica up to the most recent Throne of Eldraine, having a balanced metagame with only 14 banned cards isn’t horrible. But five of the 14 banned cards in Pioneer were printed in 2019: Field of the Dead, Leyline of Abundance, Oko, Once Upon a Time, and Veil of Summer.

The next scheduled Pioneer update is on Jan. 6.