MTG Banned and Restricted hits Historic, leaves Alrund’s Epiphany alone for now

Changes are made to Historic but not Standard.

MTG Arena Davriel, Soul Broker Jumpstart Historic
Image via WotC

Today’s Banned and Restricted Magic: The Gathering announcement removed three cards from the Historic format and rebalanced five digital-only MTG Arena cards, with no bans in the Standard format. 

Effective Oct. 14 in MTG Arena, Tibalt’s Trickery and Brainstorm (previously suspended) will be banned in the Historic format. Memory Lapse is also getting removed, as a suspension. No bans were issued for the Standard format, but WotC is monitoring Alrund’s Epiphany and Esika’s Chariot until after the release of Innistrad: Crimson Vow in Nov.

The MTG Banned and Restricted announcement also included a total of five digital-only Magic Arena cards that were rebalanced.

  • The third ability from Davriel, Soul Broker and the card Davreil’s Withering can now only target a creature that an opponent controls. 
  • Faceless agent had its stats changed from 2/2 to 2/1
  • The second ability on Sarkhan, Wanderer to Shiv was changed from +1 to +0
  • The mana cost on Subversive Acolyte was changed from BB to 1B and its stats were adjusted from 2/2 to 2/3. The toughness increased from becoming human or phyrexian was reduced by one. 

Scheduled to release digitally on Nov. 11, VOW has the potential to shift Alrund’s Epiphany and Esika’s Chariot out of their tier-one position within the Standard meta.

“After reviewing MTG Arena metagame data and recent online events (including the World Championship), and in considering the upcoming release of Innistrad: Crimson Vow, we’ve decided not to make any changes at this time,” WotC said

Memory Lapse was the “most played nonland card in the Arena Open,” along with the “best-of-three ladder,” and “one of the most played in best-of-one.” A suspension of the Instant Blue spell will remain in effect until either WotC feels comfortable introducing it back into the Historic format or bans it like Brainstorm was today. 

In addition to Memory Lapse gameplay, the Historic format has seen an increase in decks built around Tibalt’s Trickery in conjunction with Throes of Chaos. This combo within the Historic format “led to a marked increase in win rate tor the deck relative to the prior version and a corresponding increase in popularity,” according to WotC.

A number of changes made to digital-only MTG Arena cards today showcased how WotC intends to separate the Historic format from other Magic formats tied to printed cards. Players can expect more digital-only cards in the future, along with plans that involve the “rebalance [of] previously banned cards so they can be safely returned to play in digital formats only,” according to WotC.

Every ban and suspension, including changes to digital-only MTG Arena cards, will go into effect with an update on Oct. 14.