Ban of 12 October 2020: goodbye to Omnath in all MTGA formats

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Today, October 12, 2020, there was a new ban announcement regarding Standard, Historic, and Brawl formats played both on MTGA and in print.

Let’s go and see everything in detail …

Standard :

Omnath, Locus of Creation is banned.

Lucky Clover is banned.

Escape to the Wilds is banned.

Historic :

Omnath, Locus of Creation is suspended.

Teferi, Time Raveler is banned.

Wilderness Reclamation is banned.

Burning-Tree Emissary is no longer suspended.

Brawl :

Omnath, Locus of Creation is banned.

 

Reasons for bans (in the words of Wizards of the Coast)

Standard

With the Standard Banned and Restricted Cards Update last month, we emphasized that we would continue to monitor the Standard metagame as well as Omnath, Locus of Creation decks, and make further changes as needed. Looking at the Ranked Play (from MTG Arena) and tournament results in the following weeks, as well as the Grand Finals metagame over the weekend, we concluded that further changes are needed.

The two most popular decks in the Standard metagame, Four-Color Ramp and Four-Color Adventures, both feature Omnath, Locus of Creation as a key component. While we’ve seen a sharp drop in Four-Color Ramp’s win rate following the banning of Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, particularly against aggressive red and green decks and UB Rogues, Omnath’s ramp decks continue to monopolize the metagame. Additionally, Four-Color Adventures has become the deck with the highest overall win rate and has a favorable match against 9 out of 10 of the other top decks that don’t play Omnath.

This metagame dominance manifested itself in player deck choices for the Grand Finals. While it is common in an invitation-only tournament with a few players to test together and converge on a few decks, in this case, the metagame had as many as 23 Omnath decks out of a total of 32.

To end his rule, Omnath, Locus of Creation is banned from the Standard.

Without Omnath in the format, the scaled game data makes it clear that Adventure decks would remain the strongest strategy. Therefore, we have also chosen to ban Lucky Clover as a powerful card that is difficult to interact with, as well as the engine of those decks. We expect that individual adventure creatures and decks using Edgewall Innkeeper will continue to appear, but that after this change, more other decks will be able to compete successfully with them.

Finally, as a further step to ensure that ramp decks don’t continue to dominate the Standard metagame, we have chosen to ban Escape to the Wilds as well. This card plays a unique and powerful role as a bridge between powerful ramp engines, such as Lotus Cobra, and powerful rewards, such as Genesis Ultimatum and Ugin, the Dragon Spirit. Of the nonland cards in the Grand Finals, Escape to the Wilds was played in the second largest number of copies. As the card common to many ramp variants, this is the most direct way to undermine that strategy as a whole and ensure a departure from recent Standard metagames.

Historic

Just as we saw in Standard, Omnath, Locus of Creation is proving to be a powerful contender in Historic as well. While the payout percentages for these decks are lower in Historic than in Standard, here too we are witnessing a format where a large chunk of decks use Omnath, Locus of Creation and this number is steadily increasing, particularly in Best-of-Three (where it is currently the most played deck). Historic also provides a wider range of tools to enable the multiple land drops the deck is looking for, such as Explore and Growth Spiral. To ensure greater diversity and health for the Historic metagame, Omnath, Locus of Creation is suspended in Historic.

We also have the three current suspensions in Historic to fix. Looking at how the meta has developed as a result of these suspensions, we believe the removal of Teferi, Time Raveler and Wilderness Reclamation has increased the diversity and interactivity of the format, improving overall health and balance. As a result, both Teferi, Time Raveler, and Wilderness Reclamation are banned in Historic.

Burning-Tree Emissary is a different case. Since its discontinuation, Historic’s power level has increased considerably with the release of Jumpstart and Amonkhet Remastered, and we’ve seen the number of Gruul Aggro decks drop significantly. After considering the overall power level of the format and the pairings for Gruul Aggro, we think there is room for Burning-Tree Emissary to be a healthy and interesting addition to the format again. Burning-Tree Emissary is no longer suspended in Historic.

Brawl

Omnath, Locus of Creation is by far the most played commander in Brawl and currently has the highest win rate. Brawl is a format where we particularly appreciate diversity, so Omnath, Locus of Creation is banned in Brawl. Omnath, Locus of Creation will remain legal in Historic Brawl events on MTG Arena.

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