In the midst of some serious social media drama over the restructuring of Magic: The Gathering competitive play due to COVID-19, it’s good to know that Wizards of the Coast (WotC) is still finding the time to monitor and balance Constructed formats. In fact, WotC just announced on their Twitter account that they’re banning something on June 1st. This ban will affect the Standard and Historic formats and impact the way players use Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths‘ Companions.
On Monday 6/1 there will be an update to the Banned & Restricted list impacting the Standard and Historic formats that will also address the Companion mechanic.
— Magic: The Gathering (@wizards_magic) May 26, 2020
On May 18th, WotC banned Ikoria cards Lurrus of the Dream Den from Legacy and Vintage and Zirda, the Dawnwaker from Legacy. This ban followed a period of the Companion cards’ uninterrupted dominance in Constructed formats. It appears that Magic‘s designers and developers feel that the Companions are wreaking havoc in newer formats as well.
Interestingly, the last banned and restricted announcement noted that WotC would continue to monitor the Companions’ impact on newer formats like Standard and Modern. The article also mentioned that WotC was “willing to take steps up to or including changing how the companion mechanic works.”
This statement represents a pretty big shift in philosophy for Magic: The Gathering. In recent memory, WotC has only banned individual cards that have reduced format diversity and fun. Changing an entire mechanic to make it more balanced would serve as a testament to just how powerful and format-warping Companions can be.
It’s difficult to predict exactly how Magic: The Gathering will aim to tweak Standard and Historic. But that won’t stop players from getting on social media and taking a guess, so strap in for a week of speculation and debate!
Tell us, though, what do you think WotC will ban from these formats and how do you think they’ll change the Companion mechanic? Sound off below with your thoughts.