Magic: The Gathering Arena players logging into their games at the start of this week were in for a surprise. Wizards of the Coast (WotC) announced without prior warning that they had suspended Winota, Joiner of Forces from the Historic format. The ban came into effect immediately and was accompanied by an explanation about why WotC felt the need to act so quickly and decisively.
Notably, this suspension came hot on the heels of another ban announcement that shook up Magic: The Gathering formats from Vintage to Standard. On June 1st, WotC banned Fires of Invention and Agent of Treachery from Standard and Historic. They also introduced a big change to the Companion mechanic that had been dominating Constructed since the release of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths.
This ban was huge, but it actually came as a surprise to almost no one with their ear to ground in the Magic community. This is partly because WotC’s policy for the past few months has been to announce an upcoming change to the Banned and Restricted list a week before publishing it. Sure enough, players were speculating as early as May 27th about Companion changes and the Standard bans.
In their new announcement on the suspension of Winota in Historic, WotC had this to say:
The early data for this deck showed it to be both popular and strong, but, since the deck was so new in the format, we wanted to allow some time to see how the rest of the field adapted. And though the field has recently shifted due to last week’s announcement, the data show that this is not significantly reducing the performance of this deck. In fact, with the data now available, we see the popularity roughly doubling since its emergence and the win rate remaining problematically high.
Magic: The Gathering publishers WotC also noted in the article that the digital-only nature of Historic made immediate suspensions for this format better than their general policy of week-before announcements.
So, it looks like Magic: The Gathering Arena will try to be more responsive in the future to cards dominating Historic and reducing fun or diversity. Tell us, though, are you excited to play some Historic without Winota? Let us know down in the comments.