June 8th: Effective 2pm, PST today, Winota, Joiner of Forces will be suspended in Historic. Winota has been key in propping up numerous successful Historic decks, and last week’s announcement (featured below) did not do enough to curb Winota decks.
When discussing the timing of this announcement, the article went on to say that since Historic is entirely digital – available only on MTG Arena – that the lead time needed with changes to other formats is not as needed. The quick implementation will not be standard operating procedure for non-Historic formats.
June 1st: Today’s Banned and Restricted List update take a swing at some big players in Standard, as well as the entire Companion Mechanic.
The rules for the entire Companion mechanic have change to the following: Once per game, any time you could cast a sorcery (during your main phase when the stack is empty), you can pay 3 generic mana to put your companion from your sideboard into your hand. This is a special action, not an activated ability. It happens immediately and can’t be responded to. It can’t be countered or stopped by cards like Phyrexian Revoker.
These bans go into effect for Tabletop and Magic Online today (June 1st) and for Arena on June 4th. The Companion rules change will take effect today for Tabletop and June 4th for Arena and Magic Online.
Regarding the Companion rules change, Ian Duke said that while many options were considered, they felt that this change would keep the intent of the mechanic while also reducing the metagame share of Companions. The trends seen over the past few weeks indicated that Companions would continue to be problematic in multiple formats moving forward.
In Standard, cards like Winota, Joiner of Forces and Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast have been used to cheat out early copies of Agent of Treachery. The swings created by a “free” Agent create repetitive play patterns as well as situations that are hard to come back from. In an effort to correct this, Agent has been banned in Standard.
Fires of Invention has seen a consistent 55% win rate over the past several weeks. Fires has also proven problematic in developing future formats. As a result, it too has been banned in Standard.
Both cards are also being Suspended in Historic. Players with these cards in their Arena collection will receive Wildcards. Pack collation and prize packs will also be adjusted to no longer include the banned cards.