News Brief: Dominaria, Banned and Restricted List, Judge Promos, Arena, and GP Sydney and Hartford

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Who says you can’t go home again? The big news last week centered around Magic’s first plane and latest set, a new digital endeavor, and two tournament wins—one a long time coming and one with a significantly shorter wait. Oh, and there was a banned list announcement.


The big news of last week was the release of the Dominaria spoiler. The Thursday reveal was a change from the normal Friday drop, perhaps influenced by the FAQ leak before the official start of spoiler season. The contents of Magic’s next release are now known—it is clear that Dominaria revisits many elements of Magic’s past through a modern design lens and showcases a reverence for the game’s 25-year history. Multiple Easter eggs have already been uncovered, including references in card art and the name of every expansion that takes place on Dominaria appearing in the flavor text of the set. The images of the Dominaria tokens were also showcased on Thursday. Of note there are two different Knight tokens, one of which in the stained glass motif of History of Benalia.

The contents of the latest two planeswalker decks featuring Teferi, Timebender and Chandra, Bold Pyromancer are now known. Also revealed on Thursday, these decks contain cards not available in Dominaria booster packs that are nonetheless legal in Standard as long as Dominaria remains in the format—until fall 2019.

In the digital realm, Magic Online will start their Dominaria events on April 20th. Paper prereleases start on April 21st with midnight events around the world. The announcement also includes information on Brawl and 1v1 Commander. Brawl will be coming to Magic Online and will get both a Friendly League and a Format Challenge. The 1v1 Commander Format will be seeing its League changed from Competitive to Friendly. This change is intended to reinvigorate the format.

Banned and Restricted List Update

On April 16th, it was announced that there would be no changes to the banned and restricted list in any format.

Later in the day, the Banned List was updated for 1v1 Commander. The follow cards are banned:

The following cards are unbanned:

Judge Promos

Two new Judge program promos were unveiled. The first is a foil Commander’s Sphere. The second foil is Merchant Scroll, featuring new art from Scott Murphy.

European Apparel

Magic is partnering with Zavvi, a European retailer, to sell Magic branded clothing in Europe and Russia. This allows players outside of America easier access to such hits as the “Nope” blue shirt and the “Void” colorless mana black tee.


Last week, the Magic: The Gathering Arena team let us in on the Creator Program. The program has many rewards for partner creators. This includes promotion from the Arena team, priority for support with special communication channels, and some in-game rewards. There are more perks in the works like early access and special identifiers. You can apply to be a part of the Creator Program if you have 50 or more regular viewers on a stream or over 1,000 hours on a video service and already stream for four hours or do a one hour video a week. You can apply for the program here.

Grand Prix Sydney and Hartford

Modern was on the menu across the globe last weekend. A Team Unified tournament in Sydney, Australia and then a traditional 1-on-1 tournament in Hartford, Connecticut, United States.

First up was Sydney. Just over a thousand players showed up in teams of three to battle in Modern. The unique rules of Team Trios Constructed mean that outside of basic lands, if a card appears in one player’s deck it cannot appear in any of that player’s teammate’s decks. There will be no splitting of Lightning Bolts here.

History was made at Grand Prix Sydney when Jessica Estephan became the first woman to win a Grand Prix Tournament. With teammates Ryan Lewis-Jonns and Lachlan Saunders, they won their final Swiss round to secure a spot in the Top 4. Two matches later, Sydney had a new trio of Grand Prix Champions and Magic had another first in its 25th year.

Black-Red Hollow One

Jessica Estephan, 1st place at Grand Prix Sydney


Ryan Lewis-Jonns, 1st place at Grand Prix Sydney

Mono-Green Tron

Lachlan Saunders, 1st place at Grand Prix Sydney

Across an ocean, a continent, and multiple time zones, Grand Prix Hartford also tested players’ Modern mettle, but this time in a 1-on-1 setting. The format’s diversity was on display with seven distinct archetypes in the Top 8, and not a one featured Jace, the Mind Sculptor or Bloodbraid Elf.

At the end of the day it was Matt Nass one-upping himself. A few weeks ago he made the Top 4 of a Modern Grand Prix with Krark-Clan Ironworks Combo. That wasn’t good enough, so this weekend he took down the entire tournament. Nass is known for piloting intricate combo decks and his mastery of the archetype was on full display this past weekend.

Ironworks Combo

Matt Nass, 1st place at Grand Prix Hartford


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