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February 15 Banned and Restricted List Update

The February 15 Banned and Restricted List update has the potential to reshape multiple formats, while also changing how the mechanic Cascade will function. Let’s look at this format-by-format.

Historic

Omnath had been on the suspended list and the move to the banned list is being done to keep the metagame healthy and diverse. Uro decks have been at the top of the Historic metagame and, thanks to the card’s dominance in larger formats, there is no reason for a quick trip to the suspended list.

Pioneer

Wizards of the Coast’s vision of Pioneer is that it be a collection of fun and powerful cards from the Standard formats of days gone by. In an effort to increase the potential for fun and diversity while heading off potentially dominant decks, Tefri, Uro, and Wilderness Reclamation are banned. The recent success of the “Oops! All Spells” strategy has pushedd Wizards to examine the play patterns and remove this strategy, which has proven to make meaningful interaction difficult.

Modern

As with other formats, Uro has proven to be a dominant force in Modern and has crowded out other strategies. In an effort to reduce the strength of ramp and control strategies, Field of the Dead and Mystic Sanctuary are banned, taking away some of these deck’s inevitability. Simian Spirit Guide, according to the announcement, has been on a watch list for some time. It’s ability to fuel broken strategies has finally landed it on the banned list. The decks seeking to leverage Tibalt’s Trickery into an early game-ending threat has led to more non-games of Modern. A recurring theme in this announcement is the encouragement of games wher both players can take meaningful actions. To reduce these non-games, Tibalt’s Trickery has been banned.

Legacy

In Legacy, Arcum’s Astrolabe has led to multicolor decks that are highly resistant to the natural checks. These decks have started to run roughshod over the format and as a result, Astrolabe is banned. Similarly, Oko has provided decks with a hard to deal with nigh-universal answer. The power and flexibility of Oko has landed the planeswalker on the banned list. Finally, Dreadhorde Arcanist has made already powerful Legacy strategies that much stronger and has been banned.

Vintage

Lurrus was banned in Vintage under the old Companion rule. Given the revision to the rule, it no longer warrants a ban for power level reasons.

Cascade

Cascade will no longer allow you to cast a spell that has a higher converted mana cost than the spell with Cascade. The old wording of the rule would allow you to Cascade into a Modal Double Faced Card, like Valki, God of Lies but then cast the reverse side – Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor. This change will go into effect on Magic Online on Wednesday, February 17.

All of these changes are effective Monday, February 15, 2021.

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