Even when there’s a quiet week in the world of Magic, lots can happen. Take for example the week of July 17. The news really picked up on Tuesday when it became obvious that there would be a banned and restricted list update coming on Wednesday, July 21. As it turned out no cards were added to either list but rather Brainstorm was suspended in Historic.
Why was Brainstorm suspended instead of banned? According to the announcement the two best Brainstorm decks – Izzet Phoenix and Jeskai Control – had metagame shares that were indicative of dominant strategies since the last banned list update in June. Looking deeper, their win rates were within an acceptable level. The thought was that over time the metagame would balance itself and other strategies would rise. As a result the decision was made to remove Brainstorm for the time being with the goal of seeing whether or not other strategies emerge that can help to constrain the powerful one mana spell.
Brainstorm marks the second card from the Strixhaven Mystical Archive to be removed from Historic. Time Warp was banned in Historic in early June. With rumors swirling about another direct-to-Historic set of cards looming the question lingers about whether any of those cards will end up being excised from Historic.
In other news, competitive play marches on. We learned the upcoming World Championships will feature Innistrad: Midnight Hunt draft and Standard with the new set. This marks a return of limited to the marquee Magic event of the year. We also got the first details on elite level competitive play in the 2021-22 season with the Innistrad Championship. Using both Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and Innistrad: Crimson Vow, the Championship will have a $450,000 prize pool and feature Standard and Historic Constructed. The event will take place on Arena, December 3-5, 2021.