Today Wizards of the Coast banned Thassa’s Oracle in Historic. This announcement was odd in that unlike other banned list updates there was no indication that any cards would be added. News of the potential announcement trickled out yesterday when a blank URL with the ban announcement was uncovered.
A Historic ban was expected after the May Strixhaven League Weekend. Tainted Pact – Thassa’s Oracle decks were the most popular archetype in the Historic portion and performed extremely well. Despite being largely singleton – that is running numerous one-ofs and doubling up on the key combo cards – the deck was fairly consistent and could achieve it’s two-card “I win” combo with some ease. The deck would work by resolving Thassa’s Oracle and, with it’s trigger on the stack, cast Tainted Pact. The combo player would then exile their entire library, allow Oracle’s trigger to resolve, and win the game.
The deck is not completely dead as Jace, Wielder of Mysteries has a similar “you win the game” clause. At four mana, Jace is more expensive than Oracle by a decent amount which could increase the difficultly in resolving the combo before succumbing to pressure. The announcement also comes on the heels of reveal of Historic Anthology V (CFBPro required), which will see Stifle introduced to the format adding yet another check to combo decks in the vein of Oracle-Pact.
Questions remain as to whether or not this ban will be enough to stop the combo. Additionally this is not the end of Tainted Pact decks as the combo has already found its way into Legacy. And this says nothing of the fact that Thassa’s Oracale-Tainted Pact is a common win condition in multiple CEDH strategies.
The Thassa’s Oracle ban goes into effect on Arena on May 20, 2021. The next major event utilizing Historic will be the Strixhaven Set Championship – June 4-6.