MTG Arena Bans Nexus of Fate and More in Historic in July 2020


by in Magic: The Gathering Arena | Jul, 13th 2020

It would seem that we were correct in several of our guesses as to what was going away in MTG Arena! Sadly, Wilderness Reclamation lives to see another day. But the other component of the deck, the real win condition, Nexus of Fate is seeing a ban in MTG Arena’s Historic mode, as well as several other cards. So, what got banned, did anything get unbanned, and why? 

Let’s talk about some banned cards!

Five Cards Disappear


First off, let’s talk about the three suspended cards: Winota, Joiner of Forces, Agent of Treachery, and Fires of Invention. When they were suspended, the meta mellowed out, and improvements across the board came to a variety of decks. With each new card added to the game, these cards would just become more problematic, especially with Jump Start looming on the horizon.

With this in mind, the above three cards are all being banned, and those players who owned them will receive Wildcards for them, as per their ban list policy for MTG Arena, alongside the aforementioned Nexus of Fate.

After the Winota suspension, the top 2 decks were roughly 15% of the best-of-three play, but now it’s about 35%. That number is growing faster and faster. What deck is that? Nexus of Fate, that’s what. Nexus of Fate is presently the most-played deck in Historic MTG Arena, and is officially banned. Before, it was only banned in Best-of-One for being completely game-breaking and upsetting to deal with.

While the Nexus of Fate deck has plenty of ways to ramp into infinite turns, Wilderness Reclamation is the major one. As the Historic meta grows, again, this ramping will only get better. So it is with that, Nexus of Fate is the card to act on. We were hoping to see Wilderness Reclamation to go away too, but it’s apparently not as bad of a card. 

The other highest-used deck in MTG Arena’s Historic meta by a country mile is Gruul Aggro. Gruul and Nexus of Fate are played more than three times more than their closest competition in best-of-three. On top of that, it has one of the highest win rates in both bo3 and bo1. 

What was the solution? Burning-Tree Emissary joined Nexus of Fate on the ban list for MTG Arena. The deck will still be overwhelmingly fast and powerful without this card, but Burning-Tree Emissary let the player get the mana back they used to cast it, to play yet another creature on turn 2. This will leave the deck powerful, but not ludicrously so.

Perhaps one day, Burning-Tree Emissary could come back, and that’s the difference between it and Nexus of Fate. Burning-Tree could find a home in the meta that’s not world-shattering. But Nexus of Fate is always going to be a busted card. 

Standard and Rising Decks


There were no bans for Standard, which surprised at least some people. Wizards of the Coast have kept their eyes on the Standard meta during PT Online 3 and 4. The win rates and day 2 conversion rates of the most-played decks came down to healthier levels, at least, according to them.

Mono-Green Aggro, Rakdos Sacrifice, Mono-Black Aggro, Red-White Pawblade, Simic Flash, and other decks have started to rise. This is not my personal experience on the ranked ladder, but that is quite different from the Player’s Tour. They do agree that the Growth Spiral ramp decks are something to be concerned with. They also see other archetypes within that category that behave differently. They say the meta is shifting away from the ramp, but we aren’t quite so sure we agree.

Time will tell what they decide though. Though we typically do not cover non-MTG Arena events/news, there were bans for those as well. The Pauper ban can affect MTG Arena though. Expedition Map and Mystic Sanctuary were both banned, mostly to stop how consistent some of the Loop/Control/Tron decks were. It was certainly the right call. We will briefly list the other bans as well for those interested.

Pioneer: Oath of Nissa (Unbanned)

Modern: Arcum’s Astrolabe 

Pauper: Expedition Map, Mystic Sanctuary

The MTG Arena effective date for these bans is July 16th, 2020. For Magic Online, it will go out today (July 13th), and the same goes for Tabletop Magic.

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