Omnath Joins MTG Arena Ban List

by in Magic: The Gathering Arena | Oct, 12th 2020

Fifteen years ago or so, a four-color card would be difficult to play. Back then, there weren’t so many. Other than Sliver Queen, there were mostly three-color cards, in particular, the Elder Dragon Legends. In a move that surprised nobody, MTG Arena announced another ban. This time, we say goodbye to Omnath. Perhaps Wizards of the Coast thought that after the Uro ban, Omnath would slow down. If anything, Omnath decks spiked. The two strongest decks until now were 4-color Ramp and 4-color Adventures. The 4-color ramp did decline in win rate post-Uro ban; it did not slow the march of Omnath.

Omnath Adventures wins 9-out-of-10 games and has no bad match-ups. Why? Because Lucky Clover on turn 2 almost guarantees you a win. It’s wildly hard to remove, as few decks run the paltry artifact removal on offer right now. You could argue Embercleave is on the same level, but it’s not. Embercleave is stopped by removing the creature it’s attached to. With that in mind, we say goodbye to Omnath and a few other friends in various metas.

Standard Bans

  • Omnath, Locus of Creation is banned.
  • Lucky Clover is banned.
  • Escape to the Wilds is banned.

Frankly, I’d have banned Bonecrusher Giant instead of Escape to the Wilds. Without Omnath/Lucky Clover, I don’t think that cards are going to be the threat it used to be. But let’s look at this weekend’s MTG Arena Grand Finals. Twenty-three of the 32 decks were Omnath! Without Omnath in the field, the Adventures deck would still be a dominating, ridiculous force. Omnath, Locus of Creation was mistakenly thought of as a hard-to-use card since it’s a 4-mana color cast. But in this meta, when we have fetch lands, mana ramp, Lotus Cobra and more? There’s no way it’s hard to use. With that, Omnath caught a ban in MTG Arena.

Lucky Clover is too good of a card. It’s a 2-colorless mana artifact that replicates any Adventure Spell you cast. Any of them. Mana ramp, card draw, direct damage, seeking stuff in the sideboard. If you get more than one, then it’s easier/faster to fold. Edgewall Innkeeper probably could have been banned, but Adventures decks would just be useless if they did. It’s a major card draw engine for the deck. Simply making it impossible to get all of those extra, free casts should be enough to slow Adventures down while keeping it remotely competitive. We’ll see if anyone bothers to use it after the Omnath and friends ban for MTG Arena. Finally, Escape to the Wilds was banned to make sure that Ramp Decks won’t keep stomping the competition.

But Uro and Omnath are banned now. I don’t think the Escape to the Wilds ban was truly necessary, but it could be. Ramp-favored cards like Ugin and Genesis Ultimatum still exist, which may wind up being a very solid preventative measure.

It just makes no sense that cards as strong as Uro and Omnath got through, to begin with. I’m very curious about what the original design intentions were for both of them. They were almost immediately broken and thrown into some of the most powerful decks MTG has seen in years, possibly decades, when it comes to Standard. This has been one of the most frustrating Standard metas – the one that’s developed over the last two years or so. Far too many cards have come out as ridiculously powerful and immediately see high win rates.

I’m hoping that over the next few sets, the power scale slows down a little bit. We don’t want to hit Dragon Ball Super power levels.

Historic Bans (and Unsuspension)

  • Omnath, Locus of Creation is suspended
  • Teferi, Time Raveler is banned
  • Wilderness Reclamation is banned
  • Burning-Tree Emissary is unsuspended

Frankly, I seldom see Omnath in Historic, so instead of a ban, it was merely suspended in MTG Arena. This is probably to see if it had an impact on the historic meta as a whole. Omnath decks were the most-played deck in Best-of-Three formats, which probably explains why I never see it (preferring to play BO1). I can see Omnath staying gone. In a meta with Explore, Growth Spiral and more, all that mana makes him wildly easy to use.

Three cards were recently suspended: Teferi, TIme Raveler, Wilderness Reclamation, and Burning-Tree Emissary. The first two negatively impacted the state of the game, surprising nobody. Those two are now on the ban list with the Omnath ban (in Standard)/suspension. However, Burning-Tree Emissary was let out of jail. Gruul Aggro fell off badly after Jumpstart/Amonkhet, and with the Burning-Tree suspension. With that in mind, he was let out of jail and can return to people’s decks, for better or worse. It was a very frustrating card to deal with, but hopefully, that has changed now.

It’s also important to note that Omnath was banned in Brawl too. He was (not shockingly) the most-played and highest-winning commander of any in the mode. It’s ridiculously powerful. Omnath, Locus of Creation is still legal in Historic Brawl, but for standard Brawl? That’s a no go. Curious, what makes Omnath so powerful? We feature him in several decks in a recent blog that you should go check out.

What do you think? Is this the change we need? Was it too late? Is there something else that’s going to come up and ruin the meta? Jason thinks that Gruul Aggro’s going to be on the come-up, alongside Dimir Rogues. Be sure to let us know on Twitter!


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