As promised, Wizards of the Coast has brought out a new Banned and Restricted announcement and it has a couple of surprises. This announcement was planned after the Arena Championship 3 in order to not make players scramble last minute for new decks. Let’s dive in and talk about the bans!
Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki
This was a no brainer for Wizards of the Coast to finally get rid of. This card has the ability to do so much and was a much-needed staple for most Rakdos, Grixis, or anything that uses the color Red. This card was extremely hard to beat when you are on the draw and the amount of utility this card has was frankly insane. It makes a creature that generates treasure tokens to help you ramp, it gave you a looting effect (discard to draw cards,) and gave you a creature that allowed you to make copies of non-legendary creatures and give them haste. Wizards of the Coast stated that their main reasons for banning the card was to lower the power of red-black decks and to have more meaningful deck-building strategies going forward. In addition, Wizards of the Coast recognized that this card had a high play rate and that was another factor in its banning.
This was one was a surprise to me. Wizards of the Coast stated that Reckoner Bankbuster has been a go-to card-advantage engine for most Standard decks. This is true. It was a card that any deck could use to help with card draw while also producing a threat with a 4/4 that has Crew 3. After removing the three counters, you were able to create a 1/1 Pilot that can crew vehicles as though it had a power of 3 and created a treasure. This created the ability for Reckoner Bankbuster to attack more but, your card draw advantage was at an end. Wizards of the Coast said that banning the card would promote more diversity and give power back to other types of cards in different colors and was the main reason for banning the card.
Once again, another surprising pick from Wizards of the Coast. Invoke Despair has been a very powerful cards for most Red-Black and Mono-Black decks ever since its release. It is a powerhouse when you play it on turn five or earlier depending on your ramp generation and its hard to counter unless your specifically prepared for the card. It targets creatures, enchantments, and planeswalkers and it punishes you if you can sacrifice those types of cards by making you lose life and letting the opponent draw cards for each one you can’t do. These were the main reasons for Wizards of the Coast banning Invoke Despair and its focus to lower the power level of the Red-Black Midrange decks that have been plaguing Standard.
This Banned and Restricted announcement had the pretty obvious choice of banning Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki. This card has been obnoxious to go against and removing it and the things it does was a bit of a nightmare. I completely agree with Wizards of the Coasts reasoning of banning this card.
With Reckoner Bankbuster I don’t feel warranted a ban. This is a card every Standard deck could play to give them card advantage that I feel has been at the right speed and it wasn’t overly oppressive. I can understand wanting more diversity but, I also feel like there should be cards every deck out there can play and keeping the playing field equal that way. In addition, I don’t feel the 4/4 creature that Reckoner Bankbuster can be is that bad. There is so much removal in Standard right now that it can be removed pretty easily and quickly.
The ban on Invoke Despair has me conflicted. I was speaking to a friend about this while writing this article and we both agree with everything Wizards of the Coast has said about the card. However, it’s an interesting card that requires four black mana and a colorless to cast. It can also be countered pretty easily with things like Make Disappear, Spell Pierce, and Disdainful Stroke. While I can’t fully explain the feeling I have about this card, it just feels odd to ban a card like this when there are other oppressive cards in the format. For example, Sheoldred, the Apocalypse is a card that once you play it, you either need to get rid of it before it’s your turn or else your opponent’s chances of winning the game has increased to almost 100%. This was a card I was honestly thinking would be banned and honestly, was hoping it would be banned because this card might as well say “I win” on it. I would have rather seen this card banned instead of Invoke Despair.
This is all I’ve got for the Banned and Restricted announcement for Magic the Gathering. Let us know in the comments what you feel about the bans or what you would have chosen to be banned!