Hello, fellow planeswalkers!  Welcome to Standard Weekly!

Monday, August 7th is an important day in the World of Magic The Gathering.  Wizards of the Coast will make its first annual ban announcement before the arrival of the first fall set.  This year, the set will be the Wilds of Eldraine.

Earlier this year, Wizards of the Coast announced that rotation will happen every three years rather than every two years.  This will add four additional sets to standard.  How the addition of these sets will affect standard is unknown, but to soften the impact of these additional sets on standard an annual ban before the arrival of the fall set each year was announced to occur in August.  Little is known about what will be banned or what criteria Wizards intends to use to make the decision about what to ban.

My belief is that Wizards will ban cards from the four sets that would have rotated this fall.  With the possibility of others from this past year’s sets also making the list.  Below are cards that I think we could find on the list.

Despite the banning of Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Invoke Despair, and Reckoner Bankbuster, black continues to dominate standard.  The most used cards in best-of-three on Arena are Go for the Throat and Cut Down.  Of the two, Cut Down makes more sense banning because it works best against aggro decks while we need Go for the Throat as an answer for large creatures.  Also, Cut Down can easily take out most of the best two or three-mana creatures in standard.  Its high level of efficiency makes it a card that must be considered.

The most obvious black card to ban is Sheoldred, the Apocalypse.  Sheoldred continues to see play in any black deck that sees play in standard.  It is among the best card in standard.  Banning Sheoldred, the Apocalypse would reduce the appeal of black, but since Sheoldred has not seen a year in standard yet my guess is that she will not make the list.

More likely to make the list is Graveyard Trespasser.  It would have rotated this fall, so banning it would have less impact on standard than Sheoldred making the list.  What makes Graveyard Trespasser ban worthy is its high cost to remove and its ability to gain life and drain life when it exiles a creature from a graveyard.  Having to spend two cards to remove Graveyard Trespasser, because its ward cost is discarding a card, is a high price to pay.  Banning it would slow down black decks.

Bloodtithe Harvester also must be considered.  While Rakdos has fallen out of favor, Grixis remains a quality deck in standard.  Should Bloodtithe Harvester make the list it would reduce the power of Grixis.

Raffine, Scheming Seer has been the key card in Esper Midrange since it arrived in standard in Streets of New Capenna.  Raffine’s connive ability paired with Sheoldred, the Apocalypse is a powerful force in the deck.  Banning Raffine would take away much of the power in the deck and still leave Esper playable.

Wedding Announcement was considered for banning when the spring ban occurred.  Its ability to create 1/1 human or draw a card for the first three turns in play makes Wedding Announcement one of the most powerful cards in standard.  Then when it is transformed into Wedding Festivities it gives each creature its controller has in play +1/+1.  It has not been the dominant card some expected after Fable of the Mirror-Breaker left standard, but it remains one of the most used white cards.

The final card on my standard list is The Wandering Emperor.  It has played a significant role in Esper and Azorius control decks.  Her ability to flash into play has made most aggro strategies uncompetitive in standard.  Seeing her on the list would allow more aggro strategies a chance in standard.

In Modern, the speculation is that The One Ring will be axed from the format.  Pro Tour Barcelona showed the power of the card.  It was the most-played card in the tournament and made some of the best decks in the format prior to the release of The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth less popular because they have a bad match-up against decks playing The One Ring.  It would be a quick ban, but The One Ring might deserve it.

It will be interesting to see what Wizards of the Coast does on August 7th.  Will Wizards take out of standard only a few problematic cards like those mentioned above or will Wizards take a different approach?  Will cards in other formats find themselves on the list?  We will find out the new direction of standard on Monday.