Hello, fellow planeswalkers!

Wizards of the Coast announced its first annual banning on August 7th, 2023.  It turned out to be much to do about nothing.  Despite speculation about banning cards that would have rotated from standard and the questions about the One Ring in modern, Wizards of the Coast did not ban any cards today.

This means that going into the release of Wilds of Eldraine no additional cards will be banned in standard.  This means that the card pool for standard will continue to increase as we go through the release of new sets over the next year.

What did Wizards of the Coast announce as part of the banned and restricted announcement?  Two cards were unbanned.  This does not happen often, but in general, is good news for that format.


Preordain is unbanned


Mind’s Desire is unbanned

Preordain was the best cantrip in blue for a long time and that’s why it initially got banned.  Getting to scry 2 for a blue mana gives you card selection that helps move your plan forward.  Does Preordain matter today?  Since Preordain’s banning blue has gotten other options to replace it like Consider.  It will be interesting to see how Preordain is used by deck builders and whether it is still good enough for modern.

Mind’s Desire is a storm card that was a key piece in legacy storm deck.  Legacy storm decks will bring Mind’s Desire back into the fold.  The ability to draw your deck on a signal turn got the card banned in the first place.  Given all the new additions to Legacy decks with recent sets, it will be interesting to see where Storm fits into the format with Mind’s Desire back in the deck.

The Impact on Standard

Wizards’ decision to keep all the cards in standard legal for at least another year will have a profound impact on standard because many of the key cards in standard’s best decks come from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, Innistrad: Crimson Vow, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, and Streets of New Capenna.  The most important cards retained in standard are the Innistrad dual lands and the tri-lands from Streets of New Capenna.  Their continued inclusion in standard means that mid-range and control decks will have the mana base needed to carry out their deck’s game plan.  Had a normal rotation occurred, the pain lands from Dominaria, and the dual lands from Phyrexia: All Will be One would remain in standard.  This would have made it more difficult for midrange and control strategies to succeed in standard.

In addition, the black-based midrange strategies will continue to hold a dominant position when Wilds of Eldraine arrives on September 1st, 2023.  Our first visit to Eldraine provided the key pieces to the Cat Oven deck that still sees play in Pioneer.  You can expect a few good black cards from Wilds of Eldraine.

Of the Top 10 cards currently played in best-of-3 on Arena, eight come from the sets that would have rotated.  Of the Top 25, 16 cards are from those sets.  Had a normal rotation occurred, we would have seen most of the top decks in standard lose key cards.  This would have let other decks hampered by these cards get a new lease on life.  Thus, creating a more diverse standard format.

Since we are a week away from Wilds of Eldraine previews we do know a few things promising about the set.  First, knights should have the cards needed to create a solid deck.  Good knight cards already exist in standard and we got more added to standard with March of the Machines.  Combined, this will help push the deck to the level of playable.

Second, we know that the Wilds of Eldraine play a key role in the set.  This should lead to an increase in playable green and red cards.  On our last visit to Eldraine, the key card for Mono-Green Aggro, Gruul Aggro, and Mono-Red Aggro were a part of the set.  Those decks played an important role in standard for nearly two full years.  Should this happen again, this will cut into the power of midrange decks.

Finally, the return of the adventure mechanic should impact how many decks set up their strategies.  Many of the most played cards from Throne of Eldraine were adventure cards.  With the continuation of power creep in standard, these new adventure cards will, most likely, be among the most powerful cards that the set offers.  These new cards hopefully will shake up standard because playing nearly every match on MTG Arena against a black deck is a frustrating experience.

By: Scott Trepanier

Scott began playing Magic the Gathering in 1994.  His preferred format is standard.  Typically, you will see him playing aggro decks focused on quickly defeating his opponent but will pivot to midrange or control when standard is unfavorable for aggro decks.  He began creating Magic content in 2019.