Wizards of the Coast made a huge, literally game-changing announcement today: Field of the Dead has been officially banned from the Standard format of Magic: The Gathering. But what does the MTG ban announcement really mean for the game’s players? Read on to find out more.
Why was Field of the Dead banned by MGT in a recent announcement?
Field of the Dead has been at the center of a rather heated controversy for some time now. As a Land card, it’s difficult for opponents to interact with at all and even more difficult to remove from play.
It’s become a huge strategy among some MTG players to pair this seemingly unassuming Land card with another card called Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, which allows players to search through their deck to find any Land card, place it on the battlefield, and turn it on. As soon as Field of the Dead is in play, it can be used to continuously spawn defensive Zombie tokens, becoming a bigger and bigger problem for opponents with each turn.
Over the past few months, Field of the Dead decks have overwhelmed the scene to a point where players have been forced to create decks specifically to combat this one card — a Land card! (If you don’t play MTG, let us just tell you: that is bonkers.)
Over the weekend, the Mythic Championship V tournament took place. There, 42 percent of the decks were Field of the Dead ramp decks — obviously, a lot of people have latched onto the Field of the Dead + Golos strategy, and Wizards of the Coast senior game designer Ian Duke wants to put a stop to that.
In the ban announcement, Duke says that Field of the Dead is banned because of its “warping effect on the metagame” and because of “the undesirable play patterns it creates.” However, he also states that while the results of the tournament were a factor in the ban, there were many other factors as well.
What other cards were included in the Oct. 21 MTG ban announcement?
Field of the Dead wasn’t the only card to be hit with the ban hammer. Arcum’s Astrolabe was also banned from the Pauper format of the game. Duke says the ban of this card is also due to “the metagame share and win rate of Arcum's Astrolabe decks across the board.”
Many Magic: The Gathering players have also been expecting a ban for Oko, Thief of Crowns (another card that was particularly prevalent at the Mythic Championship V tournament and which some players feel has a similar, damaging effect on the metagame). That ban did not come yet, but Oko deck fans shouldn’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet — there’s another Banned & Restricted card announcement coming on Nov. 18, 2019.
When does the ban go into effect?
If you are mourning the Field of the Dead ban, take heart (at least for a little while). The bans for both Field of the Dead and Arcum’s Astrolabe take effect Oct. 21 on Magic Online, but are not effective in MTG Arena until Oct. 24, and not in tabletop games until Oct. 25. We know. That’s not much consolation. But it’s something, right?