Hung Up to Dry
Meathook Massacre, arguably the best boardwipe in Standard, has been banned from the format as of today’s Banned and Restricted Announcement. Seeing play in maindecks and sideboards in nearly every deck in the top tiers of our weekly tier list, the card was certainly a staple of this Standard rotation and was warping the format to a point where big-mana, black-based midrange decks were smashing into each other for an hour on MTGO and Arena best-of-three, while Arena best-of-one was more of a rock-paper-scissors (see: healthy) style meta, where aggro decks, control decks and midrange decks were all similarly viable.
As is often the case, the Standard card pool rotation with the release of Dominaria United caused quite a shakeup, with cards from the new set finding their places into decks, and many of last year’s cards shifting context within the new metagame. As the format has settled into place, the color black has proven powerful and prolific, and makes up the foundation of many of the top decks. Despite that commonly shared color, we’re seeing good diversity among competitive decks and strategies, and player engagement with the format has been healthy.
To provide a small push against the color black’s play rate among competitive decks, we’re choosing to ban one black card. We discussed several different options, as no single black card stood out as a major power outlier played by all decks containing black. Ultimately, we decided that banning The Meathook Massacre was the best choice, as it’s one of the most powerful black cards in the format, is especially powerful against specific archetypes (decks relying on a lot of small creatures), and has had its time to shine in Standard for over a year.
With The Brothers’ War on the horizon, we anticipate the new cards entering the format to provide tools for other decks and color combinations. In the meantime, we expect this little shakeup will help keep Standard enjoyable and trending toward an even healthier spot going forward as the card pool expands.Wizards of the Coast, October 10, 2022
Below, some of the PlayingStandard team responds to the ban and looks toward the future of the Standard format.
The Meathook Massacre is gone. Thank God! This card was not only powerful, but insanely expensive. Going into Pro Tour season two (which is Standard), acquiring this card was going to be a must for every player. The black decks losing Meathook Massacre will hurt, but not enough to make them unplayable. The card allowed the black decks to catch up from behind no matter the point in the game, as well as leaving behind a ticking clock. Now, proactive gameplans can fight against the black midrange decks. Aggro is now playable again and will be a serious contender for standard. I look forward to playing standard without fear of over committing to the board. Thank you WOTC!
As someone just starting to explore Standard a bit, it was clear that the black-based decks had an incredible level of power compared to the other colors in the format. The Meathook Massacre was a major contributing factor to this as it allowed black decks to keep board states manageable and win games outside of direct combat.
In Pioneer, The Meathook Massacre has been used to elevate sacrifice and midrange decks in need of one-sided sweepers and we saw similar things in Standard. Add in the prohibitive price point of this low-supply, high demand Mythic and I’m happy to see the card gone. Maybe now we can explore a more balanced color pie in Standard moving forward as we head into Regional Championship Qualifier Season Two.
Meathook Massacre was doing a lot to keep aggro and tempo decks out of the format, and – in my estimation – was making up a large part of the ever-widening difference between Best-of-Three and Best-of-One. Wedding Announcement-based decks, token decks in general, aggressive decks like Gruul and Mono-Red, and tempo decks like Mono-Blue Delver and Izzet Spells are certainly celebrating today. Non-black midrange and control decks are also joining the festivities, as some of the best board wipes in the format are actually in red now. With a potential uptick in tokens deck and aggressive decks, we’ll likely see an uptick in small-creature board wipes like Drag To the Bottom and Malicious Malfunction in Black, The Elder Dragon War, End the Festivities, Burn Down the House and Temporal Firestorm in Red and Temporary Lockdown in White. I personally welcome this ban, and am looking forward to brewing some new decks and dusting off some of my previously less-than-viable brews for the ranked ladder.
Meathook Massacre has been hung up to dry, which is a huge win for a large swath of players. Pushing back against the Black Midrange menace without completely destroying the deck is a solid move from WotC’s part, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the removal of the strongest board wipe in the format will impact the metagame at large. I’m mostly excited to explore some token based strategies that were largely negated by the existence of the overpowered artifact, such as the newly strengthened Brokers Ascendancy deck and my personal baby, Orzhov Aristocrats. Standard is set to be an excellent play experience moving into Brother’s War with this update.
PlayingStandard will post our regularly-scheduled weekly tier list on Wednesday morning, taking this ban into account while still leaning on post-ban data when possible (from the Arena ladder). Keep an eye out for that, and the weekly meta guide the following day!