No Bans. Everything is Fine.

Wizards has decided to make no changes to Pioneer and Standard, and unban Preordain in Modern.

Everything is fine.

Today, in the first of Wizards of the Coast’s new scheduled cycle of Banned and Restricted announcements, the following changes were announced:

“The Pioneer metagame continues to have a wide spread of play styles and archetype representation from tournament to tournament”


No bans or unbans.


No bans or unbans.


Preordain is unbanned.


No bans or unbans.

Why not?

According to Wizards, “The Pioneer metagame continues to have a wide spread of play styles and archetype representation from tournament to tournament. While there are known pillars in Mono-Green Devotion, Rakdos variants, and creature-centric aggro decks, their metagame shares rise and fall at a healthy clip. Recently, new versions of Lotus Field Control have gotten some extra attention, but its win rate and metagame share sit about where we would expect any reasonable deck to fall. Without a clear top dog or unanswerable archetype pushing other decks out, we’ve elected for no change at this time.”

Initial Takes


Oh. Yeah alright, looks like Pioneer’s fine, at least according to the people who don’t play it. Shout out to Fable for getting at least another year above ground.

I uhh… we were expecting something to go here right? Like, the format could be considered healthy, but by a lot of accounts it isn’t as fun to play as it could be. Devotion’s top slot combining with whatever flavor of RB Fable is popular at the moment makes for some serious considerations to be made when constructing a sideboard, and that’s not even taking into account the four other decks that will probably totally wreck your strategy. There are a lot of games that feel like non-games that happen in Pioneer, between Devotion, Lotus, and Azorius Control specifically, and many players were looking for at least something from the first two decks to leave to help mitigate that. While I don’t think that No Changes is the wrong decision, I do think that it puts the format solidly into the “Not as good as it could be” zone. For the other changes to modern and legacy, they might be the most dartboard calls I’ve ever seen, and I anticipate not a single good thing coming from either of them. Preordain doesn’t do anything against the Ring, Scam, or Bowmasters. Mind’s Desire actively thwarts attempts at a more fair format, though I guess it does make it so you can storm off through a bowmasters. Or something- I don’t know. I don’t play bad formats.

All in all, this was a disappointing announcement to basically every competitive Magic player except High Tide stans.


Well, this was certainly unexpected. While the option for no bans was on people’s radar, there has been a seemingly unending call for unbans in the past few months alongside bans like Karn, The Great Creator, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, and Fable of the Mirror Breaker. With some cards sitting on the ban list for ages, it felt like time for a shakeup that didn’t disrupt people’s favorite decks quite so heavily as bans would. With Modern and Legacy leading the cause with two fresh unbans in Preordain and Mind’s Desire, I hope this leads to a future update where we can see some things start to fall off the ban list in Pioneer. 

While I can’t say that I love seeing no bans in Pioneer as the consensus among many players is that the format could use a shake-up. The rise of Rakdos Sacrifice from the Regional Championships and new decks taking down weekly challenges alay that there’s room for innovation. I just hope that the player base doesn’t become too frustrated from stagnation as we have seen before during the Inverter of Truth metagame. 


Lorcana looks cool.

Cris IglooBoi

The lack of bans is an interesting decision, Pioneer is in a healthy-ish rock-paper state for now. The biggest concern I have is the change of policy they created in relation to the frequency of ban announcements. This leads me to believe there will be no changes to Pioneer until Pioneer Masters. Hopefully there will be a shake up with the masters set that’ll lead to new game play. As many of the others have mentioned, the play patterns have become stale and have been losing the interest of many Pioneer players. This also leads me to hope a new archenemy will develop in the format creating a fresh shake up. I plan to look into new archetypes to see if there was something we missed. 

Due to the main focus of this being Pioneer I’ll keep this part short and sweet. The unban of Preordain was surprising, I doubt it’ll have much impact on the format aside from Izzet Dragon Rage Channeler decks now have a better balance of types for Delirium. We will have to wait and see if there’s an Izzet Combo deck the returns due to the new consistency addition. 

I wasn’t playing legacy when Mind's Desire was banned, so I’m not sure how it will impact the format, especially due to Bowmaster running around the format keeping combo blue decks in check.

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