WINOTA, JOINER OF THE BANNED LIST
Wizards of the Coast’s Banned and Restricted announcement today included a ban of Winota, Joiner of Forces and Tibalt’s Trickery in Explorer. At the time of writing, Winota decks are holding up a 63% winrate in Bo3 and a 68% winrate and disproportionate play rate in Bo1. The decks were in S Tier on both the Bo1 and Bo3 Explorer tier lists on opening day, and would have remained in S Tier in tomorrow’s tier list update as well. Trickery decks were largely a nuisance in Bo1, as the “gambling” style of the deck was largely used to turbo-grind the ladder system on Arena.
From the moment Explorer was announced as a format, Wizards made it clear that they would manage the format independently from Pioneer until the format eventually caught up in terms of card pool. As such, there would be it’s own functioning ban list in the meantime, with today rounding out the first sets of bans to the format. Both of these bans are ones that players have both been expecting and even calling for. Winota is a Pioneer deck that exists nearly in its entirety within Explorer. As such, within the limited card pool, the arguably best deck in Pioneer is apparently too powerful for the smaller Explorer format. Shocker!
The big question of these bans aren’t the “why”, necessarily, but the “why not just in best-of-one”? In best of three, these decks have weaknesses that can be exploited thanks to sid boarding, whereas in best-of-one they are obviously oppressive and obnoxious. We’ve seen Wizards ban things within the best-of-one format, while they leave best-of-three alone. Perhaps this is their way of showing that they won’t bother with the differentiating between the two formats, due to the fact that Explorer is a temporary format anyway.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this banning is that Wizards is planning on unbanning and reevaluating the status of Winota in the format upon the release of Dominaria United. While they do not plan to do the same for Tibalt’s Trickery, stating its adjustment in legality is not a priority for them due to the play pattern the deck represents. This type of communication and transparency is a high point of this announcement, as these types of updates of what Wizards is planning on doing is something Magic players have been begging for for years. Our only hope is that this continues and bleeds into other formats, as this level of communication is key in maintaining positive player relations.
As far as player collections are concerned, if you have previously been refunded for the banning of either card prior to the upcoming May 12th update, (i.e. the Historic banning of both cards) they will not receive additional reimbursement. If you happened to own only one copy of Winota, for example, and then decided to craft copies two and three after her historic banning, you will be compensated for those second and third wildcards. Based on the explanation Wizards provided, it appears that players could craft four Winota, Joiner of Forces today, receive wildcard reimbursement for them tomorrow and then have them ready to go when the unban occurs.
Well, there you have it: Winota and Trickery are banned and Explorer Players rejoice! At least until Dominaria United, your ladder climb will be Winota free! Make sure to check out the Explorer Tier List tomorrow for updates!