Magic: The Gathering Issues Rare Emergency Card Ban

Magic: The Gathering has issued a rare emergency card ban effective today. One card in a popular but dramatically overpowered two-card combo is now illegal in Standard play. Publisher Wizards of the Coast announced Felidar Guardian's emergency ban two days after they put out their April "Banned and Restricted" cards list, prompting players to raise an eyebrow at the delay.

Wizards of the Coast/Jakub Kasper

Over the last few months, Wizards of the Coast noticed that, when Felidar Guardian and Saheeli Rai are in play together, Felidar Guardian can be infinitely replicated until its owner has an army of lethal cats. It is known as the Copy Cat Combo. About 40 per cent of Magic Online Standard League decks contained the combo — a percentage that does not reflect how often it was built into IRL decks.

Wizards of the Coast

Players are happy the killer combo is dead in Standard, but unhappy with how long it took to kill. Several have said that Wizards should strive to announce bans between set releases and pro tours when possible. Usually, Wizards of the Coast designates banned cards in their "Banned and Restricted" cards list, so the two-day delay cost them some trust. The publisher acted now because, they say, they wanted to "make sure we only need to take one and only one action to correct the Standard environment".

Wizards added:

We also understand we shouldn't let combos like Saheeli-Felidar get out the door in the first place. For that we take ownership and are making changes to try to prevent this from happening again. But our highest priority is keeping Magic fun and enjoyable for our players. We believe this banning coupled with a number of internal testing process improvements will be significant steps toward making Standard the fun, dynamic format we all want it to be in perpetuity.


    This just makes me think of that one Yugi-Oh episode with the infinite Kuriboh strategy.

    We also understand we shouldn't let combos like Saheeli-Felidar get out the door in the first place.How do they even begin to make sure this stuff doesn't happen? I haven't looked at anything MTG for over a decade but after this many years how do you ensure that any card you make doesn't create a loophole in conjunction with the other thousands of cards you've created? Are there rules that limit what editions can be used together or something?

      Yes, exactly that. You'll notice in the article it was mentioned that the card was banned in Standard play. Standard being a format which restricts which cards can be played to sets that have been released within the last two years. The card pool is severely limited by this restriction - thus allowing for more design space, ensuring broken combos don't occur, which results in bannings being very rare in this format. That said, this year has seen a barrage of them. 4 cards so far which is massive considering the last time a card was banned in Standard was in 2011.

      Last edited 29/04/17 10:47 pm

      I would absolutely love to see the entire process in how they handle new expansions. Thinking of cards, designing them, testing them, balancing and rethinking them. I'd watch a docco about that

    I love how they banned Smugglers Copter only to release a more powerful version of it with Heart of Kiran. Makes sense to someone obviously. I guess a 2 drop 4/4 flyer with vigilance is weaker then a 2 drop 3/3 flyer with card draw.

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