Victims of Wizards
Winota and Iteration, the New Victims of Wizards Snap
By Juan Salas
And the Wizards did it again!!! A month before the Qualifiers for the new tournament circuit
begin, Winota, Joiner of Forces and Expressive Iteration were banned in Pioneer. As a
consequence of this, they also banned Expressive Iteration in Explorer.
Why, Wizards, Why?!?!?!
The official explanation of the bans is as follows:
As noted in previous updates, we want Pioneer to provide as diverse an experience
as possible, built out of an ever-growing collection of Standards past.
Over time, it has become clear that Naya Winota is suppressing diversity as its
power and consistency have drastically reduced incentives to play other linear
creature-based strategies. Not only is it a resilient midrange deck that can leverage
many of the powerful mana creatures available in the format, but its explosive
draws involving the deck’s namesake can create unassailable battlefield states as
quickly as turn three.
Due to its large metagame share, high win rate, and ability to create frustrating
removal-check gameplay, Winota, Joiner of Forces is banned in Pioneer.
Expressive Iteration has been a multiformat all-star since its release in Strixhaven:
School of Mages. It has fueled a variety of highly successful Izzet Strategies in
Pioneer by both providing card selection and card advantage at a much higher rate
than what is available to other decks, making it extremely difficult for other
strategies to engage them in wars of attrition.
Although we recognize that there are several other powerful card-draw spells in the
format, notably Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time, we currently believe that
delve spells contribute to blue decks in Pioneer having a unique identity among
Eternal formats. As Pioneer’s card pool has fewer strong cantrips and no fetch
lands, we’re hoping many delve cards can continue to be a part of the format at a
more moderate power level compared to how they would play in other nonrotating
To lower the win rate of the wide variety of Izzet decks and bring them further in
line with other strategies in the format while maintaining what makes them special
in Pioneer, Expressive Iteration is banned.
It’s worth noting that we will continue to align Pioneer ban announcements with
action in Explorer. This means that Expressive Iteration will also be banned in
Explorer. Winota, Joiner of Forces was previously banned in Explorer. When we
made that change, we noted that we would revisit that ban with the release of
Dominaria United. However, now that Winota, Joiner of Forces is banned in Pioneer,
we plan to leave it banned in Explorer going forward.
Winota was appearing in about 20% of the Pioneer meta (data from mtggoldfish.com), while
Expressive Iteration was appearing in 10%/15% of decks.
With these bans, Rakdos Midrange immediately becomes the most played deck, so we’ll see
obvious growth in decks like Mono-Green Ramp, Lotus Combo, or some kind of naya midrange,
those creature decks that were just worse than who played Winota.
How long will it take for Wizards to ban any new cards to balance strategies? We just don’t
What did you think of the ban? Do you agree? Which other cards do you think should be
To Unfinity and beyond
The space carnival comes to the Magic un-iverse! Unfinity will release in October 7, the fourth
Un-set will finally see the light, or the stars.
Beautiful lands and crazy mechanics. With what will Mark Rosewater and his crew surprise us?
If you don’t remember what Unfinity is about, you can read the note published in November
on the official Wizards site:
That’s all for this week folks!
And remember, this Saturday the $500 Cash GGtoor M:TG Arena Duel #14 will be played. The
format will be standard and entry is FREE! To register visit: