Banned and Restricted Update 2023

Banned and Restricted Update: August 2023

Mason ClarkLegacy, Modern, Pioneer

This week, Wizards of the Coast announced their last Banned and Restricted update before switching to a new, yearly cadence in October. But while conversation in the community was blowing up about targets for Modern and Pioneer, every possible option escaped the hammer.

Instead, Wizards of the Coast actually unbanned two cards, one in Modern and one in Legacy. The former format sees the return of Preordain while Legacy gets Mind’s Desire.

This decision to avoid bans, particularly in Pioneer, might be shocking for some who remember Wizards’ aggressive banning stance when the newest format first came out. However, the format has now been around long enough to join the ranks of its peers where there’s a much more slow and natural churn. 

But why wasn’t something hit in green or Rakdos? Those decks have performed well for the last year and a half. The cited reason is the win rates are in line with what is expected for a healthy format. 

I personally don’t really care that Pioneer saw no changes. It’s the Regional Championship Qualifier format for another two weeks before the spotlight goes to Modern until the next RC. So having the format stay the same is probably for the best. At least those who hate the format as it is will only need to wait until Oct. 16 for the new, yearly ban system to set in.


As for the Modern players, what does the return of one Magic’s best cantrips mean? Well, there are lots of decks that probably want it. 


OK, maybe Murktide wants it — but not over Consider! I have seen so many players quick to cut their Considers for Preordains in the first hours after this announcement. 

Remember that Consider is really good at enabling murktide, Dragon’s Rage Channeler and Unholy Heat. All three are very impactful cards. Consider also being an instant play into your counterspell is a way better play pattern 

I would investigate adding one to two copies of Preordain to the main deck over flex slots, but not over consider. I think that card is just a tad too important to be straight swapped. I could see a 3-3 split, but I would be surprised if that didn’t warrant bigger changes to the deck.

So what is a deck that gets a lot from Preordain? I think the biggest easy-to-see winner is Breach. 

Expressive Iteration is strong, but it’s kinda clunky with the one ring in your deck. You are really looking to set up a combo and make sure to hit your land drops. So I think cutting the EI for the Preordain is very smart for smoothing your deck out and having more consistent draws. 

Some other fringe decks that would love the added consistency are:

  • Twiddle storm 
  • Actual storm
  • Belcher 
  • Oops all spells

At the same time, I don’t think Preordain is fixing the problems that combo has — though I hope I’m wrong. Ragavan decks are just naturally fairly good at stopping combo. From Murktide having a lot of counterspells to Scam having a lot of discard, it’s very hard to assemble a combo based around a single spell right now.

End Step

What about Legacy? That’s a for-fun format — who cares? Just kidding, Legacy community! That’s just a joke. 

For real, though, Legacy has seen Storm rapidly decrease in play over the last year as tempo and fair decks got more tools to answer combo decks. That said, I’m actually unsure if this card will cause drastic changes to the format — but this renewed power is a huge win if you like Storm.

That’s it for the B&R list. Otherwise, keep an eye out for all the other news we got over the weekend from Gen Con! There’s a lot happening in Magic you won’t want to miss.