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.
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% of Magic Online Standard League decks contained the combo—a percentage that does not reflect how often it was built into IRL decks.
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.”
“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.”