MTG Arena artwork for the banned card Fable of the Mirror Breaker

[Update]: All cards for MTG Arena's The Lord of the Rings crossover set have now been revealed.

In an effort to revitalize the tabletop Standard scene, Wizards of the Coast has recently decided to extend the Standard rotation from two to three years. While this new change brings with it a variety of benefits, there is also a pretty big downside - overpowered and overplayed cards will now plague format for an additional year!

So in order to ensure the transition goes by as smoothly as possible, the Magic: The Gathering team has now issued bans for three of the most omnipresent Standard cards: Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Reckoner Bankbuster and Invoke Despair. Here's a brief rundown of why each of them was hit:

Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki has been the backbone of strategies based in black-red and one of the strongest cards in the format for the entirety of its tenure in Standard. Its ability to generate resources, card flow, and be a must-kill threat is unmatched at its level of efficiency. Counterplay available to it is low and frequently costs much more than three mana, and it is especially difficult to beat on the draw.

By removing Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki , we hope to reduce the power of black-red decks but also make deck-building choices for these strategies more meaningful as to whether they want a threat, card selection, or the ability to enable reanimation. For these reasons, as well as the high play rate of the card across many decks, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki is banned.”

Reckoner Bankbuster has been the go-to card-advantage engine for many decks in Standard since its release. As a colorless card, it has been effortless to slot into a wide variety of colors and strategies. Its general ubiquity and strength have pushed out other card-advantage options too much as a colorless card.

It has also put stress on creature sizing, as creatures that can crew Reckoner Bankbuster have been more favored than others. To promote more diversity and give power back to other types of cards in different colors, Reckoner Bankbuster is banned.”

Invoke Despair has been the premier curve-topper in most black-red decks and black-based strategies for most of its lifetime. Not only is it powerful for managing the battlefield and generating card advantage, but it has also been excellent for shoring up some of black's weaknesses. 

Traditionally, playing a wide variety of permanent types is strong against decks with a lot of one-for-one removal. Invoke Despair makes it especially difficult to find ample counterplay to black strategies as it is an effective card to cast on empty boards and preys upon the enchantments and planeswalkers that are historically effective against these types of removal-heavy strategies. Due to its power level and negative impact on card diversity, Invoke Despair is banned.”

Much like the previous bans, you'll be granted wildcards in compensation for each of your cards that god banned as soon as you log into MTG Arena. So if you're looking to break into older formats like Historic or Explorer, the fresh infusion of 12 rare wildcards should go a long way towards crafting a competitive deck!

The good news doesn't end there, however, as Wizards of the Coast has also revealed that there will be an additional "banned and restricted" announcement coming on August 7th, 2023. This one won't be specifically targeting Standard, though I won't be too surprised if insane value cards like Atraxa, Grand Unifier end up making an appearance.

Once this announcement goes live, I'll make sure to let you know. Until then, have fun with the new meta.