Agent of Treachery Banned! (and other stories)

Regular listeners know that we kind of punted last Thursday’s episode in light of the announcements we knew were going to happen today.

And they were three doozies!

Agent of Treachery

I. Agent of Treachery is banned in Standard

(and “suspended” in Historic)

Patrick and Michael are kind of divided on this one. Michael doesn’t really mind Agent of Treachery in and of itself… He points out that the card had a [reasonably] long and [somewhat] productive career from the Oko days.

You know, back when you actually had to cast the card.

And if you’re casting it? Agent of Treachery isn’t particularly offensive for seven mana. The problem of course is that in Standard right now, between the Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast combo and rolling the dice with Winota, Joiner of Forces, no one is actually paying retail for Agent of Treachery.

Patrick — perhaps rightfully — points out that whether it’s cast fair-style or not, no one is really having a lot of fun playing against it. Standard will be more fun without it.

Fires of Invention

II. Fires of Invention is also banned in Standard!

(and similarly suspended in Historic)

Again we have a host-divide!

Michael doesn’t really mind Fires of Invention; and reminds Patrick that he thought it was one of the worst cards in the Jeskai Yorion deck; Patrick vehemently disagrees…

And points out that Jeskai Yorion has a positive win rate against basically every other archetype in the format!

With disproportionate performance in an already-kind-of-stale Standard, banning Fires of Invention will probably improve everyone’s experience.

Neither banning has anywhere near the impact of a fundamental change in the Companion rules, though…

The New Companion Rule

From Ian Duke’s announcement:

Once per game, any time you could cast a sorcery (during your main phase when the stack is empty), you can pay 3 generic mana to put your companion from your sideboard into your hand. This is a special action, not an activated ability.

Instead of having access to casting an eighth card straight out of their sideboards, Companion players will now have to “buy” the extra card for three mana. As the Companion will go to their hands, this will do (at least) two things:

  1. Open up the ability to interact with Companions. For instance, discard may become an effective way to deal with one. Cards like Robber of the Rich will also gain text, and the ability to directly compete with Companion card advantage.
  2. Slow down Companions. They all essentially have a three mana “tax” that they didn’t yesterday. We speculate that there is no longer a reason for Lurrus of the Dream-Den to be banned in Vintage or Legacy, as its extreme speed has been curbed. Similarly, we predict Zirda, the Dawnwaker will also be pulled from the Legacy banned list.

But what’s next for Standard?

Which Companions will continue to be strong, and which will lose their luster? Listen to “Agent of Treachery Banned! (and other stories)” to hear our immediate takes:

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