As a digital game, unfortunately, MTG Arena is not immune from having a bug or two. Typically, these are just mildly frustrating, potentially preventing you from logging in momentarily. At their worst, however, bugs on MTG Arena have been able to utterly wreck formats and destroy the game.
Six months on from the debacle with Ninja’s Kunai, another major bug has reared its head. Thankfully, this time around, it’s not part of a devastating combo that’s strong enough to get players banned. Instead, a new bug on MTG Arena has bizarrely broken format legality, in the most meh way possible.
Explorer Explores Too Far
In case you don’t care to follow set release dates, last week, Wilds of Eldraine launched on MTG Arena. As usual, this introduced a smorgasbord of new cards to delight Standard, Historic, Explorer, and Alchemy players. Alongside this, it appears that this new set release also included a baffling and thankfully rather ineffectual bug.
As noticed by Reddit user u/ElRichiRicon, it appears that a number of cards were accidentally made Legal in Explorer. Upon hearing this, you might expect that a bevy of cards were quietly taken off the ban list, however, that’s bizarrely not the case. Instead, cards from as far back as 10th Edition just miraculously became legal in the format.
When discovering the issue, ElRichiRicon discovered that Pact of Negation from Future Sight, was legal in Explorer. Following this, u/-Vexed and u/HoopyHobo delved deeper to discover a total of 5 cards were now unusually playable. The other four cards are Lord of Extinction, Shatterstorm, Wrath of God, and Sculpting Steel.
As for why this bug happened… Well, that’s a very good question. What we do know is that all the above cards have one key similarity. They were all from either Amonkhet or Kaladesh remastered. In theory, both these sets are legal in Explorer/Pioneer, however, MTG Arena mixed things up a little. Rather than just reprinting the set, some Invocations and Masterpiece cards were also included.
Evidently, somewhere along the way, wires have been crossed and these Invocations and Masterpieces have been made Explorer legal. Currently, when this happened is unclear, however, they’re definitely not meant to be there. After all, the above five cards aren’t legal in Pioneer. According to Gatherer, they’re also not legal in Explorer!
Will These Cards Break the Meta?
The short and boring answer to the question above is a simple and emphatic no. After all, these cards are surely destined to be banned very soon, since they’re not meant to be in Explorer. As a result, they’re not going to have a lasting impact on the metagame for more than a few days, or even hours.
That being said, however, it’s nonetheless interesting to think about what the above five cards could do to the Explorer metagame. Even when doing this, however, the cards don’t get that much more interesting.
While undoubtedly all-stars in Commander, the five accidental Explorer cards don’t see huge play in any competitive format. The card that currently sees the most play is Pact of Negation, and that’s only included within around 200 decks. While this hardly makes it a Modern staple, Pact of Negation is nevertheless an incredibly powerful card.
Capable of countering a spell for absolutely nothing, Pact of Negation is perfect for protecting combo decks. For better or worse, Explorer does currently have a few of those with Izzet Creativity and Abzan Greasefang. In the former, Pact of Negation could be a very useful tool, however, it is obviously risky.
Thankfully, outside of Pact of Negation, the other four cards aren’t really a risk in Explorer. Shatterstorm and Wrath of God, for instance, are bested by Farewell and Supreme Verdict. As if that wasn’t enough to condemn Shatterstorm, Explorer also lacks a true artifact deck to hose. This also makes Sculpting Steel rather useless, outside of copying Cityscape Leveler.
To cover all the bases, Lord of Extinction is also pretty terrible and isn’t in danger of warping Explorer at all.
These Will Surely Be Banned Soon
Before you go off and craft a playset of Pact of Negation, keep in mind that these cards are surely going to get banned. At the end of the day, this is a bug, after all, not something that was planned. As a result, it’s undoubtedly only a matter of time before this error is reverted.
Following what happened with the Ninja’s Kunai bug on MTG Arena back in March, we’d also warn against even trying out these bugged cards. Sure, they might be fun, but if you go exploit this issue to ruin games for people, you might find yourself in hot water. Even if this is just a might, it’s not a good idea to mess around a find out.
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