Bans in the new Pioneer format continue as Veil of Summer gets the ax.
Magic: The Gathering’s new Pioneer format appears to be in good health but for one pesky problem. Green aggro and ramp decks are uncharacteristically popular, and Wizards of the Coast seems to have identified the culprit.
Pioneer was invented recently as a sort of new Modern format as Modern was starting to look a lot more like Legacy every day. Modern represented a good 16 years of Magic cards, and Wizards of the Coast wanted to bring back that feeling of an “in-between” format that bridged the gap between Standard’s cutting-edge and Legacy’s history.
Enter Pioneer, which uses only sets from Return to Ravnica onward. That gives Pioneer players seven years to work with and allows players that might be relatively new to Magic to continue playing constructed games with their old Standard cards.
Magic’s designers are still keeping an eye on Pioneer to make sure it’s accomplishing its goals, and they’ve noticed a problem: Green aggro/ramp decks were making up way too much of the competitive meta-game in comparison to control and midrange decks. And the problem boils down to Veil of Summer.
Veil of Summer is the perfect hate card for Blue and Black decks. For a single Green mana, Veil of Summer allows Green players to completely shut down Blue and Black cards that would otherwise be able to ruin Green’s day by providing hexproof to both the Green player and all their permanents. On top of that, if the opponent has already played a Blue of Black spell that turn, it cantrips.
You can still counter Veil of Summer, but that’s it. And because Veil of Summer does so much for so little resources (just one mana, and not even a card if played correctly), it’s hard for Blue and Black heavy decks to deal with effectively. It’s also possible to toss Veil of Summer into sideboards just because of the price of a single Green mana.
"Therefore, we are banning Veil of Summer to better allow for natural metagame forces to provide counterpressure against these strategies," wrote Wizards on their website. We’ll have to wait and see if this has the desired effect on the format.