People Couldn’t Stop Talking About It
I recently joined a group on facebook dedicated to MTG Arena and it seemed like every day someone was griping about “Nexus of Fate.” Other people would gripe at the gripers because there are ways to deal with the card. The debates went on and on, every day. Polls went up and people voted whether or not it should be banned. The census was almost evenly split.
Wizards of the Coast announced today that they have banned Nexus of Fate in MTG Arena. So what’s the big deal?
Nexus of Fate: The Infinite Loop
Nexus of Fate is a Core 2019 card involving lore about the planeswalker Sarkhan visiting the Spirit Dragon, Ugin.
“[The Nexus] is a point, deep within the ravine where Ugin’s bones rest. There, the reality is always shifting and twisting, as though seeking a final form but never finding it. Seekers have approached the place, but none were able to enter. The few who pressed on were simply torn apart. Those wanderers who survived told me what they saw, but I know nothing more than this.”
The card Nexus of Fate is just that, a shifting reality. No matter how it enters the graveyard, it will always return to your library. This happens even when the spell resolves, therefore, your library can never be milled completely. You can just cast Nexus of Fate over and over until you or your opponent dies. The only real way to deal with it is to exile it.
Perhaps the best way to deal with it is “Unmoored Ego.” If you suspect that your opponent has the card, you can get rid of all of them and stop their shenanigans. Unmoored Ego, in general, is a really good sideboard card to deal with any really annoying playset threat. Syncopate is also another option to deal with Nexus of Fate.
Unfortunately, for many players, it wasn’t enough.
Does Nexus of Fate Break the Game?
Wizards of the Coast thought long and hard on whether Nexus of Fate really deserved a ban. The main criteria for banning a card is that it is “too powerful.” Nexus of Fate in-of-itself is not powerful. It can’t win the game on its own, it only prolongs the game.
Which bring in the seldom-used criteria: does the card disrupt normal gameplay? In MTG Arena, yes. The online version of Magic the Gathering is not build to handle extremely long infinite combos. It’s cruel to make people have to sit through their opponent just playing the same card over and over again and not getting anywhere.
In Magic tabletop, there are workarounds for this. In ban announcement, Wizards said, “When looping a sequence in tabletop, if both players mutually understand what’s going on, it’s okay to fast forward until the loop is broken—either because the game is won, or the player looping has reached their desired board state. Worst case scenario, players in competitive play can also call over a Judge to keep a stalled game moving…Even if we manage to win the digital arms race to force a game to concede when game states remain unchanged, they could still be disruptive to what we consider normal play.”
Why This Decision Weighs so Heavily
Wizards of the Coast didn’t really want to ban Nexus of Fate because they want MTG Arena to be as much like tabletop as possible. “It has always been the plan for MTG Arena to provide an authentic digital Magic experience, and we’re sticking to that plan. This includes best-of-three formats, sideboarding, and an authentic-to-tabletop banned and restricted list.”
Because of the desire to keep the two games almost identical, Nexus of Fate has only been banned in the MTG Arena Standard format. You can still play it in other events and formats, including Traditional Constructed Traditional Ranked. Nexus of Fate is still legal in tabletop Standard.
Wizards of the Coast promises they will address the problem of infinite combos in MTG Arena by working on their timer system and how the system deals with repeatable actions and triggers.
What Does This Mean for You, Nexus Player?
Due to many players probably spending their mythic wild cards to trade for playsets of Nexus of Fate, players that have Nexus of Fate will receive that many mythic wild cards. In addition, the in-store Core 2019 bundle that previously included Nexus of Fate will now offer Omniscience instead.
If you were already in an event playing Nexus of Fate, you can still finish that event without changing your deck. However, after the event, your deck will be invalid to participate in the same event again.
Did you think Nexus of Fate deserved a ban or not? Is only banning it in online Standard enough? Let us know in the comments below.