As I was getting ready for my morning Magic: Arena "few game wind-down" break, I was immediately greeted with a pop-up: bam, four cards have been banned. Popular standard cards, mind!
Announced this morning and effective immediately, Cauldron Familiar, Growth Spiral, Teferi Time Raveler and Wilderness Reclamation are now out of Arena and paper Magic. Magic peddler Wizards of the Coast says they are "choosing to forgo..advanced notice and roll[ing] out these changes as soon as possible." While the latter three were set to cycle out in the fourth quarter of the year anyway, Cauldron Familiar wasn't scheduled to leave standard until the tail-end of 2021, so that's a big change.
I have played against and used every single one of these cards: and they all have their counters. A lot of the problem with everything but Growth Spiral, however, is how they work in Arena. Because Cauldron Familiar allows for triggers at nearly every step, it can be a pain to play against when you're facing down someone who isn't adept at piloting it: stopping every...few...moments, waiting for them to allow the game to continue.
Teferi, Time Raveler is the same way, as his passive power prevents players from casting instant-speed spells the moment he touches the table, preventing counterplay at a very early turn: as early as turn two if you can get some quick one-cost mana ramp out turn one. Wilderness Reclamation is one of my favorite cards, but is (you guessed it) a pain to play against in Arena because of how long it can take people to slowly plan out their end step. Wizards goes over their own reasons for the bans in detail here.
I'm torn on these changes as I actively used everything but Cauldron Familiar; but in the end, it's only a few cards. I have over 20 standard decks ready to go, and this ban list only eliminates around three of them. Embercleave will reign supreme again!
Inverter of Truth, Kethis, Walking Ballista and Underworld Breach are banned in Pioneer, Wilderness and Teferi Time Raveler are out of Historic and Teferi Time Raveler is gone from Brawl as of today as well. If you owned these cards in Arena, you will be granted wild cards to spend on other options upon logging in.
August 3 Banned and Restricted Announcement [Wizards of the Coast]