Ask any Magic: The Gathering player their opinion on “Oko, Thief of Crowns”, a recent card release from Throne of Eldraine, and you’re probably going to get an ear-full of complaints.
It’s overpowered. It’s making playing your decks in Standard on Magic Arena no longer fun. Oh, you want to put a creature out? Okay. But it’s going to be turned into a 3/3 elk with no abilities and your opponent is going to gain a ton of Food tokens to turn in for life counters.
And it’s not just in Standard where we are seeing a complete domination of this card. It’s popping up in all formats. Vintage, Pioneer, Brawl, and Modern. You name it. Albeit, it’s a bit easier to deal with in some of those formats.
Yesterday, the official Magic: The Gathering Arena forums announced that “Oko, Thief of Crowns” is banned in the Brawl format in Arena, and noted that this includes using Oko as your commander or as part of your deck. However, players can still use the card in Brawl matches done through Direct Challenge instead of Tournament Mode.
This isn’t the format that most players wanted this card to be banned in first, but it will make Brawl much less brutal. Oko in Standard needs to be banned as much, if not more, than Field of the Dead, which was banned a few weeks back.
What is more frustrating is that Brawl is only available to play on Wednesdays each week, which makes the ban a tad silly. If the card is too powerful to play in a format that WotC only allows us to play one day out of the week, wouldn’t it be too powerful to play in Standard? One would think. As a note, it is possible to play Brawl at any time, but only in the Direct Challenge mode.
Wizards of the Coast have hinted that Oko will be banned in Standard soon, but maybe not soon enough. It certainly won’t be banned before the next Mythic Championship, so expect to see a whole lot of Oko being played if you’re into watching this coming weekend. It’s going to make for a very boring tournament.
On a more personal note, I admittedly play with Oko on Arena as well as have him in one of my Commander decks (Simic). I do enjoy this planeswalker, but I completely understand the frustrations that others have with this card. We will have to wait and see what happens with him over the next two weeks.