Wizards of the Coast announced their June Banned & Restricted List for Magic the Gathering. This round update, unlike the last update, does affect Standard play.
WOTC has also updated their rule regarding playing in companions.
WOTC justifies the AoT banning by saying that players found too many creative ways to cheat the card into play early. Thus creating a competitive imbalance, calling the card “uniquely frustrating”.
Fires was nerfed because of it’s unrelenting lock on the meta. WOTC stats show the card has a 55% winrate with a significant percentage of wins over decks with favorable match-ups. With the meta game unable to respond, the company decided to whack Fires.
There was also an update on how companion cards may be played:
While Magic rules changes aren’t normally a part of the banned and restricted list updates, in this case, we’re introducing a change to the companion mechanic that is motivated by game balance and metagame share across play environments. Effective with this update, the companion mechanic (and all cards featuring it) will now work differently from before. The new version of the mechanic will work as follows:
Once per game, any time you could cast a sorcery (during your main phase when the stack is empty), you can pay 3 generic mana to put your companion from your sideboard into your hand. This is a special action, not an activated ability. It happens immediately and can’t be responded to. It can’t be countered or stopped by cards like Phyrexian Revoker .
All changes to Magic the Gathering Arena card rules will take effect on June 4th, and will not interfere with deck legality for either of this evening’s Monday Night Magic pods.