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Announced on January 22nd, 2015, on EnterPlay's Facebook page, and updated several times since then, the official play formats of the MLP CCG have lists of specific cards that are banned from any deck competing in official tournaments in those formats.

Current Ban ListsEdit

The current ban lists are found in the latest version of the Tournament Floor Rules. Here they are:

HarmonyEdit

Cards from any released product or set are legal for play in the Harmony format. The Harmony format uses a banlist. The current Harmony banlist is as follows:

BlockEdit

The current blocks are Premiere block, Odyssey block, and Beyond block; Block tournaments will use a single specified block. Only cards from set releases within that block are legal for play.

The Premiere block sets are Premiere, Canterlot Nights, Crystal Games, and Absolute Discord. The Odyssey block sets are Equestrian Odysseys, High Magic, Marks in Time, and Defenders of Equestria. The current Beyond block sets are Seaquestria & Beyond, and Friends Forever.

Cards from supplemental products are not legal for play in the block format. The banlists for Block formats are as follows:

Premiere:

Odyssey:

Beyond:

  • [none]

CoreEdit

Core tournaments use sets from the two most recent blocks. Currently, these are the Odyssey and Beyond blocks.

Cards from supplemental products are not legal for play in the Core format. The current Core banlist is as follows:

ReasoningEdit

Here is the reasoning announced for each evolution of the ban lists:

  • The Harmony format is similar to current MLP: CCG constructed events, but features a ban list. Effective January 30, 2015 the ban list for Harmony play is these cards:
    • Fluttershy, Guidance Counselor (Premiere) - This card creates a negative experience for players to play against and operates against the normal flow of how MLP: CCG works.
    • Rainbowshine, Cloud Wrangler (Premiere) - This card creates design constraints for future MLP: CCG cards.
    • Globe Trotter, Sight Seer (Canterlot Nights) - When used with a series of other cards this creates a one-turn win combo deck that is noninteractive to play against.
    • Magical Mailbox (The Crystal Games) - When used with a series of other cards this creates a one-turn win combo deck that is noninteractive to play against.
  • And the Tournament Floor Rules v2.0 released on September 23, 2015 added:
    • Twilight Sparkle, Element of Magic (Canterlot Nights #65) - This card enabled deck types that were able to cycle through their draw deck in a way that lead to noninteractive, unfun games that were problematic at all levels of play.
  • And the update on January 13, 2016 (effective January 25th, 2016) added:
    • Bulk Biceps, Extra Strong Masseuse (Equestrian Odysseys #103) - Extra Strong Masseuse has been found to generate very stale, repetitive game states in which the game's major axis of interaction (using Friends to confront Problems and challenge Troublemakers) becomes inaccessible indefinitely. Obviously, this is not conducive to fun games or exciting events, and unfortunately there is relatively little clear counterplay, so it's something we feel needs to be removed from the format.
    • Discord, Party Clasher (High Magic #78) and Fancy Pants, Respected Aristocrat (High Magic #47) now has updated text. "When you play this card," replaces the previous, "When this card enters play."
      • Discord, Party Clasher and Fancy Pants, Respected Aristocrat have an unfortunate interaction which can lead to unintended play patterns. Rather than ban these cards, however, we will be issuing a template errata which updates the trigger text of both cards from "When this card enters play" to "When you play this card."
        Normally, when addressing problematic cards we prefer to ban rather than errata, largely in order to avoid confusion over a card's "real" text and to avoid infringing on non-event play. However, the ultimate goal of our banlist policy is to keep the game's format healthy and fun, and these particular cards have some unusual attributes that lead us to believe that banning them outright is not what would be best for the game or its players. Among other things, Respected Aristocrat is part of an important cycle of deckbuilding tools, and keen-eyed collectors may have already noticed that a Party Clasher promo appears in the card checklist. Moreover, the errata necessary to address this particular interaction is unusually minimal - it is, essentially, a template errata applied to correct a power level problem, rather than a significant rewrite of a card's text, and is likely to have relatively little effect on the normal play pattern of these cards. So, while the Party Clasher/Respected Aristocrat interaction needs to be addressed, in this case we don't feel it is in the best interests of the players to do it in a way which puts the players of white decks at a structural disadvantage or which results in banning a card of which we know players will later recieve promo versions (or in us failing to distribute a card which appears on collector checklists). As a result, we've decided to make a slight deviation from our preferred policy and handle this issue through errata rather than a ban. This errata will, like the banlist update, be effective as of January 25th.
  • On June 3rd, 2016 Enterplay posted this update, included in Tournament Floor Rules v2.2
    • One new card has been added to the ban list for MLP:CCG. This is Premiere card #175, I Need Answers. This is due to the varying ways players could use I Need Answers to generate non-interactive strategies that may hinder a healthy competitive environment, plus the restrictions on future card designs that this card has caused.
  • On July 18th, 2016 Enterplay posted this update, included in Tournament Floor Rules v2.3 (which became effective on July 27th, 2016)
    • Pinny Lane, Bowl'em Over (CN 47) enables players to bypass the game’s action economy to a dangerous degree, especially in conjunction with high-cost Friends that can be put into play for less than their printed cost, like Dr. Hooves, Unblinking and Tall Tale, Too Tall.
      • Exacerbating this power level problem are several problems inherent to the Pinny Lane ‘engine’ that appears frequently in decks: The first is that the engine, which generally consists of Pinny Lane, Dr. Hooves, a reshuffle effect to return ‘spent’ engine components to the deck, and often some number of clone effects, is exceedingly bulky and promotes deck stagnancy: Including any one part invariably means including all the parts, and having 12-15 cards in a list be ‘locked’ into a powerful engine is a very different scenario from simply having a powerful staple card appearing in many lists. It’s difficult for decklists to evolve and change when so much of a deck’s space is occupied by a static set of cards, leading to a repetitive format. The engine also involves an excessive, game-lengthening amount of shuffling, and excessively enables combo decks by providing them the actions necessary to resolve their combo more quickly than it can be consistently interacted with.
      • As a result, we believe that eliminating Pinny Lane from the Harmony format will improve gameplay and help open up the format to a broader variety of decks.
  • On August 19th, 2016 Enterplay posted this update, which became effective on August 31st, 2016
    • Tantabus, Night Terror (HM 150): The Chaos effect on Tantabus was intended to be a powerful trigger which added risk to banking large numbers of action tokens. However, certain card interactions allow the effect to be reliably triggered each turn, at a timing in which players are unable to spend their actions at all before they are drained. A repetitive game state in which one player is effectively blocked from participating in the game is not intended, and is destructive to the health of the game. As a result, we feel that removing Tantabus is necessary to allow healthy, varied gameplay to continue.
  • On August 4th, 2017 Enterplay posted this update, which became effective on August 9th, 2017
    • Vapor Trail, Wind Beneath Your Wings (DOE 55) enables a noninteractive deck cycling strategy, necessitating its removal from the format. Utilization of this strategy at Summer 2017 Regionals demonstrated how destructive it is to healthy gameplay.
  • On July 20th, 2018 Enterplay posted this update, included in Tournament Floor Rules v3.1 (which became effective on July 27th, 2018)
    • Harmony, Core and Block banlists are now separate. All Core cards that were in the banlist before has been added to the Core banlist except Vapor Trail, Wind Beneath Your Wings.
    • Eff Stop, Muckraker has been added to the Harmony banlist. This card promotes a repetitive style of play and has been a contributor to a number of problem decks. We feel that the format will be healthier without it.
    • The Mane Six, Party Planners has been added to the Harmony and Core banlists. This card has an unhealthy interaction with other cards which can lead to very one-sided games with little counterplay. It's being removed from both competitive formats in order to help encourage deck diversity.
    • Applejack, Ambassador of Honesty has been added to the Core banlist. This Mane is in an excessively dominant position in the Core metagame; it is substantially more powerful than other Mane options and has relatively little counterplay available by virtue of its status as a Mane. This has led to some unhealthy warping of the format, so it's being removed from Core. We believe the issue is not as severe in Harmony where the power level of some other options is higher, so this card will remain legal for Harmony play.
  • On March 5th, 2019 Commentary is Magic posted Tournament Floor Rules v3.3 with this update, which became effective on April 4th, 2019
    • Exact Duplicate, My Little Clony is banned in Core, Harmony, and Odyssey Block. Combo decks that rely on making infinite token copies of action token-generating Friends with Exact Duplicate have been approaching problematic levels of viability in both the Core and Harmony formats. These decks require relatively few cards and a minimal amount of action tokens to assemble the loop in question, leaving them free to include additional cards to make the combo more consistent and less vulnerable to disruption. However, all of these decks rely on Exact Duplicate in order to function, and Exact Duplicate does not see competitive play outside of combo decks attempting this sort of interaction. To prevent this style of decks from reaching a dominant position within the meta, Exact Duplicate, My Little Clony is banned in Harmony, Odyssey Block, and Core formats.
    • Applejack, Ambassador of Honesty is banned in Harmony (in addition to the existing ban in Core). Applejack, Ambassador of Honesty continues to hold a dominant position within the Harmony format, despite the greater availability of cards which can meaningfully interact with her “farming” playstyle. This is primarily due to additional power granted by cards that are only Harmony-legal, which affect the speed and reliability at which these decks are capable of performing. So long as these decks are allowed to exist, the Harmony metagame will be unreasonably warped, forcing competitive players to build a strategy around disrupting Applejack farm decks, thus reducing deck and color diversity. In order to encourage this diversity and to address a deck that has and continues to sit at a dominant position, Applejack, Ambassador of Honesty is banned in the Harmony format (as well as her existing ban in the Core format.)
    • Berry Punch & Orange Swirl, Drinking Buddies is banned in Core, Harmony, and Odyssey Block. The card combination of Berry Punch & Orange Swirl, Drinking Buddies and Belly Flop has been an issue for many players, as it is a source of incredibly efficient removal. The interaction between these two cards usually result in two of a player’s most relevant and powerful Friends being turned against them and subsequently removed for minimal investment by the opponent. Between these two cards, Belly Flop is the least problematic of the two - there are many other ways in Pink to retire or otherwise remove a “stolen” Friend. Taking control is also one of the best ways to address an opponent’s Friend if there are powerful protective abilities in play and while there are other effects that take control of Friends, none are as efficient or as repeatable as Berry Punch & Orange Swirl. To remove one of the more severe negative play experiences, Berry Punch & Orange Swirl, Drinking Buddies is banned in the Harmony, Core and Odyssey block formats.
  • Since only cards that are included in the Official Card References are legal for play, the cards in the GenCon Beta-test set are not legal for play. For a while, the unreleased Sands of Time set was also not legal for play but they have been released via other channels and added to the Official Card Reference so they are legal now.
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