Standard Ban List 24.05

To make the upcoming Continental Championships as interesting and exciting as possible, we have decided to release an update to the Standard Ban List (SBL) just in time to be legal for the first event. But before we discuss changes to the banlist, Lostgeek who has been, the Standard Balance Team (SBT) lead for the last two and a half years, has some news to share: 

I am happy to announce that I am handing over the role of SBT lead to Safer from our Development team! SBT worked more closely with the Development team, and Safer in particular, during the development of Rebellion Without Rehearsal. I am remaining as a regular member of SBT and am looking forward to seeing Safer’s perspective and experience guide the SBT moving forward.

Without further ado, the SBL update for 24.05.

Summary of Standard Ban List 24.05 Changes

Bellona banned

Knobkierie banned

Reconstruction Contract banned

Tributary banned

Explanation of changes

Even though cards in any set can end up being problematic for the Standard meta, we usually try to give all new cards a fair bit of time in the sun before considering a ban. Tributary, however, causes enough problems that we feel obligated to remove it from Standard a bit earlier than we usually would.

Tributary has the ability to shut off Runner aggression on any server unless the Runner is able to find a tool to combat it efficiently. Even then, it likely remains a significant tax for the rest of the game, at very little cost for the Corp. This essentially makes it a card that disincentivizes interaction for a significant portion of the game. In addition, the intricacies and implications of Tributary’s ability to move between servers can be difficult to figure out, adding significant time to planning out one’s turn. We are concerned that this is leading to more matches going to time. Even just remembering that Tributary is on the table adds a mental load for both players.

On top of all this, the biggest problem with Tributary is the way it makes the Criminal faction a lot less viable. Not only does Tributary make run-based economy (something that Criminal decks tend to depend on) a much less valuable proposition, it also makes sure that there is no “weak server” Criminals can pressure. In a way, we see banning Tributary as “unbanning” Criminal. An offer to trade one card for a hundred is one we can’t refuse.

Since Worlds last year, Reconstruction Contract has been slowly ramping up in popularity in a variety of Ob Superheavy Logistics decks, which can use it to either score agendas or power up a deadly Clearinghouse. With the release of Rebellion Without Rehearsal, we are seeing more and more of the card, as its interaction with The Holo Man enables a deadly kill combo.

Reconstruction Contract’s interaction with Ob Superheavy Logistics is one of the most complex in the game. The counters from the card can end up on a card that was just searched for, or sometimes on no card at all, and resolving this in in-person play can often require a judge call that requires a lot of nuanced knowledge of the specific card interactions and can easily be performed incorrectly. We could spend a few paragraphs explaining all the intricacies of the interaction: instead, we decided to make it so that you never have to learn about them.

This ban is not motivated by power level: while the Ob kill decks that use Reconstruction Contract can be strong, they also tend to be frail and easily dismantled. The main motivation for the ban is to prevent awkward situations where a player unintentionally cheats by violating the ‘no change in game state’ rule (NCIGS), or a judge is called and accidentally reveals information that they shouldn’t. While this removes an archetype from the meta, there are others to take its place, and we are confident that meat damage asset decks still have a lot of potential, both out of Ob and Nuvem SA.

Knobkierie has been on our radar since December last year. The virus decks that it powers, both out of Hoshiko Shiro and René “Loup” Arcemont, are a very powerful alternative to more ‘regular’ decks that rely on more classic ways of making and spending money. However, the power of those decks has reached a point where it has problematic consequences: a lot of Corp decks need to play multiple copies of Mavirus to even have a fair game against them. A Corp that cannot withstand the trashing pressure of Imp plus Knobkierie can have trouble being viable in the format on that basis alone. We believe that banning Knobkierie will still allow virus-based Anarch decks to be present in the format in some capacity, but not in a way where they dominate and warp the meta to an unhealthy extent.

Bellona has similarly been a problematic card for a long time. Like its Jinteki cousin, Obokata Protocol, it is so powerful that the faction has been shaped around its effect since its printing. NBN decks are built to exploit the economic pressure that three copies of Bellona can generate. This prevents any kind of diversity in agenda suites in the whole faction: at Worlds last year, there was only one NBN deck that didn’t play a full playset of Bellona.

We had been wanting to remove Bellona from Standard for some time but were concerned it could leave the faction dead in the water. With the recent release of powerful NBN cards like The Holo Man, we think there is room for NBN to play competitively viable decks without Bellona, exploring other agenda suites that enable other gameplans.

Standard Ban List 24.05

Effective date: 31 May 2024

Changes from Standard Ban List 24.03 appear in bold.

All cards with the “current” subtypeAll cards with the “current” subtype
Bloo MooseArchived Memories
Clan VengeanceBreached Dome
CrowdfundingCayambe Grid
DreamNetCyberdex Sandbox
EnduranceDr. Vientiane Keeling
Kabonesa Wu: Netspace ThrillseekerDrago Ivanov
KnobkierieEngram Flush
Liza Talking Thunder: Prominent LegislatorFormicary
Mars for MartiansGame Changer
PAD TapGold Farmer
RezekiHigh-profile Target
Salvaged Vanadis ArmoryHired Help
Watch the World BurnKakugo
Mass Commercialization
Mti Mwekundu: Life Improved
Nanisivik Grid
Obokata Protocol
Project Vacheron
Reconstruction Contract
Shipment from Tennin
Slot Machine
SSL Endorsement
Whampoa Reclamation


  • jan tuno

    Wakes up every morning excited to experience a whole day of witnessing the beauty of the mystery of it all. Likes writing about games.