What Do The Latest Changes to Magic: The Gathering Mean For You?

Justin Clouse | 26 Aug 2014 00:01
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Standard Rotation

The last major announcement has to do with how the other two combine and that's the changes to how and when Standard rotates. While it draws on the other announcements, it's probably got the biggest impact of them all, especially for organized play. Currently, Standard rotates once a year with the new fall set pushing out the previous year's core set and the last block once removed. This results in the fall set being in Standard for 24 months, the core set being in for a little over 12 months and the other two sets falling roughly between those number. The new system will be a more constant rotation with twice a year the latest block's first set will push out the block that proceeded it by 18 months. WotC made these nice little gifs that help to visualize what will happen.

We actually sort of got hints that something was afoot when it was originally announced that all the Pro Tours next year would be Standard. This had a number of folks guessing that a rotation change was in the works, since no one probably wanted to see the same decks again and again. As anyone that's currently playing Standard will probably be quick to tell you, the format feels pretty stale. The speed at which Standard gets "solved" has been on the mind of WotC for some time now. With the advent of more tools, methods of sharing information, and streaming of major events every weekend, it takes less and less time for the Standard format to settle into the established best decks and there's far less opportunity for surprises from rogue brews. Under the new system at and one time Standard is going to be touching three different blocks of cards and mechanics, making for a deep pool of cards to choose from.

Also as much as Standard rotation is really about new cards entering, the biggest changes to the format happen when cards leave and a big pool of cards needs to be re-evaluated. For instance, anyone that was around for the previous rotation know that cards like Pack Rat, Jace, Architect of Thought and Nightveil Specter really only came into their own once Innistrad block was gone. This switch over is now going to happen more often, introducing a more dynamic environment to Standard. The increased flip over time also means that WotC can potentially be more liberal with card reprints or push the envelope. Lord knows I'm not particularly looking forward to another year of Thoughtseize effecting mulligan decisions, but powerhouse cards become a lot more stomach-able when they are not lingering around for two years.

Ultimately, Magic is a game that's built on change. New cards enter the game constantly and its change that keeps the game fresh. This isn't the first time that some major changes have shaken up the structure of the game, and I doubt it will be the last. In many ways these are just as important as whatever the new format defining card ends up being. All in all, I'm really excited for this future of Magic: The Gathering.

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