Major Structure Changes for Magic: The Gathering

Major Structure Changes for Magic: The Gathering

magic

Mark Rosewater, lead designer at Wizards of the Coast, announced sweeping changes to the block structure and rotation schedule of Magic: The Gathering.

Hot on the heals of launching the latest edition of Dungeons and Dragons, Wizards of the Coast announced some big news for their other major property, Magic: The Gathering. Lead designer Mark Rosewater detailed in a long post how the block structure and rotation of Magic's most popular format, Standard, are going to be changing over the coming year.

Fair warning, if you're more of a kitchen table or casual player not invested in competitive Magic, this is largely going to be meaningless at best and confusing at worst.

The announcements starts off by identifying some of the lingering issues that have been plaguing Magic's structure recently. Namely, the third set of each block has been wearing out its welcome and likewise the core set has consistently had an identity crisis. The third set just wasn't holding interest since most of the good design ideas were getting eaten up in the first two sets, and core set's yearly release of a set designed for new players was simply at odds with itself. If core sets were designed for new players then why were they released every year? When these are coupled with a desire to make the Standard metagame more dynamics, the change became obvious that something needed to change.

The long and short of it is that core set is going away and blocks will be restructured to only be two sets. This is also going to change how the Standard format rotates. Currently, when the new Fall set comes out, the whole of the previous block and core set rotated out. Now it will rotate more quickly, as each first set of a new block will usher out the previous block. The goal is to have more tightly designed blocks, that don't wear out their welcome, with the higher concentrated designs and faster turn over contributing to a more dynamic Standard metagame.

Obviously this is going to have a bunch of implications on Magic: The Gathering which we'll be covering later today on Hexproof.

Soure: Wizards of the Coast

image

Permalink

Honestly, thank God for this. I have always thought that Core sets should only be released to showcase what is essentially Magic. I loved the fact that things like giant growth and Llanowar elves were in almost every core set: they are core cards. The theming done to the core sets was mildly interesting, but did we really need more slivers in M15? For EDH players, slivers decks are on our ban list: they aren't fun to play against. Also, How can you be expected to construct a cohesive deck in limited with a sliver deck theme (which pushes multi color aggressively) or have slivers take up space in a set, watering down the other color choices. Replace slivers with the de jour mechanic for any core set and it's become a problem. I'm fine with two sets blocks, but it does make me sad that they can't use those snappy three word code names any more. The fact that they used Cold Snap to balance out a decades-old inequality in the three block format shows that they were more dedicated to it at one time; they went out of their way to make it balanced. I do agree that many of the third sets since Rise of the Eldrazzi have been minor or just slightly off (Dragon's Maze is a perfect example). In may ways the three set blocks formed a natural story arc, but if they can do it in two, why not? I wonder if that's the case for the new block? Also, what's with the border changes?

I dunno, I see their point but I've long gotten used to the 3 set format. From a story point it was perfect, 1st set is the intro(which is especially nice when it's in a brand new world), 2nd is the middle and 3rd is the ending. Core set isn't a huge loss, trying to make it newbie friendly while appealing to veterans leads to a ok at best product, and draft wise it's not as fun. (Although great for newer drafters) I'm sure they can pull it off well enough but I am sad they're picking Khans to do it in, that was definitely a block I was looking forward to 3 sets in.

Also here's really hoping that the loss of core sets doesn't affect future DOTP games, that would really suck.

Kuredan:
*snip*

You know what's not fun to play against? Pure control decks, and by that I mean 60 cards of nothing but stuff that makes you wipe your field while they build up life. You try playing a tourney against some one with a deck like that and come back to me.

Stop ranking on slivers when there's far more annoying deck themes of there. And slivers are easy to counter early on, since the best sliver abilities are on 1/1 cards and can be taken out and cripple their hive. They are only not fun to play against when you don't know your enemy.

Tiamattt:
Also here's really hoping that the loss of core sets doesn't affect future DOTP games, that would really suck.

It probably will. Ever since D13/M13 the Duels games have been tied into the core set released around the same time. Hopefully things will change for the better instead of continuing down the games' current path. (Duels 2012 remains my favourite of the series, closely followed by D13 which is marred only by its focus on monochrome decks instead of a healthy balance of most types of deck. Planechase mode makes up for it, though. ^_^)

As for the new updates, I like this plan. Never been too big a fan of core sets, and I entirely understand where they're coming from with their plan to introduce a new rotation system and block structure.

aceman67:
You know what's not fun to play against? Pure control decks, and by that I mean 60 cards of nothing but stuff that makes you wipe your field while they build up life. You try playing a tourney against some one with a deck like that and come back to me.

Oh Elixir of Immortality, who needs fancy win conditions like planeswalkers, Aetherling, or milling when I have you.

So what about the usual 5 PWs, they will smuggle them into story sets now and then or make tons of new ones?

Tiamattt:
Also here's really hoping that the loss of core sets doesn't affect future DOTP games, that would really suck.

Given how lackluster 15 is, I don't really care anymore. 15 is essentially how the Sealed play should have been in 14. Now it doesn't even have 2HG, Challenges or Revenge play, plus I really loved the thematic decks. Atleast the promo foil looks nice, but not worth the 10 euros. -.-

Imre Csete:
So what about the usual 5 PWs, they will smuggle them into story sets now and then or make tons of new ones?

Based on MaRo's previous comments, how many Planeswalkers get printed is mostly a development issue because Standard can only support so many. Presumably this change means that we'll see approximately the same total PW count (Or maybe a bit more since faster rotation) but more spread out. So for example maybe 4/big set and 2/small instead of roughly 3/1.

I do agree that most times the Third set in each block is stale compared to the other two Two good examples would be Avacyn Restored and Dragon's Maze. But then we get a Block closer like Journey into Nyx that proves that the last set in the block can still be really damn great.

They should wait one or two more years before trying to change the current formula.

Buuuut if they actually want to make changes I say leave the blocks alone and focus on the Core sets. Those only stay in rotation for 1 year unlike the blocks making them much more boring, repetitive and redundant.

I say make the core sets more about reprinting the staple cards from previous blocks. Let us see some Eldrazi reprints or maybe Angels/Demons from Innistrad. This would make the Core sets interesting again and wouls also make it much easier for new players to get into other formats cause they can get the more powerful cards easier.

"Major changes in MtG"

Aaaand it's all irrelevant to me since I only play EDH.

Sooo... does this mean faster rotation? We now have two block sets roating every year instead of blocks like RTR being in standard for nearly 2 years?

Personally i think core sets going away is a good thing but this was a wasted opportunity to have rolling two-year cycles that would burn less people out. Having each block kll the last block turns constructed into just "Block constructed" and a smaller card-pool. This could arguably leave less viable decks in the metagame.

I REALLY hope they can find a way to stop this making standard even more transient and meaningless to me. I BARELY bother to make standard decks and if every card in the format will be a lump of worthless cardboard in a year? Nope. No way. I'm sticking to commander.

Bolo The Great:
Sooo... does this mean faster rotation? We now have two block sets roating every year instead of blocks like RTR being in standard for nearly 2 years?

Personally i think core sets going away is a good thing but this was a wasted opportunity to have rolling two-year cycles that would burn less people out. Having each block kll the last block turns constructed into just "Block constructed" and a smaller card-pool. This could arguably leave less viable decks in the metagame.

I REALLY hope they can find a way to stop this making standard even more transient and meaningless to me. I BARELY bother to make standard decks and if every card in the format will be a lump of worthless cardboard in a year? Nope. No way. I'm sticking to commander.

That's what I'm worried about, myself. I do play in little standard tournaments around here, and do decently, but if the cards start cycling out even faster and there's less variety, I don't think my resources can hold up to it.

... I really hope Giant Growth never gets phased out, god I love that card...

JaceArveduin:

Bolo The Great:
Sooo... does this mean faster rotation? We now have two block sets roating every year instead of blocks like RTR being in standard for nearly 2 years?

Personally i think core sets going away is a good thing but this was a wasted opportunity to have rolling two-year cycles that would burn less people out. Having each block kll the last block turns constructed into just "Block constructed" and a smaller card-pool. This could arguably leave less viable decks in the metagame.

I REALLY hope they can find a way to stop this making standard even more transient and meaningless to me. I BARELY bother to make standard decks and if every card in the format will be a lump of worthless cardboard in a year? Nope. No way. I'm sticking to commander.

That's what I'm worried about, myself. I do play in little standard tournaments around here, and do decently, but if the cards start cycling out even faster and there's less variety, I don't think my resources can hold up to it.

... I really hope Giant Growth never gets phased out, god I love that card...

I hate to break it to you but unless the card is printed in the first set of "Khans of Tarkir" the card will not be in standard come rotation in a few weeks. It wasn't in M15.

Bolo The Great:

I hate to break it to you but unless the card is printed in the first set of "Khans of Tarkir" the card will not be in standard come rotation in a few weeks. It wasn't in M15.

I think I'm going to go cry in a corner now... At least I have Chromanticore still, even if I only use it in my non-standard deck

Bolo The Great:
Sooo... does this mean faster rotation? We now have two block sets roating every year instead of blocks like RTR being in standard for nearly 2 years?

Personally i think core sets going away is a good thing but this was a wasted opportunity to have rolling two-year cycles that would burn less people out. Having each block kll the last block turns constructed into just "Block constructed" and a smaller card-pool. This could arguably leave less viable decks in the metagame.

I REALLY hope they can find a way to stop this making standard even more transient and meaningless to me. I BARELY bother to make standard decks and if every card in the format will be a lump of worthless cardboard in a year? Nope. No way. I'm sticking to commander.

Yes, essentially what's going to happen is that Standard will rotate twice a year. Each time a new set block releases it knocks out the block that's two back from it, not the last block. There will actually always be three blocks represented in each Standard environment. So it's quite the opposite from Block Constructed.

This will also be a rolling system, which means any card will essentially be in the format for 18 months for the first sets and 15 months for the small sets. As opposed to the current system where a fall set is in the format for 24 months and it trims down to the core sets only being in a little longer than 12.

JaceArveduin:
I think I'm going to go cry in a corner now...

Well, you can still use Back to Nature to wipe off the majority of the Theros block for a year, so there is a reason to cheer up if you play green :P

Seriously, who came up with that reprint right after Theros.

JaceArveduin:

Bolo The Great:

I hate to break it to you but unless the card is printed in the first set of "Khans of Tarkir" the card will not be in standard come rotation in a few weeks. It wasn't in M15.

I think I'm going to go cry in a corner now... At least I have Chromanticore still, even if I only use it in my non-standard deck

Well gather courage and ranger's guile were both in M15. And Khans' very premise suggests a focus on creatures, so if there isn't a 1-man green pump spell I'll be genuinely surprised.

Slycne:

Bolo The Great:
Sooo... does this mean faster rotation? We now have two block sets roating every year instead of blocks like RTR being in standard for nearly 2 years?

Personally i think core sets going away is a good thing but this was a wasted opportunity to have rolling two-year cycles that would burn less people out. Having each block kll the last block turns constructed into just "Block constructed" and a smaller card-pool. This could arguably leave less viable decks in the metagame.

I REALLY hope they can find a way to stop this making standard even more transient and meaningless to me. I BARELY bother to make standard decks and if every card in the format will be a lump of worthless cardboard in a year? Nope. No way. I'm sticking to commander.

Yes, essentially what's going to happen is that Standard will rotate twice a year. Each time a new set block releases it knocks out the block that's two back from it, not the last block. There will actually always be three blocks represented in each Standard environment. So it's quite the opposite from Block Constructed.

This will also be a rolling system, which means any card will essentially be in the format for 18 months for the first sets and 15 months for the small sets. As opposed to the current system where a fall set is in the format for 24 months and it trims down to the core sets only being in a little longer than 12.

Thanks for clearing that up. I was hoping they could have made each block roll-out of standard a little slower (maybe four of these blocks) were we could get am 18-24 months since things would always be rotation every 6 months but i suppose that would be too much to ask.

I hope this does not make standard cards seem too meaningless though. I'd hate for average aftermarket spending to have to rise as above it's already pretty high levels. A tuned standard deck these days can be pretty expansive. Anything up to 300 in some cases. I look forward to a less static metagame (oh god, so many mono-black/blue devotion decks) but this could fuck standard in some unforeseen ways in the wild.

Plz Wizards. Plz know what u doin. Plz no moneyhatting.

Imre Csete:
Now it doesn't even have 2HG

wot.

Are you kidding me?

Well, there goes my last reason to buy it.

Omnicrom:

JaceArveduin:

Bolo The Great:

I hate to break it to you but unless the card is printed in the first set of "Khans of Tarkir" the card will not be in standard come rotation in a few weeks. It wasn't in M15.

I think I'm going to go cry in a corner now... At least I have Chromanticore still, even if I only use it in my non-standard deck

Well gather courage and ranger's guile were both in M15. And Khans' very premise suggests a focus on creatures, so if there isn't a 1-man green pump spell I'll be genuinely surprised.

I guess those will work...

WTB evolution charm in Khan!

I was thinking about getting into Magic and had just got my head around everything...and now it is changing for faster rotation? That was one of my biggest concerns about starting as I already have several expensive hobbies. Being a newbie the Core set looked like a good way to kick off a collection so I wonder how that will be dealt with now (my friends introduced me to the game through buying the 2014 Core Set - which I much prefer the cards of to the 2015 lot, perhaps because I don't have the nostalgia for the Kithkin and so forth).

I think I missed out on the "golden years", because after looking through the Card Galleries, my preferred block is definitely Return to Ravnica. As I said above, the new Core set is a complete mix for me in terms of style and the rumours about the Khans styling isn't interesting me that much. By the time I wait for the Khans stuff to come out to see if I like the designs and want to start with this rotation, it seems like the cards will be most of the way out of the Standard game...Modern does seem like a lot easier format to start with, ironically (as the descriptions of it seem to indicate it is aimed at long-term collectors).

Well, I thought I had Magic down. Now I'm confused again *sigh*.

These changes are reasonable, but they pretty much price me out of playing standard again. This would force me to buy cards way more often.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here