You Should Be Running Casual Standard. Here's Why.
The new player lifecycle has just kicked off again. Between Ravnica Allegiance Open House and Prerelease, 170,552 players got their first taste of in-store play.
If trends continue, we can expect to see roughly 59% them come back. Some will simply be looking to repeat the experience; others may be interested in exploring the social side of Magic; still others may be interested in competitive gaming—Mythic Championship contenders in the making.
But whatever they're looking for on their second visit, it's crucial that they make one: when a new player joins a second event, they'll join an average of thirteen events in the following year. But on the flip side, 22% of new players will never come back at all.
If you're interested in upping that number, here's a recommendation:
Run Casual Standard.
Casual Standard is the perfect landing pad for returning players. If you’re looking to increase player retention and grow a Standard community, Casual Standard could be the answer.
Here are three reasons why:
1. It's Magic’s Most Accessible Format
First off, your new players almost categorically have Standard-legal decks from the get-go. Whether they started with a Welcome Deck or a Planeswalker Deck, every card they have is playable.
Then, when they’re ready to go deeper, a new player need only look back at the most recent sets to consider what they might put in their deck—a less daunting proposition than reviewing the entire twenty five-year catalog. (Plus, there's a new round of Challenger Decks coming in April.)
Further, Standard deck archetypes are easy to understand. Standard decks tend to be more intuitive and often feature mechanics and themes that are illustrated in the setting and story of the current set.
Wider formats like Modern certainly have their place in the Magic ecosystem. But go all-in on these and you’re cutting yourself off from the lifeblood of organized play—new players.
2. It's Magic’s Most Popular Format
From week to week, more Standard events are run in stores than any other format. That's another way Standard represents a low barrier to entry: it gives the most players the most opportunities to play.
But it also speaks to the social incentive. Standard is the most popular way to play Magic—if a store has a Magic community, they’re more likely to have a Standard community than any other format. By getting into Standard, a player gets access to that community.
They also access the community in the form of content creators—Youtubers and bloggers and podcasters and the like—who often find Standard's ever-changing card pool to be an ever-inspiring source of content.
3. It's Great for Casual Play
A lot of people associate Standard with the highest levels of play, but can look totally different at the store level. Golgari Midrange is one kind of Standard deck. The green Welcome Deck is another. Simply put, if a new player has a constructed deck, it's probably Standard.
Casual Standard can be the core of your new player retention strategy. Having a dedicated experience for new players—ideally at Friday Night Magic—allows them to try out in-store play and be part of your community.
Schedule Casual Standard today, and give our Retail Development team a call to learn some best practices for making it a success in your store.