May 8, 2023 — Featured

Revitalizing Standard

Standard has long been vital to local game stores—and today we begin our plan to revitalize the format by extending card lifecycle to three years.

May 8, 2023 — Featured

Revitalizing Standard

Standard has long been vital to local game stores—and today we begin our plan to revitalize the format by extending card lifecycle to three years.

Written by Aaron Forsythe and Billy Jensen

Standard is, and has long been, vital to thriving local game stores. Regular play, a robust competitive tabletop scene, local metagames, and that cheeky, friendly competitive edge is infused into so many local game stores, that when Standard struggles, stores take note.

Even in the context of Magic growing leaps and bounds over the past few years, tabletop Standard hasn’t kept pace. Commander has grown tremendously. Pioneer and Modern are enjoyed by more and more players every day. And Standard played on Magic: The Gathering Arena every day has more individual games played than any other format.

It concerns us when tabletop Standard starts getting left behind Magic’s tremendous growth. Time and time again we’ve heard from both players and local store owners that they believe a healthy, well-liked, well-attended Standard is still incredibly important to their experience and their success. Lately, we’ve been doing more asking and listening to try to assess if and how we can help Standard.

We’ve now begun to put together plans to do just that. It helps that Standard is once again gaining traction as a fun format, showcased in the Pro Tour this very weekend, but we also recognize we need to make a more public commitment to Standard and to competitive tabletop Magic. As such, we’ll be rolling out multi-faceted plans over the coming months to do just that.

Today is step one.

That step is that we’re going to extend the lifecycle of all cards in Standard by one year—starting with the current Standard environment, sets will rotate out every three years rather than every two years.

This means that with the release of Wilds of Eldraine, there will be no Standard rotation for this year only. The following year, in 2024, Innistrad: Crimson Vow, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, and Streets of New Capenna will rotate out of Standard.

(MTG Arena will follow this change for Standard, but not Alchemy. Learn more with the full details from the MTG Arena team.)

Our intent with this change is not to overshadow any of the amazing growth Commander, Pioneer, Modern, and other formats have seen in recent years, but instead to give more reasons for players who want to engage with Standard to do so. Extending the Standard rotation to three years will, we believe, achieve two main points that can make tabletop Standard more enjoyable:

  • This will give current Standard cards more longevity—Time and again we hear that players want to play with cards they love and enjoy longer. Standard is our only rotating format, and while keeping it fresh is important, we also feel that there’s a more effective middle ground.
  • It will allow mechanics and archetypes to be more effectively built upon over time—As we moved away from the block model, we gained a lot of flexibility, but we also lost some ability to build on mechanics and themes within a set. With a longer window, we can find more opportunities to build up or revitalize archetypes. Coupled with the point above, that can lead to more diversity, longer-lasting archetypes, and enough competitive churn to keep players engaged.
  • It also gives us stronger tools to create an environment where there are more decks that are “color/mechanic” (like GW Toxic or UW Soldiers) and less “Colors Midrange.” With a larger card pool, the format can handle bigger swings with entire decks seeded at once.

We believe this will give Standard more stability, more vitality, and strengthen it for local game stores.

Our attention toward improving the Standard experience won’t be ending here. To help ensure Standard at local game stores thrive, we’ll be rolling out a multi-step plan to support and revitalize Standard tabletop play. While later steps are still in the planning stages, we felt it was important to share this change as early as possible once our plans around rotation were locked into place.

The rest of the plan is currently undergoing iteration and will roll out as it becomes finalized. While we work on that, we want to hear more from you! Tweet at us (@PlayMTG or @wizards_magic) and join the discussion on a future episode of WeeklyMTG on May 16!

Related Articles

We use necessary cookies to allow our site to function correctly and collect anonymous session data. Necessary cookies can be opted out through your browser settings. We also use optional cookies to personalize content and ads, provide social media features and analyze web traffic. By clicking “OK, I agree,” you consent to optional cookies. (Learn more about cookies)