Magic: The Gathering Standard Format: Extended Card Lifecycles and Revitalization Plans
Magic: The Gathering has been a staple in the gaming world for over two decades. And while the game has undergone numerous changes, Standard has remained a vital format for local game stores. Unfortunately, in recent years, Standard has struggled to keep pace with other formats like Commander, Pioneer, and Modern. In response, Wizards of the Coast, the creators of Magic: The Gathering, have decided to extend the lifecycle of all cards in Standard by one year.
Wizards of the Coast Extends Standard Rotation: What it Means for Players
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.
The intention behind this change is not to overshadow other formats but to give players more reasons to engage with Standard. By extending the Standard rotation to three years, Wizards of the Coast believes they can achieve two main points that can make tabletop Standard more enjoyable.
Boosting Longevity and Diversity: Wizards' Decision to Extend Standard Card Lifecycles
Firstly, this will give current Standard cards more longevity. Players have consistently expressed a desire to play with cards they love and enjoy longer. Standard is the only rotating format in Magic: The Gathering, and while keeping it fresh is important, Wizards of the Coast also believes that there is a more effective middle ground.
Secondly, it will allow mechanics and archetypes to be more effectively built over time. Moving away from the block model has given the company more flexibility but also lost some ability to build on mechanics and themes within a set. With a longer window, there can be 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.
Enhancing the Standard Experience: Wizards of the Coast's Strategy for Local Game Stores
In addition, this change gives Wizards of the Coast stronger tools to create an environment where decks are more “color(s) and mechanic” and less midrange. With a larger card pool, the format can handle bigger swings with entire decks seeded at once. Wizards of the Coast believes this will give Standard more stability, more vitality, and strengthen it for local game stores.
The attention towards improving the Standard experience won’t be ending here. To help ensure Standard thrives at local game stores, Wizards of the Coast will be rolling out a multistep plan to support and revitalize Standard tabletop play. While later steps are still in the planning stages, the company felt it was important to share this change as early as possible once their plans around rotation were locked into place.
A Bright Future for Magic: The Gathering Standard Format: Extended Card Lifecycles
Wizards of the Coast’s decision to extend the lifecycle of all cards in Standard by one year is a promising development for the future of the format. By giving players more reasons to engage with Standard, the company hopes to revitalize the tabletop game and strengthen it for local game stores. While there is still much to be done, this is an important step towards a brighter future for Magic: The Gathering’s Standard format.