My Take on the New Three-Year Standard Rotation

This might be a good idea, but Wizards kind of messed it up already.

First, they seem to be very bad at maintaining any kind of balance within five to eight sets. How does that help when they have to do it with nine to thirteen sets? They need more people for testing. This just gives them that much more opportunity to make mistakes. With their current unwillingness to ban anything (I mean, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki was played by roughly 60% of all decks at the PT and they haven’t done anything about it despite it’s ubiquitousness and now it will be in the format for an extra year).

We also know that this new Standard has not been thoroughly tested. How do we know this? Because Aaron Forsythe, who made the announcement on Mothership, asked about how to fix Standard last November. With their subpar testing for a long while now, does anyone believe they were able to test the new environment in the last six months?

But here’s the real problem: They messed up the timing completely. They just don’t have any patience. The long-term health of the game has become secondary to the goals of just selling more and more product right now.

Think about it this way: Back when I still played Standard actively on paper, I would accumulate the cards I needed partly by drafting. Now, as far as I know, I’m not alone on this. Even if the drafters and Standard players were two different crowds, the drafters would still open the cards needed by the Standard players. It was just a matter of trading to get them to those who need them.

So, if I now decided to get back to Standard, I would have to go back and get those cards. But, on the other hand, if I knew that the sets released this Fall would remain in Standard for three years, I might actually be encouraged to start accumulating those cards for the future.

So, they are not solving the problem. They are making it worse. At least presently. Still, no matter what, they are making the barrier for entry more difficult. You have to now be aware of a full year of cards more to be able to play competitively and this is while pretty much every set is setting new records for the number of words of rules text on the cards.

They aren’t even addressing the real problems. The most popular decks still cost more then $400. If they are trying to maintain a healthy Standard, that should be their focus. They should be making the game affordable. There shouldn’t be cards like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, which are so powerful that multiple archetypes will have to play them and thus they are extremely expensive. It makes the game feel pay-to-win and that is not what you want.

Sure, there are popular budget options currently, but they are not actually good enough to compete, so you are again telling your players that in order to play the game, they need to invest much more money then most are willing to do. This means flattening the powerlevel and that they need to cut back on the exciting cards (which are actually just boring when you have to face them again and again).

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