Magic The Gathering
I have tons of friends that play Standard and are constantly nagging with “Furby, you should start playing Standard again! If you played Standard, you could join us for FNM!” And to that, I respond with a simple, heavily laughed NO!
Now, it’s not that I hate standard or I have anything against the format in general, but the Standard playing style is ultimately a never ending bottomless money pit. While all of Magic the Gathering is a constant money pit, where you either need to buy single cards, trade, or buy boxes of decks to build up your own deck, Standard is where the price really starts to rack up a hefty bill.
Let’s break down what Standard is..
Standard is a constantly rotating format made up of the 3 most current blocks (It used to be 2 most current and the current core set but Wizards just changed it up). There are pros and cons to the fact that it’s a constantly rotating format.
A Rotating Format Keeps Things Fresh
The fact that it’s a constantly rotating format means that it’s a format where it doesn’t get stale. Since an old block rotates out the moment a new block joins the rotation that means that decks have to constantly change. So just because a deck is a top 10 deck 1 season, it doesn’t mean that it will constantly stay on top since pieces of a top deck might no longer be deck legal once a block rotates out.
This constant change is definitely a good change of pace because, in eternal formats like Vintage, Modern, and Legacy, you are constantly running into the same decks over and over. In those formats, you can already predict what you will be facing off against season after season (if you play for that long and if WotC doesn’t ban a card or two during that time). It does get a bit monotonous when you run into the same Affinity deck or the same deck with a slight variation to it. I’ve met plenty of people that have quit the Eternal formats because it is too much of the same thing time and time again!
Sometimes a deck might be able to evolve and find synergy with cards from the new block in order to stay relevant in Standard but that’s not always true. In most cases, the whole deck becomes worthless and a strategy becomes invalid once its power cards drop out of Standard. Look at Mono-Black Devotion for example. Once RTR dropped out it was like why bother.
Be Prepared To Drop Some Serious Cash Over And Over Again To Keep Your Deck Fresh
It’s unfortunate, but a big part of the rotating decks with the new releases is the amount of money that is sunk to keep that deck a winner. The deck you may have spent $100-500+ on a few months or a year ago, may now suddenly have no value and you will need to spend about the same to have another winning deck. Now, if you are a tournament player and win some serious dough, dropping $500 every few months may not be a big issue – but to the average MTG player that sometimes means sinking 3 months of an entertainment budget into a single purchase.
It’s extremely frustrating to come to that realization. Yes, there are times that a deck can evolve and find a place in modern but that’s also not always true. There are tons of cards that are amazing, powerhouse cards in standard but in the eternal formats are lackluster compared to the larger selection of cards to choose from in more free form formats. Due to the rotation of the format, some cards could be worth $10-40 while they belong to standard but drop to $1-5 when they are switched over to modern as the card doesn’t find a home in a deck better suited for the format. For example: Brimaz, Boros Reckoner, Blood Baron of Vizkopa, just to name a few. It’s the harsh reality of this game, that 1 minute a deck or even a single card will be the talk of the town, and a few weeks to a few months later it gets swept under the rug and is entirely forgotten about.
Some people make the argument that “All these eternal formats are so expensive to get into!” and while that is true, so is standard. A good modern deck will set you back anywhere from $500 to close to $2,000. Yes, you heard me right.. up to $2,000!
I wish I was joking when I said that. And don’t even get me started on Vintage Legacy which can run even more sometimes. When decks run a playset of a card that cost over $150 each, you can already tell that the total for your deck adds up REAL FAST! Some people will say “Well, I can build a standard Deck for like $100-200, why would I want to play a game format where a good solid deck will cost me more than my rent?” My answer to that is that while yes, standard decks are usually cheaper to buy or construct up front, having to constantly drop between $100-200 to build a new deck or change up a deck to keep it in standard every season, adds up just as fast?
Eternal Format Was Built To Last…
What I like about eternal formats is that I can build a deck and it will still be good for the next few years. On top of that, if I decide that I’m bored with playing the same deck over and over, I can always sell off the power cards in that deck and use the money to fund a new deck. Since most cards retain their value (unless something drastic happens), I don’t have to worry about losing most of my investment. Cards do flux in price just like any investment, but once the dust has settled from decks being retired into different formats, the price tends to stay around on point on the resell value.
All in all, even with Eternal formats you’re going to sometimes run into the same deck every now and then, but with a larger card base to choose from you may discover a new gem of a deck from time to time. You also have the freedom to explore your play style and better your deck and your gameplay altogether.
And with the player base growing and growing due to MTG’s surge in popularity again, combos that may have been missed by veteran players now have their time to shine. And with each expansion that gets retired into these formats, more ammo is added to fuel your new deck or tweak an existing one. At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference. Whether you play casually, standard, EDH, etc. the important thing is that everyone enjoys the game personally, and together. But personally, you wouldn’t catch me dead playing standard ever again.. It’s modern and EDH for me!