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New standard rotation

You animals! You finally did it! You changed the Standard format, you changed it all to heck!

Okay, now that I got that out of my system let’s look at what has happened with the news from our gaming masters on high. To lazy to read two articles, okay, I’ll break this down into bullet points for you.

l - No more coresets.

2 - Blocks are now two sets and not three sets.

3 - Rotation happens in the spring and in the fall now.

4 - This is all going to come into effect next year in the spring, but we are getting an early warning now.

Okay, I can get behind the idea of axing the coresets. When they moved away from having them just be a way to keep reprints in the current standard, and made them into sets that had new cards that were a must for Standard, I felt like it was just a pull for more money. Now we have a legit new set that wont be chocked full of reprints and useless noob bait.

Blocks now being two sets instead of three just doesn’t sit well with my inner writer. He liked the idea of a three act play that the three set format gave. But the player in me hated how stale the formats would get over the summer. In fact the most part unless we get some good bombs in the Spring set and the Summer coreset formats don’t change all that much. Yes, the Scars/Inn and Inn/Rav standards were both very robust when you look back at the chain of Lor/Alara Faeries into Shards/Zen Jund followed by Zen/Scar Caw-Blade which still held power as Scars/Inn’s Hero-blade for a while. In the end it seems that Mono-black’s dominance this year would be just the reason why having two rotations a year will keep Standard fresh.

This also brings up the fact that two rotations are going to make the format smaller. Right now at this point in the season we have the full eight sets to pull cards from until we shorten back down to five sets. With the new rotation we will always be bouncing between five and six sets so that we have a higher turnover of the cards so that new decks will constantly be brewed.

The downside of this is that the card market will have a small deflation as investments wont be as long term under the new system. I’m not saying that card prices are going to crash, I’m just saying that people aren’t going to be looking to pay high prices for cards that aren’t going to get the same millage. Plus we are going to see the rotation card price cycle happen twice a year as players dump format staples before prices drop as the cards leave Standard. Over all I think this is going to cause us to see lower prices for Standard cards as the Eternal formats become the more stable investment formats.

In fact this monetary issue was part of the reason we are being given the warning. This means that the first two sets of Tarkir block will get the ax with only seeing eighteen and twelve months of play, and so Wizards seems to want us to get the warning that the cards wont see long term play. The upside of this coming into effect in 2016 with us having plenty of warning means we wont have the dramatic crash and rise that came when Extended was nerfed and then the silence until Modern was announced.

Personally I think that this is going to have a good effect on the health of the format so that players aren’t subjected to stale metagames. This might be a double-edged sword in that players will need to reinvest into there decks every six months. Sure the professional and highly competitive players will be willing to keep up with the shifting, but I fear it will have a negative effect on growing the ranks of local competitive groups. One of the issues I have trying to build my local group is that players don’t like to to spend tons of money to play. I just feel that this shift is just going to build a larger divide between casual players and competitive so that you will see less players at FNM as more stay home around the kitchen tables.

All in all, I’m divide on the issue. The competitive player and trader in me wants to see the effect of a faster shifting format. The community leader that I’ve become in Houlton is worried that my play group is going to be less interested in competitive events with more and faster rotations. I guess it’s one of those things that we’ll just have to wait to see what this turns into.

Alright, this is all I have to say about this. I have a Loot Crate, Cards Against Humanity, and a Settlers of Catan reviews to get to work on.

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Jeffrey Carmichael II

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