With heaps of new cards coming into MTG Arena shortly thanks to Jumpstart: Historic Horizons, the format is looking healthier than ever.
It’s exciting to see so many cards bolstering any new format, and Historic is one of the few available on MTG Arena and is also as close to Pioneer or Modern as we’re getting for the time being. It’s also about to become completely unplayable in paper because of digital cards, and we think that means we need a change.
Historic vs Pioneer
It’s fair to say, at least we think so, that Historic and Pioneer always felt like they’d be merged into one at some point down the line. Both formats sort of appeared in a similar time frame, and Pioneer had the least number of cards that needed to be added to MTG Arena to make it actually viable. It’s something we were expecting to see, but that’s obviously changed now.
Instead, Historic is now a very different format that literally won’t be playable in paper. Maybe you never intended to do so anyway, but it was always possible. With the addition of digital-only cards, Historic is something truly unique, and it’s probably only going to become more digital as new sets get released, and even more digital-only cards get added. These will undoubtedly change the way the format feels, and possibly mean that digital-only cards are staples.
Pioneer, on the other hand, has just had a potential new set scrapped in favor of Historic, and isn’t a format that many of us have even had the chance to try out in paper. It’s one that is generally quite well-liked, and it’s also a fair bit cheaper than many other formats. With it now being obvious that Historic and Pioneer aren’t going to merge at some point, and noting that some players simply won’t want to work with digital-only cards, we figure it’s a good idea to change the formats up a bit on MTG Arena.
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A tale of two formats
Now, there’s an obvious thing you can do here. Historic can remain as is, with new digital cards and handpicked cards from MTGs history coming in here and there. It’s a fascinating format for sure, and one that we’re enjoying watching grow, but not everyone is going to want to partake of the digital-only cards, because they play MTG Arena to get that paper experience.
For those players, Historic, something that they’ve been enjoying up until now, is suddenly something they’re not interested in. We can only assume that that’s a bad feeling. Sure, they can not play it, and that’s great to say, but the digital cards are there now (well, soon), and they can’t play a version of Historic that doesn’t have digital-only cards.
At this point in time, especially for those players, it might make sense to split Historic into two formats. One could be as it currently is, which is great for players who are happy with that, and one could be for players who like to be able to replicate things in paper. Maybe you could even keep adding cards into that format until it becomes something more robust, you know like Pioneer.
Just add in old formats, please
We didn’t start this article out with the intention of it turning into this, but obviously that’s where we are, so we may as well go with it. If Historic is going to keep being this weird experimental format, then we need a version of Historic that’s going to grow into Pioneer, basically.
There’s been a lot of talk about how players want more formats available in MTG Arena, and it’s something that was always written off, irrelevant of who by, as something that just wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. Then, you get Jumpstart: Historic Horizons coming in and bringing with it a plethora of cards from the Modern Horizons sets. That means that this is possible, and it’s also something that’s happening.
So, just add in more of the cards that players need to be able to play Pioneer into MTG Arena, then eventually bring in Modern and so on. Some players like playing MTG Arena as its own thing, and that’s cool, but for a lot of players, it’s about getting your fix of paper without having to leave the house. Those players are still important, and not all of them want to deal with MTG Online, so we’re really hoping that Wizards are thinking about them as they’re looking at Historic, and that they’re preparing to add in a new format to keep everyone happy.