December 2, 2022

Wizards is studying a new non-rotating “True To Tabletop” format for Magic The Gathering: Arena


Magic The Gathering: Arena may be getting a new “true-to-the-table” eternal format, following the backlash of recent changes to the popular historical format.

Historic was originally the format where every map released for Arena could be played after leaving Standard. However, last year introduced digital-only mechanics, like Conjure and Seek, as well as digitally rebalanced maps, leaving many players feeling like the format they once loved is now something completely different.

RELATED: Magic The Gathering Arena’s Alchemy Format, Explained

In the last State of the Game blog post on the Magic The Gathering website, Wizards of the Coast acknowledged this backlash, saying they were aware that Arena “no longer has a ‘true-to-table’ non-rotating format”. He also knows that “it’s something the players want, and it’s something we want to provide.”


Garruk, Nature's Wrath by Tyler Walpole
Garruk, Nature’s Wrath by Tyler Walpole

While Wizards of the Coast isn’t sure what form this new format will take, it said it wouldn’t be historic if all recently added digital features were turned off. According to Wizards, the goal of each format is to create a “unique deck-building and playing experience”, which a slightly altered background wouldn’t do.

With “Fixed Historic” on the table, Wizards has announced that it will be testing alternate formats at upcoming Midweek Magic events at Arena. Midweek Magic is a new event initiative introduced at Arena late last year to replace the Friday Night Magic At Home program it ran throughout the pandemic when people couldn’t attend events in their local game stores. The dates for those tests, or details of what the tests will even be, have yet to be announced.

A Scute Swarm attack in MTG Arena

Of course, the response to this statement from the community was mostly “Well, why not Pioneer?”. Pioneer is a popular format that uses maps from Return to Ravnica from 2012 and later, which means there’s only a five-year gap between the start of Pioneer and the start of Historic with Ixalan from 2017. Wizards even experimented with bringing Pioneer into Arena a few years ago with a Pioneer Masters set, but that was indefinitely delayed in July last year because, ironically, there were concerns that Pioneer and Historic were too similar. It was long before it gets the digital-only mechanics and rebalancing that players don’t like so much.

As for chemistry, Wizards thinks there’s still room for it in Arena. It’s reportedly “found its audience” and plans to release its own Alchemy: Kamigawa mini-set in late March to accompany this week’s main Standard set, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty.

NEXT: Magic The Gathering Arena Formats Explained: What Are Standard, Historical, Limited, and Brawl?

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