Earlier this year, Wizards of the Coast announced a new format coming to MTG Arena: Historic. There are many people excited to try this out, as it will essentially be a new “Modern”. This is the place where cards rotating out of Standard will still be legal. As such, the power level of the format will be far higher than Standard as new cards are added and the card pool continues to grow.
While initially a barebones concept, WotC showed us in their recent State of the Beta that they have fleshed out Historic to include Bo3 ranked and Bo1 ranked. However… they also mentioned something else. Cards in Historic will cost two Wildcards to craft.
Acquiring Wildcards in MTG Arena is already time-consuming and hard. Many players complain that Rare Wildcards are a bottleneck for them, as they struggle to obtain enough to actually build the decks they want to make. This pressure for Wildcards is a large drive for players to spend money on MTG Arena, and Wizards knows that.
This move to make every card cost two entire Wildcards pushes new players towards Standard and punishes players who want to play in a non-rotating format by making them have to spend more money or grind longer if they want to play it at all. The same effort you put into the game will benefit you more if you play Standard, so why make life harder by playing Historic?
Nope. Not one other major CCG game makes it harder to craft rotated cards. Hearthstone, a Blizzard game infamous for its greedy monetization, doesn’t even do this. Neither does Shadowverse. MTG Arena will be the only major digital collectible card game that actively punishes its player base for wanting to play a non-Standard format by making the cards more expensive.
If you’re looking to play a non-rotating format on MTG Arena, it seems you’re out of luck. It just doesn’t make sense to even look at Historic if it’s going to cost twice as much to play as Standard. Luckily for the MTG Arena player base, Wizards of the Coast has been remarkably receptive to changing their ideas as the game grows. So there is a chance that they’ll decide to let people actually play their new format. Until then, though, I’ll see you in Standard.
I’m Brent, working in association with Daily Esports to cover Magic the Gathering and gaming news.