05/27/2010 LD: "A Modern Proposal"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Latest Developments, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.
modern kinda feels like what i think a lot of people think extended should be...

almost feels like a mini legacy, seems exciting,
I'm not a big fan of the cutoff- a non-rotating format without Counterspell just feels so strange. I understand R&D's decision to lessen the power of blue (well, of certain kinds of blue spells), but in a format with so many powerful interactions and strategies the absence of such an iconic (and leveling) card just feels wrong. I would start with 7th and then go on from there (granted, that would technically be 'skipping' Apocalypse).
Legacy is popular because playing with dual lands is fun. Ravnica duals are a poor proxy, even if they look nice but similar to stunning and cheaper John Avon alternatives. Here's a news flash: Gasp! This game was and still is intended to be collectable. You sure don't mind enjoying the spoils of $100 Jaces while claiming that dual lands of equal or lower value are 'regrettable'. This new format still has Jaces and goyfs you're not going to reprint because they already made standard suck, so in 10 years when 'no one' had a chance to open them and they aren't reprinted, you'll be in the exact same hole once again.

The entire issue stems from extended using original duals. They stayed while everything else didn't, and then finally, they got the ax. Then extended had no audience. How is the common denominator a mystery? Between your articles and that fool that posts his design reviews on quiet speculation, its shocking you're still in business sometimes.

Case in point, I want to know why no one votes in your polls anymore. You used to have 10K voters during preview weeks and around half that otherwise. Is it because people are too lazy to vote, the novelty wore off, no one cares what you have to say, or no one cares about Magic?

If it is the last one, which is what you make me think of Magic each and every week, maybe I should increase the number of legacy playables out there.
I like the idea of a new eternal format and the cutoff point makes sense. The banned list is a nice start as well, although I have a hard time thinking vial won't be way too good while chrome mox is too strong. Hopefully this experiment pans out and modern becomes a supported format, if nothing else it does seem like a reasonable answer to the reserve list issue, it's nice to know that wizard's recognizes the problem and is working on solutions that don't anger anyone.
Yea, I think that not having access to counterspell is odd, too.  I also, as said in another post, really don't like the Banned list.  I question almost all of their choices, and a few that weren't chosen.  Vial seems like just asking for disasters like Vial goblins or some other aggro deck (boros?).  I could see this getting popular, though, if the deck variety is in the range of 10-12 viable decks.  If this ends up looking like Standard, then I think a lot of people would rather not bother.
no one cares about Magic?

It fact, sales of Magic are about the only thing that is increasing at Hasbro this year, and sales of Magic were up last year as well. This is why WotC conducts surveys instead of listening to squeaky wheels. Last Sunday I ran a New Phyrexia draft at home for seven fifth-graders and rest assured, they care about Magic very much indeed.

Why is the date in the topic of this thread 5/27/2010?
no one cares about Magic?

It fact, sales of Magic are about the only thing that is increasing at Hasbro this year, and sales of Magic were up last year as well. This is why WotC conducts surveys instead of listening to squeaky wheels. Last Sunday I ran a New Phyrexia draft at home for seven fifth-graders and rest assured, they care about Magic very much indeed.

The only people that reply to the surveys on this site are the people that care enough about the game to go to this site in the first place. SCG tends to sell newer Chinese cards for the same price as English cards. Is that because the two print runs are similar? They still manage to gouge on Japanese cards. I don't know their motivations, but my understanding of Hasbro's financials is that Magic is growing globally, not in the States. It appears to be shrinking in the States and China and other global markets are outpacing the loss. That doesn't make holding onto Legacy staples, especially in a world of denying the fact that dual lands are awesome, a good idea. Perhaps your 5th graders are Brad Pitt's kids and can buy duals, but I doubt we're talking about the same thing.
A great Article for a great new format!
Cudos to WotC and especially LaPille for this insight giving article.

I've just got a miniscule critic or note on a little flaw in your argumentation.

- Lack of accessibility is bad for formats:
"Much of the appeal of Legacy is that the format does not rotate. However, as Legacy becomes more and more popular, the relative supply of these cards as compared to the size of the audience that wants to play with them is only going down. This makes the format less and less accessible to new entrants over time."

- Umezawa's Jitte is a banworthy (unfun?) card:
"Although Umezawa's Jitte is by far the most powerful Equipment in Legacy, it is not quite as game-ruiningly powerful as some of the other cards on this list. Historically, Umezawa's Jitte has been an extremely powerful card against creature decks, with mirror matches between creature decks often degenerating into battles over Jitte. Unfortunately, Stoneforge Mystic gives decks that want to fight against creature decks consistent access to Jitte and a creature to put it on. We think that Stoneforge Mystic is the more fun of the two cards, so rather than allow such a strong anti-creature-deck pressure to remain in the format, we chose to ban the real offender: Umezawa's Jitte."

Yet Tarmogoyf isn't banned. In Legacy numerous decks splash green just for Tarmogoyf. Without an additional eternal format Tarmogoyf 'supply' is used up. That card is far from accessible with such a demand/supply ratio (+$55).

Imho Tarmogoyf would warant a ban far more than Umezawa's Jitte because hes worse in both arguments. He's less accessible and he doesnt regulates himself from a metagame perspective like Jitte does (legendary!).
Argument wise it would make sense to ban Tarmogoyf too.
Modern will not be interesting at all until it gets a reasonable banlist.  There are far too many cards that should be banned and aren't and far too many cards that are banned even though they shouldn't be.
I'm quite excited about this, in part because how uninteresting are the rest of the constructed formats right now. Although I would like to see Odyssey in that format (and many would have liked to see Invasion there too), the fact that we have another nonrotating format is quite good and not having counterspell is excellent to vary things.

Making some speculation about the banned list for the sake of it:

Fetchlands and shocklands both exist in the format. There is danger of 5 - color zoo monopolizing the aggro archetype. Fortunately, Blood Moon and the Magus are available but they may not be enough.

Bitterblossom must be in the banned list, ASAP. Faeries ruined two standard seasons and when people didn't want to know about them anymore, Wizards brought them again in the New Extended disaster where, to the surprise of nobody, they dominated from the beginning to the end. Seriously, you want to put that Enchantment to rest before it kills yet another format again.
If Limited gets in the way of printing good Constructed cards... Screw limited
Modern looks excitingly good.
An entertaining banned list, though. It sure must've been difficult to come up with an initial list, so I have no doubt that it won't be perfect. The artifact lands, Jitte, Top and Clamp are all very much deserving of being on there. Golgari Grave-Troll makes me scratch my head a bit, though. It's really good, sure. But how good is dredge going to be when players have access to Leyline of the Void and Bojuka Bog from their sideboards in case of emergency?
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I like this idea.  Mirrodin really marks the beginnning of the "modern" Magic age so that's a good start point. The main point is that there is no more of that pesky "reserved" list from Mirrodin forward. Cards that aren't fit to reprint can be banned for good enough reason but still playable in Classic and Legacy.

The only thing I DON'T like is that ancillary products aren't included... THAT is a mistake. That just tanked the value of Commander, Planechase, Duel Decks, etc. expecially for newer players. Frankly, if it was good enough to reprint since Mirrodin (and these products only started 3-5 years ago) then it should be included.... or at least included going forward. That also give you a backdoor to pull old standbys into the format to round it out but clearly show up in the new frames. I don't know what to do about Promo Cards.... maybe review what's in and out and see where it stands. Toss everything with new borders in the pit for 90 days and see what comes out. I don't think the problem is really more than a half-dozen additional cards. In the future you could tag the promos that are "Modern" vs "Legacy" so they would be obvious. (edit ** this would be the point to take the first "Modern Masters" set and toss in a bunch of stuff that has been reprinted in ancillary products... thereby keeping your same rules)

The next thing I'd like to see is exactly the opposite of what he's suggesting. I'd like to see a "Modern Masters" set that re-mixes older cards for Johny, Timmy, Spike and Vohorths and gradually build "Modern" up to encompass 70% 80% of printed cards. The big 20 and 25 are coming up very soon. That would be a big treat to have cards from the first 10 years that got dropped for Modern pulled back in.  It would also BENEFIT collectors and store owners because those piles of commons and uncommons from 15 years ago would be USEFUL and IN DEMAND again. Walk into any store selling Magic since the beginning (boy, I'm really spoiled) and they have old cards by the pallet.

Ultimately, having a format that has NO restrictions on being reprinted, and very few banned cards is good for the game because they can build some more powerful things without constantly worrying about breaking Vintage and Legacy. There seems to be a lot of design space clogged up with mistakes from the past where everybody bellyaches about "functional reprints" but at the same time there's that "boat anchor" of the game's first 5 years that's wildly unbalanced. Back to being good.. it also means they can REPRINT anything they might find interesting to help spur deck innovation without upsetting collectors.

Magic as an investement stopped being interesting about Ice Age. There's only about 12 cards per block that make it to the heights of Legacy... that means for the vast majority of hoarders out there, they'd have earned better return with their money in a bank... Cards will only be valuable again if Wizards creates some DEMAND for them... "Modern" is the perfect way to do that.

My only real complaint so far is that if it's been sold at retail since Mirrodin, it should be in the format. It should be easy enough to adjust deck lists going forward to meet the criteria of the new format.. and sneak some zingers in there too!
Would've preferred that the Reserved List got popped off, but this does sound interesting (especially since I own most of the cards).

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

I like this Modern proposal.  Before they mangled Extended, it was my favorite format: cards were legal there long enough that I didn't have to worry about having to constantly make new decks, but also that I didn't have to worry about being completely behind the curve by not having the original duals and what not.  I like the proposed ban list and kudos on not including Counterspell - its not really a "modern" counterspell at all.

All in all, I hope this format becomes official!
I like the idea a lot. Mirrodin/8th really was the dawn of a new age, for better or for worse. I am a firm believer in Mirrodin being the party that broke the house in terms of general card power levels (what's that, Kamigawa? That's what I said, general) and it would be great to have a format that reflects this. So chalk up +1 more for Modern becoming official.

Re banlist: artifact lands good, Skullclamp (*shudder*) and Jitte (*double shudder*) just as good, rest of list fine too, but I second the calls to ban Bitterblossom 100% and could probably get behind punting Tarmogoyf.

I like the idea of Modern, although there are definitely Legacy cards that I'll miss, but the banned list seems a little questionable.

1) Does Top really need to be banned for time reasons?  It seems like it would have been better to leave it in at first and see if matches go to time rather than just assume it's a problem.
2) Banning Grave-Troll, while not entirely unreasonable, seems somewhat arbitrary.  Dredge wasn't really a problem in Legacy until Bridge from Below was printed, and I don't think that's coincidence.  The "flash back Dread Return" plan loses a lot of oomph if there aren't a bunch of tokens around to deal with.  I think they picked the wrong problem card here.
3) Banning Jitte again seems like banning the wrong offender.  Jitte is good, of course, but the real problem is Stoneforge Mystic.  Wizards will keep printing more equipment, which means Mystic will keep getting better and better.  It's going to be a problem eventually, if it isn't already one now.

Finally, I'd just like to say that without Force of Will, this whole format seems doomed to fail.  I could be wrong, but combo seems like it'll dominate without FoW around.  Whether it's Hypergenesis or Belcher or what have you, the aggro and control decks don't seem to have much of a chance.
I am very pleased to hear that it is being seriously considered at Wizards of the Coast to make Modern a sanctioned format for Magic with physical cards.

I am also pleased that the column was forthright in noting that one of the important reasons for a format such as Modern is to address the limitation on accessibility of the popular Legacy format that results from the Reprint Policy.

I am very happy with the format. While I might personally have preferred one starting at Sixth Edition and Mercadian Masques - so that not only Counterspell, but even Dark Ritual would be available - I can understand that the older cards and the newer cards don't fit well together.

In another thread, some flaws with the banned list - as being overcautious - were pointed out. But most of the bannings were reasonable - Sensei's Divining Top, Dark Depths, and the artifact lands should indeed be banned.

Where do I think it will fit, and what are its implications?

I hope it will be popular. It may exacerbate the problems with Extended. I think there's a place for Extended, and perhaps a return to the previous Extended format is in order if making it more accessible hasn't increased its popularity. Alternatively, keep Extended as it is now, but because it is so much more accessible, allow it as an FNM format. (Another possibility is that Magic has changed enough because of its larger card pool and other factors that Extended is having problems with relevance. Perhaps it should start from Mirrodin initially, and have one year's worth of cards rotate out every three years - so that it always approximates the most recent 2/3rds of Magic.)

I don't think it will take players away from Legacy. People who can afford to play Legacy will still prefer it - it has a very diverse meta, and it will be difficult for Modern to match that, although I certainly hope it can approach that.

I think it will benefit the WotC bottom line.

How will giving prize support to a format that creates a much smaller demand for purchases of new cards than Standard - instead of sticking to just Standard - help Wizards? Well, why do Extended, Legacy, and Vintage exist? People are encouraged to buy cards with which to play Standard by knowing those cards won't become worthless when they rotate out of Standard - because Extended exists - and that they won't become worthless when they rotate out of Extended - because Legacy exists.

So, Modern will be accessible to more players, and it will have a card pool in which cards from current sets will be more effective. So it will do Legacy's job for Wizards - better than Legacy is doing it.

So everyone wins - Wizards derives the benefit of Magic being more popular from giving the players what they want.

I may be optimistic, but then I don't expect Modern to receive a level of support that would lead to everyone playing Modern and no one playing Standard. Instead, I'm just hoping that it gets played more often than Legacy, while still trailing well behind Standard.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!


I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

I like this Modern proposal.  Before they mangled Extended, it was my favorite format: cards were legal there long enough that I didn't have to worry about having to constantly make new decks, but also that I didn't have to worry about being completely behind the curve by not having the original duals and what not.  I like the proposed ban list and kudos on not including Counterspell - its not really a "modern" counterspell at all.

All in all, I hope this format becomes official!

Now if they'd split the difference and get rid of Extended because it's redundant as it stands now.... Add one more year to Standard, then promote the Modern format.

I think this whole proposal hinges on one other really big IF.  They have to essentially Promise to keep cards in the new Modern format reasonably available. Obviously Jace 2.0 isn't going to be reprinted (and probably banned) but things like the Ravnica Duals and some others are going to have to be if they want things going forward, otherwise they just moved the "goalposts". i think collectors have had their turn running things. Frankly, if a card from Mirrodin or Ravnica is still at $40+ 5 years later, then Wizards needs to use the new format to get some easy money!  It's pointless to commit to a new format unless you're going to keep newbies on an even playing field... which seems to be the entire point.
I love it, and love the banlist! Hope this really takes off... This feels like the format I've been waiting for.

I would really like to see aether vial and hypergenesis banned as well, but I guess its acceptable to wait and see what happens. I can't see hypergenesis ending well, but aether vial might not be as omnipresent if more midrange-y decks are viable (unlike in legacy).
I like the idea a lot. Mirrodin/8th really was the dawn of a new age, for better or for worse. I am a firm believer in Mirrodin being the party that broke the house in terms of general card power levels (what's that, Kamigawa? That's what I said, general) and it would be great to have a format that reflects this. So chalk up +1 more for Modern becoming official.

Re banlist: artifact lands good, Skullclamp (*shudder*) and Jitte (*double shudder*) just as good, rest of list fine too, but I second the calls to ban Bitterblossom 100% and could probably get behind punting Tarmogoyf.


particularlly the Mirrodin cards need to be on the list... they were banned in their OWN BLOCK tournament format! I'm thinking this is at the "take the long weekend to let the players try it out" stage. Somebody has put a month of thinking into this and got permission to throw it in the blender and see what happens.

I think Summer and 2012 theme is "Legends Matter". I think Kamigawa is going to become interesting if Innistrad turns out to be Legends heavy. Magic themes go in rotation, and not having a format to play Mirrodin and Scars of Mirrodin blocks together (at least for averge players) has been kind of a drag all year.
It's interesting but most of my favorite cards from legacy won't be legal, no dark ritual, no ancient tomb, no goblin piledriver, no price of progress, no mishra's factory, no hymn to tourach, no tanglewire and no fireblast.

The decks that I immediately visualise are a white weenie/stone forge vial deck (splashing green for tarmogoyf of course), similar to legacy death and taxes lists but no mangara/karakas interaction.

Some sort of Zoo deck.

A bant list (no natural order huzzah), knight, pridemage, trigon predator, tarmogoyf etc.

A merfolkesque deck maybe playing stuff like mull drifter.

Combo elves fueled by glimpse of nature looks to be pretty strong.

There'll probably also be a tombstalker dark confidant list but without hymn to tourach I dunno if mono black will be strong enough

Red is the one color I see that got hurt pretty badly, most of the red staples from legacy are gone, no piledriver, no lavamancer, no chain lightning, no fireblast, no price of progress, maybe some sort of bloodmoon based dragon stompy list will be playable but without mox or ancient tomb seems weak.
Banning good tools that could be very very healthy for the format like Top, Mox and Jitte is very very bad. Those cards don't win games but provide an environment to choose. Without those cards it will all be about bombs and beatdown all over again. I don't want to even start on no good counterspells and toolbox search cards.
Ah, it's called 'Modern'. It suits. Totally boring and repetitive to play.
For a long time I've waited for a good non-rotating format, and they create this abomination of Magic again.
I guess I'll have to stay with legacy. That's a shame.
I understand that their design motto is "The less options - the better", but it wouldn't be bad to allow players who like to take a choice for each and every action some cards to play with.
I really love Legacy, so any format that could possibly replace it scares me.

That said, I think Modern sounds like a great format in its own right.  I would be excited to play in a Modern tournament.

I do hope if Modern becomes a format though, it would coincide with the reprinting of the Ravnica Shocklands.  (I'd also love for the Onslaught Fetches to be legal, but that could wait a few years.)

EDIT: The banlist seems like a good starting point.  If a deck becomes too dominant, they can just ban it.  Also as new sets are printed the format will become more resiliant.  (One of the reasons the Legacy Metagame is so diverse is that every deck has an answer.)
Magic Judge Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Rules Theory and Templating: "They may be crazy, but they're good." --Matt Tabak, Rules Manager*
I am very happy with the format. While I might personally have preferred one starting at Sixth Edition and Mercadian Masques - so that not only Counterspell, but even Dark Ritual would be available - I can understand that the older cards and the newer cards don't fit well together.

They really, really need to rexamine the "ancillary products" rule.

They really, really need to rexamine the "ancillary products" rule.

I disagree.  I think allowing ancillary products would be detrimental to the format.

They have already re-printed powerful cards in ancillary sets, and that would make Modern too similar to Legacy.  (Daze, Counterspell, Dark Ritual, etc.).  If you only allowed future ancillary sets, that would simultaneously handicap their promotional printings, and make it incredibly confusing to determine legality.

Oh, this Wild Mongrel from Garruk vs. Liliana isn't legal, but this Armageddon from Ajani vs. Bolas is?  (Card choice used for illustrative purposes only.)

Magic Judge Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Rules Theory and Templating: "They may be crazy, but they're good." --Matt Tabak, Rules Manager*
If you only allowed future ancillary sets, that would simultaneously handicap their promotional printings, and make it incredibly confusing to determine legality.

It's going to do so anyway.
I guarantee we will see, sometime in the future: "we were going to include [card] in [something] vs [something], but we took it out to avoid confusing Modern players."

I have to say that I've been trying to get Modern games on MTGO and while they're hard to find right now, the format when I do get to play is incredibly entertaining.

The fact that some promotional printing cards are not legal is an issue, but the kinds of players that it will be an issue for are the kinds of players where it's an issue anyhow no matter what semi-extended format they're playing in.  The fact that a duel deck was released today confuses new players to the game who are playing standard, let alone those playing Extended, and that won't change with Modern.

All said, I'm sure once the dust settles a slightly cleaner or more inclusive banned list will sort itself out of the rubble, but I'm perfectly happy with how it looks now, even though the format leans on Chalice of the Void a bit more than I'd like.  It's certainly much more diverse and exciting than the new extended was on the outset, and hopefully it keeps some of that going forward. 
I like the lack of things like Dark Rit/Counterspell, etc.  I don't have many cards from pre-Mirrodin but I'm sure 8th and 9th won't be too hard to find/buy.

I like the current banlist although Hyper Genesis and Vial prolly should get the axe as well.  I recall a combo deck with Cascade spells hitting Genesis or Living End being pretty strong.

Bitterblossom is pretty busted though I'm not sure it needs banning.  To be honest I was surprised when they banned Survival (why wouldn't people start packing Enchant hate if it was THAT prevelant?) but I don't play Legacy so I figured it was the right call.

I'm digging Modern...though it does feel pretty much like what I was really excited for but got taken away: Old Extended.
I don't really get all the people complaining about the wrong banlist and 8th being a bad set to start from. Come on! Nobody knows for sure how the format would look like but you're given a great opportunity of findind a new, most likely not that bad way of playing Magic. Just try it. Maybe it'll turn out to be boring but how could you know that now? There's not that popular Vintage out there, does it's pure existance makes you feel bad?

Looks like all the people complaining are just upset about their favourite sets (Masques to Onslaught blocks) are not legal. Just let me tell you one thing: it's still MUCH better than nothing (or Extended). So if all your reasons to not like current Modern Proposal are these, please understand you're actually on the same wave with people who think it could be awesome. By voting "it's terrible" you're making a giant step to sitting the next X years without posibility to play anything but Standard 'cause Legacy is too pricey for you and Standard being... well Standard. Ba all means vote FOR Modern, try it and then make your justified move.

/I personally play Legacy and most likely shall continue to play it, but Modern could be just as good. Oh, and I'd love to play with Odyssey cards, but I also get that I'd love to play with cards from all those blocks I missed (Kamigawa-M10) and again, it's better than nothing./

Don't refuse something that could be good until you're sure it's bad. It's so much easier to break something than to build.
I was excited when Modern was first announced as a format for the community cup, and I like most of the reasoning behind it. Kudos to wizards for trying an "overextended" format that the community has wanted since the demise of the old extended. With that said, it's time for me to be a wet blanket:

"A long time ago, we promised not to reprint a certain list of cards. Some of those cards have become important parts of tournament Legacy. Although we regret that promise now, it is a promise that we made, and we intend to keep it."

This is unfortunate since my trust in wizards has been slowly eroding due to the direction I believe they're taking this game. My enjoyment from the game has always been greater than my faith/trust/support of wizards, but I understand without the company there is no new magic. It's just unfortunate since promising to uphold the restricted list is probably the thing I care about the least, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks it's rediculous for one reason or another. Bottom line: your word isn't as sacred as you think it is - just as an example, many people on this board think your company is headed by scoundrels after that statement about the Mythic Rarity and the printing of uber-powerful Mythics needed to craft a competitive deck. That's one recent example people don't put much stock into what is said anymore.

As for the banned list, starting out with an iffy list and having pros come to break it before it becomes official is a great move. However, how is Stoneforge Mystic not on this list? Weren't tutors pretty much banned in other formats? The mystic is an equipment tutor on legs and will fluctuate in value depending on if you make the mistake of printing a broken equipment in a new set or not. Jitte and the 'clamp are just the beginning. I can't wait for wizards to print an effective planeswalker tutor and realize too late how miserable it will make whatever formats that is a part of.

If you actually decide this is a format you want to support, please don't kill it slowly like legacy and doom it from the beginning by not reprinting essential cards. FtV, Duel Decks, Archenemy, Planechase, and you can even expand those rockin' legacy-tournament-ready decks you have on MtGO by releasing some regularly for the Modern format. These are all great avenues for you to gouge your base's wallets and they'll gladly let you do it. Otherwise, in due time, this format will end up exactly with the same problems as legacy, but weaker, and that sounds just awful.
1) The "visual marker" argument about Modern card frames is ridiculous. Magic players are too smart to need this.
2) A Mercadian Masques cutoff is more important because it demonstrates the break between Reserve List era and non-Reserve List era.
3) A MM cutoff enables years of powerful Magic decks, strategies, and cards that deserve play. These strategies (like Astral Slide, Threshold, Fires, Domain, etc.) cannot survive in Legacy, and deserve to be played in a new Eternal format.
4) Tom is awesome for writing this article. Modern itself, as a format, needs to be questioned, not Tom himself.


Overextended/LegacyLite have been a dream of mine for over a year now. Wizards has gone in the right direction with the Modern announcement, and I am happy to see some transparency in Tom's recent article. Unfortunately, I do not think that this format is going in the best direction. My problem (and it really is just one big problem) has little to do with cards that need to be banned, cards that should not be banned, the potential metagame health, etc. These things are all basically fine for Modern Magic as a format as it currently is. No, the largest problem with Modern Magic is its cutoff set. Mirrodin and 8th should NOT be the cutoff sets for a new Eternal format, and to do so is unhealthy for the format and its possible players.

There are dozens of reasons for this, but I want to focus on two.
1) The "visual marker" argument about Modern card frames is ridiculous.
2) The Modern cutoff marks a superficial moment in Magic's history. A Mercadian Masques cutoff would mark a substantial one.
I will try and explain these two arguments in the context of Tom's well-written article. His words provide excellent evidence to their effect.

Tom writes: (Emphasis added)
This all changed when Aaron Forsythe suggested that we begin at the change to the current card frame, which was first used in Eighth Edition Like every other choice, this was arbitrary, but it provided two things the others didn't: it began at a a major change to the way we made Magic cards, and it gave us a visual marker that can be used to tell whether a set is legal or not.

I like Mr. LaPille's writing and his articles, and I like his candidness, so when I rage about this statement, it is less an attack on him, and more a criticism of the reasoning that went into this cutoff. Basically, we see here two different reasons for this cutoff. The first is a decent reason, even if I will ultimatel argue against it later. The second, however, is a terrible reason.

Tom explains that:
If you're reading this, and you care about Modern, you probably know the order that Magic sets came out in by heart. If that's true, you are in the statistical minority. Most Magic players don't, and we don't want them to have to know in order to guess whether a particular card is legal.

This is an overstated claim, plain and simple. I am sure there are thousands of Magic players who were happy to hear about Modern, happy to read Tom's article, and happy to participate in dialogue about the set who have not memorized the order of Magic sets. This just has no bearing on someone's interest in a format.
Similarly, in this internet era of ours, there is no way that Magic players are just going to have to guess about a card's legality in a Modern event. For one, Wizards/Wikipedia/Forums/MTGO/etc. provides AMPLE evidence about a card's legality in any given set. Magic is a complex game of strategy and theory, and there is no way that players so intelligent to play this game would be too oblivious to check set legality.
Secondly, Magic cards all have dates printed at the bottom indicating their printing. This alone would help clear up potential ambiguity if any even remained after the internet was tapped as a resource.
Finally, and Tom even admits this, it provides a very real "false positive" about which cards are real. Duel decks and such print a slew of old cards in modern frames. Tom has to devote a few paragraphs to explain why this actually won't be a problem. I think that this indicates just the opposite: That this looks like so much of a problem that he had to dedicate the time to explaining it away. New players are going to be quite confused as to why Wild Mongrel, in its pretty new frame with its nice new date, is not allowed in their deck. You might counter that those players could easily check online to make sure that the card was legal. But at that point, you would also have to admit that they could do that with ANY cutoff, not just the Modern one.

In summary, the fact that Modern card frames provide a visual marker is not a compelling reason to make it a Modern starting point. Players do not need this visual marker to build decks and determine card legality. Maybe in 1993, but definitely not in 2011. Moreover, it serves as an admitted "false positive" that will assuredly confuse new players. And if you think it does not? Then those new players would assuredly not be confused by a less visually "clear" cutoff either.

8th is supposedly a historic cutoff because of its frame change. This is true, but it is also a purely superficial one. I believe that far more substantial changes happened between Mercadian Masques and its preceding block. These were changes both in Wizards and Magic design policy. These changes were more symbolic for Magic as a game, and deserved to be honored as such.

1) Urza's Block to Mercadian Masques Block
Urza's was a nightmare block of powerful cards. Mercadian Masques was Homelands by comparison. Not until Mirrodin did Wizards unleash such a monster on the tournament scene, and even that was not as bad as the dreaded Academy combo/Bargain/Jar decks of the late 1990s. This switch is alone significant in Magic history.

2) The Reserve List Abolished
This policy change alone should justify the entire format, in my opinion. I am not going to get into all the market intricacies of Legacy and reprints, nor am I going to rehash the historical debate about this List. All I will say is that a format that begins where the Reserve List ends will mark a monumental change in Magic policy, design, history, and gameplay. This alone makes it a TRULY eternal format, one that Wizards can always support and always stand behind, whether in tournaments, card printing, or advertising.

Of course, Mercadian Masques not only makes a historic cutoff. It also makes a fun one, giving Modern more diverse decks and strategies. Rebels, Fires, Threshold, Storm, Tribal, Domain, Slide/Rifter, etc. A giant chunk of fun, Magic history is lost forever if MM is not made the cutoff. These are decks that cannot be viable in Legacy, but could find a home forever in Modern (with MM cutoff), alongside all of the new archetypes of more recent Standard seasons.


Tom remains an excellent writer, and he addressed most Modern points in is article with great skill and clarity. He was given a difficult task and he did a fine job. Indeed, the fact that I can even write this response shows that he wrote a fine article. My quarrel does not at all lie with him. I do not even have a "quarrel" really. I just do not think that Modern is aimed in the right direction, and I think that community dialogue can fix that.

This format is a farce. It is missing so much that it needs to have. 'Modern' magic does not begin with the new card face, modern magic begins with Invasion block. If you don't believe that, you either didn't play during the transition period there, or you're lying to yourself. This format beginning with 8th/MD5 just leaves it full of holes it shouldn't have. The onslaught fetches, various graveyard strategies, half of the viable goblins, vindicate, deed, chant, counterspell, fact or fiction, hell even Flametongue Kavu would likely see niche play somewhere. I want to see the old extended before it got mangled in an eternal form - Invasion/7th onwards. That's real modern magic, not this mess.

Also, your banlist is horrible and poorly thought out. Hypergenesis deserves the boot over anything on the list now, and if you want to neuter dredge, ban Bridge from Below or Narcomoeba, not something that might see a corner case play in a legitimate deck like Golgari Grave Troll. This format needs to be implemented, but not without being rethought. Not implementing it at all would be better than implementing it in its current state. I hope the overwhelming negative response will give that away.
*I'm really tired so this might no make as much sense as I mean it to.*
I really hope that this becomes a fully sanctioned format, as it would take a lot of the sting from them butchering extended into double standard and killing the prices of all the old extended staples that I didn't get the memo about to ship before the announcement.  
There are a finite number of each card printed and available but more recent sets have more copies in circulation worldwide.   
There are fewer and fewer legit copies of legacy staples like duals and force each year and most of those are English printings so if they are going to push a format that would better cater to their growing world marketing segment this format seems to make sense.  
There are the border problems confusion to deal.  
I think this format wouldn't really change immediate demand for current product but I honestly think it would move slightly more product then legacy and classic currently do with their cherry picking. 
There are always going to be cost barriers to playing the best decks (mana bases and multi-archetype staples that were only in print a short time are what is killing legacy) but this format with proper bannings should be the most diverse format possible not just a 4-5 deck format. 
The overlap of the best cards is going to skyrocket between formats so any card that legacy wants out of new sets will have the largest premium but as long as they can produce a quality product packs should be getting opened. 
I see problems ahead if it goes forward but they are a lot smaller then the legacy buy in (buying out another player) and there is a lot more for them to gain by making a format where all the cards in it can be reprinted at any time in special sets or even (novel idea) tourney decks like they did with bolt slinger and exlier making the buy in problem a lot less. 
The cutoff of sets chosen I think modern card frames offer one of the best choices to avoid the creation of a second legacy (read: actual set design not just playing with the biggest and most overpowered mistakes of yesteryear) and the smaller the banned list is the happier I am with the format as long as a card can help more strategies in a positive fashion then it invalidates the healthier it is. 
You can't please everyone, and the naysayers will nay but as long as the format can pull players the fewer naysayers there will be. (example: I wish we still had 6th edition combat rules not the conga line of doom and being able to get card advantage out of sac dudes with damage on the stack but that's not going to happen and I'm ok with it.)
I've played Modern since I started playing Magic, which was when Ravnica came out. Up until now, I've always had fun with it.
The format simply is awesome.
I've been playing in this 'format' with a casual play circle for over a year now, and I like it.

So my regular play circle and I have therefore come up with our own. To make it even easier to remember, and kinder on certain of our players, we started it from Mirrodin, when the facelift happened. The format is therefore:

(a) any card which has been printed (or reprinted) in any official expansion with the modern style face (which includes the future style border);
(b) any purple timeshifted card;
(c) any card which has been reissued with the modern style face, but only that edition of it (eg. mox diamond).

Obviously the last rule is kind of a house rule, and any official version of this format would either have to have that last bit stricken or else the whole of the rule.

We call it 'Renaissance'.

Any thoughts?

Way ahead of you wizards.
There are a finite number of each card printed and available but more recent sets have more copies in circulation worldwide.

I wanted to support this point before I headed to bed. I saw it mentioned earlier in the thread (unless I'm just imagining things--it is late, after all) that Modern would eventually suffer from the same problems as Legacy with staples not being reprinted and thus restricted to a finite supply. Technically, that's true. However, this is an important difference between pricey Legacy staples and pricey Modern staples: there's way more of the latter. The size of the print runs of the Modern sets dwarfs that of the print runs of the early-Magic era sets the truly expensive Legacy staples were printed in. Wizards in all likelihood sold far more of any given set with the modern card face than they sold cards from those sets, so the supply is likely significantly greater to begin with, significantly delaying the onset and reducing the speed of that kind of price hiking.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed

Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

Artifact Lands: I would like to see someone throw together a raffinity list and break the heck out of it (perhaps I will proxy it up).  I really think that the artifact lands are no longer the problem, with recent increases in playable 0 cost artifacts.  Yea, there are probably cool unbroken things to do with raveger and friends, but when the affinity train is a rolling it is crazy fast.

Umezawa's Jitte:  In a format with all the swords, I really doubt Jitte will do much more than shine a little brighter.  The protection that Swords give you is far an away more useful than Jitte in the long run, with Jitte being the friend of the fast aggro player.  Not a problem.

Golgari Grave-troll: This method of neutering a deck by taking away a little bit of fuel is just wrong.  Deal with the problem pieces, and that's that.

Dark Depths and Sword of the Meek:  I can see the potential for these to be degenerate combos, but I would rather the format start out a trial period to see if the format can self manage these decks.  If they end up being dominating then it is a simple thing to say, "I guess we were right, we need to yank these."

Hypergenesis and Aether Vial:  I see these as damaging to the format potentially, but I cannot be hypocritical and suggest a ban without the probationary period I mentioned above.

Meta? (total guesses based on good decks in the last 7 years)

  • I see BDW being a contender as well as Zoo (especially with Vial)

  • Faeries and Merfolk

  • Rock varient

  • possibly Dragonstorm as a Rogue deck

  • Control decks of all stripes, but most prominently: /, /, (all possibly with goyf splash)

  • Affinity (probably Raffinity)

  • Tooth and Nail?

I think that any deck that can run goyf and Jace 2.0 will.  I also think that this format may end up being slightly slower than Legacy, but only by a turn or two.
Legacy is has the best depth and freshness. It's considered by many the most deep and skill intensive format.

So why the hell this new format?

Just man up and solve the problem that you (WOTC) created! Circunvent the reserved list.
- functional reprints of staples in products like FTV
- introduce the concept of conditional restriction: total number of functional_reprint + old_card = 4 in a deck

It is so simple to implement and still so lucrative.

I don't want to go after the arguments presented in the article as they should too shallow. A card price is the secondary market should never be a concern/problem, just reprint them in limited products or even set. Something like a Master's Edition would have unprecedented sells. 

First: I like the format, but not the name.  "Modern" will always remind people that it's restrictive, and contradict the goal of being the target "all your cards are legal here" format.  If I didn't know any better, judging from the names alone I'd think:

Extended > Standard > Modern

in terms of openness.  I sort of hope players keep referring to it as "Overextended."

I guarantee we will see, sometime in the future: "we were going to include card in something vs something, but we took it out to avoid confusing Modern players."

Maybe, but they've never worried about that with regard to Standard or Extended.   Special printings have never dictated formats and doing so now would turn legality rules into a trivia contest.  Which is a very bad idea considering all the different levels of reprints that have and could be done.

Card frames aren't the definition of the format, they're just a mnenomic gimmick to remember the definition of the format: 8th & Mirrodin on.  If the frame is a hangup for anyone, the I recommend forgetting it applies.  Just say "Modern starts with 8th and Mirrodin".  It will be easy enough to remember.


Most of the cards banned are narrow, and as such they make sense to ban.  Vial, Tarmogoyf, Jace, and even Bitterblossom are more open-ended.  They may indeed become format staples, but none of them necessarily dictate a deck, so they wouldn't be restricting the format.  Jitte was the opposite: without color restrictions every single deck could have one and they'd be a constant.  Top was always about the time issue (though us online players wouldn't care so much).  But Chrome Mox seems like overkill.  It doesn't see play in Hypergenesis, which I agree does seem like the tier 1 combo deck now.

But I guess as new formats go, it's a pretty decent starting point.  Better to let the format define itself than try to predict.


Whenever I see people talking (frequently in a style reminiscent of female canines) about the Reserved List, I'm struck that they are making a huge assumption but never verbalizing it: that because Wizards could reprint X, that means they will.  To my recollection, removing the Reserved List was first discussed in a Randy Buehler column years ago, because he said they wanted to reprint Thunder Spirit.  Not the duals.  Certainly not FTV: Power Nine.

Not everyone is like that, but many people who say "remove the Reserved List" are really saying "give me $1000 of cards for $19.95."  Which isn't going to happen. So I'm perfectly content to leave the Reserved List as it is, rather than turn "I hate the Reserved List" into louder, more entitled shouts of "why haven't they reprinted those cards I want yet?!"

But given that environment, Wizards should be mindful that this new format will be taken as an implied promise to reprint high-priced cards from Modern.  If that doesn't happen then players will start to feel like they may as well have been in Legacy.

If you're on MTGO check out the Free Events via PDCMagic and Gatherling.

Other games you should try:
DC Universe Online - action-based MMO.  Free to play.  Surprisingly well-designed combat and classes.

Planetside 2 - Free to play MMO-meets-FPS and the first shooter I've liked in ages.
Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.

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