The Fate of Modern

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This has been a subject that has bothered me for some time now and the more I think about it the less I can deny it. I have been wanting to write about this subject for months but decided that it would be best to keep quiet and not rock the boat with my unfounded speculation. The stars are beginning to align and I cannot remain silent.

Disclaimer: I am by no means an insider, I couldn’t pick Mark Rosewater out of a lineup and my wild accusations have no real factual basis. I am simply taking two and two and attempting to make four. My speculation may be way off. This article is for talking points only and should be used as a conversation starter, not the word of law for what is to come. I am not mad nor are any of my current jimmies rustled.

Let’s jump in our Tardis and head back to July 29, 2003. Magic: The Gathering 8th Edition released. Wizards of the Coast called our changed card faces making Magic: The Gathering more “Modern”. We were all wowed by the new card formatting. Some of us loved the new borders, some of us hated the changes being made to our traditional game. I for one took a while to sway. I rejected the new card look and took some time from the game, eventually to come back.

The change was harmless, aesthetic, a simple celebration to mark ten years of Magic…or was it?

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Everything Wizards of the Coast does is for a reason.

Wizards of the Coast was listening to the complaints of the players in regards to the Vintage and Legacy formats being difficult to buy into for newer players. Knowing that the prices of cards on the Reserve List would never go down and with the unpopularity of the second rotating format Extended, Wizards felt it was time for a new non-rotating format.

Hopping back into the Tardis, we come to August 12, 2011. The format of Modern has begun and Extended has become extinct. The coincidence came full circle and it’s true purpose exposed when the “modern” card facing became the basis of a what cards were played in the format.

Back into the Tardis we go as we travel to the more recent past, July 18, 2014. Magic 2015 has been released. Again, as before, the card frame has been a bit altered., not as drastic as the last time but noticeable nonetheless. I am a firm believer that history tends to repeat itself. This is the first sign.

Today, Modern is beginning to become like it’s other non-rotating formats. Cards like Tarmogoyf have moved Modern decks into the thousands of dollars range. Newer players are finding the format difficult to buy into. The Modern Event deck was just a band-aid. Modern Masters releases are a band-aid. Make Rosewater knows this, uses this to sell product but his days of kicking the can down the road are coming to an end and he knows this too. He needs to make a move to continue healthy Magic play for years to come to ensure more product is sold.

Modern Masters 2015 has some notable cards being printed, including Tarmogoyf. This is a big step for Wizards, throwing caution into the wind and allowing players to get their hands on one of the most expensive cards in recent memory. They really have nothing to lose with this reprint. In all reality, Wizards makes no actual money on secondary sales but the hype of this card being reprinted will sell many, many packs. Reprinting these hard to get staples keeps the format going.

Let’s hop back into the Tardis and head to five years from now. Wizards of the cost has gotten deep into their new two set block rotations and is pumping out a wide variety of cards. Wizards of the coast is now announcing a new format, something along the lines of a “Post-Modern” where cards in all sets with the newest card facing are legal. As a result, Modern either becomes an unsupported format like Extended or an afterthought format played by players with a high bankroll and expensive, non-reprinted staple cards.

As most of you that read this blog weekly already know, I am a huge supporter of Modern Magic. I love the format and base most of my budget deck ideas from the legal sets. I would hate to see it go. But I do understand the need to move on for the health of the game and the enjoyment of new players everywhere.

I will say that I would be excited about the prospect of a new format. “Post-Modern” has the opportunity to become a healthy environment for players to learn and play. I’m not sure how this format would eventually be any different than our current Modern format. I’d really like to see Extended return instead of “Post-Modern”. New players could enter the game, create a competitive deck, rotate that deck out into a new Extended format, add a few cards and still be competitive.

Thanks for bearing with me, I’ll be putting my Tardis away for now.


The closest thing to time travel Aiokii has ever experienced was Daylight Savings Time. If you would like to contact Aiokii Tweet at https://twitter.com/TheAiokii or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thepaperchampionblog or message or post in the comments below.

One response to “The Fate of Modern

  1. Pingback: The Complaint Department | The Paper Champion·

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