Mana Mind – Proposing a format: Planescape by Brad Pearce

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I had a long and interesting conversations with a few guys at Worcester at the last Legacy tournament about formats. I love Magic and I really like dipping into new formats, so I decided to try and create a format that would fill a void.

I have a few magic buddies that I play casually with, one started around Mirrodin block and has a very nice collection, however it doesn’t span much past Mirrodin. Another played from Tempest through to Ravnica, and they have some really good “Tempest Type 2” decks but little else. I am willing to bet that most causal players have a clump of their collection around certain blocks, and some blocks they have completely missed out; I took a break for a while and have virtually missed out Scars of Mirrodin Block.

The current competitive formats are either roaming formats, like Standard, that rotate sets out regularly, or eternal formats that get fatter and more expensive as cards age and new combos arise. The goal of my intended format is therefore to try and meet somewhere in the middle. Furthermore, the format must always remain accessible.

One way to achieve this is to restrict the card pool by expansion, but have the “expansion goal posts” arbitrary. This means that players could use cards from any of, lets say two defined blocks they choose, for example Lorwyn and Zendikar, but their decks can not contain cards from other blocks. This is obviously less straight forward than ‘everything goes with a banned list’ or ‘last few expansions’ but the expansion symbols would do the work.

This brings me neatly onto Core Sets, admittedly, a nightmare under the aforementioned regime. To aid in accessibility, and allow the format to roam, the latest Core Set would be legal. This would mean that players could have a common, accessible Mana base. While the themes and balance of the core set would supply a base that could shift the choices of block.

So the legal pool could look something like this:

Thran Block (Arabian Nights – Homelands)

Ice Age Block

Mirage Block

Tempest Block

Urza Block

Masques Block

Invasion Block

Odyssey Block

Onslaught Block

Mirrodin Block

Kamigawa Block

Ravnica Block

Time Spiral Block

Lorwyn Block

Shadowmore Block

Shards Block

Zendikar Block

Scars of Mirrodin Block

Magic: 2012

Power values of cards would also change with the expansion choice, for example Necropotence from Ice Age, although supremely great, would be much more brutal with suicide black cards from Scars Block, than say, the Shards Block.

I would really love the community’s input on this, especially, if people are interested in this type of format, to work on a restricted list. Feedback is king, and It would be interesting to see if there are specific biases, such as combo decks prevailing, or weaker expansion choices to gain access to specific cards (yes I am looking at you, Alliances).

Look forward to reading your opinions,


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