I’m Rotating Out Of Standard, So What Now? by Michael Glover

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At the time of writing it’s Friday the 19th of August. For myself, it’s the last FNM before the next Standard rotation, and that’s got me thinking. 

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Why I’m leaving Standard

Yep that’s right, tonight the last time I’m going to be able to play Standard at my LGS before the sets, Dragons of Tarkir and Magic Origins rotates out of Standard and we welcome in all the goodness that the upcoming set Kaladesh brings. This has got me thinking, due to my limited access to Standard events, it might be time for me to join Dragons and Origins and leave Standard too.

Before I carry on, I’m not leaving Standard because of any reasons around the meta, deck prices, or even how quickly rotation is now, it’s simply down to accessibility; if I can’t access the format, then there’s no reason for me to play it. Which leaves me with one question, where do I go from here?

Anyone for a Draft?

Next to Standard are the limited formats (drafts and sealed). Now I’m a big fan of prerelease events, and they are something I do plan to continue to attend when I can as I feel that it’s hard to beat the atmosphere that a prerelease brings.

Drafts being the more common sub-format of limited, but a format as proven last night, that I’m notoriously bad at. I tend to get tunnel vision when it comes to picking cards (I passed you Murder) and just seem to go with my first pick and try and force it (I PASSED YOU MURDER). That’s something I plan to work on with the next set, taking time to research each set and it’s archetypes before I play, as the bottom line is that I do enjoy drafting and if you’re any good at it, the prizes or credit ends up paying for itself, and everyone loves a free roll.

Modern, the land of no rotation, just the occasional ban or two

Following on from Standard comes Modern, now, I would be telling a lie if I said I was not interested in the format, it benefits from no rotation, and offers a huge range of decks compared to Standard. So let’s have a quick look at the meta breakdown of Standard and Modern.

As of the 19th of August, the top five decks in Standard are as follows:

  1. Bant company, 161 decks with 31.69% of the meta at a cost of $346
  2. Golgarium, 47 decks with 9.25 % of the meta at a cost of $437
  3.  B/W control, 29 decks with 5.71% of the meta at a cost of $365
  4.  U/R Thermo-Thing,  22 decks with 4.33% of the meta at a cost of $126
  5. Four – Colour Emerge, 24 decks with 4.94% of the meta at a cost of $294

For Standard, the top five decks holds 55.11% of the meta at an average cost of $342. As of the 19th of August, the top five decks in Modern are as follows.

  1. Jund, 48 decks with 9.13% of the meta at a cost of $1,957
  2. Bant Eldrazi, 39 decks with 7.41% of the meta at a cost of $847
  3. Affinity, 36 decks with 6.84% of the meta at a cost of $748
  4. Zooicide, 28 decks with 5.32% of the meta at a cost of $730
  5. Dredge, 26 decks with 4.94% of the meta at a cost of $549

For Modern, the top five decks holds 33.64% of the meta at an average cost of $1065, largely due to the cost of the Jund decks. So this means the follow about Modern.

  • There is a wider spread of decks in the Modern meta compared to Standard
  • On average, Modern decks cost around 3 times the cost of a Standard deck
  • There are less variations of Modern decks, the 48 versions of Jund compared to the 161 versions of Bant Company

As stated earlier, the Modern format does not have rotation, just a quarterly bans and restrictions which are announced a few days just before the next set comes out. With the last B&R we saw no changes to any format. The next B&R is due on the 26th of September.

The biggest barrier to entry I can see with myself getting into Modern is the buy in to build a competitive deck. Let’s compare the cost of staples of Standard and Modern, starting with Standard. Data correct as of the 19th of August.

top standard - Edited

Out of the top ten cards for Standard, the three most expense most played cards are.

  1. Nissa, Vast wood Seer $15.97
  2. Collected Company, $14.84
  3. Spell Queller, $10.29

Now the top 10 cards played in Modern are as follows. Date correct as of the 19th of August.

top modern - EditedOut of the top ten cards for Modern, the three most expense most played cards are.

  1. Tarmogoyf, $134.07
  2. Noble Hierarch, $52.29
  3. Thoughtseize, $14.25

Now, taking out Tarmogoyf and Noble Hierarch, you could be excused to say that the top 10 most played cards aren’t that more expensive than Standard. The real cost comes from the mana base as most decks will play a mixture of fetch lands, both the Zendikar and Karns versions, as well as shock lands. Let’s move on to compare the costs of the most played lands in Standard and Modern, starting with Standard. Data correct as per the 19th of August.

top standard land - Edited Out of the top ten lands for Standard, the most expense three are:

  1. Prairie stream, $3.35
  2. Canopy Vista, $2.86
  3. Yavimaya Coast, $1.59

Now the top 10 lands played in Modern are as follows. Date correct as of the 19th of August.

top moden landsOut of the top ten lands for Modern, the three most expense are.

  1. Verdant Catacombs, $73.33
  2. Blackcleave cliffs, $19.51
  3. Wooded Foothills, $15.53

This time it clearly shows that the cards in Modern are more than 12 times the average cost over Standard lands. Even if you take the Zendikar fetches out of the equation, you’re still looking at around five times the average cost.

With such a high buy in costs to pick up the staples needed for most decks, coupled with a reduction is play time, I feel that I would not be able to validate the cost vs use amount for a competitive level deck. During my research in Modern decks, I stumbled across a few budget decks that I liked the look of, so I’m not opposed to Modern completely, as I feel I can justified to myself spending $100 on a deck I enjoy and one that will most likely not get banned, and as its Modern, it wont rotate out either. 

Please sir, spare any commons?

The next format which has been seeing play in more LGS and on MTGO is Pauper. Pauper, for those that do not know, is a constructed format which uses cards that has at one time or another been printed at common level.

One of the big benefits is the cost to buy in, Pauper has a very low buy in. Most decks cost around the $50 mark and benefit from no rotation, like Modern. Paupers only real downside is that it can sometimes be hard to find the cards needed, as most decks are built using commons from old sets. Secondly, finding stores that run Pauper events can be a challenge. If your local store runs Pauper events, or your friends play, then it’s a format to get into for sure.

I’m going to wait to get into Pauper, as I feel that I would play it even less than I would play Modern, but then again, it depends on what my local community plays.

The bank said “no” to the overdraft

The next two formats, Legacy and Vintage I will quickly cover. Hahaha no, not in this lifetime.

Which leaves one last format which I’m going to talk about, Commander.

I only need one or two Commander decks…

Commander for those who do not know, is a singleton multiplayer format where you build a 100 card deck and you are only allowed single copies of non basic land cards. Each deck is lead by a Legendary creature, whose colour identity dictates what colour of cards you can use in your deck.

For example, Meren of Clan Nel Toth colour identity is made up of black and green, as theses are the colours that appear on her card. While, Tasigur, the Golden Fang colour identity is made up of black, green and blue, as green and blue can be found on the card as an activation cost.

The format was player designed and has now been adopted as an official format by Wizards of the Coast whom now design and release products for. Each year, Wizards of the Coast releases five pre-constructed decks that are built around the five commanders. Each deck contains around 15 new cards for the format which are banned in Standard and Modern (much like Conspiracy). This year’s decks will feature four colour commanders which I’m quite excited about.

Commander allows you to build whatever flavor of deck you want to. Want to build a deck with all of the Planeswalkers ever printed? Well you can! Tribes of vampires, zombies, spiders, or angles? They are all possible decks that you can build.

Another good reason to play is the cost. Commander allows the player to spend as much or as little as they want on their decks. The Pre-constructed decks offer new players a good starting platform which they can upgrade over time. Also because you only need one copy of a card and can only play one deck at a time, you really only need one copy of key cards for multi decks, such as one copy of Sensei’s Divining Top, Sol Ring, fetch lands, etc, and simply place them in whichever deck your playing.

Because only legendary creatures can be used, you will find yourself only needing to pick a handful of new cards from the latest sets. For example, Eldritch Moon only contained 7 would be commanders and the set before that, Shadows Over Innistrad has 5. Any other cards from the set that you like the look of you could pick up relatively cheap. If they are not a Standard staple, you will be looking at under the $2 mark.

That’s about it for the roads I can go down after my Standard rotation. I feel that I want to go deeper into Commander and explore drafting more. It will be interesting to see the shift of formats but I am looking forward to building up my Commander decks as well as dipping my toes into Modern with a budget deck. I hope this article has been a interesting read for you as I debate where to go with Magic after my own personal rotation.

Finally, thanks again for reading my article. Please share it with any of your friends who you think may find it interesting. If you got something to say or ask then please leave me a comment, I always enjoy reading any feedback on my articles. Until next time.

You might find this Facebook poll interesting: What are your feelings towards the frequency and volume of new MTG products being released? and how does this affect your MTG experience? (Please note that you need to be a member of the mtgUK & Ireland Community & Trading Discussions group to vote, so please join!)

Michael Glover

All meta data on decks and cards are pulled from MTG Goldfish. Data was current at the time of writing, the 19th of August

I'm Rotating Out Of Standard, So What Now? by Michael Glover
At the time of writing it's Friday the 19th of August. For myself, it's the last FNM before the next Standard rotation, and that's got me thinking.

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