Magic: The Gathering is set to undergo a fundamental structure change in 2015 that will completely re-work the way Wizards release blocks of cards and their expansions, addressing what they call “the third set problem”.
“Since the beginning of the block structure (Mirage block, way back in 1996), the third set has always been a problem child,” writes Wizards’ Mark Rosewater.
“It needs to have enough cohesion to feel as if it belongs to the block, but it has to have enough differences that it manages to spark the interest of the players, who have already been playing the environment for seven or more months.”
Rosewater goes on to explain and evaluate the various options that the team had when trying to deal with the problem, before settling on a radical solution: literally just cutting the third set out, starting with the next block after Khans of Tarkir, and ditching Core Sets altogether.
As a result, the size of Standard will be three rather than two blocks, to keep the metagame “more robust”.
“This change is the reason we are telling you this now, because we want you to understand that Khans of Tarkir will only be played in Standard for 18 months,” Rosewater explains. “This change should not have any impact on the set’s role in other formats.”
Starting with the Blood block in September 2015, each block will have “one large set that introduces the world and one small set that builds upon it”. As of 2016, Core Sets will be no more, and the first set of each block will cause a rotation.
In case any of that didn’t make sense, be sure to visit this article and look at the delightful animated gifs that Wizards have put together to show how the new schedule and rotations work. Lovely.
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