A CCG, online or not, can’t exist with just one format. It was easy enough to predict that Hearthstone would eventually add a limited format to go with its “anything goes” format, but Magic: The Gathering Arena has gone in the other direction. The Standard format, which sees sets rotate every couple of years, has been announced as how MTGA will do business, but it looks like the game will be adding another format in the future.

In an interview with ScreenRant, Wizards of the Coat Vice President of Esports Elaine Chase said that a “Standard Plus” format will eventually make its way over to Magic: The Gathering Arena. Chase said that they “don’t have any details to share on exactly what that looks like,” but Wizards’ “intent for sure is to have Arena’s Standard Plus format.”

That’s a format that uses a larger pool of cards, which has the obvious benefit of letting players use cards that have rotated out of the main Standard format, similar to Hearthstone’s Wild format. While it’s not necessary now, with Arena’s limited card pool, it will be down the road as more card sets find their way into the game. At least it’s good to see that Wizards of the Coast — who pioneered the notion of multiple formats for Magic: The Gathering over 20 years ago — anticipates this issue and is communicating to its fans that it’s coming.


  1. My guess is standard plus means, if the deck was considered standard at any point in time, then its legal to play. Perhaps it will mean if your circa 2016 deck you can only fight other 2016 decks. Wait and see.
    Do the second set of releases going backwards. 2017, 2016, 2015 along with new content that’s moving forward.

  2. What a lacklustre announcement.

    Bad enough that you can only progress by winning (there’s no compensation for losing a match outside of some potential ticks to your single daily quest and matchmaking itself is a joke, which even the developers have acknowledged given that they’re completely rehauling it in the next patch), thus new players seldom stick around long. Without an incentive to play, win or lose, there’s scant point in doing so… worse yet, the “win the match or you’ve wasted your time” pervasive mentality has led to everyone playing the same bloody aggro decks.

    What the game NEEDS is a revamp: more daily quests and some long-term progression tracks that reward players for participating regardless of the outcome (say, by playing certain decks or colors, inflicting X amount of damage in a turn, using only CMC spells of XYZ or greater, employing specific cards, etc, all of which would unlock cards of a similar type, thus people who want to play a black vampire deck are rewarded for doing so by earning ever more powerful black vampire cards or cosmetics that fit their style, such as avatars, new card art and deck boxes), larger and custom health-pool matches for people who want to mess about with so-called “jank” cards and not be blown out by aggro in the first three rounds, alongside more casual gameplay modes.

    Forget standard: give us Two-Headed Giant or Commander!


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