Today, Wizards of the Coast announced that the new Historic format would be coming to Magic: the Gathering Arena in November, and that they would begin adding cards “from across Magic’s history for play in Historic formats and events.”

The Historic Format

In June, Wizards revealed that they would be introducing a new format to MTG Arena called Historic. The format is intended to address the impending rotation of Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan, Dominaria, and Core Set 2019 out of Standard with the release of Throne of Eldraine on September 26, 2019. Currently, MTG Arena only supports events using the Standard card pool, and players weren’t sure if they would still be able to the cards they had collected from the sets rotating out of Standard.

Standard rotation in the Fall of 2019.

Historic, as a new non-rotating format specific to MTG Arena, will allow players to continue playing with those cards. It will include both the cards that are no longer in Standard as well as those that are legal in Standard and will keep adding each new set into the card pool.

The format was originally announced as a Best-of-One unranked format, but Wizards said that they will be introducing a Best-of-Three Historic ranked queue in December. It will only be available for around four weeks and contribute to the same Constructed rank as the Standard ranked queue.

“New” Old Cards Coming to MTG Arena

Along with the Historic format, Wizards will be adding “new” old cards to MTG Arena “from across Magic’s history” for use in the format. 15-20 new cards will be added in November for the beginning of the new format, with the goal of adding more cards every quarter.

One of the biggest questions facing MTG Arena is whether or not it will ever support Magic’s older sets like Magic Online does. MTG Arena supported both the Kaladesh and Amonkhet blocks during it’s Closed Beta, but those cards were removed from the game (and player collections) during Magic’s last Standard rotation in the Fall of 2018 with the release of Guilds of Ravnica. It is likely that cards from those two blocks will be included in the cards that are added to MTG Arena for Historic play.

Wizards acknowledged that players want to see Magic’s older sets come to MTG Arena, but they said that “the development time required to add hundreds of cards from older sets, knowing that only a few may have a positive impact on Historic, was more time than we could honestly commit.”

“Adding full non-Standard sets may come eventually,” they continued, “but right now, we’d rather focus on adding meaningful cards on a timeline players can look forward to.”

Magic’s R&D team is collaborating with the MTG Arena team to decide on the cards that will added to MTG Arena so that they can create “a fun and interesting format” that doesn’t “just feel like ‘Old Standard.'”

Later, on Weekly MTG, Executive Producer Chris Cao gave examples of the kinds of cards that Wizards was considering putting into Historic: Brainstorm, Wellwisher, Firebolt, Empyrial Armor, Wurmcoil Engine, and Dark Confidant. Though he emphasized that the cards weren’t guaranteed to be a part of Historic, just that they were the kinds of cards that Wizards wanted to add to the format.

Historic Cards Will Cost Two Wildcards to Craft

Update 9/13/19: Wizards has walked back the two Wildcard crafting cost for Historic cards.

Though players were excited to hear that older cards would be coming to MTG Arena, the announcement that those Historic cards would cost two wildcards to craft, while Standard cards would continue to cost one wildcard, was met with some serious skepticism.

The change to the crafting cost of Historic cards will take effect in November around the release of the new format. That gives players about a month after rotation occurs on MTG Arena on September 26 to craft Historic cards at the existing 1:1 rate.

Executive Producer Chris Cao went on Weekly MTG a few hours after the announcement to explain that requiring two Wildcards to craft Historic cards was intended to protect the “health of the game.”

One of the most common community suggestions is to take advantage of that month in order to craft the buddy/check lands from Ixalan and Dominaria before their crafting prices double. Powerful lands are the foundation of non-rotating formats and will likely be just as necessary in every Historic deck.

Saffron Olive recommends crafting your lands before their prices go up.

Don’t Forget About Brawl

Historic isn’t the only format coming to MTG Arena this Fall—Brawl with be added to the game, as well. The introduction of Brawl to MTG Arena will be accompanied by four new pre-constructed Brawl decks, which will be available on October 4, 2019.


UPDATE: Added more information provided by Chris Cao on Weekly MTG.

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