Explorer: An introduction to Magic Arena's new format
04/23/22 0 comments
Wizards has announced a new format in Magic Arena, Explorer. In this article, I explain everything about the new format, what to expect, and five decklists to get you started!Edit Article
Explorer. In case you don't know what I'm talking about and how it can affect the digital platform promoted by the company, I'm here to explain how the format works, where it came from and what we can expect in the future for Magic Arena as a whole.
What is the Explorer format?
Explorer will be a format which will eventually become Pioneer in Magic Arena. When initially planned, Historic would be the eternal format that would encompass Standard sets that rotated on the digital platform. However, over the years, numerous products were added to Magic Arena, such as JumpStart, Historic Horizons, the various Historic Anthology bundles, and the inclusion of Strixhaven's Mystical Archives, which made Historic something entirely different from what was expected of it, and the inclusion of exclusively digital cards and the rebalancing policy made Historic an
exclusive element of Magic Arena, distinct from the tabletop. This distinction between digital and tabletop products left a gap in Magic Arena for an eternal competitive format that was true to tabletop. Just as Standard is faithful to what we see in local stores or tournaments, there needed to be a digital format that could be faithful to what we see on the tables in stores and arouse the players' interest, and the ideal format would be
Pioneer. However, there are several cards in Pioneer that aren't present on Arena. Therefore, Wizards decided to create a transitional format, which will eventually become Pioneer within Magic Arena as important cards are added by supplemental products, this format is
Explorer, which will be available in Best of 1 and Best of 3 from the release of Streets of New Capenna, but you can start building decks now.
What is legal in Explorer?
existing in Magic Arena and which are banned in Explorer are:
banned. For now, the company doesn't intend to ban anything, and if that happens, this card (if it's legal on Pioneer) will be playable again when Explorer becomes Pioneer.
Why not just add Pioneer to Magic Arena?Well, there is no clear explanation as to why exactly they chose to create a format that will eventually become Pioneer, but this is not the first time it happened: on Magic Online, the “Classic” format was made to create an eternal format that, gradually, increased with Masters Editions until it became Vintage.
How hard is it to build your Explorer collection?
despite considering draft and sealed some of the most fun formats to play on tabletop), I stopped playing on the platform after Adventures in the Forgotten Realms came out and just logged back into my account last week since, with college and work, my best option to enjoy Magic is through my smartphone. Looking at what really matters in an eternal format, manabase, and looking at the Pioneer examples most played lands are a mix of Shocklands, Pathways, Fast Lands, Triomes, and Slow Lands, with occasional Check Lands popping up in some lists, and if you've played Standard for the past couple of years, you've probably composed a manabase collection robust enough for Explorer. As for the other cards, it depends on what you want to build, but Magic itself isn't exactly built in a way that rewards the Wildcard system much because, unlike other digital card games, rare cards are infinitely more important than many commons and uncommons on most deck, making them virtually more expensive than in other games. So, for those who have been playing Magic Arena for a while (even if only Standard), it may not be that difficult to start their Explore collection, but for the player who has recently joined or who will start playing Magic Arena in the near future, the entry barrier is significantly high, perhaps as high as Historic. My general recommendation is, if you've just started playing and don't have a lot of rare and mythic wildcards available, focus on Standard or Draft to improve your collection, and then think about whether you want to play Explorer. I'll be searching for alternatives that are cheap on rare and mythic wildcards, so you too can enjoy this new format when it launches, I promise.
Which important Pioneer cards are not in Explorer yet?
Five Explorer Decklists