Standard: Five reasons for its Tabletop demise
11/17/22 0 comments
The frequency of tabletop Standard games has dropped dramatically in the post-pandemic world. In this article, we present five points that contribute to its low popularity on local stores.Edit Article
Five Reasons Why Tabletop Standard is Declining
1 - Standard is no longer at the heart of competitive MagicIf you've been following the game for a few years, it's likely that you remember the famous SCG Open, Grand Prix, Pro Tours and other tournaments that had as part of their appeal detailed coverage with a streaming that used to emphasize Standard matches. Of course, the reason behind this was to keep the newest product always fresh among players and enthusiasts on the competitive circuits. There was an appeal to watching other players compete against each other every week, watching live the techs and evolutions that a format with a smaller card pool like Standard went through, and there was a certain satisfaction in "playing the same deck" as that guy who won the Grand Prix, or that made Top 8 in the SCG Open. There was also a lot of learning in watching these tournaments, since maybe the play that
youwould do in that situation would differ from that of the player on camera, and you wouldn't even consider the decision they made. Standard has always been at the heart of these tournaments, which meant that if a player wanted to one day compete in a Grand Prix or participate in a major event, they
hadto know and play the format, which motivated players to go every week to the local stores to play with their decks, training for PTQs and other large-scale tournaments. But times have changed: Magic Arena now exists as the format's main platform and was, during the pandemic, the game's only means of competitive performance, Organized Play has died and "resurrected", and the focus of the last Qualifier season was Pioneer, so there hasn't been room for it on the tabletop recently, and
historically, Standard isn't a format people play because they love it, but because they need to play it to compete. And as long as it's relegated to the shadows of what's left of "professional" Magic, the format will never succeed and be as great as it once was.
2 - Magic Arena is the most affordable way to play Standard todayThere are a dozen criticisms we can make about Magic Arena and Wizards' failed attempt to enter the eSports environment without a platform that behaves like an eSport. The absence of a spectator mode three years after its official release is still an issue, but the digital platform is the easiest and most accessible way for players to experience and compete in Standard. There is nothing better than playing from the comfort of your home or your cell phone anywhere at any time, and although the game's economy is far what we can claim as good or exemplary, it is less expensive than purchasing singles on the secondary market, both for the rewards of daily boosters and coins that allow you, with some effort, to play in free-to-play mode, and for what you get for the same amount you would pay for physical cards: on average, 100 boosters on Arena costs $100, and guarantee a good average of cards from the new set, in addition to a good number of wildcards and Vault progress to acquire more items. There are also some are viable options for grinding in free-to-play today, such as Mono Blue Delver, which has up to twelve rares and zero mythics.
yours, and only grant you access to them, making them non-transferable and, to a certain extent, a wasted investment as there is no means to resell or redistribute what you open in boosters. But this culture of maximizing profits in the TCG universe is something almost exclusive to the tabletop, migrated to Magic Online due to the card pricing through Tix, it doesn't belong to the universe of digital card games as we know it today, and for a parcel among players who get to know the game's universe through Arena, perhaps the concept of "maximizing the profit from what you open in the booster pack" seems almost like a crazy idea. Add it to the fact that the big competitive Standard events are all taking place on MTGArena, which made tabletop tournaments a "thing of the past" during the pandemic and the years that follow, and that the format is the main entry to the digital platform, there is little reason for a player who enjoys tournaments to be interested in playing it on the tabletop.
3 - Card prices and rotation still matter, and power creep helps but also hurtsRotation was always the main reason players didn't want to play Standard, which was why pulling it into the highest competitive tier was so important. The idea of "losing your deck" after 12 or 18 months is offensive to most of the public, especially when formats like Pioneer and Modern exist, and Commander is the most popular game mode today.
4 - There are times when its Metagame is great, but it often sucksIn a historical context, how many times in the past few years has Standard been in a good spot on the competitive scene? Its smaller pool brings, as a result, more situations where the Metagame cannot resolve itself, which has made it common for us to need bans to regulate things. This season, The Meathook Massacre was the first card banned from the format, but it likely won't be the last until the end of the season, and has been like this since bans were no longer a taboo.
5 - The pandemic had its consequencesAfter all, it's been almost two years without tabletop events and major Magic: The Gathering tournaments taking place around the world, and most players haven't bothered to keep their collections up to date for Standard. Many migrated to Pioneer because the cards they had when we were suddenly forced into social distancing are still legal there, while others are building their collections now.
What does Standard need now?
benefitsthe player for deciding on this format would anyone think about migrating from Magic Arena to the tabletop, or would Pioneer players think about investing in both, since now, their cards communicate better between both formats, or make the famous "Spike" interested in leaving their home to play at their local store to train for the next RCQ. This would also help content creators to dedicate more of their time recording videos, writing articles or preparing guides instead of investing their time in other topics. Improving the release schedule to prevent one product from taking precedence over could work as well. Of course, Standard's audience differs from Commander's, and the tabletop player profile isn't the same as Arena's, but everyone needs time to absorb the product, and if the company is pushing one set after another, how can anyone think that
maybeplaying Standard is cool while the next special set is knocking on our door, offering another product category focused on this target audience? Not to mention the counterproductive proposal that Magic Arena ad cards inside booster packs saying, in short, "play for free, from the comfort of your home" has.