Historic Format Guide – What We Know So Far

History of Benalia Art by Noah Bradley
History of Benalia Art by Noah Bradley

Historic format will be introduced to MTG Arena soon with the release of Throne of Eldraine and the coinciding Standard rotation. We have compiled all the known details and information regarding this new constructed format. As more information unfolds and changes in the next coming weeks, we will be sure to update it here also.

See also: When is MTG Arena Standard Rotation Happening in 2019?

Most of the information is covered in the State of Beta August 2019 which you can check out below, but here we will clarify points pertaining to Historic only.

See also: MTG Arena: State of the Beta – August 2019

What is Historic?

Historic will be a new way to play MTG Arena, as an alternative to the Standard format. It is a non-rotating format, or otherwise known as an “eternal” format, similar to Modern and Legacy in tabletop Magic: The Gathering. You will be able to play with all available cards released on MTG Arena.

  • Historic will adhere to the same basic constructed rules – minimum of 60 cards and up to 15 card sideboard and no more than 4 copies of any individual non-basic land cards.
  • Historic will have its own banned or “suspended” (discussed below) card list – independent of Standard.
  • Cards from sets Ixalan onward will be permitted in Historic decks, as well as other introduced Historic-specific cards (more on this below).

When can we start playing Historic?

September 26, 2019

Once MTG Arena’s first Standard rotation happens on September 26, we can technically start creating Historic decks and start playing. The only mode of play available on September 26 will be the best-of-one casual Play queue and direct challenges. Players will be matched against other players queued with Historic decks.

November 2019

The format will be officially introduced and promoted from November 2019, where there will be an in-game event that allows players to obtain special Historic-only cards (see below section).

December 2019

For the December 2019 ranked season, they plan to allow players to queue with their Historic decks to ranked ladder for both best-of-one and best-of-three modes – and will be part of the same constructed rank as Standard.

From then on, they plan to hold monthly Historic events, such as Pauper and Singleton. Does that mean we will have separate events for Standard Pauper and Singleton?

How can I obtain Historic cards?

Booster Packs and Wildcards

Vault Rewards

Once Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan, Dominaria and Core Set 2019 rotates out of Standard, you will still only be able to obtain them by purchasing their respective packs or crafting specific cards with Wildcards. However, a few changes are planned to happen with the way they can be purchased:

  • From September 26, only the 45 booster pack bundle for Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan, Dominaria and Core Set 2019 packs will be available for purchase from the store.
  • From November 2019, crafting Historic cards with Wildcards will require two Wildcards of the respective rarity.

Update September 14: Wizards have reversed these changes!

Historic Events

Other than cards from Ixalan onward, Wizards also plan to introduce Historic-only cards to the format. These are planned to be around 15 to 20 cards from “Magic’s history” – hinted at card examples (but does not mean they will be added) such as Brainstorm, Firebolt, Wurmcoil Engine and Dark Confidant.

They plan to add new cards such as these to Historic every 3 months, introduced in the form of in-game events starting November 2019. The first Historic event will reward players with 4 copies of each of these new Historic cards, regardless of the number of wins.

Other interesting points:

  • If a Historic card is both in Standard and in an older Historic set, the Standard version will be 1 Wildcard to redeem but the Historic version will be 2 Wildcards (e.g. Luminous Bonds). You can still play with both cards in either formats, irrespective of their versions.
  • Sets prior to Ixalan (e.g. Kaladesh, Amonkhet) that were in the closed beta are not “off the table”, so they still have a chance to be introduced, depending on how the format shapes up.

What do we think?

As a fan of Modern and Legacy, we wish for MTG Arena to have its eternal format to be balanced and fun to play. Assembling all the powerful combos and cards from old sets together, and having a larger card pool to play with makes it an enjoyable experience, especially if Standard gets stale and we need a break from it.

However, we are not too sure of the changes being made to make the format more expensive, especially for newer players that did not have the chance to play with these cards. As it is right now, players have until November to try and craft cards that are powerful enough to be played in Historic before the Wildcard requirements increase. This also dampens players also trying to keep up with Standard and obtaining new Throne of Eldraine cards. Wildcards are already a precious resource for free-to-play players.

We also think MTG Arena must be very careful in adding cards from older sets to the Historic format – especially if they can warp the format on their own. We think it may be better if the format can grow organically without external card sources, but on the other side of the argument without these new cards the format would not look too much different from what we’ve seen already in this Standard.

Wrapping Up

What do you think about the Historic format? How do you think it will shape up, especially with their own cards being introduced? Do you like the changes Wizards are implementing? Let us know in the comments below and make sure to follow us on Twitter for the latest MTG Arena news.

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