Hey everyone and welcome to another Modern Musings, and just in case you didn’t read the title, the latest big news in competitive magic is the return of the Modern format to the Pro Tour. What does this mean for the format? How will this impact the average player? Why did they stop doing Modern Pro Tours in the first place? Are those reasons still valid? This week we’ll take a look at these questions and more, let’s get into it!
Why Did They Stop Doing Modern Pro Tours?
In an article entitled “Where Modern Goes From Here” Aaron Forsythe made the case for removing modern from the Pro Tour circuit. His argument can be broken down into a couple key points:
- The Pro Tour is meant to show off the latest set, modern generally doesn’t do that.
- Modern is more about playing the same established deck over and over rather than trying to solve the puzzle of the format.
- The player base fears (probably rightfully so) that the existence of modern Pro Tours encourages and accelerates the banning of cards in the format.
I actually feel that these were pretty valid concerns at the time and are still valid today. That being said, I’m a little less sold on the argument that modern is more about repetition and less about innovation. Though I’ll admit that I’m a little biased on this topic as someone who likes to brew, I do find it hard to believe that the format isn’t waiting to be broken open by some overlooked synergy or combo. I suspect that with the pros having more incentive to turn a critical eye towards the format, we will discover we knew less about the format than we thought. If this is the case, then Wizards will be under pressure to potentially ban cards to keep things fair. Of course, if I’m wrong, and the opposite is true, that the format is mostly solved and repetition is the thing that matters the most, then, like last time, Wizards will be under pressure to ban/unban cards to keep things interesting. Both of these scenarios I think are undesirable.
How Will this Impact the Average Player?
It’s no secret that most magic players don’t play on the Pro Tour, in fact, most don’t play competitive magic. So what effect, if any, is this going to have on the average Joe magic player? The most prominent way I can see is in card prices. People want to play decks that top 8’ed the Pro Tour. This can drive demand significantly, causing huge price spikes. This is especially true in modern, where supply of certain cards can be painfully low.
How Will this Impact Modern as a Format?
We’ve already talked a little bit about the implications of modern being a Pro Tour format, but what are some of the other effects that result from this change? I speculate that there will be more pressure for wizards to print cards for modern in the newer sets to try and mitigate the fact that a standard Pro Tour isn’t showing them off. I’m not totally against this if it does happen, as it will be nice to get new cards specifically aimed at doing things in modern.
As much as I like modern, I’m just not sure how good this will be for the format. I think that wizards might just end up once again remove modern from the Pro Tour circuit. The upside is that we may get some sweet new cards for modern.
Anyway, that’s all for this week, join me next week when we look at some cards I think are just waiting to be broken in modern. As always, don’t forget to let me know what you think in the comments, and I’ll see you next time!