Magic Arena interrupts Pioneer Masters and focuses on history and standard
Magic arena, the online interface of Wizards of the Coast’s first collectible card game Magic: The Gathering, made a lot of profits last year. The interface has also expanded to accommodate players who have been locked into their homes by the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that followed. When Arena began to showcase the historical format, a format that is only used on Arena and not on physical paper Magic play, around the same time, Wizards of the Coast introduced the Pioneer format for physical play. However, one skyrocketed, while the other passed out fairly quickly. With this in mind, the developers of Arena announced that they would suspend the first stages of Pioneer’s integration with the digital interface and instead focus their efforts on existing formats on Arena.
Originally, Pioneer only had five banned cards. These maps were the five Allied fetchlands, reprinted in the Khans of Tarkir extension set. The banned list has grown since then, now including cards such as Pissing, Nature’s Wrath Titan and Oko, thief of crowns. Beyond that, the Pioneer format began to Back to Ravnica and extends to today’s sets. Today that means up to Strixhaven: School of the Magi, but would soon encompass Adventures in Forgotten Realms. However, the future of support for Pioneer is now uncertain with the absence of Pioneer Masters, a Magic arena– Extension set only, for increased support for the most popular historical and standard formats (including Brawl).
What that probably means for Wizards of the Coast as a whole is that they need to focus on promoting the formats they already have. This includes reprinting old cards which may render their formats or even break them. If Wizards of the Coast were to devote more time to this practice, even if they were even more comprehensive product releases, it would most likely do the game good in whatever formats reprints affect. But what do you think? Would wizards go so far as to abolish the list reserved for these purposes, thus revitalizing Legacy? Would they reprint more of Modern’s more expensive cards, potentially needing to recognize the format’s aftermarket to do so? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!