It seems not common to play a format where you would be allowed to play with any deck that was once legal at the end of a Standard rotation.

I think I would enjoy it because that format has a lower power level/cost (than Modern or other eternal formats). Plus you can really work at a deck over a long time so that if you make a good change, it's because you understood the strengths and weaknesses and were able to reevaluate the set, and not because a new card was introduced to you. And there could be more variety because you can't reach for the same proven cards for your archetype like in other formats.

On the down sides, others might not be able to validate the legality of your deck as easily, and the sets could be mismatched in power.

Am I correct in saying it's not common? What are the reasons?

  • 1
    There is the format called block constructed, which has some of the qualities that you're mentioning. Magic doesn't really come in blocks any more, though, so that's not going to work for more recent expansions. Also I don't think any serious event ever allowed decks from different blocks the way you describe.
    – Arthur
    Jan 6, 2020 at 10:25
  • The basic reason any format isn't more common is that people don't enjoy it as much as other format(s).
    – Caleth
    Jan 6, 2020 at 12:05
  • I've only heard of one YouTuber speculating about this format before, so I think it is just something most people haven't contemplated. The biggest problem to me is that it will be very hard to answer systemic problems in the format. Some standards simply did not have the tools to deal with decks from other standards, and if those decks are dominant then the standards without the tools are unplayable. Also, WOTC has recently been open about the fact they haven't even been trying to keep Standard at a consistent power level lately (although they want to try to level off)
    – CALEB F
    Jan 6, 2020 at 16:35

2 Answers 2


Card Kingdom has a YouTube series called Gauntlet of Greatness - Historical Standard where they pit the all-time great standard decks against each other. It's not exactly what you're talking about since they are copies from actual decks at the time, which are catered towards their own standard meta-game, not the meta-game of the historical standard format. But even so, the power-level and cost of some of these decks are pretty comparable to those in Modern. The problems with the concept as an actual format are many:

  1. Rock-paper-scissors. A standard format is designed so that if something is intended to be powerful there are answers built into the format. If they let X be powerful, then it's okay because Y exists. Well, if you get to play with X deck in historical, other decks will simply not have access to Y. Compare this to other eternal formats where including X also includes Y into the format. There will be many lopsided matchups because certain standard periods simply don't have the tools to beat decks from other standard periods.
  2. Clarifying legality. Standard rotates multiple times per year and each standard-banning essentially splits a format as well, giving potentially hundreds of legal time periods to choose from. Then the format itself will likely need a banned and restricted list as well, but which periods do they apply to? All periods containing that card? Only periods where that card is problematic in the greater format? You're basically creating a list of hundreds of card pools to choose from, as opposed to just one like every other format, and that will be an absolute pain to deal with. I can't see this being done in paper.
  3. Card availability. Cards from older sets will be incredibly hard to come by. Some are powerhouses in eternal formats and are very expensive. Some of them might even be on the reserved list. Others might have been ignored when they were current or after their rotation, but suddenly become sought-after due to this format and are impossible to get a hold of.

Things don't work this way because decks at the end of different Standards are built for their own specific metagames. For example, consider this Fires of Invention deck in current Standard.

Obviously most of the cards in this deck are for furthering its own proactive gameplan, but note some other card choices:

  • Justice Strike: you might think this is generic removal, but if the key threats in the format don't have more power than toughness, it's actually a bad card. Some example of threats from recent metas which Justice Strike is really bad against: Shalai, Voice of Plenty; Trostani Discordant.
  • Tithe Taker: the main reason this card's in the sideboard is to fight Simic and Izzet flash, two important decks in the current metagame. They're generically good against counterspell decks of course (and counterspell decks are in most metagames), but the current meta requires some especially harsh countermeasures because of the flash decks.
  • Aether Gust: obviously if the metagame weren't heavy red and green, this card would never make the sideboard, let alone the maindeck.

Compare that to this deck from Worlds 2018, several metas ago. If you try playing the two decks against each other you should see one major problem immediately. The Fires of Invention deck literally cannot answer Hazoret the Fervent. Hazoret attacks through all its blockers, presents a fast clock, has Haste (i.e. resistant to bounce), and pretty much walks over the deck on its own.

Does this mean the Fires of Invention deck is poorly constructed? No, it just means the deck wasn't constructed with Hazoret in mind. Cards that can answer Hazoret do exist in current Standard (e.g. Devout Decree, Prison Realm), but the Fires deck isn't playing them because it's not expecting to have to answer Hazoret. If Hazoret suddenly became legal in current Standard you can bet that the Fires list will adapt. There're tons of other examples: e.g. Deafening Clarion is a bad card if the key threats in the format have >3 toughness; Goblin Chainwhirler meant that for a long time, anything with 1 toughness (like Paradise Druid in the current metagame) were suppressed.

tl; dr: you could pit Standard card pools against former Standard pools (although even then I suspect it'll be unbalanced: some pools are simply going to be more powerful than others), but to pit decks against other decks is a disaster waiting to happen.

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