How The Size of Magic: The Gathering's Standard Format Changed Over Time

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By Jake Vyper | More Articles MTG Writer/Streamer
November 27, 2019  02:20 PM

 

Have you ever wondered how the size of Magic: the Gathering's Standard changed over time? The amount of cards legal in the Standard format hasn't always been the same, so how is it different now compared to when the trading card game launched in 1995? 

Thankfully, an Level 3 MTG judge, who goes by the name SaviaWanderer on Reddit, has created a detailed chart that shows the size of Standard over time.

Check it out below: 

I made a chart of the size of Standard over time from r/magicTCG

The Redditor breaks classified the sizes in four distinct phases: 

Formation (1995 to 1999) - Crazy times as the format is invented and the rules for which sets are legal changes frequently. This includes the only time that sets rotated out of Standard and then a later rules change put them back in again.

Steady State (1999 to 2005) - The "2 blocks and a core set" model is extremely consistent for a long period of time.

Plateau (2005 to 2009) - The extra sets of Coldsnap and Eventide, plus the timeshifted sheet, knock things to the moon and the largest ever Standard.

Modern (2009 onwards) - Where we are now. The spikes of Standard are larger due to the "overlapping Core Set" rule. The format is trending larger year upon year and is already headed towards the peak of the Plateau era.

The recent increase may also be due to the Planeswalker deck exlusive cards being Standard legal and the increase of other supplemental sets like the Throne of Eldraine preconstructed Brawl decks. Many of those cards may be underpowered and unplayable in competitive Standard but they still increase the number of cards legal in the format. It may also be due to the move from large and small sets to all large sets since they Wizards of the Coast got rid of the set block structures. The last small set they released was Rivals of Ixalan in January 2018. 

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Jake Vyper is a Fantasy & Sci-Fi Author, Social Media Manager, and Founder of Epicstream.com
@Jake Vyper | jake@epicstream.com