A Critique Of The Frontier Format For Magic: The Gathering

A Critique Of The Frontier Format For Magic: The Gathering


(theme music) A Critique Of The Frontier Format for Magic: The Gathering What is Frontier? Frontier is a casual constructed format, popularized by card store Hareruya games in Japan, which allows expansion sets and core sets from Magic 2015 onward. Thus, in the same vein that the Modern format uses all cards from 8th Edition forward, Frontier is composed of all cards that have been printed in a core or expansion set forwards. The starting point was largely determined by the shift to the M15 card frame. There is currently no banlist for Frontier. Just as in Standard and Modern, your decks must contain a minimum of 60 cards, with no more than 4 of a single card except for basic lands being allowed, and decks may also use a 15 card sideboard. Cards do not rotate out of Frontier. Currently, Frontier is brand new and untested. The most obvious comparison with it is, of course, Modern, with many advocates of the format claiming it solves most of Modern’s issues, largely in the way of cost. This video will be a critique of the Frontier format. However, before I begin, I feel it is imperative that I stress: my evaluation of the format is just that — my own. If you disagree with me, if you see things differently than me, if you flat-out think I am wrong and an idiot, then please, please, please say so. There is no correct answer here, least of all, my own. Far from it. I am presenting my critique of the format for consideration, and you are both free and encouraged to disagree. Disagreement and debate is crucial for understanding any complex issue. For example, you may see solutions to the problems that I present and, by sharing those solutions, contribute to the betterment of this new format and the game. So please, respond to my ideas in the comments of this video, knowing that your own ideas are both safe and welcomed here. I want people to play Frontier because I want people to play Magic: The Gathering, and I want people to enjoy Frontier because I want people to enjoy Magic: The Gathering. If you enjoy what you are doing with this game, then you are doing it right, and I cannot encourage that enough. Let’s begin with Modern. While comparisons have been made between everything from Tiny Leaders to Commander, I feel strongly that, in order to understand Frontier, we must first understand Modern. The Modern format allows cards from 8th Edition forwards and is highly, highly popular. One of the defining characteristics of both Frontier and Modern is that, the more they grow, the more decks get added to their environment. Now, with Modern, since the card pool is so deep, there are just too many answers and options to play. You will never be able to beat everything with your deck. There will never be the one singular best deck in the format. It’s a massive version of Rock, Paper, Scissors, which a lot of players, such as myself, love. However, this is one of the main reasons that many pro players did not like the format. You see, pros look to win above all else, but you can’t play a deck in Modern that beats everything. No matter what you play, your deck will have bad match-ups, and it will lose to things, and it’s hard to predict the metagame with a card pool so huge. There are even some hate cards, such as Blood Moon and Ensnaring Bridge, that keep certain things in certain decks in check. Many players hate cards like Blood Moon and Ensnaring Bridge and it is hotly debated whether or not they should be banned, but, as long as those cards exist, the format of Modern does remain in check. A lot of players don’t like these cards existing because their deck can’t beat them, but that is the very nature of Modern, and overall, it is good that these cards exist in Modern. It greatly frustrates the pros, but Modern is simply not for them, which is the main reason why it is no longer a Pro Tour format. Now, Frontier tries to solve these issues, but I fear it does not actually succeed. In response to the point that it loses the hoses like Blood Moon and Ensnaring Bridge, I must argue that those cards, and hoses like them, are needed. The way that Wizards of the Coast designs sets for Standard does not translate well into an eternal format like Frontier without the existence of the hate cards I mentioned. Frontier will just end up with a mess of all the very best cards in one deck because the manabases that already exist for it are near perfect. So, for example, you will get Jeskai Black from Battle for Zendikar Standard. Nothing that currently exists in Frontier can beat these types of decks, and, as the format grows, the decks will replace their own win conditions with new, better ones, but manabases will remain intact. And so the decks will all be four- to five-color, and there are no hate cards like Blood Moon to answer to this. And, there will never be. Why? Because cards like that are not fun for Standard, and cards like that will never be made for Standard, and thus never enter into Frontier. Another claim about Frontier starting with M15 is that there are none of the weird color-pie violation cards. Now that, of course, is a cool thing “in theory,” but, remember, it doesn’t solve the problem of perfect mana. Both Modern and Frontier have deep card pools and can only get deeper with time. But Modern allows you to play literally anything, with nothing dominating, since there are answers for everything. Whereas Frontier will never have this as its card pool grows, because Wizards of the Coast makes cards for Standard and for that specific environment. It is highly, highly unlikely that a card like Blood Moon will be made in Standard to help fight Jeskai Black, Four-Color Rally, and similar four- to five-color builds of the best cards, and yet this is what we will likely see in Frontier. The solution to Modern prices is not a brand new format, arbitrarily decided upon due to a card frame. The solution, which has existed since Modern’s very inception, and continues to exist, is to have better and more ample reprints. Nonetheless, I want to stress that Frontier is an untested format; it is something brand new, and it still has time to grow and surprise us all. I am not against the format being played, or promoted, or enjoyed. If people find it fun, if people want to play it, then I am behind them one hundred percent. I have only presented my critique here as a means of better examining and, ultimately, understanding this brand new format, a format that I have no problem with existing and being played. Heck, if and when it most certainly grows more popular and more prevalent, I may find it to be fantastic, a favorite, because this game is fantastic, and, in the end, the most important thing with Magic is to play and have fun. If you are playing and having fun at Magic: the Gathering, you are doing it right. There is no such thing as a format that should not exist. There is no such thing as a wrong way to play this game. And this video has been brought to you, in part, by a sponsorship from Card Kingdom, as well as the Patreon support of viewers like you. So, thank you! (theme music)