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Extended issues

May 27, 2011

What do you want Extended to be?

That is a question that has been constantly on my mind during the last couple of days. The question was raised due to all the recent announcements of “alternative” Extended formats, both by Wizards and nonofficial sources.

Extended has always been a format tagged with a lot of contrversery due to how low support the format has compared to it actually being both a PTQ format as well as a format played on the Pro Tour. The reality is that no one really plays Extended unless thrown a big bone for doing so, which is a huge problem if you want the format to flourish. In an effort to change that Wizards made some severe changes to the Extended format last summer, literary shrinking the format with 66% of it’s size. But the changes has proven to be marginal to the formats well being.

For my part, I have always liked Extended as a format. I enjoy playing it and several of my favorite decks that I have piloted over the years has been Extended decks. So would certainly wish the format could get a bit more support, both from Wizards standpoint and from the players.

I think Extended is in an awkward spot in relation to it’s two neighboring formats, Standard and Legacy. Right now, I think Extended is too similar to Standard to warrant the own format tag. On the other hand if you take “OverExtended” as an example you have the problem on the other end of the spectrum, it gets too close to Legacy. You could let Extended be in that no-mans-land between Standard and Legacy as it used to be, but then the problem the format used to have also returns. As I said, there are challenges whatever path you choose.

The point I’m trying to drive towards is before you make any decision on how to evolve the format, you have answer the question I lead of with.

What do you want Extended to be?

I have thought a lot about it and it’s not an easy question, at least if you are realistic and are not living in the chocolate factory where dreams are made. I mean, if Extended would revert to it’s original state that would be great game-play wise, but I don’t think the format would be manageable. I think the problems it’s used to have is hard to ignore and difficult to work around.

I also don’t see it working out if Extended is too similar to Standard (which it’s kinda is right now) or too similar to Legacy. I just don’t think there is enough room to really support a format like that. At that point I rather see Wizards just scrapping the format entirely and put the resources somewhere else. Like bringing back team formats to the primer level, as an example.

That said, I could see “OverExtended” working out if Wizards plans to sometime during the upcoming couple of years dismantle Legacy as a format with the support it’s currently having. In that case “OverExtended” would work great as a transfer without really messing with the player base.

That is very plausible scenario to me as I think Legacy is already kinda living on borrowed time. Sooner or later the card accessibility and prices is going to bite the format in it’s own end and make the format virtually impossible for new players to get into. I have no personal grudge against Legacy, it’s just a scenario which I don’t see any way around unless Wizards decides to scrap the reserved list.

Anyway you want to see it, Extended is a troubled format and something needs to be done in the matter. It’s really a survival of the fittest of the formats. Either you evolve Extended in some way or you just let it die. Today I gave my two cents on the matter.

Until next time…

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