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Magic: The Gathering Arena Introduces a New Format: Explorer

On Wednesday April 20, Wizards of the Coast announced that a new format was heading its way to Magic: The Gathering Arena. MTGA players have been looking for something new to play since the introduction of Alchemy. Although Alchemy served as an interesting experiment, not every player enjoyed a Standard-adjacent format with digital-only cards. Some Magic players were turned off by the idea of adding cards people couldn’t purchase off of Magic Arena. Others simply didn’t enjoy how strong some of the new cards were.

Despite their best efforts, Wizards failed to get people to rally behind a new format like Alchemy. However on Thursday April 21, Wizards announced they would give another stab at adding a new play option in MTGA. Players, meet the brand new MTGA format, Explorer

The Explorer Format

Explorer is a constructed, non-rotating format that aims to bring the “true-to-tabletop” feel of other formats. Explorer will use Pioneer-legal cards available of MTG Arena. The current Pioneer ban list will serve as the first iteration of the Explorer ban list, though the format may have a different ban list going forward. Players can get started on the format as early as April 28 – the same day as the Streets of New Capenna MTGA release.

Explorer is shaping up to be a Pioneer-lite type of format. As noted in the initial reveal, Explorer will take the place of Pioneer on MTG Arena for the moment, until the rest of the notable cards are added. Wizards plans on adding those card through Historic Anthology sets, that will contain both cards for Historic and Explorer. Once enough cards are added onto the client, Explorer will simply be renamed to Pioneer – as to not confuse people.

Explorer is an exciting step towards a true non-rotating format alongside Historic. What this means is that cards won’t be rebalanced like in Alchemy and Historic. If a card is deemed too strong or needs to be removed, it will be outright banned.

Explorer will count towards Constructed ranks on ladder, and players can earn Play-In points towards a Qualifier Play-In entry.

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Featured image courtesy of Wizards of the Coast and Eric Deschamps

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1 comment

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