Many people are fans of playing Standard. But many, many people are not fans of playing Standard. This article is for the latter group. Special thanks to Drew Magary. I’m including this at the top of the article because the denizens of the comment section refuse to acknowledge that I’ve already acknowledged him and this format. Your comment section sucks.
This is exactly how it is, right?
If you play Standard, you’re an infant. Worse, you’re an infant playing on a trampoline. This picture has been making the rounds for years, and it properly sums up everything I couldn’t. All other formats are superior.
What better way to close out 2015 than with one of these pieces to tell you exactly why one of the most robust formats in history is not only lame, it’s lamer than lame. It’s lamest.
Without a doubt you could be playing other niche or obscure formats.
I bet you haven’t even heard of Elder Upside-Down Flip-It-Or-Dip-It-In-Melted-Cheetos.
Everyone knows that Standard is the worst format by the widest possible margin and it isn’t close. That’s what each person who likes a different format says at least.
If you like Legacy, that means that Standard is for children or angsty pre-teens who still listen to 30 Seconds to Mars.
If you like Modern, Standard is like that guy you knew in high school that never left town and works at the bowling alley and still lives in his parent’s attic listening to Freak on a Leash.
If you like Vintage, everyone else drools on themselves while slamming their own heads off of tables, but Standard is the drooliest.
If you like Commander, it’s a fun, inviting format where you act like your deck is super friendly before you prison-style beatdown the table and then say out loud “my deck never does this.” To them, Standard is just where the new cards come from every few months that will replace the obscure choices you made in order to make your deck “different.”
So this was going to be a “Why Your Deck Sucks: Jeskai Black” because I find the current iteration of it humorous. It can control the hell out of a game, but it can’t kill anyone in a timely fashion. Matches go to time. Take two from Soulfire Grand Master. Flip Jace. Flashback Utter End. You cast a threat I can’t kill.
I think it’s actually the best deck in Standard right now. Whatever Frankenstein-monster Todd Anderson concocted turns out to be the most powerful thing out there because of how ludicrously consistent it is as well as versatile. Some games you control them until you have a wealth of resources that they can’t overcome, and in others you go wide with Monastery Mentor and kill them in short order. It’s really quite impressive, and I’ve been having a blast playing a worse version of it.
That’s all Standard is, really. You play crappier versions of decks that won tournaments a couple of weeks ago until Brad Nelson “oopsie-daisys” the hell out of you with some wild innovation. In this case Todd broke it with Mentor. If you’d have asked me a month ago I’d have told you Mentor was insane because I’ve been wailing on people with it in Elder Dragon Highlander. It’s not Commander. This is Sparta!
Other than Jeskai Black, your extremely boring format only has Atarka Red, G/R Eldrazi, Four-Color Rally, Abzan Aggro, Esper Dragons, B/W Warriors, Mardu, B/R Dragons, G/W Megamorph, Five-Color Bring to Light, Esper Tokens, Bant Megamorph, Temur Black, and whatever other new thing someone innovates. Seems pretty garbage to me. And kids love garbage. People who like Standard are Garbage Pail Kids.
Your Defining Cards
I’m sure I’m missing some, but that’s the problem. There are a lot of good cards that are hamstringing the format by making it interesting.
Jace as an incredibly skill-testing card? That belongs in other formats like Modern and Legacy. God-Like Formatslike Modern and Legacy is what I should have said.
Monastery Swiftspear is a multi-format staple that should only be stapled to non-Standard formats because it’s too aggressive and powerful.
Kolaghan’s Command is a Modern all-star. Why is it good in Standard? That’s ignorant. Its potential is being wasted on inferior Standard.
Don’t even get me started on Siege Rhino. Screw that guy. I’ve literally written at length why I hate him.
With all of these cards that perform really well in Standard, it’s a wonder why people don’t just play them in the other formats that take skill to play and there is a wider amount of options to choose from.
This is the crux of Standard and why, at its core, it’s a wildly impoverished format when it comes to nourishing you getting better at Magic.
Standard completely lacks the complex decision trees that Modern or Legacy present players. While piloting Naya Zoo in Modern I had the decision of whether to cast an Atarka’s Command to kill my opponent when they were tapped out or be flashy and give my Goblin Guide double strike with a Boros Charm. Talk about a dilemma that I’d never see in Standard.
Each card and deck fails to maintain intelligent, thoughtful player’s attention for very long. We all know the best and brightest that Magic has to offer. They rarely like to concern themselves with the droll and boorish offerings Standard has in store for them. It’s really hard to get past the starting line when you’re playing a format designed for beginners.
What’s New That Sucks
Aside from everything about it, Standard will be getting a fresh batch of cards that were already ruined for us because some person was interested in being internet famous for three whole minutes.
The Surge mechanic looks like it’s going to be really, really fun, but of course that translates to completely unplayable and a waste of design space. Why would I want to make Octopuses when I can cast Force of Will? It’s a no-brainer.
The expedition lands are extremely interesting and I love the way they look, but then again, I’d rather just have set foil Polluted Deltas for cuatro Benjamins. Like God intended.
All new cards are basically functional bad reprints of older, way better cards. Remember Day’s Undoing? It’s like an awful Timetwister. Why wouldn’t they just reprint that card? It’s barely Vintage playable. Let’s just play Vintage instead.
I remember when Standard sucked like ten years ago. Affinity was killing Magic. Now it’s one of the best decks in Modern, which just tells you how Modern is also a better format because it has Affinity in it. All the best decks of Standard past are powerhouses in Modern. If you think Magic didn’t suck in the past, just play a format with all those decks you used to love instead of a format where they all clearly do.
What Has Always Sucked
Standard has always been the weakest of the prominent formats. Sure, players flock to it because it’s cheaper, always fresher, constantly rotating, has the support of the largest and most prominent Magic company as well as Wizards of the Coast, is three of four Pro Tour formats and the most Grand Prix, most FNMs and Game Nights, enhanced by prereleases meant to reignite your love for Magic, and the constant eye of development on it looking for ways to make it better…but does that really mean it doesn’t suck?
What Might Not Suck
You get to play Magic. I guess that doesn’t suck?
Just kidding. We all know playing Magic is the worst part of Magic.
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