An Open Letter on Frontier


Despite my earlier brief article on the new Frontier format, I feel that it is important to elaborate, flesh out, and clarify what I said in that article. Before we begin, I am not going to go on a rant about how Frontier is “toxic” or anything of that ilk. I am going to be as respectful and diplomatic as possible while trying to communicate my point, which doesn’t seem to conform with the general consensus.

Dear Frontier and Frontier supporters,

Frontier was created to be an affordable solution to Standard and Modern, which are too expensive. Quoting the page on Frontier on the Hareruya, Frontier was created because “cards that represent Modern like Tarmogoyf and Liliana of the Veil are very expensive to buy and hard to get a hold of,” and Frontier is “easy to start and a format that you can use your favorite recent cards forever.”

I agree with you that Frontier is great for all of us. Us players that have played from before Magic 2015. We have accrued cards that are in a position where they powerful staples in Standard, but during rotation, suffered major price drops and failed to find a niche in any of the Eternal formats, such as Modern, Legacy, or Vintage. Sure, Standard rotation hurts all of us. I’ve opened cards, and now they’re worth nothing. Frontier gives us a chance to play those cards again and gives those cards value again. Sure, I’m happy that my Dig through Times or my Jaces are climbing, and I’m sure your happy too. However, I have my doubts about the viability and longevity of Frontier.

My concern is prior examples of Eternal formats throughout the history of Magic. Modern was codified and began as a sanctioned format in 2011. What people were thinking when Modern began as a format is exactly what people are thinking now. They were thinking “oh, all this stuff I got from drafting? I can play it now? Sweet.” Now, it’s been in existence for five years. That means that for five years, people have been buying Modern playable cards, and eating up the supply that, before Modern, was just a pile of unplayable cards. Now, Modern staples are scarce. Zendikar fetches are over two hundred dollars a playset, and the top decks range from over five hundred dollars to up to over eighteen hundred dollars for some of the midrange-y “fair” decks such as Jund or Abzan.

Right now, you can build a competitive Frontier deck for a little under a hundred dollars, with the most expensive decks still barely over four hundred dollars. That seems great in contrast to the more expensive decks. However, what I ask you is in five years, when Frontier is in the same situation as Modern is in now, is that a solution?

Even if Wizards recognizes this format and supports it by reprinting staples in supplemental products, it won’t stay cheap. The Masters sets are fine, but they don’t do their jobs well enough. Only a few dozen staples are reprinted, the supply is pretty low, and the price of packs is pretty high.

Now that we have established that Frontier won’t stay cheap and that is only a short term solution for the problem it wishes to solve. I really don’t think Frontier has a chance, in terms of viability and longevity. I welcome your peaceful and respectful disagreements and corrections.


Kai Chang




2 thoughts on “An Open Letter on Frontier

  1. MTGGoldfish had a good thought, I think, in his suggestion of making Frontier an extended rotating format–say, 4-5 years rather than standard’s 2. Hits a balance of making it an accessible format that lets standard/draft cards have a longer life, while hopefully preventing the immense price spikes because the cards still won’t define the format forever.

    In defense of Modern, though, I will say that a LGS-playable modern deck doesn’t really have to break the bank–I bought in a year ago with a $50 version of 8Rack, which turned around and won a Modern game day (after, admittedly, overperforming against Naya Burn for 3 wins). It’s not a deck that’s likely to make a top 8 run at a GP, but I enjoy playing it, it’s done well for me, and it’s given me something to focus when I try trading into upgrades (my deck’s probably about $200-$250 now, mostly because I traded into a Liliana). MTGGoldfish has some really good budget modern brews, and the videos are great for getting a feel for how decks play/how they match up with some major archetypes/if they suit your style.

    Liked by 1 person

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