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Magic: The Gathering Commander Frontier

Happy Monday MTG peeps,

We had a great time on the weekend at our local gaming store, OMG! Games, here in Barrie, Ontario playing Magic: the Gathering ‘Frontier’ format.  This very new casual (not officially recognized by Wizards of the Coast) game format, also known as Postmodern is a casual constructed MTG format allowing expansion and core sets from Magic 2015 onward.  Essentially, this format uses the modern card frame incorporating the custom WotC Beleren font, the holofoil stamp for rares / mythic rares, and collector information, where deck construction rules are the same as in Standard and Modern format.

Specifically, the following card are legal.
• Magic 2015
• Khans of Tarkir
• Fate Reforged
• Dragons of Tarkir
• Magic Origins
• Battle for Zendikar
• Oath of the Gatewatch
• Shadows over Innistrad
• Eldritch Moon
• Kaladesh

Of note is that the format also allows for cards appearing in the Magic Origins sample decks, Welcome 2016 expansion and Planeswalker decks.  The format does exclude (quite rightfully) the Masterpiece cards (some players calling it ‘treasure cards’) within the Kaladesh set (and those going forward). 

So how did we get here?  Similar to other MTG casual game formats - a grassroots movement by the gamers.  Should this catch on with other gamers wanting to play the format and gaming stores throw in support to organize events, then we on certainly on the road leading to a recognized format.  In late September, two of the larger gaming stores in Japan, BigMagic and Hareruya, known for a robust Magic: the Gathering player base announced that they would be organizing weekly Frontier tournaments.  Greatly assisting the spread of the news of this format was the fact that both stores also offered very generous prize support.

Another reason for the genesis of this format may be attributed in a way to the the discontinuation of ‘Extended’, a format very similar to that of the new Frontier but with the addition of Theros Block (Theros, Born of the Gods and Journey into Nyx).  The big difference here was that Extended was a format that (formerly) rotated annually with each new ‘fall’ block in the Autumn.  With the rise of popularity in Modern, Wizards of the Coast decided to retire Extended, which may have left an open space near and dear to some players.  How did MTG Realm get interested in Frontier?  A few reasons come to mind, the foremost though was a nostalgia for a few decklists we were very sad to see rotated out of standard.

The Frontier experience at OMG! Games
Our local game store in Barrie has solid gaming community for Standard and Modern (as well as Commander) and Frontier offered a unique bridge to those who may have wanted to try out the ‘other’ format.  In our recent tournament, most of the field was Jeskai Ascendancy variants - combo, control, aggro, and tokens.  Perhaps not too surprising given the huge past popularity of Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise (Frontier has not banned or restricted cards).  There were four other lists which were not Jeskai - a cool Mill deck (run by Richard the LGS Owner), an Abazan-Blue list (love for the Siege Rhino), a Blue-Black control list and ours - the single Hardened Scales list in the tournament. 

How did we do?  Not too shabby actually - we went undefeated until our last match going 2 wins, 1 draw, and 1 loss.  Here is the list we went with :

In summary, we rather like this format just as it is.  Some may say that given the mana base (half the fetch lands, missing pain lands), this may lead to slower game play.  This in turn may, develop into an imbalance of archetypes perhaps, but given the future additions of new sets, we do not see this as a systemic issue.  Should you have a chance, we’ll definitely encourage you to give Magic: the Gathering Frontier format a try.  Pop on over to the Frontier community at this link on Reddit to learn more.

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