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Explorer
DCI Sanctioned
Paper {Cross}
Magic Online {Cross}
Magic Arena {Tick}
Rules
Type Constructed
Multiplayer {Cross}
Add. rules Best-of-one and Best-of-three

Explorer is a constructed format introduced on April 21, 2022, as an on-ramp for the Magic: The Gathering Arena software to eventually support the Pioneer format. Like Pioneer, it is a non-rotating format where core sets and expansions since Return to Ravnica are legal, but necessarily excluding cards not yet implemented in the game. Unlike Arena's other major non-rotating format, Historic, Explorer was created to support "true-to-tabletop" gameplay, and thus does not use digital-only or Alchemy cards.[1]

Background[ | ]

Originally, the first format that would allow Arena players to make use of all cards that were no longer legal in Standard after rotation was the implementation of the Historic format in November 2019.[2] To expand Historic, the Pioneer Masters set was announced in July 2020, bringing Historic nearer to the Pioneer format.[3]

However, the release of Jumpstart: Historic Horizons in August 2021 included a selection of cards with digital-only mechanics. A few months later, the release of Alchemy: Innistrad introduced additional digital-exclusive cards to Historic. By including Alchemy cards and other digital-only cards in the format, Historic stopped being "true to tabletop", leaving MTG Arena without a non-rotating format of that type. This created negative feedback, and in February 2022, Wizards of the Coast announced they were exploring the development of a new format to meet the demand.[4] Explorer was introduced as a format in April 2022. It turned out to be mechanically the same as a format called "What was Written," a Midweek Magic event format that allowed cards from Return to Ravnica Block forward and had the same banlist as Pioneer. It answered the ask and demand for a Constructed, non-rotating, "true-to-tabletop" format using all the Pioneer-legal cards available on MTG Arena, with a path towards becoming the true Pioneer format on Arena.[5]

Explorer Anthologies[ | ]

Main article: Explorer Anthology

Explorer Anthologies are added to the game to supplement the Explorer format. The first Explorer Anthology was released on July 28, 2022, and added 20 Explorer-legal cards to MTG Arena, from iconic powerhouses to offbeat favorites.[6]

Deck construction[ | ]

All the regular rules for constructed formats apply. Decks must contain a minimum of sixty cards. There is no maximum deck size; however, decks in Arena can not have more than 250 cards. Like other constructed formats, a sideboard of at most fifteen cards can be used. Except for basic lands and cards like Rat Colony, a player's combined deck and sideboard may not contain more than four of any individual card.

Set legality[ | ]

Cards from all regular core sets and expansions since Return to Ravnica (including exclusives that only appeared in Welcome Deck 2016 and Welcome Deck 2017) are legal.

Banned List[ | ]

Explorer will follow the Pioneer banned list at first. Any cards that cause problems in Explorer specifically (such as because the format hasn't yet added answers found in Pioneer) will be banned rather than be rebalanced or suspended, just as with other paper formats, but this type of ban is likely to be reversed as Explorer grows toward parity with Pioneer.[1]

As of June 7th, 2022, there is one Explorer-specific ban:

In addition, cards banned in Pioneer are banned in Explorer:

The following cards are not yet available in Arena but would be banned if they were released in a future set:

Two cards are legal in Pioneer and implemented in Arena, but are only playable if conjured by other cards. They cannot be obtained or crafted as part of a player's collection, and therefore cannot be part of an Explorer deck.

References[ | ]

  1. a b Wizards of the Coast (April 21, 2022). "MTG Arena: State of the Game – Streets of New Capenna". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Brett Teran (June 27, 2019). "MTG Arena update: Introducing the Historic format". Magic Esports.
  3. MTG Arena: State of the Game – July 2020. magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast (July 15, 2020]).
  4. Wizards of the Coast (February 8, 2022). "MTG Arena: State of the Game - Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Monthly Announcement Day (Video). Weekly MTG. YouTube (April 22, 2022).
  6. Wizards of the Coast (July 6, 2022). "MTG Arena: State of the Game – Alchemy Horizons: Baldur's Gate". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Wizards of the Coast (May 11, 2022). "May 11, 2022 Banned and Restricted Announcement". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  8. a b c d e Blake Rasmussen (October 21, 2019). "Announcing the Pioneer Format". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  9. a b Michael Majors and Ian Duke (June 7, 2022). "June 7, 2022 Banned and Restricted Announcement". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  10. a b Ian Duke (December 02, 2019). "December 2, 2019 Pioneer Banned Announcement". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  11. a b Dan Musser (December 4, 2023). "December 4, 2023 Banned and Restricted Announcement". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  12. a b c d Ian Duke (August 3, 2020). "August 3, 2020 Banned and Restricted Announcement". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  13. a b Ian Duke (November 04, 2019). "November 4, 2019 Pioneer Banned Announcement". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Wizards of the Coast (March 7, 2022). "March 7, 2022 Banned and Restricted Announcement". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  15. a b Ian Duke (December 16, 2019). "December 16, 2019 Pioneer Banned Announcement". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  16. a b c d e Ian Duke (February 15, 2021). "February 15, 2021 Banned and Restricted Announcement". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Ian Duke (November 11, 2019). "November 11, 2019 Pioneer Banned Announcement". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.

See also[ | ]

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