Along with the usual banned and restricted list of cards, Wizards of the Coast announced that the legal duration of cards in Magic: the Gathering CCG’s Extended format is now 4 years instead of 7 years.

If you don’t know, there are essentially three major tournament formats intended to let players use cards from different time periods:

  • “Legacy” lets you use all cards ever printed, excepting some banned and restricted cards. This format was intended to make those who had invested in cards from when Magic started happy.
  • “Standard” lets you use cards from the last two “cycles”, which means the last two years.  This format was intended to make those who are new to Magic happy, since they didn’t have to track down and buy all the power cards from the early sets.
  • “Extended”, which let you use cards for the last 7 years. This format was intended to make those who had been playing Magic for a while, but who hadn’t tracked down and bought the original power cards, happy, since the cards they bought five or six years ago still had tournament value. Unfortunately, it never really suited either the power players or the casual players.

Four years, instead of two, adds some life to your cards (if you must go to tournaments), but it’s hard to see the point of the format, now.

What’s easy to see, however, is a dramatic drop in prices and demand for three years worth of Magic packs and singles.