Last updated on April 19, 2024

Angel of Renewal - Illustration by Todd Lockwood

Angel of Renewal | Illustration by Todd Lockwood

Standard is arguably the most popular and widely known MTG format, likely due to its dynamic and evolving gameplay. In it, you use a minimum 60-card deck with no more than four copies of any one card except basic lands from the most recently released sets, created with your wildest dreams in mind. Minus the banned cards, that is.

But what is Standard rotation, and why should you care? Well, read on, as I'll answer both of those questions and much more below!

When Is Standard Rotation?

Growth Cycle - Illustration by Svetlin Velinov

Growth Cycle | Illustration by Svetlin Velinov

Standard rotation is, quite literally, the rotation of cards in and out of Standard play. When it comes to the schedule, it’s pretty straightforward: every fall, Wizards of the Coast rotates out the current sets of cards that can be used in Standard and replaces them with a handful of new sets.

Quick note, though: Standard skipped the 2023 rotation in order to move sets over to a 3-year rotation cycle instead of a 2-year cycle. More on that later.

Standard rotation allows newer players to access and use recently printed cards without needing to worry about acquiring all the really old rares and expensive stuff. It also keeps the format fresh and interesting.

Understanding Standard rotation is also important for managing your collection so you know when to sell and when to buy. And so you can determine which decks should demand the investment of your hard-earned cash or wildcards on MTGA.

What's in Standard: Current Sets

Set NameRelease DateRotation Date
Innistrad: Midnight HuntSeptember 24, 2021September 2024
Innistrad: Crimson VowNovember 19, 2021September 2024
Kamigawa: Neon DynastyFebruary 18, 2022September 2024
Streets of New CapennaApril 29, 2022September 2024
Dominaria UnitedSeptember 8, 2022September 2025
The Brothers' WarNovember 18, 2022September 2025
Phyrexia: All Will Be OneFebruary 10, 2023September 2025
March of the MachineApril 21, 2023September 2025
March of the Machine: The AftermathMay 12, 2023September 2025
Wilds of EldraineSeptember 8, 2023September 2026
The Lost Caverns of IxalanNovember 17, 2023September 2026
Murders at Karlov ManorFebruary 9, 2024September 2026
Outlaws of Thunder JunctionApril 19, 2024September 2026

The Newest Set

The newest MTG set for Standard is Outlaws at Thunder Junction, which was officially released on April 19, 2024.

The Next MTG Set

The next MTG set for Standard will be Bloomburrow, which is to be released on August 2, 2024.

The Next Standard: Rotation in 2024

Here are the sets that will make up the 2024 Standard post-rotation all the way up to 2025's rotation:

Set NameRelease DateRotation Date
Dominaria UnitedSeptember 8, 2022September 2025
The Brothers' WarNovember 18, 2022September 2025
Phyrexia: All Will Be OneFebruary 10, 2023September 2025
March of the MachineApril 21, 2023September 2025
March of the Machine: The AftermathMay 12, 2023September 2025
Wilds of EldraineSeptember 8, 2023September 2026
The Lost Caverns of IxalanNovember 2023
September 2026
Murders at Karlov ManorFebruary 2024September 2026
Outlaws of Thunder JunctionQ2 2024September 2026
BloomburrrowQ3 2024September 2027
Duskmourn: House of Horror
Q4 2024September 2027
“Tennis”Q1 2025September 2027
“Ultimate”Q2 2025September 2027

Rotation in Alchemy

Alchemy used to rotate in the same way that Standard does, but not since Standard's switch to a 3-year cycle. The digital-only format will continue to rotate on a 2-year cycle every fall, which is basically just a fancy way to say that Alchemy did not skip its 2023 rotation while Standard did.

2023 Standard Rotation Rules Change

Wizards announced a change to the Standard rotation cycle in May 2023. Basically, sets rotate out every three years instead of every two as of the 2023 rotation cycle.

But don't panic! All that means is that there is no Standard rotation in 2023 so we can catch up, and the next rotation is going to happen in 2024. That's it, just postponing rotation so that sets stay in Standard for one year longer going forward.

This also means that we're going to have more sets in Standard between rotations. Instead of having nine sets in Standard before the next rotation (which would have been the case with a 2023 rotation), we'll instead have a whopping 13 sets in Standard, maybe more if we see a repeat of mini-set The Aftermath when we get to 2024's rotation. Wild.

How to Manage Your Collection for Standard Rotation

Confession time: I’m a card collector. And not even in the cool “I have copies of all these awesome and rare cards” way. It’s almost borderline hoarding, where I buy cheap packs of cards from the dollar store whenever I see them because I don’t care what I get I just want more cards. It’s a weird obsession, and I’m not sure what it is about Magic cards that seem to trigger this in me, because I’ve never collected anything else and I absolutely hate clutter.

That said, I do know a thing or two about finance and trading, which comes in handy for managing your MTG collections. Selling and buying are part of the game for most players, so knowing when to buy new cards and sets and when to sell your old cards is crucial.

On Paper

Right after rotation, most of the popular cards in Standard would have already started to see their value go down. Their demand is mostly tied to their use and legality in this format, after all.

There will be some exceptions, most notably cards that are prominent in Commander or Modern. Other things that affect the price of a card are reprints in new sets or being banned. The more reprints there are, means more of the card exists, and so it’s easier to get a hold of. If the card is banned then it can’t be used so there is less demand and there isn’t much use in paying for it.

When the time comes to rotate it’s best to sell your Standard staples before rotation happens, but not right before. Prices don’t just drop overnight; they usually start to go down leading up to the rotation, so right before probably won’t net you the highest price.

For cards that work in Commander or Modern, these sometimes see a small dip in price right around rotation, but usually rise back up to more than what they were valued at before. So it’s best to hold onto Commander and Modern staples to sell after rotation instead of before.

On Magic Arena

Managing your digital card collection is a lot simpler. You can’t sell your old cards and the only way to get specific cards is by crafting them with wildcards, which you can outright buy, similar to buying singles like you can in paper Magic.

The sets and packs sold through the MTGA client by WotC are digital commodities and, short of limited-time offers, there can be an infinite number sold, so supply and demand don’t really factor in as much. You'll have to settle for using the old cards in Historic or Timeless when Standard rotates.

The best way to manage your collection and keep your spending to a minimum in Arena is by participating in Drafts and events to win free packs and cards to bolster your collection. You can also keep an eye out for discounts and premium bundles in the store that might offer a bunch of stuff for a cheaper total price than if you bought them individually. You can also get free cards and packs by redeeming promo codes.

Renewal Rewards and Events

MTG Arena has a slew of special events and changes to their starter decks each year to help ease players' transition into the new Standard format. This has become pretty normal now, ensuring as smooth a transition as possible over each rotation.

MTGA 2021 Upcoming Renewal

Renewal includes gifting you extra cards, packs from newer sets, and sleeves. Plus the new player decks get an overhaul to make sure they still work in Standard after rotation. These are automatically added to your collection if you already finished the new player experience.

MTGA typically preps you for rotation by no longer handing out ICRs or hosting events of sets that are about to rotate out.

Impact of Rotation on Power Level

Standard is at its most powerful right before rotation, and at its weakest after rotation.

Because new MTG sets are released throughout the year and Standard rotation happens in the fall, there’s a period right after previous sets are rotated out when fewer sets are available for use in Standard. More available sets and thus more available cards offer more opportunities for powerful combinations in deckbuilding.

Rotating Out

Memory Lapse MTG card art by Greg Staples

Memory Lapse | Illustration by Greg Staples

With all of that said, I'm about ready to wrap this up in a nice little bow and call it done. Standard rotation is a simple concept, but it has some pretty big impacts on Standard play in MTG, both online and in paper Magic. There are plenty of moving parts and lots to look forward to with new sets released every season.

What are some of the things that you’re most looking forward to in Magic this year? Let us know in the comments below, or over in the Draftsim Discord.

And don’t forget to bookmark this page and check back to keep up to date on every Standard set and rotation. See you then!

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  • Avatar
    jim bob March 6, 2020 7:48 pm

    whats funny is that when you describe what standard would be like without a rotation, you basically just describe legacy/vintage. all those problems you mention for 83 sets in standard don’t seem to be a problem for legacy/vintage.

    • Avatar
      Dan Troha March 8, 2020 2:12 pm

      Fair point – I’ve updated the intro accordingly.

  • Avatar
    Owen July 28, 2021 5:25 pm

    Thanks for the explanation. The visual with the icons is a great quick reference.

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