Standard is a set played by many MTG fans both competitively and casually.
But it can be hard to keep up with the yearly rotations occurring. And if you don’t know which sets are currently being used, you won’t know how to build a Standard deck.
So which MTG sets will rotate out? In this guide, we’ll give you the most up-to-date information on rotation as of January 2020.
Here’s what we’ll be talking about:
- Standard format and rotation
- Why rotation happens
- Which sets will rotate out as of 2020
So let’s take a closer look.
The Standard Format and Rotation
There are so many different ways to play Magic: the Gathering. Standard is just one of them.
So what is Standard, and how does it work?
Standard is a way of playing that only uses the most recent MTG sets. As far as the construction of your deck goes, there aren’t too many rules – you just need to have at least 60 cards.
There is no cap to the amount of cards you can have in a Standard deck, but you do need to be able to shuffle your deck without help. The larger your deck is, the harder it becomes to shuffle, so that’s something to keep in mind when you build one for Standard.
Every fall, when the newest Set is released, the four oldest sets in Standard “rotate out.” That means they can no longer be used in Standard, whether casually or competitively.
As these four sets rotate out of legality, one set rotates in to take their place. Throughout the year, the number of legal sets increases again as each new set comes out until the next fall.
Why does Rotation Happen?
If the rotation sounds inconvenient, you may be wondering why it happens at all.
Think of it this way: there are approximately 18,000 total MTG cards according to the MTG Wiki here. If all the cards were used, deck combinations and interactions would be endless.
Moderating a tournament where almost every card within reason could be used would be tedious, if not borderline impossible. By limiting the legal sets to the most recent, playing is simplified and new sets are explored to the fullest.
Which Sets will Rotate Out (As of 2020)
Because only four sets rotate out every fall, the list of sets that will be rotating out in Fall 2020 isn’t very long.
You can anticipate that these sets will rotate out in the Fall of 2020:
- Guilds of Ravnica
- Ravnica Allegiance
- War of the Spark
- Core Set 2020
However, just because these sets will be rotating out doesn’t mean that they won’t be legal in other formats, such as Modern or Commander.
For that reason, we’ll provide you a little information on each set that’s leaving the Standard format later this year.
Like a lot of decks centered around Ravnica, Guilds of Ravnica has a strong focus on guilds. This means that you’ll be able to grab lots of cards that provide dual-color support in this set.
With five guilds as the theme of the set, Ravnica Allegiance also has a lot of dual-color cards to choose from. The guilds it includes are Azorius, Rakdos, Gruul, Orzhov, and Simic.
This set was built to reflect a momentous event in the MTG universe: the penultimate confrontation between the evil elder dragon Nicol Bolas and an assortment of planeswalkers. That’s why the set did something unusual by ensuring you would get a planeswalker card in every single booster pack.
For that reason, it’s still a great set to buy if you’re looking to make a planeswalker-heavy deck, such as an Atraxa Commander deck.
Tri-color wedge cards abound in the Core Set for 2020, making ideal for decks with three or more colors. It also features Chandra frequently, so it’s a great option for Chandra fans.
Since you’ve learned a little more about Standard and how it works, you may be wondering whether or not you should play this format.
As with the other formats, there are both up and downsides to it. For starters, it’s great to introduce new players to.
Because it doesn’t include every set ever made, gameplay is streamlined without being cluttered by excessive and obscure mechanics. It’s also a wonderful way to stay up-to-date on all changes in the world of Magic: the Gathering.
However, it does require players to constantly invest in the most recent sets. If you intend to play it frequently, you won’t be able to just buy cards from sets here and there.
You can keep track of which sets are legal in Standard at all times here on the official Wizards of the Coast page.
It can be a bit of an investment, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t play it if you don’t enjoy slower games, like those in Commander, and prefer a faster pace.