MTG Arena Standard Rotation Guide – October 2019

Prepare for the next big shake up in the standard format in 2020 – what expansion sets are going out, coming in, and when it’s all happening. Updated October 2019.


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Standard rotation in MTG Arena happens every year around fall. In 2019, rotation happened with the release of Throne of Eldraine expansion on September 26, 2019, or October 4, 2019 for tabletop Magic: The Gathering. With this, cards from the Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan, Dominaria, and Core Set 2019 sets are now only available in the non-rotating Historic format (and other special constructed events).

A common question that is asked frequently is when “rotation” is happening in MTG Arena. It is important to a lot of players because some cards you collect will not be playable in Standard and we are presented with a fresh metagame. We will clarify the topic in this guide. New players especially might not be aware of this, as it’s not too obvious in-game.

What Sets are Currently in Standard?

With the release of Throne of Eldraine, there will now be five sets worth of cards that can be played in the Standard format, and the three upcoming sets that will be added as they are released.

Guilds of RavnicaThrone of Eldraine
Ravnica AllegianceTheros: Beyond Death – to be released January 16, 2020
War of the SparkIkoria: Lair of Behemoths – to be released April 16, 2020
Core Set 2020Core Set 2021 – to be released Summer 2020

What is Standard Rotation?

For the format to stay dynamic with evolving gameplay and fresh strategies, you are building decks and playing using cards in your collection from recently released sets. That means currently you are able to play with two years worth of cards in Standard.

Rotation happened in September 26, 2019 with the release of Throne of Eldraine. The next rotation is due around the same time in 2020, when the set Zendikar Rising is released. That means the sets on the first column of the above table above will be “rotated out”, and will not be playable in Standard.

That means Standard in MTG Arena will have the following available sets, Fall 2020.

Throne of EldraineZendikar Rising – to be released Fall 2020
Theros: Beyond Death – to be released January 16, 2020TBA
Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths – to be released April 16, 2020TBA
Core Set 2021 – to be released Summber 2020TBA

So the current pattern is that each year, four sets are released and added to Standard. Once per year, when the fall set releases, the four oldest sets in Standard rotate out.

What Happens to my Rotated Cards?

Well, nothing. The rotated cards stay in your collection. They will not be transformed into Wildcards, nor they will be compensated for in Gold or Gems. There will be no further account resets.

Cards that have been reprinted in sets that are not rotating will still be playable in Standard. For example, Shock is in Core Set 2019, which is being rotated out, but is also in Core Set 2020. Since they are the same cards, both versions of the card can be played in Standard.

Historic – MTG Arena’s Non-Rotating Format

Historic is a MTG Arena-only constructed format that allows you to play with rotated cards. Current sets available in Historic are:

IxalanGuilds of RavnicaThrone of Eldraine
Rivals of IxalanRavnica Allegiance
DominariaWar of the Spark
Core Set 2019Core Set 2020

The format is still in its implementation stage, and is currently only playable in casual Play queues. However, the developers have stated that they will start showing official support from November 2019, where we will be able to participate in events and even ranked ladder play with Historic decks.

See also: Learn more about the Historic format here!

Should I Try to Collect Older Cards?

With about a year left until rotation, your best interest is to complete the current set as much as you can first, then craft specific cards from previous sets. This also depends on a number of individual factors such as:

  • How new you are to the game
  • Your budget
  • Your collection status

The limiting factors being the money you are willing to spend on MTG Arena and the amount of time you dedicate to playing the game.

Wildcards are a very precious resource that can only be obtained by opening packs and only once in a while via opening the Vault and they should be reserved for use only for important cards. Please refer to our Wildcard Crafting Guide for more information.

Collection Renewal

Closer to the time of rotation in 2020, MTG Arena may be holding special events and rewards for players to help “renew” their collection for the new Standard environment. There may be events and rewards that are only from the last 4 sets that is – Throne of Eldraine, Theros: Beyond Death, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths and Core Set 2021:

  • There will not be Limited events (Draft or Sealed) for sets rotating out of Standard
  • Players will no longer receive Individual Card Rewards (ICRs) from rotating sets.
  • You can still redeem Wildcards and purchase packs from the rotating sets, but there will be an in-game reminder and confirmation message to let players know that the card is planned to be rotated out.
  • The tutorial and Account Mastery Tree will be updated for Core Set 2021 to reward new decks and card styles.
  • Existing players get access to new starter decks before before rotation so everyone has access to decks that are Standard legal.

Wrapping Up

Any questions or concerns? Discuss in the comments below, or as always, you can join us in the Discord and keep up to date on the latest news on our Twitter!

5 Responses

  1. Waltteri Valo says:

    If only they gave us commander and bring back amonkhet and kaladesh blocks, i’d be game!

    • says:

      We can only dream! Though I think their concern is the sets may be too powerful or unhealthy compared to the other sets 🙁

  2. Dane Hutson says:

    They just need two headed giant

  3. johann eichinger says:

    if i have reached level 100 in main set mastery and i get no reward after set rotation is this truth
    or the mainset mastery will be also start new level zero???would be nice to get again rewards!!

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