MTG Standard Rotation Guide – April 2021

Standard Rotation 2021

What is Standard Rotation?

With the advent of Arena, Standard is the most accessible and widely played constructed format in Magic: The Gathering. Four Magic sets are released (one approximately every three months) and added to Standard each year, and subsequently the four oldest sets in Standard rotate out along with the release of the Fall set on September. This happens as soon as the patch is released on MTG Arena on the fourth Thursday of the month. Tabletop Magic follows the official release schedule, which happens on a Friday a week later.

  • Four sets have rotated with the release of Zendikar Rising on September 17, 2020.
  • The next rotation happens in September 17, 2021, with the release of Innistrad Midnight Hunt.

What Sets are Currently in Standard?

The most recent Standard rotation occurred on September 17, 2020 with the release of Zendikar Rising. The sets Guilds of Ravnica, Ravnica Allegiance, War of the Spark and Core Set 2020 rotated out and will still be legal in other non-rotating formats such as Historic and Pioneer.

Rotates out September, 2021Rotates out September, 2022
Throne of Eldraine (ELD)Zendikar Rising
Theros Beyond Death (THB)Kaldheim
Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths (IKO)
Core Set 2021 (M21)

What Sets will be Rotating Out of Standard in 2021?

The next rotation will happen on September, 2021 when the set Innistrad Werewolves is released. Throne of Eldraine, Theros: Beyond Death, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, and Core Set 2021 will be rotated out of Standard on the same day. The table below shows the new Standard format after rotation.

Rotates out September, 2022Rotates out September, 2023
Zendikar RisingInnistrad Midnight Hunt
KaldheimInnistrad Crimson Vow
Strixhaven: School of Mages
Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms

Banned Cards

The following cards are in current Standard sets, but are banned and is not legal for play in Standard. The link will take you to the ban announcement and explain the reasons behind their bans.

Card NameSetBan Date
Oko, Thief of CrownsThrone of EldraineNovember 18, 2019
Once Upon a TimeThrone of EldraineNovember 18, 2019
Fires of InventionThrone of EldraineJune 1, 2020
Cauldron FamiliarThrone of EldraineAugust 3, 2020
Uro, Titan of Nature’s WrathTheros Beyond DeathSeptember 28, 2020
Omnath, Locus of CreationZendikar RisingOctober 12, 2020
Lucky CloverThrone of EldraineOctober 12, 2020
Escape to the WildsThrone of EldraineOctober 12, 2020

What Happens to my Rotated Cards?

Cards that rotate out of Standard remain in your collection, and MTG Arena supports events and play queues that allow players to use cards from rotated sets in non-rotating formats such as Historic, and in certain events.

They may be used in Standard again later, if they are re-released in future sets (as “reprints”). For example, currently you can use the Dominaria or Ixalan versions of Opt in Standard because it was also released in Throne of Eldraine.

Rotation Preparation

Closer to the time of rotation in 2021, MTG Arena may hold special events and rewards to help “renew” players’ collections for the new Standard environment. If there are events and rewards, they’ll be from the last 4 sets only.

  • Events: There will be not be any scheduled Limited events (Draft or Sealed) for sets rotating out of Standard. Quick Draft and Sealed events will use sets starting from Zendikar Rising and going forward.
  • Individual Card Rewards (ICRs): Players will no longer receive ICRs from sets that will be rotating out of Standard from daily wins or Standard events. Cards from rotating sets will be added to Historic ICRs.
  • Booster Packs and Wildcard Crafting: 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 due to be rotated out soon.
  • New Player Decks: The decks that players receive as part of the tutorial and new player experience will be updated in August. For existing players, the intention is to recreate these updated decklists for existing players so everyone will have access to decks that are Standard-legal. If these decks contain cards that are not currently a part of your collection, you will be granted them.
  • Brawl: Brawl allows cards from Standard only, and the same rotation rules apply. Commanders that were added to Brawl as part of the Brawlers’ Guildhall will no longer be legal in Standard Brawl.
  • Renewal: Players may receive bonus gifts and rewards that consist of cards only from the new Standard format, to kick-start their post-rotation collection.

Standard 2022

Having your hard earned collection rotated out isn’t always a pleasant experience, especially since your cards cannot be exchanged for any other kind of currency. Though you can still play them in Historic formats, the impacts on each player will differ based on their situation, based on factors such as:

  • Collection status, such as amount of Wildcards and set completion
  • Amount of time and money spent on the game
  • Preference in what type of decks to play
  • Players who join the game later on may have a harder time catching up (be sure to check out our Budget Deck collection)

In general, being able to play with the cards you purchase and obtain for as long as possible will be in your best interest. Especially if you are newer to the game, we recommend you start off with Standard 2022 queues when it arrives, where you are only able to use cards from the latest four sets that do not rotate from Standard in September. Please refer to our guide for decklists and information closer to the date.

Terence

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