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Standard 2021 Guide and Rotation-Proof Decklists

The next Magic: The Gathering expansion to come to MTG Arena is Zendikar Rising on September 17. Its release will also be accompanied by Standard rotation, and this will be a great opportunity for players to catch up on their card collection, take a break from the current Standard and test out some potential post-rotation decks in the process. Read on for more information about the format and our exclusive decklists! We will be updating this guide for the next month, so be sure to bookmark this page and come check back frequently.

Format Information

There will be two additional queues available for players to join: Standard 2021 Play and Standard 2021 Ranked. These queues let you get a preview of what next rotation might look like in case you want a head start on building your new deck or just a break from current Standard. These queues will be available until September 17, at which point timelines converge, rotation happens, and Standard 2021 and Standard become one and the same.

  • Duration: August 13, 2020 until September 17, 2020 (Zendikar Rising Release)
  • Format: Standard 2021 Constructed: Only cards from Throne of Eldraine, Theros Beyond Death, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, and Core Set 2021 will be playable.
  • Match Structure: Single matches (BO1)

Standard Rotation

Standard 2021 prepares players for rotation by allowing only cards from the following sets that stay in Standard after the release of Zendikar Rising on September 17:

  • Throne of Eldraine
  • Theros Beyond Death
  • Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths
  • Core Set 2021

If you need more information, please check out our guide on Standard rotation using the link above.

Building Your Standard 2021 Deck

Arena Base Set (ANB) Cards

This is a best-of-one Standard format, so you are able to use cards from the New Player Experience (NPE) decks. These cards do not rotate out of Standard, and include classics such as Unsummon and more niche cards that could be useful in some decks such as Mardu Outrider! Click on the article above to view all the cards that you can use.


The most important component of your deck are the lands, and the most unfortunate part of Standard rotation is saying farewell to the Shocklands. Although it’s most likely we’ll get some form of lands that come into play untapped in Zendikar Rising, until then we are stuck with these ones that come into play tapped. That means it will be hard for aggro decks to go more than two colors though in slower decks it may be more forgiving. It also depends on the dynamics on whether aggressive strategies will be stronger than the control/ramp decks, which we will find out as the meta develops. It is also preferable if your deck can also accommodate the Castles from Throne of Eldraine!

The Format Defining Cards

Even though there are currently 10 cards banned in Standard, the recent expansions have introduced some truly high powered cards that are still legal for play. Some a build-arounds, and some are just too good not to include if they are in your colors.

Mechanics and Archetypes

Nowadays, the sets come in with a lot of built-in support for its own mechanics and themes so the decks sometimes just build themselves. It may be a little bit harder to pull off with only four sets available, but below are some of the stronger archetypes available in these sets that may have enough support to make them decent to build around.

SetArchetypeCard Examples
Throne of EldraineAdventuresEdgewall Innkeeper
Lucky Clover
Throne of EldraineKnightsInspiring Veteran
Worthy Knight
Theros Beyond DeathEscapeKroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger
Polukranos, Unchained
Theros Beyond DeathEnchantmentsSetessan Champion
Hateful Eidolon
Ikoria: Lair of BehemothsCyclingZenith Flare
Flourishing Fox
Ikoria: Lair of BehemothsMutatePollywog Symbiote
Auspicious Starrix
Core Set 2021+1/+1 CountersConclave Mentor
Basri’s Lieutenant
Core Set 2021LifegainVito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose
Indulging Patrician

Standard 2021 Decklists

Here are all our Standard 2021 decks to get you started, and we will be adding more every day! Our dedicated section for Standard 2021 can be found here, as we find decks from streamers, pro players, tournaments, and more.

Budget Standard 2021 Decklists

The Artisan format allows only common and uncommon cards – perfect starting point for beginners who do not have too much Wildcards on hand. Do keep in mind that Cauldron Familiar and Zenith Flare are banned from this particular event.

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