Standard and Alchemy Rotation Schedule Update
Table of Contents
March of the Machine: The Aftermath is releasing on May 9, 2023 as the first 50-card supplementary Standard set for both tabletop and digital Magic: The Gathering, which will replace the similar mini Alchemy sets that happened each set. However, the Standard format is set to receive a further major update starting from the Wilds of Eldraine expansion on September 5 when everybody will be expecting a Standard rotation:
Instead, there will not be a rotation later this year, and will happen in 2024 where by then Standard will have 12 legal expansions (plus the mini sets)! Alchemy will keep the old Standard rotation schedule of 2 years. Read on for more information and what this means to the players. We’ve summarized the information and you can also read the official announcement from Wizards of the Coast below.
To summarize, return to tabletop play has since long recommenced and the data suggested to Wizards of the Coast that players were not playing Standard. The reasoning was that as cards inflated in cost, it was suggested that players did not want to invest in a format where their cards were not playable after 2 years. There was no information to suggest that MTG Arena had an effect on any of this, but the change is driven by tabletop Magic and further separates the digital players from it.
To that end, the four sets MID, VOW, NEO, and SNC will not be rotating when Wilds of Eldraine releases on September 5, 2023. Instead, they will rotate in 2024 when the untitled early Fall 2024 Set is released. That means another year of Invoke Despair, Reckoner Bankbuster, Bloodithe Harvester, and… Fable of the Mirror-Breaker.
We are unsure whether this is overall a positive change especially for MTG Arena players: Standard will be bloated, and overall will likely remain stale without some card bans (which will also not make players happy) as new cards will not have a big impact like we’ve seen with March of the Machine. It can introduce new set-specific archetypes such as Selesnya Toxic. Below is the new proposed schedule, and what sets will be legal in Standard before rotation happens in 2024:
|Rotates out September 2024||Rotates out September 2025||Rotates out September 2026|
|Innistrad: Midnight Hunt (MID)||Dominaria United (DMU)||Wilds of Eldraine|
|Innistrad: Crimson Vow (VOW)||The Brothers’ War (BRO)||The Lost Caverns of Ixalan|
|Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty (NEO)||Phyrexia: All Will Be One (ONE)||Untitled winter 2024 Set “Polo”|
|Streets of New Capenna (SNC)||March of the Machine (MOM)||Untitled spring 2024 Set “Quilting”|
|March of the Machine: The Aftermath (MAT)|
Alchemy on the other hand, will keep its current two year rotation schedule to keep its intention of being a more dynamic format, though we haven’t seen many meaningful balance changes recently. Alchemy rotation will still be happening as scheduled, with the release of Wilds of Eldraine on September 5, 2023. There will still be Renewal Rewards this year, and The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth is scheduled to release on June 20, 2023 as a bigger Alchemy set. Below is the new proposed schedule:
|Rotates out September 2023||Rotates out September 2024||Rotates out September 2025|
|Innistrad: Midnight Hunt (MID)||Dominaria United (DMU)||Wilds of Eldraine|
|Innistrad: Crimson Vow (VOW)||Alchemy: Dominaria||The Lost Caverns of Ixalan|
|Alchemy: Innistrad||The Brothers’ War (BRO)||Untitled winter 2024 Set “Polo”|
|Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty (NEO)||Alchemy: The Brothers’ War||Untitled spring 2024 Set “Quilting”|
|Alchemy: Kamigawa||Phyrexia: All Will Be One (ONE)|
|Streets of New Capenna (SNC)||Alchemy: Phyrexia|
|Alchemy: New Capenna||March of the Machine (MOM)|
|Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate (HBG)||March of the Machine: The Aftermath (MAT)|
|The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth (LTR)|
Standard is, and has long been, vital to thriving local game stores. Regular play, a robust competitive tabletop scene, local metagames, and that cheeky, friendly competitive edge is infused into so many local game stores that when Standard struggles, stores take note.
Even in the context of Magic growing leaps and bounds over the past few years, tabletop Standard hasn’t kept pace. Commander has grown tremendously. More and more players enjoy Pioneer and Modern. And Standard sees more play on Magic: The Gathering Arena every day than individual games in any other format.
It concerns us when tabletop Standard gets left behind despite Magic‘s tremendous growth. Time and time again, we’ve heard from players and local store owners that they believe a healthy, well-liked, well-attended Standard is still incredibly important to their experience and their success. Lately, we’ve been doing more asking and listening to assess how we can help Standard.
And we’ve been putting together plans to do just that. It helps that Standard is once again gaining traction as a fun format, showcased in Pro Tour March of the Machine this very weekend, but we also recognize we need to make a more public commitment to Standard and competitive tabletop Magic. As such, we’ll be rolling out multifaceted plans over the coming months to do so.
Today is step one.
That step is that we’re going to extend the lifecycle of all cards in Standard by one year: starting with the current Standard environment, sets will rotate out every three years rather than every two years.
This means that with the release of Wilds of Eldraine, there will be no Standard rotation for this year only. The following year in 2024, Innistrad: Crimson Vow, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, and Streets of New Capenna will rotate out of Standard.
(MTG Arena will follow this change for Standard, but not Alchemy. Learn more with the full details from the MTG Arena team.)
Our intent with this change is not to overshadow any of the amazing growth Commander, Pioneer, Modern, and other formats have seen in recent years but instead give players more reasons to engage with Standard. Extending the Standard rotation to three years will, we believe, achieve two main points (and an additional benefit) that can make tabletop Standard more enjoyable:
- This will give current Standard cards more longevity. Time and again, we hear that players want to play with cards they love and enjoy longer. Standard is our only rotating format, and while keeping it fresh is important, we also feel that there’s a more effective middle ground.
- It will allow mechanics and archetypes to be more effectively built on over time. As we moved away from the block model, we gained a lot of flexibility, but we also lost some ability to build on mechanics and themes within a set. With a longer window, we can find more opportunities to build up or revitalize archetypes. Coupled with the point above, that can lead to more diversity, longer-lasting archetypes, and enough competitive churn to keep players engaged.
- It also gives us stronger tools to create an environment where decks are more “color(s) and mechanic” (like Green-White Toxic or Blue-White Soldiers) and less midrange. With a larger card pool, the format can handle bigger swings with entire decks seeded at once.
We believe this will give Standard more stability, more vitality, and strengthen it for local game stores.
Our attention toward improving the Standard experience won’t be ending here. To help ensure Standard thrives at local game stores, we’ll be rolling out a multistep plan to support and revitalize Standard tabletop play. While later steps are still in the planning stages, we felt it was important to share this change as early as possible once our plans around rotation were locked into place.
The rest of the plan is currently undergoing iteration and will roll out as we finalize it. While we work on that, we want to hear more from you! Tweet at us (@PlayMTG or @wizards_magic), join our Discord discussion, and come share your thoughts during a future episode of WeeklyMTG on May 16!
Source: Revitalizing Standard
Updates to Standard and Alchemy on MTG Arena
Standard is going to be changing. For more on the changes to Standard, check out “Revitalizing Standard” where we go in depth on why we are making these changes and our future intentions for Standard.
To quickly sum up the changes: starting with the current Standard environment, sets will rotate out of Standard every three years rather than every two years.
The Standard format in MTG Arena will mirror tabletop, and sets will rotate out of Standard every three years. This means there will be no rotation for the Standard format with the release of Wilds of Eldraine.
In contrast to Standard’s upcoming change, the Alchemy format will continue following a two-year rotation. This means that with the release of Wilds of Eldraine, the following sets will all be rotating out of Alchemy:
- Innistrad: Crimson Vow
- Innistrad: Midnight Hunt
- Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty
- Streets of New Capenna
- Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate
Alongside Alchemy’s rotation, MTG Arena will be celebrating renewal (with its login gifts, renewal rewards on the Mastery Pass, and much more) as normal this year! There might be slight changes year over year, but the overall renewal celebrations in MTG Arena will remain like past years. For example, see MTG Arena‘s Renewal last year.
From the beginning of the changes-to-Standard discussions, we had expected and intended for Alchemy to remain at its two-year rotation. Our objective with Alchemy has remained: provide a format for our digital-first players who are looking for an ever-evolving and fresh Magic meta.
To briefly expand:
- Alchemy is a very different environment than a tabletop format, and so we want to manage it in the way that makes the most sense for those players and their goals.
- Alchemy is built for our digital-first, high-volume players. These are players who want to see regular changes in the meta, because they’re playing tons of games every week.
- A two-year rotation will help keep the Alchemy meta dynamic and fluid, and it will give players more change week to week and month to month in the decks they’re seeing and chasing.
As we focus on revitalizing Standard tabletop play, MTG Arena will be right there supporting all aspects of the game. We’re ecstatically looking forward to The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earthTM set coming to MTG Arena on June 20. We will continue to support Alchemy and embrace Explorer, with more to come later this year. And of course, all of these bring their cards to Historic. MTG Arena will continue to support all its major formats, guided by the play data we see and by community feedback.
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