When is MTG Arena Standard Rotation Happening in 2019?

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria (Dominaria) Art by Chris Rallis

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


Core Set 2020 is coming to Magic: The Gathering soon, and MTG Arena will be the first to experience it all on July 2, 2019. This adds another 234 cards (not including the Planeswalker deck cards) to the only constructed format available on MTG Arena, the Standard format.

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 (but more on that later). We thought we’d break down and clarify the topic in today’s article. 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 Core Set 2020, there will now be eight sets worth of cards that can be played in the Standard format.

IxalanGuilds of Ravnica
Rivals of IxalanRavnica Allegiance
DominariaWar of the Spark
Core Set 2019Core Set 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 happens in 2019 when the set after Core Set 2020 is released, called Throne of Eldraine (codenamed “Archery”) – slated to be released Fall 2019 (end of September). That means the sets on the first column of the table above will be “rotated out”, and will not be playable in Standard.

In about 3 months, we will be saying goodbye to our best friends such as Tefero, Hero of Dominaria, Wildgrowth Walker and Goblin Chainwhirler.

That means Standard will have the following available sets in September 2019:

Guilds of Ravnica Throne of Eldraine
Ravnica AllegianceUnknown Set – Winter 2019
War of the Spark Unknown Set – Spring 2020
Core Set 2020 Unknown Set – Summer 2020

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.

Just like paper Magic: The Gathering, the “old” cards will still be legal in casual formats such as Pauper, Singleton, and other cool formats hopefully to come.

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 – The New “Arena Modern” Format

According to the interview last week with MTG Arena’s new director Jay Parker, the team also has plans to release a new MTG Arena-only constructed format that allows you to play with the rotated cards. This is to happen at the same time Archery is released.

We don’t know the specific details of this new format quite yet. Though one thing to note is when MTG Arena was in the closed beta phase, Standard still consisted of Amonkhet block and the Kaladesh block set of cards. They are already coded into the game, and it is unknown whether they will be part of this new format.

Update June 30 2019: The new format will be called Historic according to the developer update, and they have no plans to bring in older sets yet. The format will consist of sets from Ixalan onwards. It will also be just for casual play for now (no ranked matches or competitive support), but as we get more sets released this may change.

Should I Try to Collect Older Cards?

With about one month and a half months left until rotation, a lot of players will now wonder what their best plan is moving forward. This 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.

A general advice we suggest is that you purchase packs or products within the last four sets (Guilds of Ravnica onwards). If you really want to play with a certain card (for example Nicol Bolas, the Ravager for a Grixis Control deck), then use your Wildcards to do so. You can read more about Wildcards in our dedicated section.

Collection Renewal and Changes to Rewards

Update July 01 2019: MTG Arena will be holding special events and rewards for players to help “renew” their collection for the new Standard environment as well as to show their appreciation for the support. They expect to have more information on this system sometime in August.

Further to this, events and rewards will now be focused on the last 4 sets – Guilds of Ravnica, Ravnica Allegiance, War of the Spark, Core Set 2020:

  • There will no longer be Limited events (Draft or Sealed) for sets rotating out of Standard this fall – Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan, Dominaria and Core Set 2019.
  • Players will no longer receive Individual Card Rewards (ICRs) from the above 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 2020 to reward new decks and card styles.
  • Existing players (players who created their accounts before July 2, 2019) will later get access to these decks before rotation happens so everyone will have access to decks that are Standard legal.

Final Words

The Standard format after rotation should be a fresh start, with brand new deck archetypes and strategies to arise. We will only have 5 sets to build a deck with, but it really is time to say goodbye to the Explore mechanic and the horn blowing sound.

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3 Responses

  1. Waltteri Valo says:

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

    • Terence 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

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