Rotating format is the name given to a tournament format which only allows cards from a selected number of expansions, which changes over time. Rotating formats are used in Standard. Formerly, they were also used in Extended. With one exception, rotation always has been a yearly event.
Set rotation (or rotation for short) used to be based on blocks, rather than individual sets. Each year, a certain block and a corresponding core set would rotate out. There were three exceptions however:
- Coldsnap was pegged to Time Spiral block for rotation (however, due to regulation changes in Extended, Coldsnap rotated out earlier than Time Spiral block instead of rotating out together).
- The two mini-blocks Lorwyn and Shadowmoor counted as one block.
- The three sets of Tarkir block block were split into two separated blocks for rotation, where Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged counted as one block, and Dragons of Tarkir (pegged with Magic Origins) counted as another.
The unusual block splitting of Tarkir was during an experimental change in rotation where half as many sets (the two-set blocks) would leave twice as frequently. The first mid-season rotation with Shadows over Innistrad was the only time this happened, as the hostile reception made Wizards return to the yearly rotation, where the two oldest blocks rotated. After the introduction the Three-and-One Model, the rotation returned to the same cycle, but now defined as the four oldest sets in Standard rotating out when the new fall set releases.
Although two Innistrad sets come out only two months apart in the latter part of 2021, R&D is not changing how many sets are being added to Standard during the rotation window, but just shifted the timing around slightly. They are are trying a new schedule where the premier sets are early fall, late fall, winter and spring (all times based on Northern Hemisphere seasons). There will be non-premier product released in the summer. This way, some premier sets gain more time in Standard.
- Maria Bartholdi (March 4, 2016). "Rotation". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (2014 August 25). "Metamorphosis". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Aaron Forsythe (2016 October 19). "Revisiting Standard Rotation". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- MTG Arena Admin (June 27, 2019). "Rotation Guide - Intro to Rotation, Upcoming Changes, and Historic Play". Mtgarena.com.
- Mark Rosewater (March 19, 2021). "I am curious about some of the finer release details with the 2 Innistrad sets.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (March 19, 2021). "So 2021 has 5 Standard Sets instead of 4, but it was said that Standard won't have more cards than usual.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (August 24, 2021). "Can you please clarify the 2022 Standard schedule one more time?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (August 26, 2021). "Hi marc why does this year have 5 premium sets...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (August 26, 2021). "I would miss the Summer sets, and that 2 sets in fall feel a bit to close to each other for my taste". Blogatog. Tumblr.