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Rotating format is the name given to a tournament format which only allows cards from a selected number of expansions, which changes over time.[1] Current rotating formats are Standard and Alchemy. Formerly, Extended was one as well. With one exception, rotation always has been a yearly event.

History[ | ]

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). 2006 did not have a Core Set.
  • The two mini-blocks Lorwyn and Shadowmoor counted as one block, also due to no core set.
  • 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. This split rotation occurred in 2016.
  • Transitioning into the three-year Standard plan, 2023 did not have a rotation, as Midnight Hunt, Crimson Vow, Neon Dynasty and New Capenna gained an additional year.

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.[2][1] 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.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5][6][7] 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).[8] There will be non-premier product released in the summer. This way, some premier sets gain more time in Standard.[9]

It was announced for Wilds of Eldraine that Standard would now be in three-year cycles rather than two. This extended the lifetime of the sets from the 2021-2022 cycle. [10]

Banned lists[ | ]

A banned list exists for every rotating format (see Block Constructed).

References[ | ]