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Standard, formerly known as Type 2 or Type II, is a rotating constructed play format for Magic: The Gathering, that was created on January 10, 1995.[1][2] It is the most widely sanctioned constructed format at all levels of organized play.[3] Standard matches are best-of-3, so this format is called Traditional Standard on MTG Arena.

Deck construction[ | ]

Standard decks must contain a minimum of sixty cards. There is no maximum deck size; however, one must be able to shuffle one's deck without assistance.

Sideboards are optional and may contain up to fifteen cards. Except for basic land cards, a player's combined deck and sideboard may not contain more than four copies of any individual card, counted by the card's English title equivalent.[4]

Set legality[ | ]

Cards from the following sets are currently legal in Standard, except for banned cards:[4]

Sets Legal until
Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Summer 2024
Innistrad: Crimson Vow
Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty
Streets of New Capenna
Dominaria United Summer 2025
The Brothers' War
Phyrexia: All Will Be One
March of the Machine
March of the Machine: The Aftermath
Wilds of Eldraine Summer 2026
The Lost Caverns of Ixalan
Murders at Karlov Manor
Outlaws of Thunder Junction
The Big Score
Bloomburrow* Summer 2027
Duskmourn: House of Horror*
Magic: The Gathering Foundations* "At least 2029"[5]

^* Not released yet.

Banned list[ | ]

The following cards are banned in Standard tournaments.[6][7]

Previously banned cards[ | ]

The following is a list of cards that have been banned at one point during their stay in the Standard environment.

Should a banned card that rotated out of standard be later reintroduced into Standard, the ban will not carry over to that set. (The only example up to date is Darksteel Citadel, which was banned in Mirrodin Standard, but was later reprinted in Magic 2015).

Rotation[ | ]

Rotation is the defining characteristic of Standard and a way to keep the card pool fresh and encouraging purchasing of the new sets. The block model was used to explain the sets that rotate, but nowadays the rotation is simply defined as the removal of the oldest four sets. After Autumn of 2023, Standard is composed of nine to twelve sets.

Originally, three-set blocks would rotate all at once, sometimes with a core set. Then, a change to two-set blocks would mean the two oldest blocks still legal in Standard would rotate out of the format. For example, when Ixalan released in fall 2017, Battle for Zendikar, Oath of the Gatewatch, Shadows over Innistrad, Eldritch Moon, and Welcome Deck 2016 (which counted as a part of Shadows over Innistrad in rotation) rotated out of Standard. Then the Three-and-One Model eliminated blocks altogether for the newest definition, and shortly after the core set label was abandoned altogether.

Starting in 2021, Wizards of the Coast began a new schedule where the premier sets are early fall, late fall, winter, and spring (dates based on Northern Hemisphere seasons.) [11]. There will still be a non-premier product released in the summer. With a late fall release instead of a summer release, this functionally means that the shortest-legal set gained two months in Standard, though each set shrinks its draft rotation time by a few weeks.[12]

Beginning in 2023, the rotation for Standard shifted to every three years rather than every two years.[13] This increased the number of sets in Standard from eight to twelve, allowing players to continue using decks and cards in the format for a longer period. Towards the end of 2024, Wizards of the Coast introduced a new type of Standard-legal expansion in Magic: The Gathering Foundations. Unlike regular premier sets, Foundations is designed as an unchanging card set that will be published annually for many years.[14] The cards in the set remain legal in Standard for five years.[15]

History[ | ]

Main article: Standard/Timeline

When Standard (then called "Type 2") was created on January 10, 1995, it inherited the banned and restricted lists from Vintage (then "Type 1"). Legal were then the most current basic set (Revised Edition) and the latest two Magic expansions only (The Dark and Fallen Empires). The original Standard format allowed the recent two blocks plus the most recent core set (two core sets between the last release and the actual rotation), after a short stint when Fallen Empires and Ice Age were not in a block. This hence made for a rotation schedule where the format rotated both when a core set and when a new block started; this was less impactful as core sets were always entirely reprints and had significant overlap with the previous set. There was even an oddity in 2000 and 2001 when 6th and 7th Editions were released mid-block. They were also only released once every two years until Magic 2010 revamped the Core Set identity, giving Standard the regular five-to-eight set sizing it would know for a decade.

After Magic Origins, core sets were discontinued, and blocks only contained two sets, one large and one small. It was intended that blocks rotated twice a year but half as many sets would leave; Standard would be always five or six sets, compared to the norm of five to eight. A Standard with three blocks and two rotations (Spring and Autumn) was adopted between 2015 and 2016 (Khans of Tarkir/Fate Reforged and Dragons of Tarkir/Magic Origins were treated as blocks for transition).[16] This midseason rotation occurred exactly once with the release of Shadows over Innistrad, which faced heavy criticism among players, and hence rotation reverted to the format in which the oldest 4 sets rotated out in each Autumn.

Starting in Kaladesh in 2016 and ending with War of the Spark in 2019, the Standard Showdown was introduced as a root-level competitive tournament that awarded special prize packs (notably foil rare cards from standard sets) to participants.

In November 2021, Alchemy, an online-only variant of Standard, was brought forth as a new initiative from MTG Arena. With no paper tournaments planned for the future due to the COVID-19 pandemic and increasingly rapid metagame stagnation, Alchemy was developed as a way to rebalance problematic cards and inject some novelty into solved formats. It was inducted as a tournament format in the first high-level event in 2022.

By late 2022, sanctioned Standard Play had dried up in many stores.[17] Some named reasons were the COVID-19 pandemic, the ease of Standard play on MTG Arena, the rising popularity of Commander play and the lack of grinding opportunities for Organized Play.[18]

As a reaction to the decline, Wizards of the Coast changed the rotation in 2023 to every three years rather than every two years, which meant that there would be no rotation of sets in that year.[13] This change aimed to give current Standard cards more longevity, to allow mechanics and archetypes to be more effectively built on over time, and to provide R&D with 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.

Towards the end of 2024, Wizards of the Coast launched a new Standard-legal expansion designed to help new players learn the fundamentals of the game.[19] Magic: The Gathering Foundations is an evergreen set that will be reprinted annually and was designed to carry through multiple Standard rotations.[20] Unlike other Standard-legal sets, cards in Foundations will remain legal in Standard until at least 2029.[21]

Former popular Standard decks[ | ]

References[ | ]

  1. Mark Rosewater (August 6, 2012). "Setting The Standard". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater (August 5, 2013). "Twenty Things That Were Going To Kill Magic". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Reid Duke (April 27, 2015). "An Introduction to the Popular Constructed Formats". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. a b Standard Format,
  5. Wizards of the Coast (June 28, 2024). "Foundations will set the foundation for Magic's next era as cards from the set will be Standard legal through at least 2029.". Twitter.
  6. Ian Duke (September 19, 2022). "October 10, 2022 Banned and Restricted Announcement". Archived from the original on May 19, 2023.
  7. Andrew Brown (May 29, 2023). "May 29, 2023 Banned and Restricted Announcement". Archived from the original on May 29, 2023.
  8. a b c Ian Duke and Jay Parker (January 25, 2022). "January 25, 2022 Banned and Restricted Announcement". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Ian Duke (September 19, 2022). "October 10, 2022 Banned and Restricted Announcement". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Ian Duke (October 12, 2020). "October 12, 2020 Banned and Restricted Announcement". Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Mark Rosewater (August 26, 2021). "Hi marc why does this year have 5 premium sets...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  12. 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.
  13. a b Aaron Forsythe and Billy Jensen (May 7, 2023). "Revitalizing Standard". Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Mark Rosewater (So you are considering a 5 year standard?). "754546796719734784...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  15. Wizards of the Coast (June 28, 2024). "... the set will be Standard legal through at least 2029.". Twitter.
  16. Mark Rosewater (August 25, 2014). "Metamorphosis". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Aaron Forsythe (January 19, 2022). "Why has sanctioned Standard play declined relative to other formats in your store?". Twitter.
  18. Jake Henderson (December 7, 2022). "The Decline of Standard: What Happened to Magic’s Most Popular Tournament Format?".
  19. Gavin Verhey, Max McCall, Bryan Hawley (June 28, 2024). "The Preview Panel - MagicCon: Amsterdam (Video)". Magic: The Gathering. YouTube.
  20. Mark Rosewater (So you are considering a 5 year standard?). "754546796719734784...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  21. Wizards of the Coast (June 28, 2024). "... the set will be Standard legal through at least 2029.". Twitter.

External links[ | ]