What is Standard in MTG? If you’re asking that question, you’re likely a fairly new player to MTG. If that is the case, welcome to the wide world of MTG, you’re here forever now. In your future there are countless games ahead, and myriad set releases to try and follow. It can all be quite a lot, but thankfully, we’re here to help.
To start out that helpful journey, we’ll be covering all things Standard today, if the title didn’t give that away. Once the premier format in MTG, Standard can still be a great way to get into Magic, even if it’s not as popular as Commander. Whether you’re looking to play on paper, Magic Online, or MTG Arena, it’s nevertheless good to be prepared.
So, without any further ado, let’s go over everything you need to know about Standard in Magic: The Gathering!
What Is Standard in Magic: The Gathering?
Standard is a constructed format. That means that your deck has specific rules to follow. Your deck must contain at least sixty cards, and aside from Basic Lands and any cards that state so in their rules text, you can only have up to four of any single card in your deck and sideboard. Your sideboard can be up to fifteen cards, and you use it to swap out parts of your deck that might not be good about specific matchups.
Standard is one of the smallest Constructed formats in MTG at the moment. This means that it also has one of the smallest card pools available for you to build your deck from. For better or worse, this is thanks to the format rotating regularly, typically once per year. Through rotation, Standard is kept fresh and exciting, however, you may need to replace your deck once per year.
As it stands, currently 10 sets are legal in Standard. This follows a massive change to the format which came into effect with Wilds of Eldraine. Now, Standard is working on a three-year rotation cycle. This change from the old two-year system is designed to profile longevity for paper players’ investment. If you’re looking for a two-year rotating format, take a look at Alchemy on MTG Arena.
Read More: MTG Arena Best Decks
What Sets Are Legal in Standard?
Thanks to the new three-year rotation, the set list for Standard is larger than ever. Throughout 2023 and 2024, this will continue to expand until rotation finally happens. Currently, this is set to take place in the Fall of 2024 with the release of Bloomburrow.
Here is the list of all the sets currently legal in Standard in Magic: The Gathering:
- Innistrad: Midnight Hunt*
- Innistrad: Crimson Vow*
- Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty*
- Streets of New Capenna*
- Dominaria United
- The Brothers’ War
- Phyrexia: All Will Be One
- March of the Machine
- March of the Machine: The Aftermath
- Wilds of Eldraine
Sets marked with * will rotate out in the Fall of 2024.
Alongside all the sets currently legal in Standard, we also know the names of many upcoming premier sets. If you want to read about those in detail, you can check out our 2024 and 2025 release calendars.
What Cards Are Banned in Standard?
As Magic: The Gathering’s flagship format, ideally Standard isn’t meant to have any banned cards. This eliminates any potential confusion that new players could otherwise experience. Unfortunately, we’re rather far from this ideal at the moment, as there is a quartet of cards that are banned in Standard.
Here is the list of the cards that are currently banned in Standard in Magic: The Gathering:
- Fable of the Mirror Breaker \\ Reflections of Kiki-Jiki
- Invoke Despair
- The Meathook Massacre
- Reckoner Backbuster
Curiously, the majority of the above cards were not banned by the usual means. Typically, bans will occur when a card is too powerful or is part of a broken combo that needs to be stopped. While this did happen with The Meathook Massacre, the other cards were banned to primarily shake up Standard. This preceded the rotation change, which threatened to make the format rather stale.
Thankfully, while the shake-up bans were warranted, and welcome at the time, it’s unlikely they’ll happen again. In fact, ideally, the Standard banlist won’t grow any larger until the format rotates in 2024. Should anything be banned, however, we’ll be sure to update this list, along with our all-encompassing banlist.