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Why Players Are Excited For Today's Magic: The Gathering Arena Standard Rotation

by John Carson on Sep 16, 2021 at 04:30 PM

Today finally ushers in the official Standard 2022 rotation in Magic: The Gathering Arena. Rotation comes once a year with the release of Magic’s fall premiere set. This year Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, the first of two full sets on the horror plane scheduled for this fall, brings with it a revitalized constructed format. What exactly does rotation mean for players of the game, and why are people excited about this one in particular?

What Is Standard Rotation?

Once every year, Wizards of the Coast changes which Magic: The Gathering expansion sets are legal for the game’s Standard constructed format. This determines which pool of cards players can choose from when building 60-card decks for competitive play. Upon the release of Magic’s fall set (like Midnight Hunt’s release this year), a year’s worth of sets rotates out of legality to make room for the upcoming year of releases.

In the case of the rotation we’re currently experiencing, all four sets from fall 2019 through the set before last year’s fall set are leaving Standard. Those sets are Throne of Eldraine, Theros Beyond Death, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, and Core Set 2021. The remaining legal sets include everything from fall 2020 through the present day: Zendikar Rising, Kaldheim, Strixhaven: School of Mages, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, and the incoming Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. Any additional Standard-legal sets released over the coming year will be added to the legal card pool. The diagram below shows the previous Standard sets on the upper part of the image, with Standard 2022’s current legal sets and upcoming products on the bottom.

Why Are People Excited About This Standard Rotation?

Shaking up a competitive meta is always an exciting time. There’s plenty of experimental decks to build, and lots to play around with while figuring out what works and what won’t in a new format. This rotation is special to a lot of Magic players because of some oppressive cards leaving Standard. Specifically, a lot of cards from Throne of Eldraine have been so good over the past two years that some set releases didn’t affect which cards were being played.

Bonecrusher Giant, Lovestruck Beast, Embercleave, and Drown in the Loch are just a small sample of cards that have dominated competitive play. Not to mention cards that were banned because of their power level or repetitive play patterns like Oko, Thief of Crowns, Fires of Invention, and Caudron Familiar. Other sets like Ikoria have also produced powerful cards, but no other set had a grip on Standard over the last two years as Eldraine did.

But now Eldraine is gone. And with the loss of the most pervasive creatures and spells, comes the emergence of the sets that were held back. Mechanics like Party from Zendikar Rising, or Kaldheim’s snow and God cards have the chance to rise to the top. Themes centered around Strixhaven’s five colleges, and Adventures in the Forgotten Realms dungeon venturing and dice-rolling shenanigans could be valid now. All while a dark moon rises on Standard, bringing untold terrors to the fresh format.

Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Is here!

Returning to possibly the most popular plane in the Magic multiverse, Innistrad and its classic horrors are back in Standard. Innistrad: Midnight Hunt is a set centered on the battle between humans and werewolves during an event called the Harvesttide Festival. The nights on Innistrad are growing longer, and as a result, the daylight hours are waning. The fight over night and day rages as characters attempt to fix the broken time cycle.

Innistrad: Midnight Hunt doesn’t just feature werewolves and humans, but also zombies, vampires, devils, spirits, and ghouls. If it’s creepy or horrific, you’ll probably see it on a card in Innistrad. New mechanics enter Standard with Midnight Hunt including a day/night cycle with Daybound and Nightbound cards that flip sides depending on the time of day, while the Disturb mechanic brings creatures back to the battlefield changed into something else. Classic Innistrad keywords like Investigate, Transform, and Flashback are also everywhere in the set.

Now is a great time to get into Magic: The Gathering and the easiest way is through MTG Arena on PC, iOS, and Android. The client is free-to-play with optional in-app purchases to buy card packs, entries into events, or cosmetic card styles. You're provided with free starter decks as you play through the game's tutorial, which gives a solid base of cards to start with. I’d also encourage new or existing players to check out the Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Pre-release events happening this weekend. Check with your local game store for times and information. Those looking to build Standard decks with physical paper cards will have to wait for the official physical release of Midnight Hunt on September 24.

Are you looking to get into Magic: The Gathering with this new rotation? Have you checked out the cards from Midnight Hunt? If so, which are some of your favorites? Let us know in the comments!

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