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Magic: the Gathering's Standard format was shaken up today

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Magic: the Gathering players who compete in the Standard format without a Mono Black Devotion deck are 1000% tired of cards such as Thoughtseize, Mutavault, and Pack Rat. Their time in the spotlight is almost over; they'll rotate out of the Standard format next month. An announcement made by Mark Rosewater, Magic's head designer, is sure to make a lot of you people happy. The way Standard rotates is changing, arguably for the better. 

Currently, Standard includes the two most recent blocks (in this case that's Return to Ravnica and Theros respectively), as well as the most recent Core Set. Rotation happens when a new fall block is released (in this case, that's Khans of Tarkir this September), and it takes out the elder block and last year's Core Set. This means that, at times, there are two legal Core Sets available in Standard and six total expansion releases (three for each block), as is the case currently.

This is a lot of cards. This is also a long time beteween rotation: 12 months. 12 months of cards you may love. 12 months of cards you may despise. 

Again, though, all that is changing.

Starting in 2016, the Core Set is going away. In truth, this is a fantastic move; while accomadating to newcomers, Core Sets have ultimately become a land of unwanted reprints and boring cards. While Magic 2015 has been incredibly exciting, it's an exception, not the norm. The removal of the Core Set means that new and exciting ideas can constantly be introduced in Magic: the Gathering blocks without having to worry about making themes too hard. There will still be releases designed for beginners, but it won't come at the expense of seasoned veterans who enjoy playing Standard.

In addition, the way blocks rotate out will change as well. I'd explain it, but to be perfectly honest this GIF does a much better job. Keep in mind that some set names are still in their codenames, i.e "Blood," "Sweat," "Tears," etc etc.

So what does this shorter window of legality mean for the format? More diversity, more fluidness, and more excitement. Black has been the dominate color of choice for eleven months now with only one thing set to stop it: the removal of the legality for key cards in the deck when Khans of Tarkir releases and the Return to Ravnica block goes away. This new format will see rotations happen faster and more frequently. There will be very little time to get adjusted to various meta-games; they'll be changing before you know it. More importantly, though, is the fact that a two-set based block means less fat and more meat in each set. There will (hopefully) be no more "weak" sets, i.e. a Dragon's Maze or a Born of the Gods. 

We still have a year of waiting until the new Standard format goes into effect. Hopefully the wait won't be too long; I already feel like it'll be totally worth it.

[Magic: the Gathering]

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Jake Valentine
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