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Magic: The Gathering’s retail launch of the Shadows over Innistrad was just a few days ago, set in stores around the world. With about 300 new cards in total, this is a very large set for players to sink their teeth into, but every new set brings in its share of excitement. In addition, today will also be the official transition to the Standard format, meaning both the Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged sets will be removed from this rotation block.


I can’t tell you how many times I saw Siege Rhino played in the last rotation block.

I happen to like Wizards of the Coast’s concept of rotating sets out. Perhaps this is because Standard happens to be my favorite format of them all, but this is mainly due to how Standard can keep things more “in check” versus the other options. To put it simply, the other formats literally have THOUSANDS of cards to work with, and it can be overwhelming for any player of any experience level to dive right into the fray. Unless you are truly dedicated to the game, I am a firm believer in choosing the format that appeals the most to you.

However, this system isn’t always perfect. Balancing the meta around physical cards can be tricky. All it takes is a few outliers that warp the format to stifle deck variety. Still, Wizards of the Coast has altered its rotation schedule to attempt remedying any, at least potentially, long-term woes of problematic cards being too popular.

If you look at the graphic below, you can see what I mean.

Previously, Wizards of the Coast used to spread out its cards across multiple sets. Nowadays, they have chosen to make the newer sets more compact. So when rotation happens, all Wizards of the Coast has to do now is lop off fewer sets of the tail end instead of a larger chunk. To me, I believe this eases the rotation process significantly instead of a huge number of cards suddenly disappearing from legal play in the format.

Alas, when something has to go, something else has to take its place. Whenever rotation happens, a player’s Standard deck(s) must be readjusted to comply with the influx of cards coming into the picture. Luckily for me, my own Standard deck won’t get hit too hard.


After a quick glance through my deck, I have found just six cards I would need to replace altogether. Some other players may have to scrap entire decks, so I am very thankful for this rotation block. With every card game, it can get very pricey. But it’s good to spend money on your hobbies, right?

215802_detail_v2Personally, I pride myself on being a “budget player” in Magic: The Gathering. By comparison to some people I have come across, I try to pay just enough to get the cards I want to make a competent Standard deck and perhaps a few other projects. But it’s all up to you. Whether you end up buying a Fat Pack or whole box of booster packs, just keep your wallet in mind to reduce overspending. One can easily get too zealous when a brand-new set entices you to buy a boatload of cards.
Are there any particular cards you are looking for in this set? I would love to get my hands on an Archangel Avacyn/Avacyn, the Purifier flip card. That would truly make my day as a player.



Happy hunting.

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All images and graphics of Magic: The Gathering content belong to Wizards of the Coast.

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