Magic: the Gathering comes out with four sets per year with a different story-line for each set. In some cases they return to one of the more popular sets and continue an existing story-line. Most sets, when they are newly released, enter the Standard format. This doesn’t mean they can only be used for that format; the sets can be used in other formats. Two sets of the block usually stay in Standard for about 18 months (it used to be three sets per block, but Wizards of the Coast have decided to reduce the sets down to only two per block). When it’s time for a new set to be released, one set will be dropped out of the Standard format instead of two, so the rotation out of Standard will happen twice as often in groups half its size.
For example, the Theros block and the 2015 Core Set have recently been rotated out of the Standard format, in accordance with the old rotation pattern. The Khans of Tarkir and the Magic: Origins sets, although released during the old pattern, will drop out according to the new pattern. This will provided a transition between the two patterns of rotation. The Khans of Tarkir block includes the Khans of Tarkir, Fate Reforged and Dragons of Tarkir sets. Khans and Fate are going to rotate out as if they were a two set block, even though it was a three set block. Dragons and Origin will rotate in the same fashion about 6 months later, as if they were a 2 set block, even though they really weren’t. After this transitional phase is complete, subsequent sets will be dropping and rotating out at the same time.
Taking all of this into consideration, here’s what the Standard format will look like for the coming year.
Khans of Tarkir, Fate Reforged, Dragons of Tarkir and Magic: Origins will be rotated out as Shadows Over Innistrad is released
Battle for Zendikar and Oath to the Gatewatch will both drop out of rotation at the same time, following the new rotating pattern, after the set for Shadows Over Innistrad is released.
All cards (unless they are on the banned list) are legal to play in any format you desire, even after it's rotation from Standard, but after the rotation happens those cards cannot be used for Standard unless it's a reprinted copy released in later sets.
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