With the announcement of Throne of Eldraine, we are officially on the countdown to the upcoming Standard rotation. Departing us in September: Dominaria, Core Set 2019, Ixalan, and Rivals of Ixalan. With them leave a whole host of dinosaurs, vampires, and spells that deal three damage. That will leave Guilds of Ravnica, Ravnica Allegiance, War of the Spark, and Core Set 2020 in the format when Throne of Eldraine hits shelves.

Many people use rotation as an opportunity to start playing Standard. I’m here to ask—why wait? You can enjoy now Standard at it’s largest size. Many of the best decks will survive rotation, giving you long term play with your cards. Here is a guide to navigate and survive the upcoming Standard rotation.

Cards That Get Better

Let’s start by looking at some cards that will remain in Standard after rotation. These stand to get better, with fewer power cards taking up space in top decks and maybe even some new archetypes thanks to Throne of Eldraine.


Key Cards: Omnath, Locus of the Roil, Cavalier of Thorns, Risen Reef

Omnath and friends have only recently joined Standard, thanks to Core Set 2020. In their short time in the format, they have already made a lasting impact. Risen Reef might be the best card in Standard, and has been the best card from Core Set 2020 so far. Temur Elementals backs up explosive draws with resiliency and a superb mana base.


The shocklands provide powerful mana for Standard whenever they are reprinted, and they will continue to do so for another year. If you already have them for Modern, you can hop into Standard with a few cards already in your binder. These lands are among the most powerful dual lands in Magic, and it’s always a good time to pick them up and play with them.


Key Cards: Nissa, Who Shakes the World, Growth Spiral, Paradise Druid

Ramp is back and better than ever, thanks in most part to the Ravnica sets. Doing its best Mana Flare impression, Nissa, Who Shakes the World is every ramp player’s dream. Our best cards to pair with Nissa these days are Hydroid Krasis or Mass Manipulation, but Throne of Eldraine may offer some fancy new ways to spend a ton of mana.

Decks That Will Persist

If you want to get in on Standard now to get a head start on the new format after rotation, it helps to pick a deck that will stick around.

Boros/Naya Feather

Feather, the Redeemed comes from War of the Spark, and will be around in Standard for another year. The Boros and Naya Feather decks use cantrips and protection spells to create one large, protected threat. Before Core Set 2020 came out, the deck struggled to find consistency. The reprints of Temple of Triumph and Gods Willing give the deck needed scry effects to smooth its draws.

This archetype loses a few key cards, which is where Throne of Eldraine will hopefully provide new versions. The mana base will be the biggest issue. Will the loss of Rootbound Crag, Clifftop Retreat, and Sunpetal Grove force Feather to abandon Naya and revert to Boros? And what about Reckless Rage? That card is a powerhouse that combines well with both Feather and Dreadhorde Arcanist.

Temur Elementals

Temur Elementals (and Temur in general) may be the biggest beneficiary of the Standard rotation. Almost all of the Elementals deck comes from Core Set 2020, other than the loss of Llanowar Elves. Temur has access to Temple of Epiphany and Temple of Mystery, so its manabase should remain viable.

The biggest question remains: will Throne of Eldraine have new Elementals? If not, other archetypes may outpace this one. But seriously, Risen Reef is great and you should play it now anyway.

Esper Hero

Once the most popular deck in Standard, Esper Hero leans heavily on the power of Hero of Precinct One within a normal midrange shell. While rotation takes away Teferi, Hero of Dominaria—Arena players will not miss you—and Hostage Taker, these cards are replaceable.

Having been pushed to the sideline, Basilica Bell-Haunt could be ready to retake its place in the deck. Liliana, Dreadhorde General is quite possibly the most powerful card that doesn’t have a home in Standard. Could she command the battlefield in Teferi’s absence? Or will Ugin the Ineffable‘s easy casting cost and ability to remove any permanent give him the edge? While Ugin wins on the protection front, Liliana can end games a lot quicker and her card advantage is a lot more reliable.

Throne of Eldraine is within view, but you don’t have to wait. Standard is the best it has been in recent memory. Take advantage of it while you can!

Daniel Roberts (@Razoack) is a UK based player writing about all things Standard. Playing since the release of Gatecrash, he loves nothing better than travelling to European GPs with friends and losing in the feature match area. His best record is 12-3 at GP Barcelona 2017, but he’s aiming for that one more win.

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