We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

MTG’s upcoming Foundations set could stay in Standard forever

The upcoming Standard set MTG Foundations could remain a permanent part of the format, Wizards' head designer Mark Rosewater has hinted.

An elf with crossed swords - MTG artwork for the card Llanowar Elves

This year’s beginner-friendly November set, Magic: The Gathering Foundations, is designed to remain legal in Standard, arguably the game’s ‘default’ format, for five years, rotating out in the distant future of 2029. But now head designer Mark Rosewater has revealed that it’ll actually be around “at least until 2029”, and Wizards might choose to extend its time in Standard further.

This raises the possibility of an MTG set that stays in Standard forever. Assuming it performs reasonably well, MTG Foundations might become an evergreen Standard set, a permanently legal fixture that is always available for new players looking to learn the game.

At first glance, this seems to provide many of the benefits of Core Sets, while also solving some of their problems. It’s useful, especially with recent complexity creep, to have a more beginner-friendly set of cards that new players can collect while learning how to play Magic: The Gathering. However, it probably doesn’t make business sense for Wizards to devote time and resources to creating and marketing a new Core Set each year.

The other upside is that having a set of cards covering the ‘basics’ means Wizards doesn’t have to force cards like Plummet and Duress into Standard sets just to make them Standard legal. This has the potential to make MTG drafts more interesting for regular, premier sets.

But just as there were downsides to Wizards’ decision to extend rotation, allowing regular sets to stay in Standard for three years instead of two, this move also comes with some risks attached.

For instance, if Foundations has powerful cards they would stick around in Standard, causing problems, forever – unless they got added to the MTG banlist (and since the set is full of ‘classic’, famous cards, bans seem less likely). We’ve already seen that Foundations includes a one-cost mana dork, Llanowar Elves, and a four-mana board wipe, Day of Judgement – both of which have pretty major implications for Standard deck building.

Other fans have expressed this sentiment too, and Rosewater responded to one of them on his Blogatog blog. “A lot of time was spent on Foundation,” he said, adding: “And the knowledge that it was going to be in Standard for a while was well known.”

In related news, Magic: The Gathering Foundations has been confirmed to be a draftable set, which will be interesting – especially if it ends up sticking around for more than five years. We’re especially keen to see what the gold cards are like – what are the archetypal ten color pair strategies Wizards will include?

For more MTG content, have a gander at our MTG release schedule guide. And don’t miss our list of the best MTG commanders.