It's very typical to say "current standard". Right now that means Innistrad (with Dark Ascension, Avacyn Restored, and M13) and Return to Ravnica (with Gatecrash, Dragon's Maze, and soon to come M14). Years from now, when these long past rotated out of standard, how might I reference the name of this set "standard" play (or any other "previous current standard"? Is there a convention for it?

1 Answer 1


You can:

  • Refer to the blocks: "Scars-Innistrad Standard," or just "Scars Standard" (using the name of the full block, which tends to define the format more) is very common. People are likely to place it into context at a glance, but it lacks some specificity, though that's mostly relevant for flash-in-the-pan decks that vanish when the next set tweaks the card pool.
  • Refer to the most recent set released: "NPH Standard." This is the most specific. The one downside is that some players don't remember all the small sets too well. This approach is concise and the card pool is totally unambiguous, with the rare exceptions of mid-season bans. Also it's pretty clunky when the last set is a core set.
  • Refer to a year: "In 2005, the best deck was..." People can look up the sets or figure them out from context.
  • Refer to a deck: Honestly, most often when people discuss old Standard they are just talking about a famous top deck — Caw-Blade, Faeries, Affinity, Academy, &c. — or a deck with some rare and special oddball name (Owling Mine). Not that great if you're trying to discuss the difference between red decks in 2003 and 2005, of course.

Oftentimes articles will do a bit of scene-setting, telling you the year and what blocks were in Standard in prose form. If you're writing out other information in an expansive way anyway (like a mention of the top cards or top decks of the time period, to provide context about how this deck works), you might as well save a bit of jargon and use a full sentence to describe the format.

  • I like Refer to the Blocks, but that doesn't indicate the base set M13/M12/etc. I think it is more common to refer to the Blocks alone, especially since the base set didn't change much until the recent M#/black border
    – user1873
    Jun 25, 2013 at 3:22
  • @user1873 I don't think most people have very good memory for what cards were in which core set, anyway, so it's not providing much extra at-a-glance context to mention them.
    – Alex P
    Jun 25, 2013 at 20:01
  • although standard rotates with the core set, people tend to refer to the block, and they tend to refer to the "Full" block that is currently in standard. for most of the rotation period, there is only one finished block in standard, that is the block used to refer to the format. e.g. "Zendikar block standard" was Zendikar - scars. This is the most commonly used way to refer to standard formats in articles, and should probably be the default unless further clarification is requested
    – Patters
    Jun 26, 2013 at 8:36

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