With Core Set 2020 live on MTG Arena, players are scrambling to acquire new cards, brew powerful decks, and break the format. While many users will be focusing on Standard, others will be testing their draft skills with a pool of brand new spells. If you’ve never drafted before, Core Set 2020 is a fantastic start. This set has a plethora of fantastic cards and easy to understand archetypes, making it perfect for any newbie looking to cut their teeth.
If you’re completely unfamiliar with the set, make sure to check out our breakdown of Core Set 2020. This guide will specifically focus on the draft format for MTG Arena, which is a little different than the paper variation. Whether you’re brand new to the game or a vet, here are some drafting tips top get you started!
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Take Your Time
Perhaps the biggest difference between digital and paper drafting is how long you have between picks. On MTG Arena you have all the time in the world to pick your cards, so make sure to really formulate a strategy when drafting. Rushing through picks isn’t necessary since you aren’t drafting with real people. This allows you to really figure out your mana curve and what type of cards you’re lacking.
Additionally, the bots have a weird habit of letting good Common and Uncommon cards get passed to you. It may be completely our luck, but the bot seemed to pass up solid blue cards way more than any others in our drafts. Keep an eye out and commit to a plan once you are a pack or so in. Nothing’s worse than having two completely different draft decks stitched together.
Make sure to pay attention to your mana curve, as you’ll typically want to have some good two and three spells. Packing your deck with nothing but big, stompy spells sounds great on paper, but you’ll need to support those cards early on. MTG Arena will sort your cards by mana cost at the bottom, so keep an eye on this as you go through your packs.
Know the Best Uncommons and Commons
It’s always important to go into a draft assuming that your rares will not be what you want for your deck. Because of this, understanding which Commons and Uncommons to draft in each of the five colors is critical. While these aren’t the only cards you’ll pick up, they should be prioritized over other Commons and Uncommons. Remember, try to lean into a specific archetype otherwise your deck with be disjointed.
There are some truly fantastic cards in Core Set 2020, so here are our recommendations for what to pick up when drafting:
When it comes to red Uncommons, Chandra, Novice Pyromancer is by far the best. This planeswalker starts at a high loyalty count and provides a ton of utility to your board. Rapacious Dragon is a potent flyer that ramps and Chandra’s Outrage is a fantastic removal spell. If you’re going into red, prioritize removal spells as they are some of the best in the format.
I’ve lost count how many cards I’ve drawn off Spectral Sailor during Draft games. Its ability to accrue value over the course of a match cannot be overstated. Additionally, Frost Lynx and Boreal Elemental are perfect for disrupting your opponent’s gameplan. Winged Words is also a solid draw spell, especially if you are building a deck around flying.
If you are drafting green, cards like Overgrowth Elemental and Leafkin Druid are fantastic for all stages of the game. Rabid Bite is a solid removal spell that kills a lot of the format’s nastiest creatures and Silverback Shaman is a solid monster that gives you a card when it dies. Wolfrider’s Saddle is a nice two-for-one and I’ve had some great success with Barkhide Troll in the early game.
While black lacks some great creatures, its removal and recursion spells are superb. Murder kills almost any creature, Disfigure is fantastic for taking out early drops, and Bloodthirsty Aerialist just gets larger as the game progresses. Agonizing Syphon gives you some needed life and Blood For Bones is a wonderful reanimation spell that can really catch players by surprise.
Surprising no one, Master Splicer is the best non-Rare/Mythic white creature in the set. Coming in and generating a body while pumping your golem is superb. God help your opponent if they drop two of these Splicers in a game. Pacifism can shut down any non-hexproof creature and Gods Willing is s superb combat trick. Fencing Ace is great early spell, especially if you start stacking some Auras onto him.
A lot of the multi-color spells in Core Set 2020 are support creatures that help nudge players into specific archetypes. Risen Reef and Creeping Trailblazer are fantastic for tribal elementals while Empyrean Eagle just buffs all your flying creatures. Heart-Piercer Bow is great against flying or fast aggro decks, but make sure to side it out in slower matches.
Try and Stick to the Best Archetypes
One of the most popular archetypes in the format, Azorious fliers provides a mix of strong removal and evasion at the cost of damage. Because of this, you’ll want to apply the pressure early on with creatures like Faerie Miscreant and Metropolis Sprite. Boreal Elemental is a nice late game monster that can be tricky to deal with for most decks while Herald of the Sun grows your winged army. Support these monsters with some good kill spells like Ariel Assault to clear the way for attacks. Don’t be afraid to splash red if cards like Kykar, Wind’s Fury are available.
Red/Green/Blue Elemental Mid-Range
Perhaps my favorite deck int he format, three-color elementals is an absolute powerhouse in Draft. Early monsters like Healer of the Glade pad your life total allowing you to drop ramps spells such as Leafkin Druid. Risen Reef is an absolute all-star in this deck, especially if you manage to play multiple elementals the next turn. Thicket Crasher, Lavakin Brawler, and Wakeroot Elemental can take over entire games if they are left unanswered. There’s also a nice collection of control with this deck thanks to Rapid Bite, Frost Lynx, and Reduce to Ashes. This makes elemental tribal a very strong contender if the game goes long since your entire creature base is designed to grow and improve as the match progresses.
This deck relies on dropping aggressive, early game creatures and using a large suite of removal spells to keep the board clear. Scampering Scorcher, Fencing Ace, and Vampire of the Dire Moon apply pressure early on, forcing your foe to react now. Once their removal is wasted on your smaller creatures, bring out the big guns with Rapacious Dragon, Master Splicer, and Gorging Vulture. You should have no trouble picking up a few kill spells, but don’t forget to nab draw cards such as Audacious Thief and Keldon Raider. Your gameplan to overwhelm and destroy everything your opponent plays. Always keep them on the defensive and you should have no issues claiming victory.
And that’s it! Good luck with your drafts. If you need more help with MTG Arena, we’ve got plenty of coverage over at our MTG Arena hub page!