Hot off the heals of Modern Horizons and War of the Spark, Wizards of the Coast are starting to roll out spoilers for their upcoming MTG Arena set. Disconnected from the central story, Core Set 2020 mixes flashy new cards with classic staples. This will be the last set to release before Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan, Dominaria, and Core Set 2019 rotate out of Standard.
Spread across two weeks, players can expect previews to release on the DailyMTG and on the social media accounts of various Magic: The Gathering personalities. This is a fairly hefty set that revolves around themes such as Elemental tribal, enter-the-battlefield effects, and the Khans of Tarkir color wedges. Since previews will be appearing throughout the week, we will be updating this article as new cards arrive. Remember, we will be solely focusing on the MTG Arena side of Core Set 2020.
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- Name: Core Set 2020
- Release Date: July 2, 2019
- Number of Cards: 280
- Pre-order Availability: Until July 2, 2019
- Themes: Chandra, Enters-the-Battlefield, Aggro, Elemental Tribal, Going Wide, Flying
- Format Legality: Standard, Draft, Pauper, Sealed
Cards – Red
Cards – Blue
Cards – Black
Cards – White
Cards – Green
Cards – Multi-Colored
Like previous Core Sets, 2020 revolves around exploring a single planeswalker. This year’s spell-slinger of choice is the flame hurling pyromancer, Chandra. Unlike other planeswalkers in the set, Chandra has three cards depicting key moments in her life. There are also a variety of different creatures such as Chandra’s Embercat and Chandra’s Spitfire. This planeswalker also possesses her own artifact called Chandra’s Regulator which copies loyalty abilities and rummages for cards. If you like making the world burn, then consider throwing together a Chandra-themed deck!
Elemental Tribal (Red/Blue/Green)
There are a lot of different races in MTG Arena, but one that doesn’t get enough love is Elementals. Core Set 2020 rectifies this by giving this creature type a variety of new and unique cards. Boasting solid utility, these creatures possess a roster of potent abilities such as pumping your entire team, turning lands into monsters, and even ramping for their specific tribe. Expect these to be especially vicious in Draft and don’t be afraid to go into three colors for your deck.
A staple of Magic: The Gathering, flying has always been a strong archetype in limited formats. This strategy makes a return in Core Set 2020, by expanding the theme to a third color. These evasive creatures come in all shapes and sizes, giving players a lot of deck construction possibilities. Creatures like Dragon Mage can quickly disrupt your opponent’s plans while Atemsis, All-Seeing can outright win games. Expect a lot of powerhouse fliers to come from red’s side of the color wheel. Make sure to use some removal spells to keep the skies clear for your army of winged wonders.
Enters-the-Battlefield (ETB) is one of the game’s most difficult themes to stop once it gets going. Based around creatures with abilities that trigger upon entering the field, there’s a lot of value to be mined in this archetype. Unless your opponent is using countermagic, there’s virtually no way to stop an ETB effect from triggering. Typically you won’t be spending additional mana to activate their abilities, meaning you can quickly accrue an advantage over your foe. When Drafting, look to pick up cards like Dread Presence, Octoprophet, and Flood of Tears to reset your board so you can cast your creatures all over again!
Surprising no one, Core Set 2020 supports players who desire to be aggressive on the battlefield. A staple of Magic: The Gathering, aggro is the tried-and-true method of beating your opponent to death with all-manner of angry creatures. Perhaps the simplest to draft and learn, aggro decks should prioritize a mixture of early and late game creatures. Try to apply pressure early on with Ember Hauler or Blight Beetle, before dropping finishing cards like Cavalier of Flames. Speed is the key, so try to end the game before your opponent can establish a board presence.
Tokens/Going Wide (Green/Black/White)
Similar to aggro, this archetype revolves around dropping as many creatures onto the battlefield as humanly possible. Whether through token generators or cheap monsters, Going Wide focuses on overwhelming your opponent with a swarm of creatures. If you’re drafting this archetype, remember to pick up some utility creatures like Corpse Knight to weaken your foe. Additionally, Silverback Shaman is solid since it makes blocking a nightmare and can draw you a card when it dies.
At the time of writing this, MTG Arena only boasts a single pre-order option for players. Costing $49.99, players will earn the following items when the set launches on July 2:
- 50 Core Set 2020 Packs
- 1 Chandra, Awakened Inferno Card
- Chandra, Awakened Inferno Card Art Style
- Core Set 2020 Sleeves
You can only pre-order this bundle once per account and the promotion version of Chandra Awakened Inferno will be available post-launch for gems. Looking at previous sets, you can currently purchase 45 packs of War of the Spark for 9,000 gems or $49.99. This means you get more card packs if you were pre-order the bundle ahead of time, along with some cosmetic items. Curiously enough, the bundle does not list if it offers the buy-a-box promo – Rienne, Angel of Rebirth – along with the other cards. Historically, these cards are typically tied to the 45 and 90 pack bundles sold in the store.
Core Sets are typically lower on the power scale, so we strongly recommend waiting until the full-set is revealed. There is enough time between when previews end and the set releases to decide if pre-ordering 50 packs is worth it to you. Typically, it’s better to see how the meta shifts before investing a lot of money. Instead, try drafting Core Set 2020 and earn some packs via playing!