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Core Set 2019
M19 logo
Set Information
Set symbol
Symbol description "M19"
Design Ethan Fleischer (lead)
Doug Beyer
Bryan Hawley
Jackie Lee
Dave Marsee
Ken Nagle
Yoni Skolnik
Development Ethan Fleischer (lead)
Corey Bowen
Aaron Forsythe
Ben Hayes
Mark Heggen
Adam Prosak
Yoni Skolnik
Art direction Cynthia Sheppard
Release date July 13, 2018[1]
Plane Multiversal
Themes and mechanics Dragons
Keywords/​ability words Evergreen keywords, Transform
Set size 280 cards
(111 commons, 80 uncommons, 53 rares, 16 mythic rares, 20 basic lands)
+20 Planeswalker deck exclusives
+1 Buy-a-Box promo
+13 Welcome deck cards
Expansion code M19[2]
Development codename Salad
Core sets
Magic Origins Core Set 2019 Core Set 2020
Core Set 2019 Standard
Ixalan Rivals of Ixalan Dominaria
Magic: The Gathering Chronology
Global Series: Jiang Yanggu & Mu Yanling Core Set 2019 Commander 2018

Core Set 2019, also known as Core 2019, is the eighteenth Magic core set. It is the first core set to be reintroduced under the Three-and-One Model and was released on July 13, 2018.[1][3]

Set details[ | ]

Core Set 2019 Booster box

Core sets were discontinued after Magic Origins in 2015, but were reintroduced with Core 2019. The reintroduction made it possible to move away from the Two-Block Paradigm, and create room to print three large standalone sets each year.[4] Thus, the codename Salad was transferred from the small set in the proposed Dominaria block, to this core set.[5][6] Like Magic 2010 to Magic Origins before, this core set contains a mix of new and reprinted cards. However, it is primarily geared toward incoming players.[7] In contrast to earlier Core Sets, the design team started out by building the Welcome Decks and Planeswalker Decks. They had the freedom to design or reprint whatever cards they needed to make an optimal experience. The team then used the cards they made for those two products as a starting point around which to build Core Set 2019.[8]

Core Set 2019 contains 280 cards (20 basic land, 111 common, 80 uncommon, 53 rare, and 16 mythic rare) and includes randomly inserted premium versions of all cards. 25 additional cards are found in the set's planeswalker decks. These are numbered #281/280 to #305/280. A unique Buy-a-Box promotional card numbered #306/280 is also considered to be part of the set.[9] In addition, 8 common and uncommon cards from the Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan and Dominaria sets (numbered #307/280 to #314/280) have been printed in the Welcome Decks with the Core Set 2019 expansion symbol.[10] The common taplands sometimes replace a basic land in the land slot of booster packs. 181 cards are new, the rest is reprinted.

More than 30 white, blue and red commons were accidentally packaged in Dominaria boosters and found two months before release.[11][12][13]

Due to the transition from the Two-Block Paradigm to the Three-and-One Model Core Set 2019 is one of the few Core Sets with a development codename.

Storyline[ | ]

Core Set 2019 features a story arc by Kate Elliott, focusing on the origins of the main antagonist of the current storyline, Nicol Bolas, and his conflict with Ugin, his twin.[14][15] The cards also show bits and pieces of unrelated stories on several other planes. The set is filling in the story and not part of the current storyline. To avoid confusing less enfranchised players there are no Story Spotlights.[16]

Magic Story[ | ]

Main article: Magic Story
Title Author Release Date Setting Featuring
Chronicle of Bolas: The Twins Kate Elliott 2018-06-13 Dominaria, Tarkir Naiva, Baishya, Yasova Dragonclaw, the Ur-Dragon, Arcades Sabboth, Chromium Rhuell, Palladia-Mors, Merrevia Sal, Ugin, Nicol Bolas
Chronicle of Bolas: The First Lesson Kate Elliott 2018-06-20 Dominaria, Tarkir Naiva, Baishya, Fec, Yasova Dragonclaw, Rakhan, Sorya, Tae Jin,Ugin, Nicol Bolas, Chromium Rhuell, Palladia-Mors, Vaevictis Asmadi, Arcades Sabboth, Te Ju Ki
Chronicle of Bolas: Things Unseen Kate Elliott 2018-06-27 Dominaria, Tarkir Naiva, Yasova Dragonclaw, Baishya, Tae Jin, Fec, Mattak, Oiyan, Darka, Rakhan, Sorya, Ugin, Nicol Bolas, Vaevictis Asmadi, Palladia-Mors
Chronicle of Bolas: Whispers of Treachery Kate Elliott 2018-07-11 Dominaria, Tarkir Naiva, Yasova Dragonclaw, Baishya, Tae Jin, Fec, Mattak, Oiyan, Darka, Rakhan, Sorya, Nicol Bolas, Ugin, Chromium Rhuell
Chronicle of Bolas: Blood and Fire Kate Elliott 2018-07-18 Dominaria, Tarkir Naiva, Darka, Yasova Dragonclaw, Atarka, Fec, Oiyan, Tae Jin, Baishya, Rakhan, Ugin, Nicol Bolas, Palladia-Mors, Vaevictis Asmadi, Lividus, Ravus, Rubra, Chromium Rhuell, Arcades Sabboth
Chronicle of Bolas: A Familiar Stranger Kate Elliott 2018-08-01 Dominaria, Meditation Plane, Tarkir Naiva, Yasova Dragonclaw, Baishya, Tae Jin, Mevra, Fec, Mattak, Oiyan, Rakhan, Sorya, Ugin, Nicol Bolas, Gerrak, Arcades Sabboth, Kiarka
Chronicle of Bolas: Perspectives Kate Elliott 2018-08-08 Dominaria, Meditation Plane, Tarkir Naiva, Nicol Bolas, Ugin, Baishya, Yasova Dragonclaw, the Ur-Dragon, Arcades Sabboth, Chromium Rhuell, Palladia-Mors, Vaevictis Asmadi
Chronicle of Bolas: The Unwritten Now Kate Elliott 2018-08-15 Meditation Plane, Zendikar, Kephalai, Ravnica, Dominaria, Tarkir Baishya, Naiva, Yasova Dragonclaw, Ugin, Nicol Bolas, Mevra, Azor, Tae Jin, Mattak, Oiyan, Rakhan, Sorya, Fec
Unbowed, Part 1 Cassandra Khaw 2018-08-29 Ixalan Vivien, Frederic, Nicol Bolas, Lucard, Salazar, Marcois Jean-Jaquent
Unbowed, Part 2 Cassandra Khaw 2018-09-05 Ixalan Vivien, Marcois Jean-Jaquent, Nicol Bolas, Lucard
Unbowed, Part 3 Cassandra Khaw 2018-09-07 Ixalan Vivien, Marcois Jean-Jaquent, Lucard, Nicol Bolas

Marketing[ | ]

Core Set symbols

Evolution of the Core Set Expansion symbol.

Core Set 2019 is sold in 16-card boosters (one card being a marketing card), five welcome decks, five planeswalker decks, the Core 2019 bundle and a Deck Builder's Toolkit.[17] The expansion symbol of the set picks up the design earlier used for Magic 2010 to Magic 2015, though with the modernized font. The boosters feature art from the five planeswalkers, featured in the Planeswalker decks.

Five Welcome decks are given away to new players for free.

The Welcome decks, Planeswalker decks, and Deck Builder's Toolkit are strongly integrated, which allows for an easier transition between the products. Basically, the Planeswalker decks expand on the themes presented in the Welcome decks.[18] Furthermore, the contents of the Deck Builder's Toolkit are entirely fixed and can be used to upgrade the Planeswalker decks.[18] The next step is a booster pack. Because of this, Core Set 2019 is positioned as an introductory booster product for new players.[8] However, the cards targeted to beginning players are mostly found in common and uncommon. This opens up the opportunity to add cards to fill up gaps in creative, mechanical themes, answers or formats in rare and mythic rare.[8] This is also the place for high demand reprints.

The creative team also used the set to take some peeks into the larger world of Magic and give a few hints at things that are going on around the Multiverse.[8]

Events[ | ]

Tokens, emblems and checklist card[ | ]

M19 Checklist

Checklist card

Core 2019 comes with 14 tokens, three emblems and a checklist card.

Token and emblems appear in the marketing card slot.

  1. {W} 4/4 Angel creature with flying and vigilance, for Resplendent Angel.
  2. {W} 4/4 Avatar creature with flying, for Ajani's Last Stand.
  3. {W} 1/1 Cat creature with lifelink, for Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants and Leonin Warleader.
  4. {W} 2/2 Knight creature with vigilance, for Gallant Cavalry, Knightly Valor and Sigiled Sword of Valeron.
  5. {W} 2/4 Ox creature, for Transmogrifying Wand.
  6. {W} 1/1 Soldier creature, for Heroic Reinforcements and Lena, Selfless Champion.
  7. {B} 1/1 Bat creature with flying, for Desecrated Tomb and Regal Bloodlord.
  8. {B} 2/2 Zombie creature, for Doomed Dissenter, Graveyard Marshal and Open the Graves.
  9. {R} 2/2 Dragon creature with flying and "{R}: This creature gets +1/+0 until end of turn," for Dragon Egg.
  10. {R} 5/5 Dragon creature with flying, for Draconic Disciple, Lathliss, Dragon Queen and Sarkhan, Fireblood.
  11. {R} 1/1 Goblin creature, for Goblin Instigator.
  12. {G} 3/3 Beast creature, for Druid of Horns.
  13. {G} 1/1 Elf Warrior creature, for Thorn Lieutenant.
  14. {C} 1/1 Thopter artifact creature with flying, for Aviation Pioneer, Sai, Master Thopterist and Tezzeret, Artifice Master.
  15. Emblem for Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants
  16. Emblem for Tezzeret, Artifice Master
  17. Emblem for Vivien Reid

The checklist card appears in the basic land slot.[20]

Promotional cards[ | ]

Gift Pack[ | ]

Main article: Gift packages

The Gift Pack for the 2018 holiday season (released November 16, 2018) is integrated with Core Set 2019. It contains four Core Set 2019 boosters, five premium lands, a Spindown die, and five creature cards exclusive to the Gift Pack. The exclusive cards are considered part of Core Set 2019 for legality and rotation purposes. They have the M19 expansion symbol, but are numbered #GP1/001 to #GP1/005.[23]

Themes and mechanics[ | ]

The set features one Transforming Legend similar to those featured in Magic Origins: a double-faced mythic creature that transforms into a planeswalker when a certain condition is met, a condition that represents the event that caused that character's planeswalker's spark to ignite. Nicol Bolas, the Ravager is the only double-faced card in the set.[24]

Core 2019 features the following limited archetypes:

The set does not feature any other new or returning non-evergreen mechanics.[25] The complexity of the set is toned down to make the learning curve a little less steep. There are a few more vanilla creatures and Lords than in regular sets. On the other hand, the set is also seeded with several combos.[25]

Card types[ | ]

Core Set 2019 introduces the Vivien planeswalker type. It also reintroduces the Egg subtype (Dragon Egg).[26]

Cycles[ | ]

Core Set 2019 has twelve cycles, one of which is a double cycle, and five of which can only be found in preconstructed products (and subsequently not in booster packs). There is additionally one partial cycle, themed around the character Nicol Bolas:

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Core set planeswalkers Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants Tezzeret, Artifice Master Liliana, Untouched by Death Sarkhan, Fireblood Vivien Reid
Five monocolor planeswalkers, each of whom has appeared in some form in Nicol Bolas' history.[25]
Signature spells Ajani's Last Stand One with the Machine Liliana's Contract Sarkhan's Unsealing Vivien's Invocation
Five rare spells, each related to one of the face planeswalkers of the set and showcasing a pivotal moment in their history.
Rare legends Lena, Selfless Champion Sai, Master Thopterist Isareth the Awakener Lathliss, Dragon Queen Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma
Five rare monocolor legendary creatures.
Tribal lords Valiant Knight
Supreme Phantom
Death Baron
(Zombies and Skeletons)
Goblin Trashmaster
Elvish Clancaller
Five rare tribal lords.
Mares Shield Mare Surge Mare Plague Mare Lightning Mare Vine Mare
Five uncommon Horses that each hose an enemy color and can't be blocked by creatures of that color.[25]
Cycle name {W}{U} {U}{B} {B}{R} {R}{G} {G}{W}
Allied color taplands Meandering River Submerged Boneyard Cinder Barrens Timber Gorge Tranquil Expanse
Five Allied color common lands originally printed in Oath of the Gatewatch that each come into play tapped, and tap for one of each two colors of mana.
Cycle name {W}{B} {U}{R} {B}{G} {R}{W} {G}{U}
Enemy color taplands Forsaken Sanctuary Highland Lake Foul Orchard Stone Quarry Woodland Stream
Five Enemy color common lands originally printed in Shadows over Innistrad that each come into play tapped, and tap for one of each two colors of mana.
Cycle name {G}{W}{U} {W}{U}{B} {U}{B}{R} {B}{R}{G} {R}{G}{W}
Elder Dragons Arcades, the Strategist Chromium, the Mutable Nicol Bolas, the Ravager Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire Palladia-Mors, the Ruiner
Five mythic rare Elder Dragons, characters who each originally appeared in Legends. One is a double-faced card.

Precon only[ | ]

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Precon planeswalkers Ajani, Wise Counselor Tezzeret, Cruel Machinist Liliana, the Necromancer Sarkhan, Dragonsoul Vivien of the Arkbow
Five planeswalker variants with simpler abilities, included in the Planeswalker decks for M19.
Welcome Deck Rares Serra's Guardian Riddlemaster Sphinx Gravewaker Shivan Dragon Aggressive Mammoth
Five rare creatures that are only included in the Welcome Decks and Planeswalker Decks.
Dig spells Ajani's Influence
Tezzeret's Gatebreaker
Liliana's Spoils
Sarkhan's Dragonfire
Skalla Wolf
Five rare spells each themed after a planeswalker that give an effect, and "dig" through the top five cards of the caster's library for a card of the same color (except for one case, where it also can "dig" for artifacts). These replace the "planeswalker tutors" previously found in Planeswalker Decks.
Helper creatures Court Cleric
Tezzeret's Strider
Arisen Gorgon
Sarkhan's Whelp
Vivien's Jaguar
Five uncommon creatures that get a bonus when you control the relevant planeswalker.
4-of cards Silverbeak Griffin
Pendulum of Patterns
Tattered Mummy
Kargan Dragonrider
Ursine Champion
Five common cards appearing as a full playset in the planeswalker decks.

Partial cycles[ | ]

Core set changes[ | ]

Main article: Core Set 2019/Changes

Card comparisons[ | ]

Preconstructed decks[ | ]

Welcome decks[ | ]

Core 2019 features five Welcome Decks.

deck name
Colors Included Iconic card
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
White deck W Serra's Guardian
Blue deck U Riddlemaster Sphinx
Black deck B Gravewaker
Red deck R Shivan Dragon
Green deck G Aggressive Mammoth

Planeswalker decks[ | ]

Core 2019 features five planeswalker decks, that come with only one booster and are designed to integrate with the welcome decks.[27][28]

deck name
Colors Included Planeswalker
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Ajani W Ajani, Wise Counselor
Tezzeret U Tezzeret, Cruel Machinist
Liliana B Liliana, the Necromancer
Sarkhan R Sarkhan, Dragonsoul
Vivien G Vivien of the Arkbow

Notable cards[ | ]

Main article: Core Set 2019/Trivia

Banned and restricted cards[ | ]

  • Nexus of Fate, the Buy-a-Box promo, is an extra-turn effect with an ostensible anti-recursion feature. Pro Tour 25th Anniversary had several successful pilots of Turbo-Fog variants with playsets of Nexus of Fate, resulting in a massive spike of the card price.[30][31] It was the first card to receive a specific ban only for MTG Arena in the Best-of-one matches[32], as it turned out the anti-mill self-shuffle clause meant it was actually trivial to recur infinitely. It remains banned in Pioneer and Historic.

References[ | ]

  1. a b Wizards of the Coast (January 15, 2018). "Core Set 2019 Release Date Changed". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Product information
  3. Wizards of the Coast (June 14, 2017). "25th Anniversary Announcement Day 2017". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater (September 20, 2017). "So what made you guys bring back core sets?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  5. Mark Rosewater (April 05, 2018). "Why do you still refer to Core Set 2019 as Salad?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  6. Mark Rosewater (April 04, 2018). "What would the second set of Dominaria have been?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  7. Mark Rosewater (June 12, 2017). "Metamorphosis 2.0". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. a b c d Mark Rosewater (June 18, 2018). "Getting to the Core". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. a b c d e f g h Blake Rasmussen (June 11, 2018). "Core Set 2019 Packaging, Promos, and More". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. a b Wizards of the Coast (June 22, 2018). "Core Set 2019 Release Notes". Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Commons leaked in Dominaria Packaged Product
  12. Some early M19 spoilers (Reddit)
  13. Mark Rosewater (May 12, 2018). "Many major leaks and several by wizards. Is this a deliberate part of spoiler seasons now?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  14. Kate Elliott on Twitter
  15. David McCoy (June 8, 2018). "Core 2019's Story Will Feature Ugin, Nicol Bolas, and Tarkir"
  16. Mark Rosewater (June 21, 2018). "Are there no Story Spotlight cards in the new Core Set?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  17. Product information (WPN)
  18. a b Mark Heggen (May 14, 2018). "How R&D Transformed M19 Planeswalker Decks". WPN
  19. Gavin Verhey (July 3, 2018). "Core Set 2019 Prerelease Primer". Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Magic: The Gathering on Facebook
  21. Alayna Danner on Twitter
  22. Magic: The Gathering on Twitter
  23. Blake Rasmussen (August 27, 2018). "Introducing Magic Game Night And Updated Gift Pack". Wizards of the Coast.
  24. Mark Rosewater (June 18, 2018). "Is Nicol Bolas the only DFC in M19?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  25. a b c d Ethan Fleischer (June 19, 2018). "Creating Core Set 2019". Wizards of the Coast.
  26. Eli Shiffrin (July 6, 2018). "Core Set 2019 Comprehensive Rules Changes". Wizards of the Coast.
  27. (picture)
  28. Blake Rasmussen (April 30, 2018). "News From the Editor: Odds & Ends". Wizards of the Coast.
  29. Quinn Murphy (June 18, 2018). "Elvish Clancaller". Wizards of the Coast.
  30. Nexus of Fate is major problem. (Reddit)
  31. Nexus of Fate up 17.3% since yesterday and rising. (Reddit)
  32. Wizards of the Coast (February 14, 2019). "MTG Arena Banned and Restricted Announcement". Wizards of the Coast.

External links[ | ]