|Core Set 2020|
Yoni Skolnik (lead)|
|Development||Same as design|
|Art direction||Keven Smith|
|Release date||July 12, 2019|
|Themes and mechanics||Chandra Nalaar, Elementals, wedges, color hate, leylines|
|Keywords/ability words||Evergreen (including Protection again)|
(112 commons, 80 uncommons, 53 rares, 15 mythic rares, 20 basic lands)
+1 Buy-a-Box promo
+20 Planeswalker deck exclusives
+43 Welcome deck cards
|Core Set 2020 Standard|
|Magic: The Gathering Chronology|
- 1 Set details
- 2 Themes and mechanics
- 3 Cycles
- 4 Notable cards
- 5 Core set changes
- 6 Card comparisons
- 7 Preconstructed decks
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Core Set 2020 features a mix of new and reprinted cards. The set contains 280 cards (112 commons, 80 uncommons, 53 rares, 15 mythic rares, 20 basic lands) and includes randomly inserted premium versions of all cards. 1:45 cards are foil, instead of the usual 1:67. A unique Buy-a-Box promotional card numbered #281/280 is also considered to be part of the set. 63 additional cards are found in the set's planeswalker decks (#282/280 to #301/280) and Spellslinger Starter Kit and Welcome decks (#302/280 to #344/280). Core Set 2020 introduced full-art tokens. The Gainlands appear like the taplands in Core 2019 over the basic lands in about 5/12 boosters.
Chandra Nalaar is the face of Core Set 2020 card set, and is represented by three different planeswalker cards in different rarities and depicting several facets in her life. A fourth Chandra planeswalker card is included in the Chandra Planeswalker Deck.
Starting with tabletop Core Set 2020 Preleases on July 5, the London mulligan will be used for all play. It became officially reflected in the Comprehensive Rules with the M20 rules updates on July 12. To take this mulligan, a player shuffles the cards in their hand back into their library, draws a new hand of cards equal to their starting hand size, then puts a number of those cards equal to the number of times that player has taken a mulligan on the bottom of their library in any order.
Core Set 2020 is sold in 16-card boosters (one card being a marketing card), mono-colored theme boosters, five welcome decks, five planeswalker decks, the Core 2020 bundle, a Deck Builder's Toolkit, a Spellslinger Starter Kit and a Land Station. The bundle for the first time contains a alternate art foil promo card and an oversized spindown life counter. It also contains 20 foil lands. The boosters feature key art of three planeswalkers (Ajani, Mu Yanling and Sorin Markov) that is also featured on the Planeswalker decks and Welcome decks.
Like with its predecessor, the Welcome decks, Planeswalker decks and Deck Builder's Toolkit are strongly integrated, which allows for an easier transition between the products. The Spellslinger Starter Kit is now also part of the line up. Throughout the product line the colors have a central theme: Lifegain, Flying, Vampires, Direct damage and Big Monsters/Pump.
- Magic Open House: June 29–30, 2019
- Prerelease: July 5–7, 2019
- Magic Arena: July 2, 2019
- Draft Weekend: July 13–14, 2019
- Commander Weekend: August 24–25, 2019. This season's Magic Weekend coincides with the release of Commander 2019. Commander Weekend will feature Commander variants recommended by Magic's design studio, with achievement cards.
- There is no Standard Showdown planned for this set.
- Prerelease: a stamped card that can be any rare or mythic rare of Core Set 2020.
- Buy-a-Box: Rienne, Angel of Rebirth
- Core Set 2020 introduces the universal promo pack, the contents of which are distributed at the discretion of the stores. This contains:
- a promo-stamped rare or mythic rare from Core Set 2020 .
- a promo-stamped rare or mythic rare from a short, curated list. Standard-legal.
- an alternate art basic land.
- One of five special, season-specific cards with FNM alternate card frame: Corpse Knight, Negate, Disfigure, Flame Sweep or Thrashing Brontodon.
- 1:4 promo packs includes all foil contents (clearly identifiable from the packaging).
- Core Set 2020 Bundle promo: foil alternate art Chandra's Regulator
- Convention promo: full-art Nightpack Ambusher
Tokens and emblems
- 2/2 Cat Soldier creature named Ajani's Pridemate with "Whenever you gain life, put a +1/+1 counter on Ajani's Pridemate," for Ajani, Strength of the Pride.
- 1/1 Soldier creature, for Ancestral Blade, Ironroot Warlord, Raise the Alarm, and Skyknight Vanguard.
- 1/1 Spirit creature with flying, for Bishop of Wings, Hanged Executioner, and Kykar, Wind's Fury.
- 4/4 Elemental Bird creature with flying, for Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer.
- 5/5 Demon creature with flying, for Bloodsoaked Altar.
- 2/2 Zombie creature, for Boneclad Necromancer, Field of the Dead, and Undead Servant.
- 1/1 Elemental creature, for Chandra, Acolyte of Flame, Mask of Immolation and Scampering Scorcher.
- 2/2 Wolf creature, for Ferocious Pup, Howling Giant, Nightpack Ambusher, Wolfkin Bond, and Wolfrider's Saddle.
- 3/3 Golem artifact creature, for Cavalier of Dawn, Master Splicer, and Masterful Replication.
- Treasure, for Rapacious Dragon.
- Emblem for Chandra, Awakened Inferno
- Emblem for Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer
Themes and mechanics
- : Go Wide
- : Flying Creatures
- : Control with "Enters-the-Battlefield" Effects
- : Aggro
- : Elemental Creatures
The enemy colored signposts connecting the two archetypes which they are part of:
- : Corpse Knight (Going Wide Aggro)
- : Lightning Stormkin (Flying Elementals)
- : Moldervine Reclamation (Going Wide recursive midrange value)
- : Skyknight Vanguard (Flying Aggro)
- : Risen Reef (Elemental with "Enters-the-Battlefield" Effect)
|Life-gain taplands||Tranquil Cove||Dismal Backwater||Bloodfell Caves||Rugged Highlands||Blossoming Sands||Scoured Barrens||Swiftwater Cliffs||Jungle Hollow||Wind-Scarred Crag||Thornwood Falls|
|Ten common lands that enter the battlefield tapped, gain the controller one life, and can tap for 2 different colors of mana. Reprinted from Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged.|
|Chandra||Chandra, Novice Pyromancer||Chandra, Acolyte of Flame||Chandra, Awakened Inferno|
|Depicting Chandra Nalaar in various stages of her life.|
|Planeswalkers||Ajani, Inspiring Leader||Mu Yanling, Celestial Wind||Sorin, Vampire Lord||Chandra, Flame's Fury||Vivien, Nature's Avenger|
|Five planeswalker variants with simpler abilities, each of which cost MM and is included in the Planeswalker decks for M20.|
|Planeswalkers' Tutor||Goldmane Griffin||Yanling's Harbinger||Sorin's Guide||Chandra's Flame Wave||Ethereal Elk|
|Five rare Spells, each of which cost MM,everyone of those has an effect and also tutors for the specific planeswalker.|
|3-of creatures||Twinblade Paladin||Waterkin Shaman||Thirsting Bloodlord||Pyroclastic Elemental||Gnarlback Rhino|
|Five uncommon creatures that appear in three copies in the Planeswalker deck.|
|4-of creatures||Savannah Sage||Celestial Messenger||Savage Gorger||Wildfire Elemental||Vivien's Crocodile|
|Five common creature that appear in four copies in the Planeswalker deck.|
|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.|
- Bag of Holding is a Dungeons & Dragons crossover.
- Ripscale Predator is printed as a Dinosaur for the first time after being originally printed as a Lizard in Gatecrash, and the oracle change in the Ixalan update.
Banned and Restricted cards
- Mystic Forge is a Future Sight-inspired card that worked only with artifacts and colorless spells. Naturally, the artifact-heavy Vintage format found this to be extremely powerful, giving the Stax decks a card advantage engine that competes with the other decks in the format. It was subsequently restricted in August 2019.
- Field of the Dead was initially one of three cards believed to be a "last hurrah" type card (for Scapeshift in particular), alongside Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord for tribal Vampires and Marauding Raptor for tribal Dinosaurs, before Scapeshift rotated out. After Scapeshift rotated, the deck used Golos, Tireless Pilgrim as additional copies of Field of the Dead and Circuitous Route to locate specifically named lands. However, rotation also caused the cards that kept Field in check to leave Standard, which allowed Field decks to dominate due to their incredible consistency. Field of the Dead was later banned for being too powerful after the release of Throne of Eldraine. Its power level as an inevitability engine permeated through both Historic, which banned it August 2020; Pioneer, where it was banned in the first cycle in December 2019; and Modern, where it was banned February 2021.
- Leyline of Abundance is a combo-centric Leyline that encouraged using mana dorks to get ahead rather than land-based options, ostensibly as it would be weaker to disruption. However, the first Pioneer bannings included this card as mono-Green ramp was dominant. While not outside the realm of power level, R&D intended for aggressive bannings early on in the format, but it has yet to be revisited.
- Veil of Summer is a boosted version of Autumn's Veil, a previous colour hate card that was not effective as a sideboard card as the counter-reactive one-for-one played poorly against the card-advantage blue and black decks. However, the extra card draw counteracted this, and being in the format with so many three-mana planeswalkers from War of the Spark meant answers to any form of green deck were at an all-time low. It was later banned in both Pioneer and Standard, as the potential to counter-play was almost impossible and made blue and black reactive decks unplayable.
- Golos, Tireless Pilgrim was the cornerstone of Field of the Dead decks and has continued to be a roleplayer in Modern, but it has been banned in Brawl due to the extremely consistent ability to use a five-color deck with a colorless costing Commander that is also a value engine.
- Agent of Treachery is the latest in a long string of Confiscate-type designs, stretched up to seven mana to "compensate" the fact that the ability is otherwise permanent. The fact that it was on a creature's triggered ability made it far too easy to trigger the ability outside of casting it, notably in the format with Winota, Joiner of Forces, Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast, Elspeth Conquers Death and Yorion, Sky Nomad. Fires of Invention also made it so that multiple of these options could be done at once, and especially when assisted with Teferi, Time Raveler. The deck borne of this strategy was banned in June 2020 in three ways - Agent, Fires and the companion rules change all took out an axis of the deck. Both were banned out of Historic a month later.
- Kethis, the Hidden Hand is the namesake engine behind the 4C Legendary Kethis combo deck, utilising Mox Amber as a free, legendary mana source alongside graveyard fuel generated by Emry, Lurker of the Loch or Diligent Excavator. While the deck in Standard rotated when Mox Amber did, and the Historic version was allowed to continue, it was banned in Pioneer rather pre-emptively to show that those sorts of combo decks were not meant to be part of the format.
Core set changes
|Colors Included||Iconic card|
|White deck||W||Serra's Guardian|
|Blue deck||U||Riddlemaster Sphinx|
|Red deck||R||Shivan Dragon|
|Green deck||G||Aggressive Mammoth|
Spellslinger Starter Kit
The Spellslinger Starter Kit comes with two Standard-legal 60-card decks, designed to create an interactive learning experience for two.
|Ajani||W||Ajani, Inspiring Leader|
|Yanling||U||Mu Yanling, Celestial Wind|
|Sorin||B||Sorin, Vampire Lord|
|Chandra||R||Chandra, Flame's Fury|
|Vivien||G||Vivien, Nature's Avenger|
- Wizards of the Coast (June, 2019). "Core Set 2020 Credits". Magicthegathering.com.
- Mark Rosewater (June 18, 2019). "Did R&D change their mind on protection being removed from evergreen?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Information below the text box
- Blake Rasmussen (February 21, 2019). "Announcing Core Set 2020 and Commander (2019 Edition)". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- M20: 15 Changes Every Retailer Should Know. Wizards Play Network (June 13, 2019).
- Wizards of the Coast (June 25, 2019). "Core Set 2020 Release Notes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Chris Gleeson (June 20, 2019). "The Tokens of Core Set 2020". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- James Whitbrook (June 11, 2019). "Get to Know Magic's Most Famous Fire Mage in These Brand New Cards". Io9.gizmodo.com.
- Magic: The Gathering (June 11, 2019). "Chandra is the only Planeswalker in M20 getting an uncommon and rare card - she's the face of the set and her journey is all over M20.". Twitter.
- Ian Duke (June 3, 2019). "The London Mulligan". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (June 17, 2019). "Core to the Point". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- WPN info
- WPN (June 26, 2019). "Getting New Players Into Magic is Easier Than Ever". Wizards Play Network.
- WPN (June 26, 2019). "Mark Heggen: R&D's Plan to Make New Magic Players". Wizards Play Network.
- 5 "Firsts" Coming With M20. Wizards Play Network (April 29, 2019).
- Chris Gleeson (June 17, 2019). "Core Set 2020 Promos and Packaging". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Nelson Brown (March 12, 2019). "Introducing the New Wizards Play Network". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast (June 17, 2019). "Magic Promo Pack Info". Magic.Wizards.com.
- Wizards of the Coast (April 22, 2019). "Japanese Alternate-Art Planeswalkers". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- 2019 Convention Promo - Nightpack Ambusher. Reddit (July 20, 2019).
- Mark Rosewater (June 18, 2019). "Protection is back? i mean, i love that, but how come?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (June 24, 2019). "Core Than Meets The Eye". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Gavin Verhey (June 18, 2019). "When Core and Commander Combine". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Andrew Brown (June 21, 2019). "Fire It Up". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- David McCoy (October 10, 2019). "Bant Golos Dominates Week 1 Standard". Hipsters of the Coast.
- David McCoy (October 21, 2019). "Field of the Dead Banned in Standard". Hipsters of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast (July 5, 2019). "The MTGM20 card Corpse Knight has a print error in some regional printings.". Twitter.
- Gavin Verhey (2019-02-05). "State of Product Design 2018". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.