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Core Set 2020
Core Set 2020
Set Information
Set symbol
Symbol description "M20"
Design Yoni Skolnik (lead)[1]
Andrew Brown
Mclane Crowell
Melissa DeTora
Peter Lee
Max McCall
Development Same as design
Art direction Keven Smith
Release date July 12, 2019
Plane Multiversal
Themes and mechanics Chandra Nalaar, Elementals, wedges, color hate, leylines
Keywords/​ability words Evergreen (including Protection again)[2]
Set size 280 cards
(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
Expansion code M20[3]
Core sets
Core Set 2019 Core Set 2020 Core Set 2021
Core Set 2020 Standard
Guilds of Ravnica Ravnica Allegiance War of the Spark
Magic: The Gathering Chronology
Signature Spellbook: Gideon Core Set 2020 Commander 2019

Core Set 2020, also known as Core 2020, is the nineteenth Magic core set. It was released on July 12, 2019.[4]

Set details[ | ]

Core Set 2020 Booster box

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.[5] 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).[6] Core Set 2020 introduced full-art tokens.[7] 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.[8][9] A fourth Chandra planeswalker card is included in the Chandra Planeswalker Deck.[6]

Rules change[ | ]

Starting with tabletop Core Set 2020 Preleases on July 5, the London mulligan will be used for all play.[6] It became officially reflected in the Comprehensive Rules with the M20 rules updates on July 12.[10] 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.

Storyline[ | ]

Core Set 2020 has a small flavor theme focusing on the life of Chandra Nalaar.[9][11] There are no Story Spotlights, and there was no story support for the set.

Marketing[ | ]

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.[12] It also contains 20 foil lands.[5] 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.[11][13] The Spellslinger Starter Kit is now also part of the line up.[14] Throughout the product line the colors have a central theme: {W} Lifegain, {U} Flying, {B} Vampires, {R} Direct damage and {G} Big Monsters/Pump.

Events[ | ]

Promotional cards[ | ]

Promo pack

Promo pack

Premium promo pack

Premium promo pack

Tokens and emblems[ | ]

Core 2020 comes with 10 tokens and 2 emblems. Token and emblems appear in the marketing card slot.[7]

  1. {W} 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.
  2. {W} 1/1 Soldier creature, for Ancestral Blade, Ironroot Warlord, Raise the Alarm, and Skyknight Vanguard.
  3. {W} 1/1 Spirit creature with flying, for Bishop of Wings, Hanged Executioner, and Kykar, Wind's Fury.
  4. {U} 4/4 Elemental Bird creature with flying, for Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer.
  5. {B} 5/5 Demon creature with flying, for Bloodsoaked Altar.
  6. {B} 2/2 Zombie creature, for Boneclad Necromancer, Field of the Dead, and Undead Servant.
  7. {R} 1/1 Elemental creature, for Chandra, Acolyte of Flame, Mask of Immolation and Scampering Scorcher.
  8. {G} 2/2 Wolf creature, for Ferocious Pup, Howling Giant, Nightpack Ambusher, Wolfkin Bond, and Wolfrider's Saddle.
  9. {C} 3/3 Golem artifact creature, for Cavalier of Dawn, Master Splicer, and Masterful Replication.
  10. {C} Treasure, for Rapacious Dragon.
  11. Emblem for Chandra, Awakened Inferno
  12. Emblem for Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer

Themes and mechanics[ | ]

To improve draft, Core Set 2020 is built around three-color "wedges" (a color and its two enemies).[11]

The set features the following limited archetypes, which focus on the ally-colored pairs within each wedge:

The enemy colored signposts connecting the two archetypes which they are part of:

There are no new, or non-evergreen returning, mechanics in the set. Protection returns back to evergreen on a probationary status.[2][21]

Cycles[ | ]

Core Set 2020 has twenty cycles, including one double cycle and one vertical cycle.

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Core set planeswalkers Ajani, Strength of the Pride Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord Chandra, Awakened Inferno Vivien, Arkbow Ranger
Five mythic monocolor planeswalkers.[22]
Cavaliers Cavalier of Dawn Cavalier of Gales Cavalier of Night Cavalier of Flame Cavalier of Thorns
Five mythic Elemental Knight creatures, each costing {2}MMM. Each has a powerful enters the battlefield, a synergistic dies trigger, and a keyword (or can gain a keyword) ability.[22]
Iconic legends Sephara, Sky's Blade Atemsis, All-Seeing Vilis, Broker of Blood Drakuseth, Maw of Flames Gargos, Vicious Watcher
Five rare monocolored iconic legendary creatures, each costing at least MMM.[22]
Leylines Leyline of Sanctity Leyline of Anticipation Leyline of the Void Leyline of Combustion Leyline of Abundance
Five rare enchantments, each of which cost {2}MM, and can start the game on the battlefield if they are in a player's opening hand.[6][22]
Double spells Brought Back Drawn from Dreams Scheming Symmetry Repeated Reverberation Shared Summons
Five rare instants and sorceries, each of which have an effect that happens twice and have an alliterative name.[22]
Enemy color hosers Devout Decree ({B}{R}) Aether Gust ({R}{G}) Noxious Grasp ({G}{W}) Fry ({W}{U}) Veil of Summer ({U}{B})
Five uncommon instants and sorceries, each of which punish an opponent for playing their enemy colors.[22]
Protection creatures Apostle of Purifying Light ({B}) Cerulean Drake ({R}) Blightbeetle ({G}) Unchained Berserker ({W}) Shifting Ceratops ({U})
Five creatures, each of which have protection from one of their enemy colors. Four are uncommon and one is rare.[22]
Colored artifacts Ancestral Blade Portal of Sanctuary Bloodsoaked Altar Mask of Immolation Wolfrider's Saddle
Five uncommon monocolored artifacts.[22]
"Care about" spells Battalion Foot Soldier Faerie Miscreant Undead Servant Pack Mastiff Growth Cycle
Five common spells that get more powerful when played with multiple copies of the same card. Two are reprints from Magic Origins.[22]
Cycle name {W}{U} {U}{B} {B}{R} {R}{G} {G}{W}
Allied signposts Empyrean Eagle Tomebound Lich Ogre Siegebreaker Creeping Trailblazer Ironroot Warlord
Five uncommon allied color spells, each of which supports one wedge draft archetype.[22]
Cycle name {W}{B} {U}{R} {B}{G} {R}{W} {G}{U}
Crossover signposts Corpse Knight Lightning Stormkin Moldervine Reclamation Skyknight Vanguard Risen Reef
Five uncommon enemy colored spells, each of which supports two wedge draft archetypes.[22]
Temples Temple of Silence Temple of Epiphany Temple of Malady Temple of Triumph Temple of Mystery
Five rare enemy colored scry lands, reprinted from the Theros block.[22]
Cycle name {W}{B}{G} {U}{R}{W} {B}{G}{U} {R}{W}{B} {G}{U}{R}
Wedge legends Kethis, the Hidden Hand Kykar, Wind's Fury Yarok, the Desecrated Kaalia, Zenith Seeker Omnath, Locus of the Roil
Five mythic rare wedge colored legendary creatures, some supporting a draft theme.[23]

Dual cycle[ | ]

Cycle name {W}{U} {U}{B} {B}{R} {R}{G} {G}{W} {W}{B} {U}{R} {B}{G} {R}{W} {G}{U}
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.[22][24]

Vertical cycle[ | ]

Cycle name
Chandra Chandra, Novice Pyromancer Chandra, Acolyte of Flame Chandra, Awakened Inferno
Depicting Chandra Nalaar in various stages of her life.

Precon only[ | ]

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
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 {4}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 {3}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.

Notable cards[ | ]

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 would fetch additional copies of Field of the Dead with Golos, Tireless Pilgrim and use 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.[25][26] Its power level as an inevitability engine permeated through Pioneer, where it was banned in the first cycle in December 2019; Historic, which banned it August 2020; Modern, where it was banned February 2021; and Historic Brawl, where it was banned December 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. R&D intended for aggressive bannings early on in the format, and while Leyline was not outside the realm of the format's power level, 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 Historic, 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 playmaker in Modern, but it was banned in Brawl and Commander. As a commander it entails no specific deck design due to its five-color identity, effectively negates commander tax with its ETB ability, and 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" for 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 several 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 Agent and Fires 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 welcome in the format.

Misprints[ | ]

M20 Corpse Knight misprint

Core set changes[ | ]

Main article: Core Set 2020/Changes

Card comparisons[ | ]

Preconstructed decks[ | ]

Welcome decks[ | ]

Core Set 2020 features five Welcome Decks.[5][28]

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

Spellslinger Starter Kit[ | ]

The Spellslinger Starter Kit comes with two Standard-legal 60-card decks, designed to create an interactive learning experience for two.[5]

Planeswalker decks[ | ]

Core 2020 features five planeswalker decks, that come with only one booster and are designed to integrate with the welcome decks.[5][16]

deck name
Colors Included Planeswalker
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
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

Gallery[ | ]

References[ | ]

  1. Wizards of the Coast (June, 2019). "Core Set 2020 Credits".
  2. a b Mark Rosewater (June 18, 2019). "Did R&D change their mind on protection being removed from evergreen?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  3. Information below the text box
  4. Blake Rasmussen (February 21, 2019). "Announcing Core Set 2020 and Commander (2019 Edition)". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. a b c d e M20: 15 Changes Every Retailer Should Know. Wizards Play Network (June 13, 2019).
  6. a b c d Wizards of the Coast (June 25, 2019). "Core Set 2020 Release Notes". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. a b Chris Gleeson (June 20, 2019). "The Tokens of Core Set 2020". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. James Whitbrook (June 11, 2019). "Get to Know Magic's Most Famous Fire Mage in These Brand New Cards".
  9. a b 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.
  10. Ian Duke (June 3, 2019). "The London Mulligan". Wizards of the Coast.
  11. a b c Mark Rosewater (June 17, 2019). "Core to the Point". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. WPN info
  13. WPN (June 26, 2019). "Getting New Players Into Magic is Easier Than Ever". Wizards Play Network.
  14. WPN (June 26, 2019). "Mark Heggen: R&D's Plan to Make New Magic Players". Wizards Play Network.
  15. 5 "Firsts" Coming With M20. Wizards Play Network (April 29, 2019).
  16. a b Chris Gleeson (June 17, 2019). "Core Set 2020 Promos and Packaging". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Nelson Brown (March 12, 2019). "Introducing the New Wizards Play Network". Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Wizards of the Coast (June 17, 2019). "Magic Promo Pack Info".
  19. Wizards of the Coast (April 22, 2019). "Japanese Alternate-Art Planeswalkers". Wizards of the Coast.
  20. 2019 Convention Promo - Nightpack Ambusher. Reddit (July 20, 2019).
  21. Mark Rosewater (June 18, 2019). "Protection is back? i mean, i love that, but how come?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  22. a b c d e f g h i j k l m Mark Rosewater (June 24, 2019). "Core Than Meets The Eye". Wizards of the Coast.
  23. Gavin Verhey (June 18, 2019). "When Core and Commander Combine". Wizards of the Coast.
  24. Andrew Brown (June 21, 2019). "Fire It Up". Wizards of the Coast.
  25. David McCoy (October 10, 2019). "Bant Golos Dominates Week 1 Standard". Hipsters of the Coast.
  26. David McCoy (October 21, 2019). "Field of the Dead Banned in Standard". Hipsters of the Coast.
  27. Wizards of the Coast (July 5, 2019). "The MTGM20 card Corpse Knight has a print error in some regional printings.". Twitter.
  28. Gavin Verhey (2019-02-05). "State of Product Design 2018". Wizards of the Coast.

External links[ | ]