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Core Set 2021
M21 logo
Set Information
Set symbol
Design Aaron Forsythe (lead)[1]
Doug Beyer
Mark Heggen
Development Adam Prosak (lead)
Sam Stoddard
Yoni Skolnik
Corey Bowen
Donald Smith, Jr
Andrew Brown
Ari Nieh
Art direction Cynthia Sheppard
Release date July 3, 2020
Plane Multiversal
Themes and mechanics Teferi, Dogs vs. Cats, Shrines
Keywords/​ability words Mill, phasing, prowess
Set size 274 cards
(111 commons, 80 uncommons, 53 rares, 15 mythic rares, 15 basic lands)
+3 Teferi, Master of Time variants
+6 alternate-art borderless planeswalker
+29 showcase cards
+6 alternate-art borderless cards
+1 Buy-a-Box promo
+20 Planeswalker deck exclusives
+52 extended-art cards
+1 bundle promo
+5 dark-frame promos
Expansion code M21[2]
Core sets
Core Set 2020 Core Set 2021 N/A
Core Set 2021 Standard
Throne of Eldraine Theros Beyond Death Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths
Magic: The Gathering Chronology
Signature Spellbook: Chandra Core Set 2021 Jumpstart

Core Set 2021, also known as Core 2021, is the twentieth Magic core set. It was released on July 3, 2020.[3]

Set details[ | ]

M21 set symbol

expansion symbol

M21 Signature showcase - Teferi Master of Time

Signature showcase treatment.

“  It’s Magic time  ”

Core 2021 features a mix of new and reprinted cards. The main set contains 274 cards (111 commons, 80 uncommons, 53 rares, 15 mythic rares, 15 basic lands) and includes randomly inserted premium versions of all cards. Teferi, Master of Time (#75) additionally features three alternate arts, numbered #275-277. The Buy-a-Box promotional card is #278. Cards with an alternate card frame have another card number than the original version. Borderless planeswalkers are numbered #279-284, showcase cards are numbered #285-313, alternate art borderless cards are numbered #314-319, cards found in the set's planeswalker decks are #320-339 and the extended artwork cards are numbered #340-391. The Bundle promo is numbered #392, and the dark-frame cards from the universal promo pack are numbered #393-397.

The featured planeswalker is Teferi.[4] The set also features some of his family, friends and foes. A new planeswalker is Basri Ket.

The Showcase card frames are identical to the Signature Spellbook frames for the planeswalkers (cf. Chandra's frame).[5] Teferi, Master of Time features four subtly different artworks. The monocolored planeswalkers each feature three signature spells and a basic land depicting their home plane. Ugin features no additional cards beyond his planeswalker card.

Storyline[ | ]

Core Set 2021 has no storyline. There are no Story Spotlights, either.[6]

Marketing[ | ]

Core Set 2021 is sold in 16-card Draft Boosters (one card being a marketing card), five planeswalker decks, the Core 2021 bundle, and a Starter Kit. There are no Theme Boosters, but instead Core 2021 is the first core set to feature Collector Boosters.[5] A Deck Builder's Toolkit is also absent. In addition, Welcome decks are replaced by a Welcome booster, a ten-card sampler showing off flashy aspects of the game like legendaries, planeswalkers, powerful rares and showcase cards.[7] The draft boosters feature key art of three planeswalkers (Teferi, Liliana and Chandra). The Collector Booster features key art of Ugin.

Events[ | ]

Promotional cards[ | ]

Jumpstart[ | ]

Main article: Jumpstart

Core Set 2021 is closely tied to Jumpstart, a booster product that released two weeks later.[12][13][1] Jumpstart is meant to provide an easy starting point for players who don't have the appetite or time for deckbuilding. Jumpstart shares 120 cards with Core set 2021.

Tokens and emblems[ | ]

Core 2021 comes with 20 tokens and emblems.[14] Token and emblems appear in the marketing card slot. The last two tokens are available from collector boosters only.

  1. {W} 4/4 Angel creature with flying for Angelic Ascension and Speaker of the Heavens.
  2. {W} 1/1 Bird creature with flying for Falconer Adept.
  3. {W} 2/2 Griffin creature with flying for Griffin Aerie.
  4. {W} 2/2 Knight creature with vigilance for Basri's Lieutenant and Valorous Steed.
  5. {W} 1/1 Soldier creature for Basri Ket and Secure the Scene.
  6. {B} 5/5 Demon creature with flying for Archfiend's Vessel.
  7. {B} 2/2 Zombie creature for Liliana's Devotee and Necromentia.
  8. {R} 1/1 Goblin Wizard creature with prowess for Goblin Wizardry.
  9. {R} 1/1 Pirate creature with "This creature cannot block," and "Creatures you control must attack each combat if able," for Pursued Whale.
  10. {G} 3/3 Beast creature for Elder Gargaroth and Garruk, Unleashed.
  11. {G} 2/2 Cat creature for Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse.
  12. {G} 1/1 Saproling creature for Deathbloom Thallid, Fungal Rebirth and Sporeweb Weaver.
  13. {U/R} */* Weird creature for Experimental Overload.
  14. {C} 4/4 Construct creature for Chrome Replicator
  15. {C} Treasure for Gadrak, the Crown-Scourge.
  16. Emblem for Basri Ket.
  17. Emblem for Garruk, Unleashed.
  18. Emblem for Liliana, Waker of the Dead.
  19. {W} 1/1 Dog creature for Rin and Seri, Inseparable.
  20. {G} 1/1 Cat creature for Rin and Seri, Inseparable.

Themes and mechanics[ | ]

Core Set 2021 has a theme of Dogs vs. Cats.[9][15]

The mill mechanic now officially becomes a keyword action.[16] For a player to mill N, they put the top N cards from their library into their graveyard.

With Teferi, Master of Time and Teferi, Timeless Voyager, phasing returns to Standard for the first time since Weatherlight, over 23 years ago. (It was last printed on Teferi's Protection as part of Commander 2017.)

Prowess, now a deciduous keyword, also returns.[17]

Card types[ | ]

The set introduces the Dog creature type, and erratas the Hound creature type to all become Dogs.[18] This change was foreshadowed with the test card Ruff, Underdog Champ.

The set also introduces the Basri planeswalker type.

The set sees the return of the enchantment type Shrine, last seen in Standard with Champions of Kamigawa.[18]

Limited archetypes[ | ]

Core 2021 features the following limited archetypes:

Cycles[ | ]

Core Set 2021 has fifteen cycles, including two double cycles and five vertical cycles.

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Legendary spellcasters Mangara, the Diplomat Barrin, Tolarian Archmage Kaervek, the Spiteful Subira, Tulzidi Caravanner Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse
Five rare or mythic rare legendary Human spellcasters. All of them have a connection to Teferi, and/or the continent of Jamuraa.
Tribal lords Pack Leader (Dogs) Shacklegeist (Spirits) Thieves' Guild Enforcer (Rogues) Conspicuous Snoop (Goblins) Feline Sovereign (Cats)
Five rare lords that each support a different tribe.
Sanctums Sanctum of Tranquil Light Sanctum of Calm Waters Sanctum of Stone Fangs Sanctum of Shattered Heights Sanctum of Fruitful Harvest
Five uncommon legendary Shrine enchantments, each of which has an effect that scales with the number of Shrines you control. There is a sixth five-color Shrine printed at rare, Sanctum of All. All of them are illustrated by Johannes Voss.
Cycle name {W}{B} {U}{R} {B}{G} {R}{W} {G}{U}
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.[19]

Vertical cycles[ | ]

Five mythic rare planeswalkers each head a vertical cycle of cards referring to them. Each of these cards is also printed in a Signature Spellbook-esque alternate card frame, themed to that respective planeswalker. Chandra's cards match her Signature Spellbook frame exactly.[5]

Color Planeswalker Signature spells
{W} Basri Ket Basri's Lieutenant Basri's Solidarity Basri's Acolyte
{U} Teferi, Master of Time Teferi's Ageless Insight Teferi's Tutelage Teferi's Protege
{B} Liliana, Waker of the Dead Liliana's Standard Bearer Liliana's Devotee Liliana's Steward
{R} Chandra, Heart of Fire Chandra's Incinerator Chandra's Pyreling Chandra's Magmutt
{G} Garruk, Unleashed Garruk's Harbinger Garruk's Uprising Garruk's Gorehorn

Dual cycles[ | ]

Cycle name {W}{U} {U}{B} {B}{R} {R}{G} {G}{W} {W}{B} {U}{R} {B}{G} {R}{W} {G}{U}
Draft signposts Watcher of the Spheres Obsessive Stitcher Dire Fleet Warmonger Leafkin Avenger Conclave Mentor Indulging Patrician Experimental Overload Twinblade Assassins Alpine Houndmaster Lorescale Coatl
Ten uncommon spells that support a draft archetype for Limited.
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 .

Precon only[ | ]

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Planeswalkers Basri, Devoted Paladin Teferi, Timeless Voyager Liliana, Death Mage Chandra, Flame's Catalyst Garruk, Savage Herald
Five mythic rare planeswalker variants with simpler abilities, each of which cost {4}MM.
Planeswalker tutors Basri's Aegis Teferi's Wavecaster Liliana's Scorn Chandra's Fire Maw Garruk's Warsteed
Five rare spells, each of which costs {2}MM or {3}MM and tutors for a specific planeswalker.
3-of creatures Sigiled Contender Historian of Zhalfir Liliana's Scrounger Keral Keep Disciples Predatory Wurm
Five uncommon creatures, included as three-ofs in their respective decks. Each interacts directly, or – in one case – supports the theme of their respective planeswalker.
4-of creatures Adherent of Hope Mystic Skyfish Spirit of Malevolence Storm Caller Wildwood Patrol
Five common creatures, included as four-ofs in their respective decks. Each supports the theme, or – in one case – interacts directly with their respective planeswalker.

Notable cards[ | ]

Banned and restricted cards[ | ]

  • Ugin, the Spirit Dragon was introduced to Arena for the first time in Core Set 2021. It gained a reputation in Standard and Historic as a "get out of jail free" card that would annihilate opponents' boards and linger as a growing threat, but such effects are generally balanced as an eight mana spell. It was not its effects, however, but its colorless identity that led to its ban in Historic Brawl, a format where decks are defined by their color restrictions. This ban occurred concurrent to the bans of Agent of Treachery and Field of the Dead, which were already banned in several other formats, for Wizards stated that "each one either exploits or pushes against one of the primary elements of the format".[21]

Preconstructed decks[ | ]

Arena Starter Kit[ | ]

The Arena Starter Kit (in previous editions known as the Spellslinger Starter Kit) comes with two Standard-legal 60-card decks, designed to create an interactive learning experience for two.

Planeswalker decks[ | ]

Unlike with expansions, planeswalker decks are still a part of the product line-up for the Core Set.[22] Core 2021 features five planeswalker decks, that come with one booster and a foil planeswalker card.[23]

deck name
Colors Included Planeswalker
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Basri W Basri, Devoted Paladin
Teferi U Teferi, Timeless Voyager
Liliana B Liliana, Death Mage
Chandra R Chandra, Flame's Catalyst
Garruk G Garruk, Savage Herald

References[ | ]

  1. a b Mark Rosewater (June 8, 2020). "Need I Say Core". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Information below the text box
  3. Magic Announcement Stream (Video). Magic: the Gathering. YouTube (September 4, 2019).
  4. Mark Rosewater (September 04, 2019). "I missed the announcement of the sets for next year.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  5. a b c d Mike Turian (June 5, 2020). "Collecting Core Set 2021". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Wizards of the Coast (June 8, 2020). "The Lore of Core Set 2021 on the Cards". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Ari Zirulnik (June 4, 2020). "Core Set 2021 Product Overview". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. All the Dates You Need for Core Set 2021. Wizards Play Network (May 18, 2020).
  9. a b c WPN (June 4, 2020). "Core Set 2021 Season: 5 Things to Know". Wizards Play Network.
  10. Commander Nights M21: What You Need to Know. Wizards Play Network (June 23, 2020).
  11. Wizards of the Coast (June 15, 2020). "Product Delays in North America". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Weekly MTG: Jumpstart!. (February 20, 2020).
  13. Wizards of The Coast (April 2, 2020). "Jumpstart Release Shifts to July 17". Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Kendall Pepple (June 16, 2020). "The tokens of Core Set 2021". Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Blake Rasmussen (June 9, 2020). "Cats vs. Dogs". Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Eli Shiffrin (June 20, 2020). "Core Set 2021 and Jumpstart Release Notes". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Mark Rosewater (June 6, 2020). "Hi Mark -- is prowess back now or something? I thought you had it cancelled now it's all over M21? Tell us the story pls". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  18. a b Mark Rosewater (June 15, 2020). "But Wait, There's Core". Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Kendall Pepple (June 9, 2020). "Approaching the Temple". Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Intentional or Mistake? Why Garruk's Gorehorn Has No Text! (Video). Good Morning Magic. YouTube (July 13, 2020).
  21. Wizards of the Coast (December 8, 2021). "MTG Arena Announcements, December 8, 2021". Wizards of the Coast.
  22. Signofzeta (September 8, 2019). "Are Planeswalker Decks being discontinued?". MTG Salvation.
  23. WPN (April, 2020). "Core Set 2021 Product Information". Wizards Play Network.

External links[ | ]