Magic Core Set 2021 Reveals

Tabletop article by Giaco Furino on Friday, June 5, 2020 - 13:00
Feature

New Cards! Old Cards!

Wizards of the Coast just announced a slew of new cards for their upcoming Magic: The Gathering set Core Set 2021. Releasing on July 3rd, 2020, the set will include fan-favorite reprints and brand new additions to MTG's ever-growing library. Core Sets, generally, are designed to be a little more straightforward than expansion sets like the current Kaiju-inspired set Ikoria. Designed as a virtual variety show hosted by MTG personality Jimmy Wong, the pre-recorded show premiered live on Twitch on Friday, June 5th.

Magic The Gathering 2021
Jimmy Wong on set during the Core Set 2021 reveal.

Videoing in with various members of the Magic: The Gathering design team, Jimmy and head designer Mark Rosewater ran viewers through a large assortment of new cards. Before the stream started, a message stated that the video was pre-recorded before the events of this week, and followed with this message:

MTG 2021 Statement
A message of support from Wizards of the Coast.

From there, they jumped into the new card reveals. First up is a fan-favorite Planeswalker reprint: Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. The inclusion of Ugin doesn't tell us a whole lot about what to expect from the set as a whole, but it's a fun bomb and always shocking when you've got enough mana to land it on the table.Magic The Gathering 2021 Ugin

Next up were a series of interesting reprints, including the extremely powerful Grim Tutor and fan-favorite Azusa, Lost but Seeking. Both of these cards are pretty powerful for a core set, and (in my opinion) point to a slight change in approach for the R&D team in how they view Core Sets. These are easy to understand cards, but their interactions could prove more complicated than we're used to seeing in these "more basic" sets. Also of note: many cards of varying rarities are getting full-card or variant artwork.

MTG 2021 Grim Tutor

MTG 2021 Azusa Lost but Seeking

Up next, they played several lighthearted "game shows" with various notable MTG streamers, revealing a few cool cards in the process, like the powerful Planeswalker-killing Sparkhunter Masticore. Though players also have to discard a card to get Sparkhunter on the table, its ability to drain the reserves of powerful Planeswalkers could make this a major card of the set.

MTG 2021 Masticore

But why the need to destroy Planeswalkers? They just revealed several new Planeswalkers, revealing the full cards for Teferi and Liliana, and teasing that Chandra (the fiery red Planeswalker) and Garruk (without his curse, meaning he will likely be mono-green again, and not a Green-Black Planeswalker).

MTG 2021 Teferi

MTG 2021 Liliana

Other cards revealed in the stream today show the range of powers and potential archetypes available to players, including Fierce Empath, which can help you find huge creatures hiding in your deck, and Runed Halo, which can offer a lot of protection against decks aggressive or tricky decks, and Teferi's Ageless Insight, which will allow players to draw tons of cards (everyone loves to draw cards!).

MTG 2021 Fierce Empath

MTG 2021 Runed Halo

MTG 2021 Teferi Ageless Insight

Finally, the team introduced a brand new product and format coming to shelves after the release of Core Set 2021. Named Jump Start, the new set of cards is designed to be played right out of the packs. Each pack of Jumpstart includes 20 cards centered around a central theme like "Cats," "Garruk," or "Doctors," and the idea is that players grab two packs, shuffle them together (they include all the basic lands needed play) and jump right into a game against their opponents. Though pre-constructed decks have been around for a long time in Magic: The Gathering's history, this marks one of the first times pre-con decks are presented in a sealed "you don't know what you're getting" kind of way. Cards will include some Magic 2021 cards, but also plenty of powerful cards from previous sets, and those will not be Standard Format legal.

MTG Jump Start

To watch a full replay of the Core Set 2021 announcements, check out Magic: The Gathering's Twitch Channel post.

What do you think of the new cards revealed? Do you think any of these cards are too powerful for the current meta? Let us know in the comments below!

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Giaco Furino

Staff Writer

Giaco Furino is a screenwriter, writer, and editor living and working in Brooklyn, NY.