In just a few days…
Core Set 2021 will officially be released. It does not feel like a year since a wrote an article about Core Set 2020, and I still remember my games from the M20 Prerelease, but here we are – 12 months later with another monster of a set about to shake up the Standard format.
Following on the usual fashion of Core sets, Core Set 2021 (M21) does not explore a new world, but rather the cards are centred around Magic’s overall history – this approach is why Core sets are a great opportunity to reprint some cool cards from previous releases. M20 featured the pyromancer, Chandra as the central character and M21 casts the spotlight on everyone’s favourite time wizard – Teferi.
Last year’s Core set introduced a new approach for keeping the main character front and centre – Chandra had 3 distinct cards – each of these at different mana costs and rarities. M21 takes a similar approach with Teferi, but instead of different unique cards you can expect Teferi on several versions of his namesake card – each version’s art differing slightly. This one really is for the collectors out there who will no doubt want to get their hands on each version. Some will be ‘rarer’ than others, so pay attention to which specific version you open in case you wish to trade it away later.
Here are some of Teferi’s 5 iterations:
Core sets always feature a selection of existing cards. These often get reprinted to give players easier access to popular cards. Perhaps a card is hard to find as it was only available in a supplemental product, like Commander. Or the card is simply expensive as it was last printed many years ago, so not too many copies are floating around.
M21 is no different and features a selection of cards that were Standard powerhouses, Commander staples or format all-stars when they first released. Consider Grim Tutor in M21 – the card was last produced in Starter Set 1999 – 21 years ago!
This explains why it commands such a high price on the secondary market. This also has the implication that Grim Tutor will now be legal not only in Standard, but also in other formats like Pioneer and Modern.
Back in 2009 during the time of the Shards of Alara block I started playing Magic again after a hiatus of around 4 years. I had not played competitively before, but that year I decided to enrol in Nationals (a time when National Championships were still a thing) and had built a very casual Jund Dragons deck – not the cool version with Broodmate Dragon! I was in for a very rough tournament, thanks to one card that was everywhere.
Combined with other Standard shenanigans like fetchlands and Lotus Cobras, this warrior angel often hit the battlefield as early as turn 3. I was woefully unprepared for my first Nationals, and still have a healthy respect for a Baneslayer – left unanswered it will end a game in a matter of turns.
Some other awesome reprints in this Core set are Containment Priest and Savenging Ooze. Both these cards first made their Magic debut in Commander Products. Ooze has seen a printing prior, in Core Set 2014, but Containment Priest now enters the card pool of other Constructed formats.
We also see the return of Solemn Simulacrum, or Sad Robot, as it is affectionately known.
If you think that the original art from Mirrodin has an uncanny resemblance to a person, then you would be correct. The face is modelled after Jens Thoren, who won the Magic Invitational during the 2002/2003 season. As the winner of the event, you could have a card designed that would feature your likeness. Eleven of these cards exist, and you can read more about the event, its past champions and their featured cards here.
Some of the reprints are from more recent products, like the Core Set 2020 Temples.
There is a good reason for this reprint. The other 5 lands that form part of the 10-card temple cycle were printed earlier this year in the Theros: Beyond Death set. Theros cards will still be Standard legal for some time, but Core Set 2020 rotates out in a few months. By reprinting them in 2021 players will have access to the full cycle of temples well into next year.
It’s good to know that Fabled Passage from Throne of Eldraine is seeing a welcome reprinted in M21, so this will give more players access to better mana.
new creature type –
Starting with Core 2021 Magic will have a new creature type – Dog. We’ve had Hound in the past, and due to an errata to creature subtypes, all Hounds will now have the Dog subtype. If we combine the many Cat cards from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths with the Dog cards from Core 2021, then the decks practically build themselves.
If you would like to read more about the central characters of Core 2021 and their home world of Dominaria, then you can check out this article on MTGGoldfish.
Core Set 2021 will be available in stores and online on Friday 3 July. The set will be available in Draft Boosters, Collector Boosters, Bundles, Prerelease Packs, and Planeswalker Decks.