Magic the Gathering (MtG) is a long running, collectable card game for two or more players. Each game represents a battle between powerful wizards, known as Planeswalkers, who have the ability to travel a multi-verse. You’ll discover countless worlds inhabited by species as varied as the fantastic lands they live in.
Players will cast spells, summon creatures, and deploy artifacts to overcome their opponents. Typically, a player will win by reducing their opponent’s starting life points to zero, but there are other paths to victory.
Expansion sets are released regularly, adding hundreds of cards to the available pool. Players now have thousands of cards from which to collect and play within customised decks. A Core Set is a useful set to pick up for new and long term players. Typically a Core Set contains a large percentage of staple cards, re-printed from older expansions. These support many styles of deck building archetypes.
Core Set 2021 is the 20th core set released for MtG, released globally on 3 July 2020. 274 cards make up the set: 111 commons, 80 uncommons, 53 rares, 15 mythic rares, and 15 basic lands. This set includes a combination of reprinted and new cards.
The product range for this Core Set differs slightly from its predecessors. Draft Boosters and Bundles remain as core pickups, but Theme Boosters and Deckbuilder Toolkits are absent from this range. Collector Boosters are available for the first time (as part of a Core Set), packed with foil and showcase cards. Five mono coloured Planeswalker Decks and an Arena Starter Kit are also available, for new players.
The MtG Arena Starter Kit forms much the same function as a Spellslinger Starter Kit; it contains two ready to play decks and an instructional guide for beginners. The kit also includes codes for digital versions of both decks on Arena, allowing two players to obtain both decks online.
New players will be interested in the MtG Jumpstart that releases shortly after this Core Set. Jumpstart is a product designed to create a new, easy way to play magic, without the need to deck build. 120 cards from the Core Set are also available in Jumpstart products.
There is no overarching storyline attached to this set, but thematically it does centre on creature types Cats & Dogs. This set introduces Dog as a creature type, for the first time in Mtg. Core '21 errata's the creature type Hound to Dog. Many cards from this set support Cat and Dog tribal decks, including the buy a box promo card: Rin and Seri, Inseparable. The Bundle promo is also Dog centric: Pack Leader.
New Keyword action
The Mill action has been present in MtG for years, but it only becomes an official keyword in Core '21. Mill refers to putting the top card of a library into a graveyard.
Returning Keyword action
A creature with Prowess gets +1/+1 until the end of turn, whenever the creature’s controller casts a non creature spell.
Phasing is a mechanic not used since the late '90s (with the exception of one card in Commander 2017). It was last seen in the Weatherlight expansion.
Phasing causes permanents to phase in and out of play. When a card is phased out, it is ignored completely until the controller’s next turn.
Thoughts on the Set
I like it a lot. As a Core Set, this stands out as one of the better ones, at least compared to recent Core Sets. New players will benefit from expanding their collection with cards from this set. Many Instant and Sorcery spells from Core '21 will be standard inclusions in many different types of deck. Long time players will find value in many of the reprinted cards, most notably, perhaps, being Grim Tutor.
For me, there are many cards that will either compliment my existing decks, or just be fun to play with. Green/Blue Card Draw, Blue/White Flying, Black/Red Sacrifice, and Black/White Lifegain are archetypes I enjoy - and they all have good support in this set. The inclusion of Mill as an official keyword is something that appeals to me. I've annoyed my friends with Mill decks for years. I'll enjoy doing so again with Teferi's Tutelage.
Some of my favourite cards, in each colour, that I look forward to playing:
- Blue: Shacklegeist, Stormwing Entity, and Barrin, Tolarian Archmage
- Black: Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose, Hooded Bloodfang, and Peer into the Abyss.
- White: Baneslayer Angel, Basri's Lieutenant, and Containment Priest
- Red: Chandra's Incinerator, Conspicuous Snoop, and Terror of the Peaks
- Green: Elder Gargaroth, Feline Sovereign, and Scavenging Ooze
This is a set my friends and I will be investing in. Whether you play casually, competitively or just collect, Core '21 has something for you.