Core Set 2020: Limited Environment First Impressions

All across the globe, players are cracking open their packs of Magic the Gathering: Core Set 2020, as they eagerly build their sealed decks at their local release events, or simply while playing with a group of their friends.

It is finally the day and Core Set 2020, the 19th Core Set to be released by Magic the Gathering is here and we couldn’t be more excited to go over this set and give our first impressions, along with a few tips and tricks that may catch you by surprise if you are not prepared for them.

Let’s dig in!

Elementals, Elementals, Elementals

One of the most powerful and fun to play tribal themes contained within the Core Set 2020 limited environment are elementals. 

They are literally everywhere, but are most heavily represented in the colors that go along with their gold cards, that being the Red, Green and Blue mana colors.


Core Set 2020: Limited Environment First Impressions

The synergies of this tribe are so powerful that it is currently spilling over from the limited environment and affecting the main Standard format, with cards such as Omnath, Locus of the Roil and the Risen Reef being some of the most heavily sought after cards in the Core Set 2020.

The fact is, if you happen to pull one of the three gold colored elemental creature cards shown above, along with a handful of other elementals (not a hard feat considering how prevalent they are in the set), then you stand a strong chance of creating a strong, snowballing 40 card limited deck that is going to annihilate your opponents in rapid succession.

Omnath, Locus of the Roil hits the battlefield running, shocking, lightning bolting or even better depending on how many elementals you currently control (remember, he counts as one as well), when he enters the battlefield.

This allows you to immediately kill off one of your opponent’s creatures, or simply finish off your opponent by going “face” if their health is low enough.

After this, Omnath continues to add value, allowing you to put a +1/+1 counter on a target elemental each and every time you play another land card, quickly beefing up your elementals. 

Meanwhile, if you control eight or more lands, you additionally get to draw another card. This card is pure gas!

Next we have the Risen Reef, which is a key component of the elemental tribal strategy and one that at the uncommon slot is much easier to obtain than Omnath.

Risen Reef allows you to look at the top card of your deck and either place it on the battlefield tapped if it is a land, or in your hand if it is not a land, everytime you play another elemental creature card, making it another powerful draw engine for your deck.


Core Set 2020: Limited Environment First Impressions

Finally, we have the Creeping Trailblazer, which beefs up the attack of all your other elementals on the battlefield, while also giving it the ability to pump itself up, depending on how many elementals you currently control.

Beware, the elemental tribe in Core Set 2020 is not one to be messed around with and is one that you should heavily pursue if the cardboard gods are fortunate enough to bless you with enough luck in pulling them.

Fliers Everywhere!

Another strong theme of the Core Set 2020 limited environment is fliers.

Going over your opponents ahead and simply rushing them in the damage count is always a viable option, but in Core Set 2020 it is incredibly easy to do.

This is a set that has a lot of fliers, in all colors except for green. This allows you to build your flying theme based deck in a variety of ways, whether it be White / Red, White / Blue, or Red / Blue, is up to you!

However, it is most heavily supported in the White color and it is thus why you will often see this color strongly shown in a flying based strategy deck in Core Set 2020.


Core Set 2020: Limited Environment First Impressions

There are a number of angels in Core Set 2020, which is great news for anyone that loves this tribal theme, of which we can be counted amongst.

Sephara, Sky’s Blade is a rare card that will simply take over the game in a matter of a couple of turns if your opponent does not immediately answer it, or even on the turn she drops if you have a lot of fliers already on the board and are ready to attack.

At a cost of seven mana, she is expensive, but in limited this is usually no problem as games tend to go longer than in constructed. However, she can alternatively hit the board sooner if you pay one white mana and tap four untapped creatures with flying (note, the color doesn’t matter).

Once on the board, all your other flying creatures are granted “indestructible”, meaning that they can attack or block freely and without fear, as they cannot be killed.

Herald of the Sun is another great angel that can quickly break a stalled board state, allowing you to pay four mana and place a +1/+1 counter on another creature with flying.

Take note, that you don’t need to tap Herald of the Sun to do this. This is important as we have seen more than one player lose the game by incorrectly blocking a flyer, only to have Herald of the Sun “pump” it and win the game.

Meanwhile, Empyrean Eagle is an amazing gold card that is in the White and Blue mana colors and of which increases both the attack and toughness of all your other flyers by +1/+1, making it a very valuable card in a flyers based deck.

Of course, this is only a small sample of the flyers included in Core Set 2020 and we recommend that you explore and build around this theme, as it can win you some quick and easy matches.

Vampires Are Back!

The last tribe that we are going to talk about in Core Set 2020 is vampires.

Although not incredibly heavily represented in the Core Set 2020 limited environment, they do contain a number of very valuable cards that can be played around and that are currently leading to some very strong vampire based decks in the current Standard format.


Core Set 2020: Limited Environment First Impressions

The two most important of these cards are Knight of the Ebon Legion and Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord.

Knight of the Ebon Legion is a rare one drop, that can come in on turn one and quickly take over the game starting on turn three if he is not dealt with.

The reason for this is that he can buff himself for one black and three colorless mana, giving himself +3/+3 until the end of turn, making him into a ⅘ creature on turn three!

After he successfully attacks, at the end of the round, he will place a +1/+1 permanent counter on himself if he hit your opponent. 

This quickly results in a massive creature that can continuous pump himself over and over again as you gain more and more mana.

Next, is Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord, a three mana Planeswalker, which is always scary!

His first plus one ability allows you to pump your vampires by +1/+1 and give them deathtouch and lifelink.

His second plus one ability allows you to “sack” one of your vampires and do three damage to any creature or player, while giving you back three health. This is amazingly good against red based decks that hope to quickly burn you out.

Finally, his “ultimate ability”, is a -3 that allows you to play any vampire in your hand for no mana cost. 

This allows you to immediately play a big, beefy, high cost mana vampire immediately on turn three, well in advance of when it normally could of been played, and the craziest part of all is that Sorin is still on the battlefield.

These two cards have totally revitalized the vampires tribal theme and we couldn’t be happier!

We will be showcasing a vampire standard constructed deck in the coming weeks based on some of these key cards contained in Core Set 2020.

In Conclusion

Core Set 2020 is here and with it comes a tribal heavy limited environment that has both new and old players alike excited to play.

It is easily one of the best Core Set’s to be released by Wizards of the Coast EVER and we aren’t alone in this bold statement.

We hope that you had a chance to pre-order Core Set 2020, but if not, please visit us today to purchase your Core Set 2020 products.

Thanks for reading and please let us know your Core Set 2020 gameplay stories, combos and epic wins, we’d love to hear them!