Magic 19 (M19) Core Set Discussion
So, Core Sets are back this year, July 13th, 2018, and for Magic Online, it’ll be July 16th. I imagine it will be a few weeks/months before we see it in Magic: the Gathering Arena, but I sincerely hope they keep up this idea of making the standard meta cards match the physical product to the digital product. 280 cards of absolute gold. One of the things I think is fascinating is that people are worked up into a shoot about the idea of “Core Sets”. They don’t fit into the “Blocks” and are seen by many as a way to simply milk more money and stretch out a meta a little. I can definitely see why someone would think that way because the physical card game can get pretty pricey to keep up with. It’s one of the many reasons I have gotten into Arena so much. I’ve invested some real money into the Beta, more than I probably should have, but I know that when the game leaves Beta, I’ll get it back to invest into different packs, knowing what I do now. Something folks aren’t looking at is the Core Set can be played by itself. Limited Core Events are a blast, and a lot easier to set up than a Limited Block Event, in my opinion.
Another positive, is M19/Core Sets, in general, are an easy transition into learning the game for a new player. There are also the “Planeswalker” decks that come with a Core Set, and they have their own boons. Chief among these is an introduction into what kind of decks you can expect from certain colors. New players might not be aware of how each color plays, and you can find a Planeswalker that you like, or seems interesting, and start there. So for a new player, an excellent idea. Not to mention there could be a lot of cards in those decks you want (decklists are very easy to find) and wind up spending way less money than you might at a shop buying singles/buying packs and hope for the best. From a lore perspective, it’s also an interesting Core Set, because a lot of characters are coming back that we have not seen in quite a while, Ajani, the White Planeswalker is back, and in particular, four of the Elder Dragons have returned that I have seen. Chromium, Vaevictis Asmadi, Palladia-Mors and of course Nicol Bolas. Nicol Bolas clearly stands out among them, since he has the Planeswalker Spark, and will flip/transform from “Elder Dragon Legend” into “Horrific Meta-Warping Monster” Planeswalker.
More interesting to me is that I have not seen Tezzeret anywhere but in the Planeswalker decks. Tezzeret is my personal favorite Planeswalker and my second favorite MTG Lore Character (Lim Dul, the Necromancer) and I don’t rightly know if they will appear in MTG Arena. White has Ajani, Wise Counselor, Blue is Tezeret, Cruel Machinist, Black offers Liliana, the Necromancer, Red is Sarkhan, Dragonsoul, and Green has Vivien of the Arkbow. Vivien is a new Planeswalker as far as I’m aware of, but a few notes of interest are Ajani has returned to Mono-White, Tezzeret is still evil and cruel and looks like he is enslaved by Nicol Bolas, and Sarkhan no longer seems to be mad-bonkers-insane, which is nice. His dual-colored Planeswalker card was okay at best, at least for my uses. I do want to look at a few cards though that I think are especially interesting. Another positive to Core Sets, despite them not selling as well as Blocks, is they contain a lot of cards that might not fit a block thematically but will aid that meta and make some deck types much stronger. Take Goblins, for example. They’re often overlooked and used poorly in most blocks, but Core Sets typically have cards that can help out and make them a force to be reckoned with. There are some older cards that are back in M19, that honestly blow my mind. Let’s look at a few!
- Crucible of Worlds (Artifact, Mythic Rare, 3C): “You may play land cards from your graveyard.” Crucible. Of. God. Damn. Worlds. This card is absolutely insane in so many ways. Self-Mill, being Milled/Discarded, pitching cards from your hand for abilitie sand just playing them from the graveyard. It’s simple, inexpensive to play, and absolutely worth it in so many decks. You know what Crucible is paired neatly with?
- Scapeshift (Green, Sorcery, Mythic Rare, 2G2C): “Sacrifice any number of lands. Search your library for up to that many land cards, put them onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library.” This card does not specify basic lands. So you sac all your basic lands, grab your fancy dual lands/important ability lands, drop them onto the field from your deck, and with Crucible, you play those from the graveyard.
- Death Baron (Black, Zombie Wizard, Rare, 2B1C, 2/2): “Skeletons you control and other Zombies you control get +1/+1 and have deathtouch.” This one kind of speaks for itself. It was integral to my zombie decks for many moons, and I’m so glad it’s back.
- Viashino Pyromancer (Red, Viashino Wizard, Common, 2/1): “When Viashino Pyromancer enters the battlefield, it deals 2 damage to target player or planeswalker.” Ready for another disgusting, cheap card for RDW (Red Deck Wins)? Well here they are. It’s a .35 cent common, and deals 2 damage to the enemy player. Turn 1, drop Shock or a haste goblin. Turn 2, Pyromancer. You’re already working them over.
- Elvish Rejuvenator (Green, Elf Druid, Common, 1G2C 1/1): “When Elvish Rejuvenator enters the battlefield, look at your top five cards. Place a land from among them onto the battlefield tapped, put the rest on the bottom of your deck in any order.” Mana ramp is always good. Do I really have to explain that one further?
- Goblin Instigator (Red, Goblin Rogue, Common, 1/1): “When Goblin Instigator enters the battlefield, create a 1/1 red Goblin creature token”. Creature ramp is just as important as mana ramp, and while it doesn’t have haste, the next turn if you have range to, you swing and drop even more creatures.
- Skilled Animator (Blue, Human Artificer, Uncommon, 1/3): “When Skilled Animator enters the battlefield, target artifact you control becomes an artifact creature with a 5/5 power/toughness as long as Skilled Animator remains on the battlefield. Pair this with Tezzeret for hilarious results. Drop those cheap, 1/2 drop artifacts, turn your Thopters into 5/5s and have flying, frustrating beat-sticks.
- Reliquary Tower (Land, Uncommon): “You have no maximum hand size. Tap: 1C” This isn’t the best card in the world, but for my style of card draw/control decks, it’s a godsend. No more forced discarding, and all of my counterspells stay around.
- Amulet of Safekeeping (Artifact, Rare, 2C): “Whenever you become the target of a spell or an ability an opponent controls, counter it unless they pay 1C. Creature Tokens gets -1/0”. I hate token decks, and I love control. This is another no brainer, amazing card. And it’s only a 2 drop! Get this out turn 2 and watch your opponent cry as they have to watch their mana very carefully. Pair this with something that doesn’t let them untap mana (U/W Planeswalker, for an example).
- Liliana’s Spoils (Black, Sorcery, 1B3C): “Target opponent discards a card. Look at the top five cards of your library. You may reveal a black card from among them and put it in your hand. Put the rest on the bottom in any order.” If you pair this with Scry, it could really spell doom in this current meta.
What about you? What makes you guys happy/angry in this block? Please let us know below!
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