Other Core Set 2020 Reviews
5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf. Snapcaster Mage.)
4.0: Format staple. (Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Collected Company. Remand.)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Jace Beleren. Radiant Flames. Shambling Vent.)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Jace, Architect of Thought. Zulaport Cutthroat. Explosive Vegetation.)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Jace, Memory Adept. Anticipate. Transgress the Mind.)
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. (Jace, the Living Guildpact. Naturalize. Duress.) Bear in mind that many cards fall into this category, although an explanation is obviously important.
1.0: It has seen play once. (One with Nothing). (I believe it was tech vs. Owling Mine, although fairly suspicious tech at that.)
Aether Gust is a potent sideboard card and will see plenty of play. Of note, it can target a Shifting Ceratops that’s on the stack, as it doesn’t technically counter it and pro-blue doesn’t kick in until the Ceratops resolves. Also, the owner gets to choose top or bottom, which is an odd quirk.
Agent of Treachery
Agent of Treachery is a bit expensive, though keeping the card forever has appeal. If you really need an answer to planeswalkers, this does answer them neatly.
It’s always good having this around, as it lets decks without tons of good 2-drops spend their second turn generating a little value.
The Simic Flash deck has been rising in popularity lately, and this Pirate is a big part of what makes it work. A cheap flash threat that grows over time is exactly what that sort of deck wants, making this a key piece. For more on the deck, read here:
Cavalier of Gales
I’m a big fan of Brainstorms, Mulldrifters, and Cavaliers, so it’s no surprise that a card that combines all the above is a hit in my book. This replaces itself right away, pressures the opponent, and gives you a solid bonus on the way out the door. Plus, in Constructed, the Cavalier is way more likely to die the turn it’s played than in Limited, which means you often will get a shuffle after the Brainstorm effect. Cavalier of Gales also only costs five, which is cheap enough to hit the board plenty early. This will make a big impact on Standard, and I look forward to playing with it.
Sea Sprite was a classic sideboard card (granted, that was like 20 years ago), and Cerulean Drake is a nice upgrade to that. In Standard, this blocks all of Mono-Red’s dorks while protecting you from a burn spell, which is a great deal for two mana.
Not only is Cloudkin Seer one of the best commons in draft, it’s actually not too far away from Constructed. Granted, it hasn’t gotten there yet, but don’t underestimate the power of Risen Reef and the Elemental subtype.
Drawn from Dreams
In this day and age, your four-mana draw spells should probably just be planeswalkers. I like Drawn from Dreams, especially when compared to something like Concentrate, but it really needed to be an instant to see play.
Dungeon Geists were pretty good last time we saw them, and this card is definitely powerful enough to make a big impact. The conditions have to be right, though, and there is enough removal played in Standard at the moment that the Geists haven’t found a home yet. These need a combination of creatures mattering and there not being a lot of cheap removal, or a protection element (like Drogskol Captain last time).
Faerie Miscreant plays very nicely with Ninja of the Deep Hours and Spellstutter Sprite, making this a Pauper staple. It already existed there, but I figured it was worth mentioning, because Pauper is sweet.
Flood of Tears
Constructed in Magical Christmasland: 5.0
What this card is doing is cute, but I’m not surprised the flood of decks playing it has receded. The dream of bouncing four permanents and slamming Omniscience or some other huge play is very sweet, even if not the most consistent. If you aren’t getting the kicker, casting a mass bounce spell isn’t the best use of six mana, and I suspect this will see marginal play more than become a mainstay.
Leyline of Anticipation
Once upon a time, Mono-Blue Belcher in Vintage used this to kill turn one on the draw. I don’t anticipate much more coming from this.
Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer
Mu Yanling is a potent planeswalker given her cheap cost, and I’m not surprised that she’s been showing up in a variety of decks. She immediately shuts down a small creature and threatens to make a 4/4 flier, then two turns later another. If you get one flier out of her, that’s already a good deal, and it’s not hard to imagine getting a lot more. The biggest drawback she has is that she’s not the best topdeck, but given how cheap she is, that’s a risk worth taking.
Like Duress, I wouldn’t mind if Negate was just always legal in Standard. This is a great sideboard card, and even sneaks into main decks from time to time.
Ignore the part about this digging up Vials and Bows–I’m here for the mana ability. This can ramp out big things like The Immortal Sun, and any 2-drop that taps for multiple mana is one I’m interested in.
Scholar of Ages
The main use I can see for Scholar of Ages is some kind of recursive loop. At seven mana, just playing this as a value card is likely too inefficient, so you need to be comboing off somehow in order to justify it.
Spectral Sailor is a powerful little 1-drop and is a critical part of both Mono-Blue Tempo and Simic Flash. Having a flash 1-drop be a legitimate threat at any point in the game is powerful, and this card almost always demands an answer. Just by having this in play, the opponent is pressured to do something, and that’s a bargain at the cost.
Even as a sideboard card, I’m not sure what interaction you want this for. If you do counter something, you spent two mana on a narrow counterspell, which isn’t exactly what I’m looking for. This does keep people on their toes when they go to ultimate their planeswalkers, which is something I suppose.
If you’re flush on cards, spending one mana to set the opponent back can be worth it. Unsummon is card disadvantage, so don’t go too nuts playing these, but a well-timed one can be very effective.
Warden of Evos Isle
Tempo-based fliers decks always are on the fringe of Constructed, and Warden is a solid addition to the current one. This is inefficient by itself, but once you’ve cast two other fliers for cheap, your investment is paid off.
Chart a Course is a little easier to enable and better when it isn’t, but Winged Words is still a contender. Two mana for two cards is a lot of value, and there will be people interested in that deal.
Top 3 Blue Cards
Blue got some heavy-hitters here, and surprisingly, all of them are proactive cards. I like that blue has added some new angles of attack, and Cavalier especially is a cool addition to the pantheon of threats it has available.