Magic: The Gathering—Core Set 2020 Preview CardsChandra art by Magali Villeneuve, courtesy of Wizards of the Coast Games Features Magic: The Gathering
Some of my favorite Magic products are Planeswalker Decks. I’m a big fan of teaching the game to new people, and while I’m an advocate for “give them some boosters and lands and start playing,” the Planeswalker Deck is a good place to learn basic mechanics, see how to build a synergistic deck, and start subbing in cards to customize your play style. They’re an introductory product, but they’re always fun to play against each other and give people a lot of room to grow. It’s hard to be mad about that.
I’m very pleased, then, that our preview cards for Magic 2020 are the planeswalkers that are the stars of those intro decks. As you might know, planeswalkers are basically world-hopping wizards, and each of these decks is centered on one of them, their color, and some mechanics that help that planeswalker show off their skills. It is worth remembering that these cards are designed for beginners and aren’t ever going to be like the other, higher powered planewalkers that are found in booster packs. These are fun cards, not competitive cards.
Without further waiting:
I like the look of this guy. He’s inspiring, he makes his buddies bigger with +1/+1 counters, and if he gets to use his big minus ability you’re going to win the game. He really screams “hey, I’m a big huge cat, and you need to respect me. I’m big.”
This is a big, strong, powerful Chandra who can shock little creatures with her +1 and hit bigger stuff with her minus. She definitely looks like someone who has zero time for playing around with the minor things in life. When in doubt, burn something.
We don’t know much about Mu as a character yet, but she does look like a quintessential blue mage who can shrink creatures, put them back into your opponent’s hand, and do flying stuff. I personally enjoy that Mu always looks as if there is wind blowing past her head really fast, like there’s a Wind Drake just swooping around hauling ass 24/7 in her vicinity. “Look,” she seems to say, gesturing off-card, “at my big dragon.”
That’s right. It’s your friend, Sorin, the vampire! The last I heard, he was trapped in stone, but then during the War of the Spark novel he was on a rooftop fighting the planeswalker Nahiri. And now he’s here, and he’s gonna drink your blood. He’s your goth friend who rewards you for playing vampires, but I do wish he’d use that sword more. I mean, come on Sorin, use the sword! Use the sword!
She’s here, she’s got animal buddies, and she’s gonna find even more of them. That’s right, it’s Vivien Reid. Imagine a universe where you could summon the cuddliest vicious ghost bears in the universe with a magical bow and arrow. That’s what Vivien has going on in her life, and the card art makes it clear that she’s surrounded by these wondrous creatures at all times. Yes.
And that’s it! Each of these cards is flavorful for the planeswalker it is representing, and while none of them are going to be burning up the secondary market, none of them are total bummers to play. They give you a great idea of what planeswalkers are about as cards, and each is a great window into particular kinds of decks. My opinion? I like them.
Cameron Kunzelman tweets at @ckunzelman. He is the Editor at Large for Paste Games.