Core Set 2020: Magic Online Edition

Posted in Magic Online on June 28, 2019

By Alli Steele

Welcome back to the core set! This revitalized annual tradition is one of Magic's oldest: a set focused on the heart and fundamentals of Magic, packed with reprints of sweet cards as well as introducing some instant classics. This year's Core Set 2020 is themed around Chandra, and you can check out all the cards in the Card Image Gallery. The Release Notes may also be of interest.

Due to the Independence Day holiday here in America, we're launching early on Tuesday, July 2. Once downtime is over, we'll have all the Core Set 2020 events you can handle ready to go. Both Sealed and Draft will be available immediately.

As with all new sets, the downtime is when legality changes. Reprints that Core Set 2020 introduces to Standard (like Overcome) are going to be legal in Standard again as soon as we're up and new cards will be playable as soon as you acquire them.

This update also brings with it the return of the London Mulligan, which has had a few UX improvements since the test back in April. In accordance with R&D formally adopting this mulligan for all of Magic, it will apply to all Magic Online games in all formats.

In addition, we're making some more tweaks to our event structures for M20's release, so make sure to check out the changes below. We're aware that some players are unhappy that the Open Play section of the Play Lobby has been restricted to single-game matches. While you can check out the philosophy of the changes with Chris Kiritz's Tumblr post, we have been discussing possible changes. As far as what those changes might be and when we would deliver them, there's nothing to announce just yet.

Pauper Card Paucity

Pauper is one of the most popular formats on Magic Online, and we couldn't be happier that it's now formalized into a single format. With this, many cards that were printed in paper at common will now be legal in Pauper, even if they weren't printed in a MTGO set at common. You can see the full announcement here.

Magic Online has over 18,000 cards implemented and available within the system. For most purposes, this is more than sufficient to allow a full range of brewing and creativity. However, with the expansion of Pauper, we recognize that this might not be true for what this new evolution of the format becomes. There are slightly more than 300 common cards not in the Magic Online system. Most of these are probably not going to be relevant to any semi-competitive deck in the format, but Magic players tend to be a clever bunch and find unexpected uses for cards. If the format evolves in a direction that includes cards not yet on Magic Online, we'll explore ways to deliver them as quickly as we can.

Players with concerns about specific cards (or any concerns, really) are welcome to email us at All messages are read by the Magic Online leadership team, though, we cannot promise a response.

The Horizon of Modern Horizons

Modern Horizons events are going to continue through the first half of Core Set 2020 season. They'll last until Wednesday, August 14, and end with that morning's downtime to introduce Commander (2019 Edition) cards to the system. The Modern Horizons Bundle, however, is leaving the store on Tuesday with the Core Set 2020 downtime, so if you're interested in purchasing it, do so soon. (The individual Modern Horizons Token will remain, so players with any number of those tokens can get enough to play in more events.)

Modern Horizons cards have been shaking up Modern events, as expected. Snow lands are everywhere, Hogaak lurks in many graveyards, runes are being given, groves are waterlogged, and so on. These cards and some of their Modern Horizons kin may eventually make their way to Treasure Chests with a future set release, but that release would be sometime after the release of the fall set, code-named "Archery."

Prestige Avatar Change

Starting with the Core Set 2020 season, we're changing how we award Prestige Avatars. Rather than count up your trophies in each League independently to see if you meet any of the various thresholds, the new system lets us award prestige avatars based on your combined play, and it does so with a pair of new trophy objects.

Some events will award Friendly trophies and some will award Competitive trophies. For events that award trophies, you'll be able to find out which are awarded in the event's prize structure. Note that some non-League events will now award trophies, so you'll be able to earn Prestige Avatars from Cube play now! You can find both trophies as digital objects in your collection, so you can keep track of what you've earned without reviewing every event or League you've entered. At the end of the season, when the next Standard-legal set comes out, we'll count up your trophies and award the avatars using a new point system.

The system is simple: Friendly trophies are worth 1 point, and Competitive trophies are worth 5 points.

If you get to 5 points, you'll earn this Golos, Tireless Pilgrim Prestige Avatar.

Golos avatar

If you get to 20 points, you'll earn the Omnath, Locus of the Roil Prestige Avatar as well.

Omnath avatar

And if you hit 40 points, you'll also earn the Kaalia, Zenith Seeker Prestige Avatar!

Kaalia avatar

Trophy counts will still be displayed for each individual League on the Leaderboard. Players at the top will retain their bragging rights, and the Top 5 of each League will still have their avatars shown off (especially great when you can use a Prestige Avatar to demonstrate mastery over multiple seasons!). This new system is simpler and offers more flexibility in how players earn a Prestige Avatar, and we think players will appreciate being able to get closer to a Prestige Avatar from a variety of play modes.

Treasure Chest Avatars

We are generally happy with the current state of Treasure Chests. There are some small updates to the Curated list, which will be posted on Tuesday at the Treasure Chest page, but, fundamentally, they're still the same Chests you know and love.

We are changing the Treasure Avatars. The MH1 and WAR avatars are going away, replaced by a couple of smol animals.

Chandra's Embercat avatar

Ferocious Pup avatar

Core Set 2020 Event Details

Friendly Sealed League

  • Schedule: This League will begin on July 2, at 10 a.m. PT. This League is planned to run until the release of the next Standard-legal set in September.
  • Product: 6 Core Set 2020 boosters, with the option to add a Core Set 2020 booster after each of the first two stages.
  • Structure: 3 stages of up to 3 matches each, played at your convenience

Entry Options:

  • 24 Event Tickets
  • 6 Core Set 2020 boosters + 4 Event Tickets
  • 240 Play Points

Upgrade Options:

  • 4 Event Tickets
  • 1 Core Set 2020 booster
  • 40 Play Points

Stage Prizes:

Stage prizes are earned for each of the three stages in the League.

  • 3 wins: 40 Play Points + 1 Friendly Trophy
  • 2 wins: 30 Play Points
  • 1 win: 20 Play Points
  • 0 wins: 10 Play Points

Course Prizes:

Course prizes are earned after completing all three stages.

  • 9 wins: 3 Core Set 2020 boosters + 200 Play Points
  • 8 wins: 2 Core Set 2020 boosters + 200 Play Points
  • 7 wins: 1 Core Set 2020 booster + 200 Play Points
  • 6 wins: 200 Play Points
  • 5 wins: 100 Play Points
  • 4 wins: 50 Play Points

Competitive Sealed League

  • Schedule: This League will begin on July 2, at 10 a.m. PT. This League is planned to run until the release of the next Standard-legal set in September.
  • Product: 6 Core Set 2020 boosters
  • Structure: Up to 5 matches, played at your convenience

Entry Options:

  • 24 Event Tickets
  • 6 Core Set 2020 boosters + 4 Event Tickets
  • 240 Play Points


  • 5 wins: 6 Core Set 2020 boosters + 360 Play Points + 3 MOCS Qualifier Points + 1 Competitive Trophy
  • 4 wins: 3 Core Set 2020 boosters + 240 Play Points + 1 MOCS Qualifier Point
  • 3 wins: 1 Core Set 2020 booster + 120 Play Points

Core Set 2020 Draft League

  • Schedule: This League will begin on July 2, at 10 a.m. PT. This League is planned to run until the release of the next Standard-legal set in September.
  • Product: 3 Core Set 2020 boosters
  • Structure: Draft, then up to 3 matches at your convenience

Entry Options:

  • 12 Event Tickets
  • 3 Core Set 2020 boosters + 2 Event Tickets
  • 120 Play Points


  • 3 wins: 6 Core Set 2020 boosters + 1 MOCS Qualifier Point + 1 Competitive Trophy
  • 2 wins: 2 Core Set 2020 boosters

Competitive Draft League

We're retiring the Competitive Draft League. When a League has enough players, the value of playing your matches on your own schedule is extremely high. When the League is too small, however, the queue times make it difficult to complete League courses in a reasonable time. As a test, for this release, we'll be replacing the Competitive Draft League with a Competitive Draft Queue.

Competitive Draft Queue

Some players may ask "Why return to a queue when Leagues are so much more convenient?" Our main goal is to ensure that players can complete each event they enter. While this change incurs the cost of needing to play up to three matches in one sitting, players are guaranteed to get all their matches for each event they enter. The new Play Lobby also means that it is easier to find each of the Draft types, and we think this discoverability will help ensure the queue has critical mass. In addition, this change marks the return of in-pod Draft play, which we know some players prefer.

Schedule: This queue will begin on July 2, at 10 a.m. PT. This queue is planned to run until the release of the next Standard-legal set in September.

Product: 3 Core Set 2020 boosters

Structure: Draft, then single-elimination rounds until a winner emerges. Round 1 will begin as soon as the deck-building period after the draft ends. Rounds 2 and 3 will begin 2 minutes after the last match in the previous round ends.

Entry Options:

  • 15 Event Tickets
  • 3 Core Set 2020 boosters + 5 Event Tickets
  • 150 Play Points
  • 3 Core Set 2020 boosters + 50 Play Points


  • Winner: 6 Core Set 2020 boosters + 150 Play Points + 2 MOCS Qualifier Points + 1 Competitive Trophy
  • 2nd Place: 3 Core Set 2020 boosters + 150 Play Points + 1 MOCS Qualifier Point

Constructed Leagues

Formats offered: Standard, Modern, Legacy, Vintage, and Pauper

Structure: Up to 5 matches, played at your convenience

Entry options:

  • 10 Event Tickets
  • 100 Play Points


  • 5 Wins: 150 Play Points + 3 MOCS Qualifier Points + 11 Treasure Chests + 5 Format Points + 1 Competitive Trophy
  • 4 Wins: 120 Play Points + 1 MOCS Qualifier Point + 5 Treasure Chests + 2 Format Points
  • 3 Wins: 100 Play Points + 1 Treasure Chest + 1 Format Point
  • 2 Wins: 50 Play Points

Alt Play Calendar

There's a lot going on this season, but it's not quite as crowded as War of the Spark season was. It helps that there's no huge new exciting draftable Modern-legal set dropping in the middle of the season that we have to account for. That means there are a lot of sweet things to do over the next few months.

  • Starting July 17, worlds will collide again as perennial favorite Magic Online event Battle of the Planes returns! Represent your favorite world (is it Ravnica? Innistrad? Dominaria?) and battle other players and their worlds for glory and prizes until the battle concludes on July 24.
  • After that week, we shift to something new and exciting: the next brand-new entry in the Spotlight Cube Series! From July 24–31, we return to the plane of Tarkir . . . sort of. Imagine Khans of Tarkir, but with its themes and play styles expanded to fill an entire cube. This week will be filled with the Khans Expanded Cube, designed by L2 judge and cube designer Elliot Raff, with support from Magic R&D's Play Design team. You can find him on Twitter @raff_sputin, and on this very site in the week run up to the cube, when his design article on his cube will be published.
  • The Legacy Cube returns for a very special one-week run at the start of August, from July 31August 7. There's something more going on here, but we'll have to play coy now until we can provide more details in the coming weeks.
  • It's been gone barely more than a year, but we're running Dominaria Flashback Drafts because the set was just so popular. Saprolings have never been more fun, and they're back from August 7–14.
  • Also on August 14, Modern Horizons events end. But that just makes room for . . .
  • C H A O S D R A F T! From August 14–21, why draft one set when you can draft lots of sets at once?
  • We'll be running a flashback draft from August 2128, but we're not really sure which one yet. Late in July, we'll be running a series of Twitter polls, pitting sixteen flashback drafts against one another in a showdown. The winner will be up for this week in an event we're calling "You Choose the Flashback."
  • After that, we've got another Spotlight Cube event coming up, but we're not quite ready to share any details yet. It'll be up for one week, from August 28September 4.
  • Once September 4 rolls around, the Spotlight Cube is going to be replaced with the Modern Cube, which will run for several weeks, right up until the next Standard-legal set is released.


As always, we invite you to share your thoughts and concerns with us at Getting your opinions, whether sent to us via email or posted on Reddit or Twitter, is an important part of the continuing development of Magic Online.

Thanks for reading, and happy gaming!

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