Magic: The Gathering recently released its latest expansion, Core Set 2020, with over a hundred new cards alongside some key reprints that will have serious repercussions for how the game is played. These new cards have also come to Magic: The Gathering Arena, the digital version of the iconic card game, and players are already constructing powerful new decks and augmenting old favorites.
With the new set shaking things up, the meta-game will be in flux for a while as the status quo struggles to reassert itself. With that in mind, let us take a look at the 10 decks that will likely see more play in the days and weeks to come.
10 Five Color Gates
One of the most powerful decks to come out of the recent Ravnica block was absolutely the Gates archetype. This deck is centered around lands with the Gate subtype that enter the battlefield tapped but can tap for one of two different colors of mana. A number of cards benefit from having multiple different Gates in play and it seems that this archetype isn't going anywhere with the new Core Set.
This particular build includes new cards like Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, and Risen Reef to help get more lands out onto the battlefield, with the added benefit of using that extra mana to their advantage. It also includes Cavalier of Thorns for some powerful land finding and graveyard recursion action.
9 Dovin's Esper Build
Esper decks are powerful control engines that can shut down a game quickly. This deck has a bit of Dovin flair to it, including cards such as Dovin's Acuity and Dovin's Veto in order to lock down the opponent and keep drawing answers.
In particular, this deck is a good example of one that will mostly benefit just from being augmented by the new Core Set cards. It runs a pair of the new Disfigure cards in its mainboard and once the old set of dual lands rotates out, we'll likely see the new lifegain or scry lands take their place.
8 Azorius Flyers
One of the major themes of the Core Set 2020 is that of flyers, which is the focus of the Jeskai color wedge (Blue-Red-White). This next deck doesn't include any red cards, but it does have a strong focus on flying creatures.
With cards like Empyrean Eagle, Dungeon Geists, and Winged Words from the new set, the deck already has a strong core of controlling flyers and card draw. Combine that with old standards in the archetype like Favorable Winds and Siren Stormtamer, and this deck is looking pretty powerful.
7 Merfolk Tribal
One of the most popular tribes of Magic's long history is absolutely merfolk. These dwellers in the depths have always had a wide range of both abilities and cards that know how to use them, and that holds true even now with the latest expansion.
This merfolk tribal deck is another one that has augmented its loadout with the Core Set 2020 cards. The overall strategy hasn't changed much, with the focus still on powerful cards that care about merfolk like Deeproot Elite, Silvergill Adept, and Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca. It also includes a reprinted Unsummon to deal with pesky creatures at an efficient mana cost.
6 Destructive Dragons
Few creatures have the raw power and intimidating presence as dragons. These dangerous monsters are another popular tribe in Magic: The Gathering, having shown up in the game at many different points in time.
This dragon deck introduces a new dragon from Magic 2020: Drakuseth, Maw of Flames. The red dragon joins other powerhouses such as Lathliss, Dragon Queen, Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire, and Chromium the Mutable. With such overwhelming strength, the dragons of the new meta will likely prove a threat to be reckoned with.
5 Elemental Tribal
Quite possibly the tribal deck of the Magic 2020 Core Set is the elemental deck. These primal and formidable creatures have a whole host of powerful effects accompanying them with the new cards.
This deck showcases many of the new elemental cards that Magic 2020 has to offer. Risen Reef provides land acceleration and card draw, Leafkin Druid enables mana ramping and benefits from having multiple creatures on the battlefield, and Omnath, Locus of the Roil is a devastating finisher, strengthening your elementals and dealing damage on its own.
4 Feather's Redemption
One of the standout decks from the recent War of the Spark expansion was one based around Feather the Redeemed. This legendary creature allows players to recycle spells they cast that target their own creatures, returning anything that targets them to the hand at the end of the turn.
Armed with a variety of cantrips and other spells with low casting cost, the Feather deck doesn't look to be going anywhere. This build includes the newly reprinted Gods Willing, which can be used to give a creature protection from a certain color, defending against harm. It stands alongside the powerhouses from recent sets like Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants and Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice, making for a formidably aggressive deck.
3 Esper Control
When you think of controlling decks, decks that want to slow the game to a snail's pace and deny your opponents the chance to do anything productive, odds are you think Esper. The color combo of Blue, White, and Black makes for a potent team, combining counter spells, removal, and flat out board wipes if things are going wrong.
This specific Esper deck has included a few useful cards from the 2020 set to help it in its goals. It carries several copies of Scheming Symmetry to help find answers, along with the Rule of Law enchantment that prevents players from casting more than one spell per turn. It also runs a copy of Field of the Dead, which benefits from the wide array of lands included in the deck.
2 Simic Flash
The ability to respond and adapt to change is crucial in a game of Magic. Much of the rules are built around when players can perform certain actions, and what they're allowed to do when their opponent makes a move. It's no surprise, then, that a Simic deck (Green-Blue) excels at this, fluidly and quickly shifting strategies as the game evolves.
The deck here is focused on the ability to "flash" cards into play, a keyword which allows you to cast spells that are not instant speed spells as though they were. The Leyline of Anticipation enchantment is what allows this effect, meaning that players who get it onto the battlefield could play their entire hand on their opponent's turn before their foe can react.
1 Grixis Control
Grixis, the color combo of Red, Black, and Blue, is a threat to be reckoned with. Like Esper, it has the powerful kill abilities of Black and the evasive ingenuity of Blue, but it also boasts the aggression and ferocity that come with Red.
This deck is another that mostly just augments its existing cards with the new Core Set, but they are some powerful augmentations indeed. Disfigure makes an appearance, as does the new planeswalker Chandra, Awakened Inferno. The sideboard also includes some useful tech cards from the set, such as Fry and Grafdigger's Cage. With a whole new toolset to play with, this deck is certain to be a dangerous enemy to all who encounter it.