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News Brief: Core Set 2020, Pauper Sanctioning and a Modern GP

San Diego Comic Con Promos, a Modern Grand Prix, and more Pauper than you can shake a stick at. This is your week in Magic news.

This Week in Magic

Core Set 2020

On Tuesday the full spoiler for Core 2020 dropped. The set features some powerful individual cards such as Brought Back, a strong cycle in the Cavaliers, and an interesting twist in the return of protection (as an ability) in a Core Set product. June 25th also saw the reveal of the Core 2020 Planeswalker Decks and Spellslinger Starter Kit decklists.

The Core 2020 prerelease is this coming weekend. The set officially goes on sale Friday, July 12th, 2019. The set comes to MTG Arena and Magic Online July 2nd, 2019.

Arena Updates

Speaking of MTG Arena, there are some changes coming with the next update. First, the London Mulligan will be instituted. Second, the platform will also introduce a “Set Mastery” system where players can unlock prizes–including card styles–for completing tasks. Set Mastery will replace weekly rewards. A Mastery Pass will be introduced as well. This item, available in the store, will allow players to unlock additional rewards, including a cosmetic companion. In the case of Core 2020, that companion is a fire-breathing cat.

The update article also addresses the upcoming rotation that coincides with the release of the Fall set, codenamed “Archery.” When rotation occurs, collections will not be reset. A new format, currently designated “Historic,” will be available which will afford players the opportunity to play non-Standard cards. There will be queues for Best-of-One and Best-of-Three. At this time, Historic will be an Arena-specific format.

Pauper Gets Officially Sanctioned

Pauper, on the other hand, is getting ported to the world of tabletop. After years of disparity between the list of cards legal on Magic Online and the list of cards printed at common, the format will now receive official support from Wizards of the Coast. Sanctioned Pauper events can now award Planeswalker Points and the list of legal cards has been unified and will include all cards printed at common, either online or in paper, except for those on the banned list. The format will also be searchable on Gatherer.

Three cards were added to the Pauper Banned List: High Tide, Hymn to Tourach, and Sinkhole. As a result, no new cards will be added to the Pauper Banned List when the July 8th update is released. Rather, Play Design will monitor the format closely to see if the newly legal cards have a format-warping effect. The new cards will be legal to play on Magic Online starting July 2nd, 2019.

San Diego Comic Con Promos

June 26th saw the unveiling of this year’s San Diego Comic Con promos on io9. These promos are released at the convention and have typically been composed of a cycle and receive a unique art treatment. Past iterations have included “black-on-black” planeswalkers, zombified planeswalkers, or hieroglyphic-style planeswalkers. This year’s promos include one planeswalker (Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God) and the four God-Eternals from War of the Spark. Each card includes heavily stylized art from Adam Paquette, where the background is black but the portrait of the characters is cut out in the Ravnica cityscape. The promo box will be available in limited quantities for $99 at San Diego Comic Con. In other promo news, a Sol Ring promo was revealed as a component of the MagicFest Las Vegas Commander Celebration.

Magic Celebrity Cup

Magic is getting its very own Pro-Am tournament. The Magic Celebrity Cup will pair influencers and Magic experts from France, Germany, and the United Kingdom in a tournament for national bragging rights. Each country will be represented by six teams and the top two teams from each country will advance to Day Two of the tournament. The Magic Celebrity Cup will stream July 11th, and July 12th, 2019. Each country will have its own dedicated stream.

Grand Prix Dallas-Fort Worth

MagicFest Dallas-Fort Worth featured a Modern Grand Prix. In other words, Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis came to town. The Grand Prix featured video coverage from ChannelFireball and the current scourge of the format did perform. One-third of the Hogaak decks played made the cut to Day Two and comprised 19% of the Day 2 metagame.

Two copies of the deck made it to the Top 8–including one copy piloted by Tom Ross, who had a hand in the development of Modern Horizons. The Top 8 also featured Taking Turns played by its stalwart champion, he of the quad-sleeves, Daniel Wong. There were two copies of Blue-White Control, a Tron deck, a copy of Humans, and UrzaThopterSword. In the finals, Paul Cullier’s Hogaak ran up against Austin Bursavich’s Blue-White Control. Bursavich navigated his way through a field of Zombie tokens and undead monsters to emerge victorious!

Looking Forward

This week the London Mulligan becomes official and Core 2020 gets released. MagicFests take a week off but are back with two on the weekend of July 12 in Detroit and Krakow. Both will feature Core Set 2020 Limited.

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