Magic has a new core set coming out in a few weeks. Magic 2019 releases in July, and even includes a few Limited grand prix tournaments in the format. The messaging around the set seems to be that it isn’t designed to be a deep draft format, but who knows. It sure looks like a normal core set like we used to get, and some of those were pretty fun to draft.

Like most people, I spend spoiler season looking for marginal draft commons. Those are the most interesting cards in a set, right? (For serious though, I am very happy to see Scapeshift finally get reprinted.) M19 has a lot of commons that turn my head, or at least make me excited to pick them tenth in pack three. Like a good rug, these are cards that really tie a deck together. (I threw in an uncommon in black because the spoiler was too thin.)

It might not be Heliod’s Emissary, but Star-Crowned Stag still packs a punch. This attack-tap ability is a lot better on a 3/3 than a 2/2. Unless they have an army of big creatures, tapping down their best blocker should clear the way for the stag to survive combat. You might have better four drops, but that’s a good place to be. Combat tricks really make this stag sing as well. Nice common!

Wind Drake has been struggling to keep up lately. This new bird brings a nice bonus to the boring 2/2 flier for three. Wizards have really backed away from the prowess mechanic, and now we get it from instants and sorceries only. Still, that’s mostly what you want to do in blue decks. The Limited power pendulum has been swinging back toward fliers lately, and core sets of the past have tended to reward flying. I expect that normal Wind Drake would be good in M19, so Aven Wind Mage promises to be at least a bit better. If you find yourself in a lot of flier-based combat, being able to pump this to a 3/3 with something like Disperse can be quite the blowout.

Boom! Draining three is an amazing bonus on the always-playable 3/4 flier for five mana. Cloudreader Sphinx was a powerhouse in Dominaria Limited. Sure, Vampire Sovereign is uncommon, but that doesn’t make it less awesome. The presence of Giant Spider in the format makes life a little tougher, but it’s hard for this size creature to be bad.

I’m really in love with fliers in M19, I guess. I’m not sure how often you’ll have eight mana to add the Lightning Bolt onto this common dragon, but it’s a great extra ability to have. Most of the time you will want to play this and attack until you win. Red can always use “reach” in Limited, and a 3/3 does a pretty good job of winning over a ground stall. If you happen to draw this on turn ten, it’s like you drew two cards at once! There do seem to be a few ways to block this, but Limited these days is all about presenting threats and demanding answers.

Everyone’s favorite reprint! It’s boring and kinda silly, but Colossal Dreadmaw actually looks great from the spoilers so far. A common 6/6 trample is so much better than the Craw Wurm equivalent we used to get in most sets. M19 doesn’t look like it has big creatures, making this dino effectively a bomb.

It’s not always easy to control a blue creature, but a 5/5 for five colorless mana is very good. Five drops tend to be mostly interchangeable in Limited—the great ones aren’t that much better than filler like this—but you can probably pick this up late if you are playing blue. Even the 3/5 body is a solid defensive creature. It’s the sort of card you want in your sideboard so you can adjust your creature sizes to match opposing threats. Basically, this is a sideboard card for any deck that might be an efficient finisher in the right blue deck.

So there you have it. I’m stoked to play a bunch of midrange creatures! Sounds like a normal core set to me. We shall see if M19 ends up being a simple distraction or a deeper well of fun. I for one have missed core sets, so I’m hopeful for good times to come.

Carrie O’Hara is Editor-in-Chief of Hipsters of the Coast.

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