Previews began last week for the upcoming set, Core Set 2020. Despite the sense of fatigue from the sheer volume of new set releases, Core Set 2020 has drawn eyes for some notable previews that could make an impact in Modern. Core sets tend to include reprints and answers for problem cards across formats, and this one looks to be no exception.

Many of the previews we have seen last week provide an affordable route into Modern, including some key reprints. This week, I look at a handful of previews to assess their potential impact on the format, along with advice on which reprints to pick up for your collection.

Lotus Field takes inspiration from Reserved List stalwart Lotus Vale, and it actually has some upside compared to its predecessor. Hexproof provides insurance that Field of Ruin or Ghost Quarter won’t ruin your day with a three-for-one. The combination with Blood Sun is cute—you don’t have to sacrifice lands when you play Lotus Field. Beyond that, I expect one copy to see play in Amulet Titan. It can fuel a turn-two win, but Amulet Titan does not really want to be sacrificing its lands. Both the bounce lands and win condition lands like Slayer’s Stronghold and Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion make poor sacrifices. But one copy could surprise some opponents.

Some off-the-wall strategies may be interested in Lotus Field too. Twiddle Storm is an off-beat take on Storm that uses Twiddle as a ritual-effect to net mana—that’s perfect for untapping a land that makes three mana. Jeskai Ascendency Combo could be in the market for this effect as well. It may not warp the format as we have come to expect from recent sets, but I expect Lotus Field to see some fringe play.

Folks were hoping to see some powerful Goblins in Modern Horizons, which didn’t disappoint thanks to Goblin Matron. Now Core Set 2020 brings a new friend to the Modern goblins repertoire. Goblin Ringleader could push the archetype into a higher competitive tier in Modern. But I’m not sure the much-loved Legacy archetype will transfer into Modern well. One of the reasons Legacy Goblins is consistent is due to mana denial—Wasteland and Rishidan Port—which don’t have Modern equivalents. And the deck is still missing Goblin Lackey, which is the true power combo with Goblin Ringleader.

Despite this, I think there is a viable Modern version with Goblin Ringleader. The archetype will need to be reimagined without taking inspiration from Legacy. Modern Horizons added a new goblin, Munitions Expert, which encourages a Rakdos midrange variant of Goblins. And who knows, maybe Goblin Lackey or a variant will come into Modern at some point?

Following the emphasis on Planeswalkers from War of the Spark, we are beginning to see the card type make a big impact in Modern and Standard. As a result, clean answers are needed. Noxious Grasp, Fry, and Devout Decree all do the job efficiently. I expect these to see heavy play in Standard, as they deals with troublesome cards such as Teferi, Time Raveler; but I also expect Modern application too. There are better answers currently in main decks, such as Assassin’s Trophy, but these new cards make excellent options for the sideboard.

Fry could see some play in Izzet Phoenix, but there’s already Magmatic Sinkhole from Modern Horizons. It’s worth noting that Devout Decree and Noxious Grasp can hit Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis, which seems like something you want to do right now. These three cards all hit potent answers in the format and will perform depending on your metagame. The best element about this cycle is that they can fit into a whole host on existing and new strategies in Modern.

New reprints of Leyline of Sanctity and Leyline of the Void may be obvious as relevant Modern cards, but they are worth discussing nonetheless. These Leylines have been sideboard all-stars in Modern since the format began. In a world where Dredge and Hogaak Bridgevine are currently widespread, Leyline of the Void is the premier answer to graveyard strategies at an affordable rate.

Leyline of the Void is beginning to crash in price, and I expect the price of the Core Set 2020 printing to be similar to Core Set 2019’s Scapeshift. That creates an excellent opportunity to pick these up for your Modern collection. Premier graveyard hate will always be strong in Modern, so don’t miss out.

Leyline of Sanctity is less common in the format currently, but it is the best answer in Modern to Burn and Discard strategies. If your local metagame is full of these archetypes or the competitive metagame shifts, Leyline of Sanctity could become quite relevant again. I also suggest picking a set of these just in case, while the price is right.

Extending the Leyline cycle, we have a new addition for green: Leyline of Abundance. Don’t ignore this card’s potential. Leyline of Abundance plays well with Dryad Arbor, Birds of Paradise, and Noble Hierarch. The activated ability looks similar to Gavony Township, which has seen play in creature-based Modern decks in the past. If you draw mana dorks later in the game, use them to pump out counters on your army.

There’s even a new infinite combo with Birds of Paradise, Freed from the Real and the new Leyline. Although it has the potential to win on turn two, it is a glass cannon strategy and requires you to have the pieces in your opening hand to be successful. It’s far from consistent, but it could work alongside other mana sinks such as Walking Ballista to provide an alternate route to victory. Strategies such as Elves, Mono-Green Devotion, Enchantress, and Creature-Combo will be heavily interested in this card. Don’t sleep on Leyline of Abundance, there’s plenty of application which may not be obvious on the surface.

Core Set 2020 should inject some much-desired reprints and hate cards to attack particular archetypes in Standard and Modern. Core sets aren’t usually exciting, especially if we compare to the recent sets in War of the Spark and Modern Horizons. However, they deliver potent answers and opportunities to pick up powerful cards on a budget. I’m looking forward to seeing how Core Set 2020 fares in Modern. If anything, it’s made the format slightly more affordable.

Emma is a writer and Modern enthusiast based in Suffolk, England. She has been involved in Magic since Khans of Tarkir’s release back in 2014, but won’t shy away from Cube and MTG Arena. Follow her on Twitter @emmmzyne to join in on the conversation!

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