It’s that time against: preview season begins now for Core Set 2021. Magic has hit a stale point with Companions and other unfun cards like Fires of Invention warping Standard and demanding bans and rules changes. We’re ready for new things.

In that spirit, I wanted to dive into the possibilities of the future to speculate about what exciting new cards we could get in Core Set 2021. These are some archetypes and effects I would love to see as preview season unfolds.

Welcome Back, Aggro

I would love to see a real aggro deck come back to Standard.  I am a big believer of rock, paper, scissors format—and you can’t have that balance without a deck that pressures opponents early. Green in particular needs a push in the aggro direction for a healthier Standard. While green has been a good color as of late, it is usually paired with blue right as a ramp strategy. I hope Core Set 2021 helps shift green back to a “monster” archetype instead.

Green stompy decks are relatively healthy for Standard. It’s hard for an aggressive green creature deck to be unbeatable, but it is fun when it can compete at the top tables. Wild Nacatl might not make it into Core Set 2021, but something along those lines would be fun. We had a long period of strong Mono-Red Aggro decks in Standard, but combining green and red could also be good for the metagame. Powerful red spells like Runaway Steam-Kin and Experimental Frenzy did their work without being too good, but red could use some powerful efficient cards that don’t push so hard on being mono-red. Bring the Zoo back together!

Control Could Return Eventually

Teferi, Time Raveler has replaced and pushed control decks out of the format for a while now, but that version of Teferi will rotate out of Standard in a few months. Core Set 2021 will stick around for another year after that, even if we are certain to get a new version of Teferi. Once playes can counter spells again, control has a good chance to come back—and you know I am a fan of a healthy metagame with good control decks.

Core sets of years past have included cards like Mana Leak and have even debuted cards like Preordain. We probably won’t see the latter again, but two-mana counters seem totally in the ballpark for Core Set 2021. Standard control decks need a well-rounded counterspell and an effective set of cantrips or mass card draw spells. You already have a fine wrath effect in Shatter the Skies, finishers like Dream Trawler, and removal.

More Removal Would Help

Yes, there is a bit of removal in the format now, but adding some cheap efficient ones will help for many different archetypes. Midrange and black-based control decks would benefit a bit from a cheap way to deal with other threats. Something closer to Fatal Push than to Spark Harvest would be nice.

Core sets have introduced a number of color-specific removal spells or reactive answers, but I hope we see more flexible types of removal this time instead. More ways to deal with enchantments, artifacts, and planeswalkers would be nice. Maybe Vindicate won’t come back, but we can always use more creative versions with fun restrictions. A spell like Anguished Unmaking provides a safety valve without being so strong that it defines Standard, and we could see new variations on that theme.

Careful With Those Planeswalkers

Clearly there will be planeswalkers in the set, including a new Teferi if we believe the art releases we’ve seen so far. But one thing I really do not want to see in Core Set 2021 is more unfair and game-changing walkers. War of the Spark saturated Standard with way too many planeswalkers, and the oppressive walkers that followed like Oko, Thief of Crowns made things even worse. Planeswalker fatigue is a real thing, and we are feeling it now.

That said, I am a fan of planeswalkers with static abilities, but let’s try to balance them better now that we’ve seen how they play. Static abilities open many new options for creative walkers, but the power level needs to be reined in a bit. Core sets should be safe from any super-broken planeswalkers, but you neever know until you see the cards.

Stop Printing Broken Enchantments

Please no cards like Wilderness Reclamation or Fires of Invention. Those enchantments create board states and games that aren’t fun and get boring fast. They just banned Fires, so hopefully they know better than to make more cards like it, but the set went to print months ago.

Did I miss anything obvious? What do you hope to see as Core Set 2021 previews begin?

Zack a veteran grinder at this point plays most of his magic online nowadays. That doesn’t mean you won’t find him occasionally slinging spells at an Open or Grand Prix. Catch him streaming on Twitch to find where he’s at with all the formats.

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