After a 24-hour delay, Wizards of the Coast officially began the preview season for Core Set 2021—Magic: the Gathering’s next expansion set—with a wild, game-show-in-quarantine-themed kickoff stream.

“We set out to make an amazing core set,” said Mark Rosewater, Magic’s Head Designer. “We went and got powerful reprints; we went and got an amazing Planeswalker lineup; we made cool, new cards; and then we just juiced the whole thing to make one of the best core sets of all time.”

Teferi, Teferi, Teferi, Teferi

Core Set 2021 was announced last September as part of Wizards’ preview of all four of 2020’s Standard sets. During that preview event, Art Director Cynthia Sheppard said, “I think the pitch [for the set] was, ‘Do you like Teferi?’ If you like Teferi, you will not be disappointed in this set.”

And, well, Sheppard was not kidding.

Wizards showed off nine different styles of Teferi’s newest card, Teferi, Master of Time, including a borderless version and new Planeswalker-themed showcase frame, the latter of which is similar to the frames used in the Signature Spellbook series.

Teferi has three different frames in Core Set 2021.

Teferi, Master of Time has five different illustrations across those three frames. The borderless version features art by Chris Rallis, while both the standard and showcase frames have four variations of the same piece by Yongjae Choi—presumably showing Teferi in different states of controlling time.

The standard and showcase frames will have four different versions with different art.

On top of the nine different versions of Teferi, Master of Time, Core Set 2021 will also feature what Rosewater called “vertical” cycles of cards, meaning groups of cards that form a cycle within the same color.

In Core Set 2021, the vertical cycles appear to be themed around each of the mono-colored Planeswalkers in the set. Wizards showed off what appears to be the entire Teferi vertical cycle on today’s stream, featuring Teferi’s Ageless Insight, Teferi’s Protege, and Teferi’s Tutelage, all of which will have standard frames as well as showcase versions.

Three Teferi-themed cards in Core Set 2021.

In an awesome twist, the vertical cycles in Core Set 2021 will include basic lands with styled showcase frames, as well!

The showcase frame basic Island from Core Set 2021.

Each of the four other mono-colored Planeswalkers in Core Set 2021 will also have three different frames and vertical cycles similar to Teferi. Wizards didn’t show off any of the other cycles, but they did display the new Liliana, Waker of the Dead, whose pose is a callback to her card in Magic Origins, Liliana, Heretical Healer, before she sparked and became a Planeswalker.

Liliana, Waker of the Dead’s three versions in Core Set 2021.

The other Planeswalkers will be Ugin, Chandra, Garruk, and…

Basri Ket

Wizards also revealed the new Planeswalker that Rosewater teased last week: Basri Ket.

Basri Ket is a new Planeswalker from Amonkhet, which we last visited in 2017 and 2018 with the Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation sets. Basri is a follower of Oketra, the mono-White god on Amonkhet who died fighting Nicol Bolas and his zombie army.

Speaking to CBR, Senior Game Designer Max McCall showed off a few Basri-themed cards from the upcoming Core Set 2021 Plansewalker decks. “It’s true that with Gideon gone, we wanted a new White planeswalker to fit the martial trope, but it was important to us that Basri’s skill with arms is different from Gideon’s. Where Gideon’s powers all focused around powering up Gideon, Basri’s powers are about buffing your team.”

(Note: cards from Planeswalker decks are Standard-legal but are not included in normal booster packs.)

Four cards from the Basri Core Set 2021 Planeswalker deck.

Given the flavor text on the four cards from Basri’s Planeswalker deck, it appears that he is a leader that is trying to put Amonkhet back together after the disatrous battle with Nicol Bolas and the death of four of Amonkhet’s five gods.

Release the Hounds Dogs

While cat has been a very common creature type in Magic since at least Urza’s Saga, which was released in 1998; dogs have never had their own creature type, having instead been relegated to being called “hounds.”

Rin and Seri is the first card to feature the dog creature type.

Core Set 2021 will correct this historical oversight, however, with the introduction of the dog creature type and the promise to errata all existing hounds into dogs.

Grim Tutor

One of the most unexpected reprints revealed today was Grim Tutor, which will appear in a tabletop release for the first time since 1999.

Grim Tutor’s two versions in Core Set 2021.

A paper version of Grim Tutor has cost over $100 for the last decade and currently costs somewhere around $200, making its reprint in Core Set 2021 especially potent.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.