Core Set 2020 Prerelease Primer

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Core Set 2020 is live on MTG Arena, and before you know it, you’ll be able to play with the newest cards at your local game store. Prerelease Weekend is coming up, and if you’re wondering what to expect from Core Set 2020, we’ve got you covered.

Prerelease Packs

When you sit down for your Core Set 2020 Prerelease, you’ll receive a Prerelease Pack containing the following:

  • 6 booster packs of Core Set 2020
  • 1 random rare and mythic rare promo card
  • 1 “M20” spindown die

Then, you’ll build a 40-card deck, using the contents of your Prerelease pack and basic lands provided by your local game store. Here are five criteria we recommend keeping in mind when building your deck:

  • Your deck should include 23 spells and 17 lands
  • Aim to play a two-color deck
  • Identify the strongest cards in your pool and try to build around them
  • Most of your spells should be creature spells that cost 2-5 mana
  • Incorporate a handful of removal spells for your opponents’ creatures

Once you’re done building your deck, it’s time to battle!

Back to Basics

If you’ve played other recent Magic sets, you may find that the gameplay of Core Set 2020 is less complex. Core Sets are designed to be an entry point for new players, so they contain fewer keyword mechanics than other Magic expansions. In fact, Core Set 2020 doesn’t contain any new mechanics; all the keywords in the set are “evergreen” keywords that should be familiar to most Magic players. (If you’re brand new, don’t worry! Many of the cards include reminder text that explains how their keywords work.)

The most complicated keyword ability you’ll find in the set is protection. We wrote an article about protection when we previewed Apostle of Purifying Light and Gods Willing, so if you need a refresher, check it out! You’ll also find helpful reminder text on cards that have protection.


As Mark Rosewater mentioned in his first Core Set 2020 design article, there are five main archetypes in the set, each of which are found in three colors:

Creature Aggro (White/Black/Red)
Elementals (Blue/Red/Green)
Go-Wide (Black/Green/White)
Flyers (Red/White/Blue)
Enter-the-Battlefield Effects (Green/Blue/Black)

You can choose to build a three-color deck at your Prerelease, or you can try a two-color deck that includes a few powerful cards of a third color. In either case, be sure to look at the non-basic lands in your pool before you decide which colors to play; you’ll want to make sure you have enough mana sources in each of your chosen colors.

The London Mulligan

At the Core Set 2020 Prerelease, we won’t just be playing with new cards – it’ll also be our first opportunity to play with the new London Mulligan rule in a tabletop Magic tournament.

Under previous mulligan rules, players drew one fewer card each time they took a mulligan. The London Mulligan works differently: players will draw seven cards each time they mulligan, and once they’re satisfied with their hand, they’ll choose X cards from their hand and put those cards on the bottom of their library in any order, where “X” is the number of times they mulliganed. So, if a player chooses to keep a hand on their second mulligan, they’ll put two cards on the bottom of their library in any order.

For more information on the London Mulligan, check out this article explaining the changes.


Above all, Prereleases are all about fun, and we hope you have a great time playing with Core Set 2020 this weekend. If you open any cool rares or make any plays that you’re proud of, be sure to tweet at us at @Card_Kingdom!