Editor’s note: This article was published on June 19, 2019, before Leyline of Abundance was previewed. We’ve updated the article to include it.
Mana is the foundation of all magic in the Multiverse. Each plane has its own distinct mana, which can be found along a network of paths called leylines. These leylines have often been relevant to Magic story – on Ravnica, for example, they form the basis of the Implicit Maze, which connects all ten guild halls.
In Magic gameplay, the Leylines are a series of rare enchantments with powerful, game-altering effects. Some provide bonuses for the player who controls them, while others provide a check on opposing strategies. Each Leyline costs four mana (two generic mana and two mana of a single color), but you don’t need to cast them. If a Leyline is in your opening hand, you can put it onto the battlefield at the start of the game.
The Leylines are back in Core Set 2020, so let’s take a look at them and see how they might be useful in Standard.
First printed in Magic 2011, Leyline of Sanctity has seen plenty of play in Modern. It’s most commonly found in Bogles sideboards, where it can protect against discard spells and Liliana of the Veil activations. Leyline of Sanctity is also a great foil to Burn decks, which can have trouble maneuvering around it.
Now that it’s Standard-legal, this Leyline may prove to be a more reliable answer to Mono-Red decks than Shalai (who can be felled by the Lava Coils commonly found in Red sideboards). It also turns off Thought Erasure and Duress, which may prove relevant against Control.
Another M11 Leyline, Leyline of Anticipation, returns in Core Set 2020. This one is a bigger player in Commander than other constructed formats, and it may not be needed in Standard – Vivien, Champion of the Wilds and Teferi, Time Raveler cover most of your casting-spells-at-instant-speed bases, and both have additional relevant abilities. Nonetheless, this spell is worth keeping in mind, particularly because it’s harder to interact with than a planeswalker.
Modern players have been hoping for a Leyline of the Void reprint for some time, and here it is in Core Set 2020! Decks that use the graveyard account for a large share of the current Modern metagame, and Leyline of the Void has become a potent card against those strategies.
Of course, Leyline of the Void may turn out to be a useful hate card in the Standard metagame as well. It provides a major check on Command the Dreadhorde and Arclight Phoenix decks, and it can prevent Search for Azcanta from transforming. We expect to see quite a bit of this card in Standard sideboards to come.
Leyline of Combustion is a brand-new Leyline for Core Set 2020. Check out that rules text: “Whenever you or a permanent you control becomes the target of a spell or ability an opponent controls, Leyline of Combustion deals 2 damage to that player.”
This card seems worth experimenting with in Mono-Red Standard sideboards, especially for the mirror. However, red decks may not be able to stomach spending four mana on this effect if they draw Leyline late in the game; between Experimental Frenzy, Chandra, Fire Artisan, and Rekindling Phoenix, red has no shortage of four-mana options.
Our final Leyline is another new one: Leyline of Abundance. While it won’t gain you any life or prevent your opponents from countering your creature spells, it does have two quintessentially green abilities: increasing mana production and putting counters on creatures.
With eight sets in Standard, there are plenty of mana creatures that you can try with Leyline of Abundance before the next rotation. Llanowar Elves adds two mana, Incubation Druid adds four, and Marwyn adds… one more than she would otherwise. Now’s a great time to build that elf deck you’ve been dreaming of.
Leylines and the London Mulligan
While Leylines have been in demand for quite some time, the new London Mulligan (which takes effect with the release of Core Set 2020) will make them even more potent. The new mulligan rule allows players to see more cards while mulliganing and sculpt more playable opening hands, which may mean more Turn 1 Leylines. Your primary concern in mulliganing should be ensuring that you have a proactive game plan, but sometimes, it may be correct to have a Leyline in your opening hand.
Which of these Leylines are you most interested in adding to your decks? Let us know on Twitter at @Card_Kingdom!