The Best Variant Cards in Core Set 2021

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Since the introduction of Collector Boosters with the release of Throne of Eldraine, Magic collectors and art buffs have added some new crown jewels to their collections. Each major expansion brings new borderless and alternate-art cards for us to collect, admire, and add to our decks.

Looking for the coolest cards in Core Set 2021? Let’s take a tour through the alternate-art archives.

Basri Ket

Basri Ket is the latest addition to Magic’s Pantheon of Planewalkers. He commands a mighty army on Amonkhet, and he looks majestic in this alternate art by Jehan Choo.

Chandra, Heart of Fire

This high-octane action shot of Chandra Nalaar comes courtesy of artist Jason Rainville, who previously illustrated both Chandra, Flamecaller and Chandra, Pyrogenius. Check out this Twitter thread from Rainville showing how the Heart of Fire came to life!

Containment Priest

Many Magic players are excited for Containment Priest to come to Pioneer and Modern with the release of Core Set 2021. If you have a foiled-out deck in need of this sideboard all-star, consider the alternate-art version by Jesper Ejsing.


Cultivate has fifteen unique printings, but this borderless version includes the first piece of new art for the card in nearly ten years. If you play green decks in Commander, this card is a must-have.

Garruk, Unleashed

Garruk cards have been producing creature tokens since the green Planeswalker debuted in Lorwyn. But few pieces of art illustrate Garruk’s connection to the animal world quite like Cristi Balanescu’s rendition of Garruk, Unleashed.

Grim Tutor

There aren’t a ton of copies of Grim Tutor in circulation, and few look as… grim as this one. If you really want to creep out your Commander opponents, pick up the borderless version.

Liliana, Waker of the Dead

Magali Villeneuve outdoes herself again with this portrait of Liliana Vess. This is one of the best-selling Core Set 2021 variants on, so grab one while you can.

Massacre Wurm

Massacre Wurm is a favorite in mono-black Commander and Cube decks and one of the most sought-after reprints in Core Set 2021. If you’ve been meaning to pick one up for your collection, consider the borderless version, with menacing new art by Kekai Kotaki.

Scavenging Ooze

Another fan-favorite reprint for Core Set 2021 is Scavenging Ooze, seen here enjoying a meal. Scavenging Ooze joins Historic and Pioneer July 3rd and will undoubtedly feast on plenty of creatures in graveyards.

Solemn Simulacrum

But perhaps the most exciting reprint of all is Commander favorite Solemn Simulacrum. This bionic creature goes in nearly every deck, so if you like the look of this version, you may want a few copies.

Teferi, Master of Time

Teferi comes in several special-edition versions in Core Set 2021 – it’s his set, after all – but we prefer the borderless printing with art by Chris Rallis. With Teferi on your side, you can bend time to your will.

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

If you love Commander, Cube, or Modern Tron, you might also love Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. The mighty Ugin’s wingspan is so large that it can barely be contained on a single Magic card. You can watch a time-lapse video of Ryan Pancoast painting Ugin here.

Which of these alternate-art cards is your favorite? Let us know on Twitter!