M20 Limited: Picking The Top Commons and UncommonsPaolo
Core set 2020 is just around the corner! With pre-release events firing up on 5th of July. Pre-releases are probably the most exciting time for all players. Where everybody can enjoy the experience in building their 40 card deck out of a pool of 6 brand new booster packs with cards they never seen. Full spoiler has been revealed so today we are going to analyze common and uncommon cards of the set (which are the bread and butter of our beloved format: Limited) in order to drive you in the deck building process for sealed deck tournaments and draft. This is a 2 part article, so keep your eyes peeled for the next one “M20 Limited: Picking The Top Rares and Mythics”
White commons don’t look great and the best one is probably Aerial Assault: cheap removal are always welcomed in limited and the side life gain effect (that won’t always happen anyway) will synergies very well in Orzhov life gain decks which seems to be a viable archetype as it was during M19 limited season (many enablers and payoff in common like Daybreak Chaplain , Soulmender and Epicure of Blood ).
While white commons aren’t that great, however the uncommon cards are really good. You will find powerful removal spell in the form of Eternal Isolation (it will shine against RG decks which usually have the most beefy creatures) and Devout Decree (perfect sideboard card when your opponent is playing black or red); powerful creatures like Master Splicer (5 points of stats on 2 bodies for just 3W? I’m in!) and Loyal Pegasus (which have the potential to become a standard staple in white weenie deck) and a really good equipment like Ancestral Blade . But what caught my attention is Angel of Vitality that synergizes very well with cards like Soulmender , Daybreak Chaplain and Dawning Angel . If you are building an Orzhov life-matter deck, Angel of vitality will shine as an under-costed 4/4 flyer
Honorable mention: Griffin Protector has medium stats for its cost but it shines in go-wide strategies (did you already Raise the Alarm ? ). Gods Willing is a versatile card that basically counters your opponent’s removal spells or allows you to push last points of damage to close out the game on a stalled board, which is not rare to happens in slow and grindy sealed-deck matches
Blue seems to be very deep in the common slot and the best one is by far Zephyr Charge : cheap casting cost, for just 1U you will give evasion to every creature you want or “reach” when you need to block a flyer helping you both in stall breaking or neutralizing your opponent’s flying menace. I’m really digging this enchantment. On the other hand blue uncommon cards are quite mediocre: you have a good sideboard removal like Aether Gust and 2 really strong mana-sink like Spectral Sailor (late game card advantage is a key factor for your success) and Captivating Gyre which has full potential to be a game winner card and probably the best blue uncommon. Another card that caught my attention is Hard Cover which power up your defenses allowing you to loot 1 card discarding your extra lands: not bad!
Honorable mention: Winged Words will often be an under-costed Divination . Since blue has 4 flyer as common, 3 of them in the 1 and 2 mana slot, it won’t be hard to curve out this sorcery giving you a huge card advantage for just 1U
Murder is the catch-all removal spell that we always want to play in our black based deck; the downgrade to common is also noticeable since you will open multiples in a draft pod. Murder will be a first pick in packs where the rare is not that strong so black often won’t be an open color: beware of this. Bladebrand shined in Ravnica Allegiance limited and I don’t see any reason why it should stop doing it: 1B to transform your fodder into lethal creatures by replacing itself drawing you a card. You can’t really ask more fur such a cheap cost that’s easy to splash. Disfigure is a powerful removal for the early game but loses value in the late one. Blood for Bones and Gravedigger both provide you huge card advantage bringing back your best creatures from the graveyard and Bloodthirsty Aerialist is a great payoff for the life-matter archetype. Black seems to be really deep and powerful!
Honorable mention: Soul Salvage was an all-star card advantage engine in Dominaria limited and will still keep doing its job in M20, especially if the format will be slow and grindy as it seems to be at first glance. Unholy Indenture has a beautiful art and basically gives Undying ability to the best creature you have on the battlefield which can be quite problematic for your opponent especially if coped with powerful ETB effects
Red has 2 powerful removal in Reduce to Ashes and Chandra Outrage with the first being probably better because is easier to splash and deals 1 point of damage more which can be crucial for instance against beefy green creatures. Chandra Novice Pyromancer shines in RG elemental archetype and all of its loyalty abilities are really strong while Flame Sweep reset the board in the early game and his natural habitat is UR flyers deck (which seems to be another powerful archetype)
Honorable mention: Infuriate and Uncaged Fury are high impact combat trick which are hard to deal with, providing potential lethal damage through an unblocked creature or taking down an opposing bigger threat. Fry is another great sideboard removal spell
Rabid Bite is another all-star removal in a color which usually doesn’t have that many so if you are drafting green or you’re building a green based deck this is a mandatory inclusion. Feral Invocation is a nice combat trick that also buffs the stats of the enchanted creature until your opponent will find a disenchant effect in his deck (if he has any…). Green uncommon cards are almost all very strong like the white ones. Barkhide Troll is the most aggressive 2 drop of the set; Loaming Shaman gives you the chance to draw again your best spells; Overgrowth Elemental is a key card for RG elemental archetype and Woodland Champiom followed by Raise the Alarm will put enormous pressure on your opponent as early as turn 3
Honorable mention: Silverback Shaman and Thicket Crasher has both very good stats and abilities compared to their mana cost, the first one replacing itself with a fresh card when it dies and the second one being a “must have” for RG elemental decks. An early Season of Growth will gives you tons of value by filtering your draws in a GW go-wide deck while Overcome and Might of Masses will swing the race in your favour and will shine in the same archetype
Colorless, Multicolor and Lands
Marauder Axe is a good playable as well all the common dual lands that balance the downside of entering the battlefield tapped increasing your health of 1 point and helping you play 3 colors decks with ease. Luckily also Evolving Wilds has also been reprinted being probably the best tool to fix your mana leaning also a land from your deck. Meteor Golem will always be in my sealed deck if I’m lucky enough to crack open it. Watch out Manifold Key to break stalled boards!
Gold uncommon cards are all really strong and define the archetypes of their color combination, the best one being probably Corpse Knight (Orzhov life-matter), Creeping Trailblazer (RG elemental), Ironroot Warlord (WG go-wide) and Empyrean Eagle (UW flyers). To not be underestimated are also Risen Reef and Tomebound Lich
M20 limited looks very interesting at first glance, with at least 4 clear archetypes well detected and supported. My first impression is that is a slow and grindy format so that choosing to be on the draw can be an advantage. There’s plenty of removal and you must be prepared to play the long game. To fix your mana will not be a problem regardless of the color combination you choose and this is always a key factor for the health of Limited, granting you the chance to build multi-color powerful decks. The average power of the cards is far higher than M19 core set and more synergistic as well. I definitely can’t wait to crack my packs and start building some decks!