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June 25, 2019

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Daily Dose of Core Set 2020 #7 – The Impact of Leylines on Standard

Welcome all to the Daily Dose of Core Set 2020, where today it’s all about those pesky free enchantments, Leylines. That’s right, they are back and ready to be drawn in your opening hand. If some of you are unfamiliar with Leyline enchantments, each one of them have the following line of text on them:

“If Leyline of [your choice] is in your opening hand, you may begin the game with it on the battlefield.”

That is just nuts! Being able to cast a free spell before the game even starts can be a huge advantage. You must be asking yourself, why wouldn’t you just play four of each of these cards to start the game? As you will see, sometimes the abilities they give aren’t relevant in each game situation. The second is that some of them have abilities that don’t stack, i.e. aren’t good in multiples. Another thing to note is that because of their casting cost, if you draw them from your library, they could be stuck in your hand for a few turns. Let’s have a look at the five Leylines showing up in Core Set 2020.

Leyline of Sanctity – This amazing reprint is sure to have an impact in Standard. The immediate thought process is to use it against Mono-Red decks, and you would be right. This Leyline shuts down an amazing 20 cards in the deck from dealing damage to you. With the Mono-Red deck having 0 ways to remove this card from the battlefield, it seems like the end of Mono-Red with this card in the format. Don’t worry, this Leyline isn’t limited to just being played against Mono-Red. Are you sick of getting cards removed from your hand by Esper Control? You can stop Thought Erasure cold thanks to Leyline of Sanctity. Be aware that there are plenty of decks out there, where this card will be a blank, so I wouldn’t be putting this into any Standard main decks anytime soon. Keep this one ready in the sideboard for those pesky matchups.

Leyline of Anticipation – Another Leyline reprint which causes all your opponents to cower in the corner in fear of all your flash spells taking over the game. Flash on spells is very powerful, is it powerful enough to have in your deck for a color that mostly plays with instants anyways? Probably not. For decks like Esper Control, you already have Teferi, Time Raveler to help you get your flash spells out there and overall is a much better card. If this card were to see any play it would be in some sort of creature build deck that doesn’t currently exist in the format. I just think flash on creatures would have the highest impact of making this card relevant.

Leyline of the Void – Modern players have been waiting for this card to be reprinted for almost a decade, but the big question is whether it will have an impact on the Standard format. There are certainly some decks it will have more of an impact on. Izzet Phoenix decks will become no more with Crackling Drake and Arclight Phoenix becoming almost null and void cards. Against Sultai creature decks it will shut down the card Find // Finality. It doesn’t shut down Nexus of Fate itself, but does stop them from transforming Search for Azcanta and bringing back cards from their graveyard with Tamiyo, Collector of Tales. There are certain decks that will be unaffected like Mono-Red (outside of Ghitu Lavarunner remaining a 1/2) and Esper Control.

Leyline of Combustion – This is a great enchantment for Mono-Red decks to have against heavy removal decks. It might even translate to other decks as well. There are plenty of spells and abilities in almost any deck that target your or a permanent you control. Heck, if you are playing against Mono-Red itself, there are 22 cards that will end up dealing themselves 2 damage if they decide to cast them. That punishes more than half of their non-land cards. Are you worried about getting in that extra damage against Esper Control? Leyline of Combustion punishes 22 cards from that deck when they are used against you. Even the Simic Manipulation deck has 7 spells to be punished. Like every Leyline, it does have some decks where it won’t shine. Simic Nexus only has 2-3 spells to punish. The Bant Explore deck has 0-2 spells to trigger Leyline of Combustion. Having this available though out of the sideboard, will punish a lot of decks and later in the game could make them have dead cards in their hand when their life total is low enough.

Leyline of Abundance – This is the only Leyline to have an activated ability on it which is amazing for the games that go long. This is the one Leyline that is most suited to be played in your main deck and involves you building your deck around this card. There are currently 10 creatures in Standard that add mana to your mana pool, so there is no shortage of cards to build around for this Leyline to be good. It’s great that it stacks in multiples as well, so if you have four of them on the battlefield and tap a Llanowar Elves for mana, you will get a massive five green mana in return. The current deck in Standard that seems like it would benefit the most from it is the Simic Manipulation deck which already plays 12 creatures that tap for mana in the deck. Since the goal of the deck is to build up a ton of mana for cards like Mass Manipulation and Hydroid Krasis, Leyline of Abundance could be great fit for this deck.

Free spells can absolutely break a format, but these 5 free spells are well balanced, and it will be interesting to see their place in Standard in the coming months. Thanks again for reading the Daily Dose of Core Set 2020. Join me again tomorrow as I hit the mid-point of the week and have more fun cards to preview from the new set.