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Thirty Casual Decks under $20 for Magic: the Gathering Core Set 2020

For the past few sets, we've been publishing a bunch of cheap, casual deck lists after every set release. Today, we have the latest installment of the series, this time featuring decks from Core Set 2020. However, there's a bit of a twist this time.

Every year, the Standard format rotates when the fall set releases, at around the end of September, which means a year's worth of sets stop being legal for Standard play. This year, it will be Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan, Dominaria, and Core Set 2019 leaving the format. Since rotation is less than three months away, we're going to focus on three groups of decks today. First, we'll have rotation-proof Standard decks, which are decks that don't contain any cards from the four sets leaving Standard soon. These decks will be legal for more than a year, so you should have plenty of time to play, update, and tune them. Second, we'll have Core Set 2020–only decks, which feature only cards from Magic's newest set, with the idea being that if you open a booster box or two of Core Set 2020, you should have all of the cards you need to build any of these decks. Finally, we'll wrap up with some Standard decks, with a mixture of new decks and updated decks from past Thirty under $20 articles. In general, these decks will not be legal after rotation this fall, so before you rush out to buy cards (or spend wildcards on Magic Arena) on these decks, keep in mind that they will be a relatively short-term investment. 

We tried to minimize the number of rares that show up in decks to make them easier to acquire. For the Core Set 2020 decks specifically, none of the decks has more than one of each rare since those are the numbers you're likely to open if you crack a couple of boxes. These decks are appropriate for fun, casual play and for new players. If you're looking for higher-powered decks (more appropriate for FNM), we play budget decks every week on the Budget Magic series with a typical budget of $100. If you want to go all-out, you can check out fully powered decks used in tournaments and by pro players.

Rotation-Proof Standard Decks

Below are rotation-proof Standard decks, which means they only use cards from Guilds of Ravnica, Ravnica Allegiance, War of the Spark, and Core Set 2020 while leaving Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan, Dominaria, and Core Set 2019 on the sidelines because those sets will be leaving Standard soon. All of these decks will remain legal in Standard until the fall of 2020, so you should be able to have fun with them for more than a year!

Core Set 2020–Only Decks

Next, we have some decks made only with Core Set 2020 cards. If you're brand new to Magic, Core Set 2020 is the newest Magic set, and it's designed to be beginner-friendly, which makes it the perfect starting point for new players! While limiting the decks to just one set makes them less powerful than Standard decks, the upside is simple: you should (on average) get the cards you need to build all of these decks by cracking a couple of boxes of Core Set 2020. Again, these decks won't compete at the FNM level but will be great starting points if you're looking for a way to stretch the amount of fun you get from your booster boxes! They are also perfect for Magic Arena, especially if you are just starting out and don't have many cards in your collection since they don't require many rare (or any mythic) wildcards to build. One last thing before the decks: unlike the Standard decks, each rare only shows up as a one-of in the Core Set 2020 decks, no matter how good it might be in the deck. This is not only to keep the price down but because if you crack two boxes, you'll get about one of each rare, on average. If you happen to open multiple copies of one of the rares in the decks, don't be afraid to upgrade by sticking it in over one of the less powerful cards!

Standard Decks

Finally, we have Standard decks, which take advantage of all of the cards currently legal in Standard. While these decks are among the most powerful we'll talk about today since we have more cards at our disposal, they come with the downside that most will not be legal in Standard after rotation happens when the fall set is released the first week of October. While it might be possible to change some cards to keep the decks legal after rotation, some of these decks just won't have the right pieces to work after Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan, Dominaria, and Core Set 2019 leave Standard. Basically, these decks should be fun for the rest of the summer, but they shouldn't be counted on for the long-term because of rotation.


Anyway, that's all for today. A quick reminder on the way out the door: all of the decks we talked about today are designed to be for casual play, like having fun with a friend on your kitchen table, and aren't really designed for competitive play. If you're looking for more powerful (but still budget-friendly) decks that are perfect for Friday Night Magic, make sure to check out our Budget Magic series. If you are looking for competitive tournament-worthy decks, you can find them on the metagame page. Hopefully, these super-cheap decklists for Core Set 2020 Standard are helpful and fun! If you have any questions, make sure to let me know in the comments. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, feelings, and suggestions, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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