Most Controversial Rares and Mythics in Core Set 2020

16 Jul 2019

Core Set 2020 limited season is in full swing. The community has celebrated by compiling thousands of grades into the Core Set 2020 Community Review. You (yes, you!) can add your grades at the link - and see how your grades compare to the community at large. If you look at the cards in the review, you'll see that the limited playing community doesn't always grade these cards the same way.


To illustrate let's look at one of the least controversially awesome cards in the set:


Chandra, Awakened Inferno is a great card. Chandra is guaranteed to resolve and she will either be setting your opponent, their board or just the single most dangerous thing on the battlefield on fire. The question is whether Chandra is a mere "A" bomb, or if she deserves that vaunted "A+" grade instead. This minor quibble should leave no doubt in your mind, the community has declared Chandra, Awakened Inferno as one of the premier limited cards in the set.


But just how would you quantify how much the community agrees or disagrees on a card? One method would be to take the average difference between two random grades in the review. By this metric - the controversy metric - Chandra is indeed uncontroversially amazing.


And according to this metric there are some cards the community just can't agree about at all. Last time we looked at the most controversial commons and uncommons in Core Set 2020. Today, we are going look at the 8 most controversial rares and mythics - as voted on by you, the limited playing community. For each card I'll start by summarizing the controversy, looking at the average community grade and then offering my take... 


...which, given these cards, is guaranteed to be controversial.


8. Field of the Dead

The controversy: Field of the Dead has been floating around standard in part thanks to this card:

In standard at least, Field of the Dead can make a whole heap of zombies in one shot. In limited, however, the community is more skeptical. While some players think you may find enough common dual lands to power Field of the Dead the plurality of players think it's an unplayable "F", and the average reflects that.


Community grade: D


What I think: This card does nothing in limited. Well, that's harsh. It does enable color screw.


My grade: F


7. Lotus Field


The controversy: Lotus Field feels like it's begging to be broken in some older format, but Core Set 2020 draft feels shenanigan free enough that Lotus Field is simply going to fix mana.


The downside of this fixing is that you can't play Lotus Field on the first few turns and then it enters tapped. If you open a hand that has Lotus Field and one other land, you need to be really sure you'll get there on land 3.


The community grades were fairly evenly spread, and the average ended up being, well, average. The controversy here is probably muted by the fact that the opportunity cost of putting a Lotus Field in your deck is pretty low.


Community grade: C


What I think: Try as I might, I just couldn't think of anything powerful to do with Lotus Field in limited. Here's the closest I got to "getting there":

Although I'm generally not too harsh on lands with minor upside, I don't like being unable to play Lotus Field in land light hands or the downside of losing mana on turn 3. Unlike Lotus Field, most come into play tapped lands can slip onto the battlefield turn 1 or 2 if you need them to.


It just feels like too much hassle for not enough reward.


My grade: D-


6. Vilis, Broker of Blood


The controversy: Expensive but powerful spells are a mainstay on the most controversial list. In c


Vilis should be beating opponents quickly if it ever resolves, but only if you can afford the steep 8 mana price. Overall the community thinks the format is going to be slow enough to allow Vilis to shine.


The community think Vilis is a sign you should pursue a black heavy deck that can keep the game going long. As such they've given Vilis a "B" grade.


Community grade: B


What I think: My early experience with Core Set 2020 is that you can actually stall out the game to 8 mana reliably enough to make Vilis intriguing. There's also are ways to cheat Vilis out early:

Even if you aren't cheating him out I still think Vilis's stats and ability more than make up for his casting cost in the slower, value driven Core Set 2020 limited format. I'd still rather have a cheaper powerful card, but I do think Vilis is above average.


Keep in mind that Vilis's draw ability is mandatory, so you can and will deck yourself with him if you aren't careful.


My grade: C+


5. Brought Back


The controversy: If you can get full value off of Brought Back in limited, you should be well on your way to winning. Your opponent (presumably) used up cards to get rid of your stuff, and in return you get a cheap two for one — and potentially re-abusing enter the battlefield abilities. And given its cheap mana cost, that might not be the only thing you do on your turn.


That's potentially explosive, but the controversy stems from just how much needs to go right in order right to get Brought Back to work. Unless you can engineer the right situation Brought Back is going to play like a combat trick that doesn't actually help your creature win combat.


Despite the set up cost involved the community is fairly bullish on Brought Back and thinks it will be an above average card.


Community grade: C+


What I think: I am not optimistic about this card. I respect the upside and will be looking for opportunities to board this in. Two types of matchups come to mind. First, if the matchup looks to be about trading creatures I'll be happy to hold up a Brought Back. Second, I'll be looking to side in Brought Back if I'm the creature deck taking on a control deck that is relying heavily on taking out key threats with a well timed Murder or a sweeper. In that latter case, however, I'd probably rather just have a God's Willing.


However, despite being a role player in those matchups I just can't justify Brought Back being either an early pick or a regular feature in my draft decks.


My grade: D


4. Flood of Tears


The controversy: Flood of Tears is allowing our standard playing brethren to drop big bad ten mana permanents on the field:

For limited players the ways to break Flood are a little fewer and farther between (although this is yet another way to cheat a certain 8 mana demon into play).


If you aren't abusing it to cheat something huge into play you instead get a way to clear a board full of creatures and potentially have first shot at rebuilding, which given blue's stall effects might just let you swing the game.

That said, the failure case is underwhelming, since some board stalls just aren't going to go away even after resolving a Flood and forcing everyone to recast their permanents. And if you are behind, spending six mana and a card to act delay the inevitable is a sure way to lose.


Because of these liabilities Flood of Tears has received a handful of low grades from the community. However, the majority of players like what they see and have given Flood of Tears a high grade —  a good early pick and a strong draw toward blue.


Community grade: B-


What I think: I'm just not sold on Flood of Tears. It feels like it's going to end up too often on the "do nothing" side of things, and that's just not something I can get behind on a six mana sorcery. That said I've heard nothing but praise for Flood of Tears little uncommon brother:

So I'm going to save my early picks for Captivating Gyre, while I likely leave any Flood of Tears I pick up in my sideboard.


My grade: D


3. Leyline of Combustion


The controversy: While the plurality of players think Leyline of Combustion is not going to be playable — there is a minority that sees enough use to land Leyline on the most controversial list.


Leyline of Combustion's ability is probably most useful in an aggressive deck punishing a removal heavy control deck, and the fact that it might start doing that as early as turn 1 for zero mana is a nice bonus. However, unless you are really pressuring your opponent's life total Leyline's of Combustion's ability is going to be little more than an annoyance.


Given that controversy, and a plurality of the community giving Leyline a straight "F", the average grade is pretty low.


Community grade: D+


What I think: Leyline does a half-hearted job of protecting your creatures and punishing opponents. I want more hustle from my four mana do-nothing enchantments. I'm not going to be playing this.


My grade: F


2. Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord


The controversy: Sorin is in an odd spot. He's a 4 loyalty planeswalker than can immediately up his loyalty to 5 but only costs 3 mana. That's a great deal. However without vampires all but his first ability is a blank. With that in mind, the common vampires in Core Set 2020 aren't exactly great:

Despite his limitations the community thinks that Sorin is going to do work and be a first pickable card.

Community grade: B-


What I think: There aren't a lot of vampires in M20, 3 commons, 2 uncommons and one rare. While Sorin isn't useless without vampires, his lifelink/deathtouch ability just isn't worth the card. The good news is, since all the common vampires are pretty mediocre if you do happen to get one you aren't going to be sad to turn it into a removal spell with Sorin.


If you do get a critical mass of vampires, maybe you could speculate on a pack 3 Sorin. Even then he seems pretty marginal.


My grade: D+


1. Leyline of Anticipation


The controversy: The ability to play creatures at instant speed is a powerful one. It makes combat almost harder for your opponents, as they may need to fear instant speed blockers eating their creatures.


The controversy is that Leyline of Anticipation does nothing else, and in most cases will set you back 4 mana. The community is divided if this is worth the cost. While a plurality of the community said this was a straight "F" enough players thought it would be good enough to drag the average grade to a 23rd card level "D+".


Community grade: D+


What I think: I just can't see myself wanting Leyline's ability enough to pay 4 mana and be down a whole card. As of right now I'm going to go with the most popular community response and say Leyline of Anticipation is an "F".


My grade: F

Those are the 8 most controversial cards in Core Set 2020. What cards am I wrong about? Where is the community misjudging the cards? Do you have a better read on the environment? Let us know: rate the cards yourself.


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