Magic: The Gathering's Sad Robot Makes A Triumphant Return For Core Set 2021

Take a look at the new version of Solemn Simulacrum for Core Set 2021 as Mark Heggen discusses what's changed with this year's release.


In the aftermath of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoth--where we saw reveals for Snapdex, Apex of the Hunt and the Auspicious Starrix cards--Wizards of the Coast is ready to reveal its latest set, Core Set 2021. The annual expansion features new and reprinted cards, and GameSpot got an early look at one of the reprints, which you can see below.

Whether you've been playing for decades or are just getting into MTG for the first time, Core Set 2021 is a good place to start, especially with the upcoming Planeswalker Decks. "They include a ready-to-play deck, a booster, and a code to unlock the whole deck in Magic: The Gathering Arena where you can learn how to play on your computer," explained Mark Heggen, product architect for Magic: The Gathering. "Core Set 2021 is built with all our players in mind--including those who have been playing for years"

Even though these Core Sets have become annual releases, there are still changes to keep players coming back. In addition to bringing back cards fans haven't seen in quite some time--like Grim Tutor, which made its only appearance in 1999--Heggen said that Core 2021 was developed with the mindset of keeping longtime players just as engaged with gameplay as those playing their first hand.

Solemn Simulacrum by Joseph Meehan. Variant by Donato Giancola (BELOW)
Solemn Simulacrum by Joseph Meehan. Variant by Donato Giancola (BELOW)

This year's edition features a few more Planeswalker cards than we're used to seeing in a Core. "The set has six different Planeswalker cards in the set," Heggen said. "We have fan-favorite characters from across Magic like Liliana, Garruk, Chandra, and of course Teferi, but we’re also introducing a brand new character named Basri Ket who has some new powers we haven't seen anywhere else before. Then to top it all off we brought in Ugin, our spirit dragon Planeswalker."

Speaking of Teferi, this MTG character has been featured in the past, but this year's Core Set focuses on the master of temporal magic from Dominaria. "We've never zoomed in and shown much about his life or adventures," Heggen said. "[Core 2021] really celebrates him as a person and gives our fans glimpses of his entire life; we meet his family, his friends, and we get to see aspects of his life that have been a mystery up until now. He's not just a guy who messes with time, he's a rich character with tons of history, so I love that we get a chance to share his story a bit."

And outside of the previously mentioned Grim Tutor, there are a few cards being reprinted we haven't seen in some time, like Solemn Simulacrum, which Heggen said was a personal favorite reprint of his. The card--which you can see above--has been featured in previous editions, like Core Set 2012, Commander 2015, Mirrodin, and a few others. "It's a pretty simple card--it searches you up a land on the way in and draws a card on the way out – but anyone who's played with it understands how much value those two abilities create. It's a super fun card to cast that keeps your resources flowing, and while it's a staple in the Commander format we haven't put it in Standard since Magic 2012, so I'm really excited to see a whole new generation of players get to play around with it."

MTG's Core Set 2021 launches on July 3, 2020. Like other previous releases, cards will be available for purchase through booster boxes, booster packs, Planeswalker Decks, and the digital version of the game Magic: Arena.

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 5 comments about this story