Omniscience Draft with Core Set 2020 on MTG Arena

Connor Bryant
August 30, 2019

As we wait out the last few weeks before Throne of Eldraine, MTG Arena will offer Core Set 2020 Omniscience draft! 

The rules for the format are:

  • All cards have a casting cost of zero.
  • Your deck must have a minimum of 40 cards.
  • Your starting hand is 3 cards instead of 7.
  • Each turn you get one mana of each color. This is only needed for activated abilities.

In Omniscience draft, games can spiral out of control quickly if a player can chain together draw spells or they can take a few turns if each player's opening 3 cards only had derpy creatures or bad combat tricks and neither player is doing much. You want to set your deck up to spiral out of control as fast as possible, which means avoiding the clunky cards as much as you can. Keeping bad cards out of your deck gets a lot harder when you don't need to play lands and have to use 40 of your 45 drafted cards, leaving you with only 5 cuts total in the draft. This may not seem like a big deal but when you have to play awful combat spells or a Disenchant, you'll feel the strain. Always assume the card your taking is going in your deck and try to have all of your cards do something impactful.


Everyone loves the words "draw a card." Don't get me wrong, but in Omniscience draft, those words should be in all caps on the cards. My favorite "DRAW A CARD" targets are a pure draw spell like Winged Words, or a recurring trigger like Risen Reef. Reef especially can get out of control if you have a high enough density of Elementals, which isn't too hard to do when you have access to Elementals across all 5 colors. Spectral Sailor is drawing you a card on your turn and your opponent's, which will probably look a game up in short order. Even when comboing off and trying to kill in 1 turn, Spectral Sailor still cantrips. You can't go wrong with the spooky pirate.  


There are plenty of serviceable cantrips and draw spells outside of the absurd ones. Cloudkin Seer synergizes well with all of the elemental payoffs and is just fine in its own right. Bone to Ash becomes a powerful answerto the absurdity of a lot of the mythic rare creatures and honorary mythic Scholar of the Ages.


Bladebrand is a pesky deathtouch trick that requires a target to cantrip but you can usually get enough value from the combat trick to be okay with the occasional fail rate. Befuddle is similar to Bladebrand and wins some combats the black instant can't. The two are pretty interchangeable. Angelic Gift draws a card while granting flying, which can be useful if your opponent has lots of big dummies in play. 

Battalion Foot Soldier doesn't technically say "draw a card" but it is pretty close. One Foot Soldier in play turns into all of your Foot Soldiers in play immediately and thins your deck, which is huge if we are trying to chain through or deck. I would take Foot Soldiers whenever I get the chance if there isn't a certified bomb or one of the busted draw spells in the pack. I can't wait to put 12 into play on turn 1!  You can even use Loaming Shaman to shuffle Foot Soldiers back into your deck and keep the party going! Now that's what I call value. 


So while we are chaining through our deck, what should we be trying to do. The two options are find an infinite combo or play some 6/6's and run em over. 6/6's are generally pretty intuitive so lets focus on the combos. Queen of combos herself is Scholar for the Ages, allowing for absurd recursion. Unsummon or Blood for Bones on Scholar of the Ages lets you infinitely recur another spell like a lethal Shock or any old cantrip to draw your deck. If you combine Pulse of Murasa and Bone Splinters with Scholar, you get to wipe your opponent's board and gain a ton of life.  


Our other combo piece is Yarok's Wavecrasher, but we need two Wavecrashers to make any infinite Shenanigans happen. Pattern Matcher can hopefully help bring the second Wavecrasher along. Wavecrasher is similar to the Guardian of Koilos from Dominaria and we have a lot of options for the third piece to capitalize on the infinite enter-the-battlefield triggers available. Corpse Knight can drain your opponent to death or Sage's Row Denizen can mill them out. Risen Reef alongside the combo will draw your deck and find a lethal piece. Season of Growth makes for a convincing Vampiric Tutor impression as you scry through your deck. Prioritize getting Wavecrasher over the payoffs and I would take as many as I can get. It is a reasonable value card on its own when paired with an etb trigger and its "drawback" doesn't ever hurt you in this game mode. Wavecrasher 4 MVP


If you have drafted a lot of M20, you probably know most of the set and which cards are good or bad. In Omniscience draft, this can be great because you are usually 40 of your 45 selections and you will be experienced at wading through the chaff. The sword cuts in both directions; format knowledge can be harmful when you dismiss cards that are abhorrent in normal draft but become all stars in Omniscience Draft. 


Thought Distortion goes from irrelevant 6 drop that shows up too late to the party to a debilitating turn 1 play that can nuke your opponent's hand of any draw action and leave them stranded. Being on the draw in this format may not be so fun. 


Shared Summons is absurd in the format and can allow you to chain through your deck with Scholar for the Ages and Yarok's Wavecrasher, and then return the Scholar and the Summons and grab your second Wavecrasher and Risen Reef or Corpse Knight to end the game on the spot. Shared Summons is a 1 card Exodia if you build your deck right; that is a bit of a power spike from normal draft.


Mana sinks like Ironroot Warlord and Ogre Siegebreaker obviously improve a lot when you get a free 5 mana on each turn. Ironroot Warlord is pretty close to Verdant Force, which is just absurd in an uncommon. Ogre Siegebreaker can make combat really difficult and kind of makes all of your creatures into deathtouchers. Both cards are excellent 1 card plans, which matters a lot in a format where you only start with 3 cards and you almost never mulligan. Don't sleep on these ones. 


Omniscience draft is one of my favorite formats because it is so different than normal Magic; it is nice to take a ride on the wild side. There is a lot of degeneracy afoot in Core Set 2020, so try to do the most broken things you can and hope you're going first or else you might not get a turn! If you're sick of getting combo'd, as least there is Rule of Law in the format. Good luck out there and loop lots of Scholar of the Ages and Yarok's Wavecrashers for me!