Magic 2013 Core Set to Launch July 13th [Exclusive Card Preview]

It's that time of year again. Magic: The Gathering is about to receive its annual core set upgrade, with Magic 2013 comprising a 294-card mix of new and reprinted content.

Core sets are released each year to tweak the basic strategy of Magic. Some cards return, others do not, and this new mix serves as a base for the year's three-set expansion block. In October, that new block will roll out with the first set Return to Ravnica, bringing back themes from the Ravnica setting last seen in 2005-2006.

Since Standard-format Magic tournaments mandate use of the most recent sets only, it's tempting to read into the tea leaves of early spoiler cards and try to guess what strategies will rule the Pro Tour scene. I would resist that urge with today's card, "Worldfire," which is the best example of a "nuclear option" for any Magic player with their back against the wall.

It's not an easy card to pay for, but it's as close as you can come to flipping the table. Playing "Worldfire" will definitely turn heads, as it wipes the slate clean and thrusts players into a sudden-death scenario.

If you can't wait until mid-July to get your eyes on new Magic 2013, you may want to check out Duel of the Planeswalkers 2013, WotC's annual digital incarnation of the CCG. The game launches on June 20th, and will give players a chance to use the new set before the physical cards are released. There are a host of improvements in this year's edition, including manual mana tapping, iPad support, and a new multiplayer Planechase mode.