Friday, 4 September 2009

First thoughts on Zendikar

By Jim Marlow

Hey everyone,

I hope everyone in ok in Leeds, no doubt planning how best to defeat Rob Catton's merfolk deck. Seriously this week im hoping for 60%+ RDW....

Anyway, mtgsalvation has now got 51 cards spoiled, and even though a fair few of those are land, there are still enough cards worth commenting about, which certainly says something about the set. It seems that wizards of the coast are doing exactly what was expected, and making sure that Zendikar will be able to fit it's tiny little toes into the big empty shoes of Lorwyn block.

First of all, surely the reprint of Cancel is a joke right?? If cancel is seriously in Zendikar then my only thoughts are that Wotc are actually taking the piss, and this will only become funny if they reprint it in the next 2 or 3 sets, at which point it will still only be mildy funny.

Anyway, here's a few cards i'v picked out from Zen which i think are interesting.

1) Day of Judgement - Yes, its wrath; no, regeneration will not matter after this comes out; no, i dont care about shelling out for a new set of wraths; yes, this is awesome, and it will be great to have a 4 mana reset in the pretty sure this card has been talked about enough.

2) Mindbreak Trap - I think possibly the most exciting of the trap cards spoiled so far - its just a shame that it wont be as useful in post rotation extended because there will be no tendrils and minds desire. Nevertheless, if swath storm becomes big it will be awesome, and certainly has some relevency in legacy and vintage.

3) Vampire Lacerator - 2/2's for 1 have always been pretty damn nuts, and this is no exception. A largely irrelevant drawback for this little chap, he will no doubt be seeing a load of play in future standard. He might as well read 'lose 3 life' because if you play this guy and dont have your opponant to less than 10 life 3 turns later - you're doing it wrong!

4) Warren Instigator - Finally Evan Irwin's incessant hyperbole is actually deserved, this guy is the nuts. the printing of this is no doubt timed with the rotation of all the onslaught block goblins, but this guy is going to be nutty, like really nutty.

5) Lavaball trap - why are'nt you Wildfire....

Well thats all for now, it's only 5 cards, but considering the number of cards spoiled, i cant remember being so excited about a set.

I was really unsure whether wizards would print an absolutely cracker of a block to keep standard sick for another couple years or they would print a stinker to keep the power creep haters happy, at least i may play standard come october now....Happy Birthday to me i guess.

See you all soon,

Untill then,


As always, feel free to comment on this article, or anything related or unrelated to magic whatsoever. If you would like to contribute to the TLM blog, please email any pictures, ideas or articles to


  1. I know my top 5 cards but 4 of them haven't been named yet :)

  2. Elemental appeal is enough to make me 90% sure of playing RDW when standard rotates.

  3. Lol, burrrn. My top 5 (excluding the fetch lands) are Mindbreak trap, Bloodghast, Warren Instigator, Vampire Lacerator and lastly, as my wildcard, eternity vessel. Also, doesn't the green planeswalker (Nissa Revane) just seem so bad?

    Ben S

  4. Anonymous said...
    Elemental appeal is enough to make me 90% sure of playing RDW when standard rotates.

    Wagz said...
    I'd stay anonymous too :p

    Either you wrote both of these posts Rob, or this is simply the funniest thing i have ever read.

    also, yeah, fetchlands are ok i guess.

  5. Nissa is fine, it's two +1 abilities are good, a 2/3 practically indestructible Elf Warrior or great life gain. It's ultimate isn't great, but it's a good card nonetheless, it'll definetly see play.

  6. Now that all the good Elf cards are rotating into standard. I dunno. Making a 2/3 is good, but drawing an Elvish Warrior is not as good so it depends on the trade-off of value really. I think she's okay but I'm not sure what deck she'd go into. Not even that good in limited, well, maybe in trips Zendikar. I dunno. Middling Thumbs for Nissa from me.

  7. Yeah i really hate Nissa, i hate the fact she relies on the existance of other cards in the deck. Would have been much better if the elves were 3/4's for 2GG or something.

    Also yeah, im mostly annoyed because she is so poor in limited.

    Obviously it largely depends on the quality and quantity of the elves printed in the next fdew sets, but at the moment shes not hugely playable.

  8. Taking the subject away from Nissa for the moment, and back to Jim's point on Cancel. It's a perfectly good counterspell in Limited. Yes it's shite in Standard, which is saying something because Standrad is a Shitasterpiece at the moment, but it sees play in Limited so it will stay. Forever. And ever. Amen.

  9. So a +1 to search out a 2/3 elf from your deck is gd? From a planeswalker I want something more than a 4 mana Elvish warrior + healing salve. It kind of reminds me of cards like llanowar sentinel... which was never played anyway. The problem with it is that it requires you to devote more slots to make your planeswalker only marginally good, so rather than 4 Garruk, you're left with 4 Nissa and 4 of the 2/3 that you really don't want to draw.

    Regarding the cancel arguement, I'm not sure why they keep doing this. Counterspells are good in limited, but cancel is not very good anyway, the UU is pretty hard to get and 3 mana is not exactly easy to leave up in the early game. There is a very good reason people pick essence scatter 2nd and this 11th. Maybe wizards don't want to create counter decks where they just counter up the curve and end with a spire golem that just beats for 20 with counter backup. But even so, there are no heavily played counterspells in std that are at a reasonable cost (cryptic is the exception, but if that was just dismiss I doubt it would see nearly as much play). Just a good counterspell for counstructed would be nice, even mana leak would be welcome.

    Ben S

  10. yeah i was expecting mana leak or rune snag to be reprinted, shame.

    Maybe its just a wizards knee jerk to cryptic command, or else there is some decent control magic yet to be spoiled.

  11. blue spells, no, wizards said no more fun for blue children, no more cheap denial, nope nope! Cease complaining and gerrover yourselves, make plays around d lack of denial.

  12. As editors of this site we could just 'counter' any unwanted comments :D