Zendikar Rising is our third visit to the plane of Zendikar, and as with the other two visits, it features lush forests, vicious vampires, and all the land-based mechanics you can shake a stick at! We’re still a couple of weeks away, but this article will serve as a compilation for all the information and spoilers we have so far, including background information, descriptions of the mechanics, and a compilation of our site’s Zendikar content so far!
- Release Date: September 17th (on Magic Arena), September 25th (physical release)
- Expansion Code: ZNR
- Set Size: 280
- Mechanics: Landfall, Kicker, Party, Modal Double-Faced Lands
- Premier and Traditional Drafts and Sealed should be available immediately, from the 17th.
- Quick Draft (the bot mode) should be available around two weeks later.
- All cards will be legal in every Constructed format immediately.
Themes and Mechanics
Check out the article above for an in-depth look at each planeswalker! We have three this time round, with Zendikar being Nahiri and Nissa’s home plane, and Jace as a visitor.
Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, do x. If multiple lands enter on the same turn, you get to do x that many times!
A returning mechanic that defined Zendikar in our previous two trips, Landfall appears on permanents and causes them to have some sort of effect whenever you play a land. This has been one of the most popular mechanics because it mitigates the effects of flood, a necessary evil in Magic that all of us have succumbed to at some point or another, in a clean way – even your basic land draws become useful in the late game with Landfall. It’s a bit less useful without the busted fetchlands of old, but increases the stock of cards like Fabled Passage dramatically.
Kicker – You may pay an alternate cost when you cast a spell with kicker. If you do, that spell is considered “kicked” and when it resolves, it will have an additional effect.
Another returning mechanic and another popular one! Many cards in Magic are only good in the early game, such as most 2-drops. Kicker is a way to give them longevity and extra options, because the hope is the normal casting mode is good by itself but having access to the kicker ability makes a massive difference in terms of versatility and flood prevention. Often you’ll be perfectly happy to play Sea Gate Stormcaller just to copy one spell, but sometimes you’ll have the extra lands lying around and the kicker will win you the game!
Party rewards you for having at least one creature of each of the following types in play: Cleric, Rogue, Warrior, and Wizard. Creatures of multiple of these types still only count as one.
Party is a flavourful and cool new mechanic which inspires a very tabletop role-playing game feel, which isn’t too surprising when there’s an upcoming set entirely themed around Dungeons and Dragons! We’ve seen this mechanic pay off in a bunch of different ways already – cards like Tazri and Zagras, Thief of Heartbeats have scaling cost reduction for each member of your party, Ardent Electromancer provides more mana for each other type you have, but always provides at least one, and Linvala rewards you for having a full party while contributing herself. The scaling effects are going to be better with Party, since it’s quite hard to get a full one while your opponents are disrupting you, but cards like Linvala will likely be good by themselves, as she certainly is!
Double-faced Modal Lands
Double-faced Modal Lands have the front side as a spell and the back side as a land, and you can choose to play either half. These cards have some weird rules quirks – they count as the spell whn not in play so they have the spell half’s converted mana cost and can be discarded with cards like Thought Erasure, unlike other lands!
If you and your opponent are reach running a high land count but your lands do other things while theirs don’t, you’re unlikely to flood out and favoured in any longer game; these lands are a fantastic way to break the symmetry and prevent flood (notice how that’s a theme so far?). Their power is in their versatility – while the spell halves aren’t that efficient, and you wouldn’t play them if they weren’t also lands, having them as extra lands means you’ll get mana screwed less while having a reasonably powerful way to use your mana late.
A card like Emeria, Shattered Skyclave hides its incredible power and value as a result. Expect to see it crop up in White decks across multiple formats because it’s so free to include – any deck that doesn’t mind taking 3 damage occasionally will be happy to have the option, and any deck that doesn’t mind taplands won’t mind having the option; together that’s most decks! While Castle Ardenvale and colourless lands compete with it and may outshine it, Emeria has a fantastic niche, even stopping sweepers in their tracks.
For more info, check out the official developer descriptions of each mechanic.
Check out Episode 1: In the Heart of the Skyclave.
MTG Arena Zone Content
This list will be added to as more of our content is released!
- Limited Set Reviews by Drifter and Compulsion: TBA (will begin around a week before Arena release). Check out the M21 versions here!
- Constructed Set Reviews: TBA (will begin around a week before Arena release). Check out the M21 versions here!
- Theorycrafts and Brews: TBA. Check out the Amonkhet version here!
- Spoiler Analysis series by AfterOfficeTtv: Part One. Part Two: TBA
- Debut Stream Commentary
Spoilers and Card List
Spoilers are still being released for the next couple of weeks, and we’re updating this page as we go! Check out the Zendikar Rising Card Gallery too.
Pre-order: Nahiri Play Bundle
- Zendikar Rising Set Mastery Pass
- 3 Player Draft Token
- 1 Sealed Token
- 1 Card of Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients
- 1 Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients Card Style
When purchased, you will immediately receive the Stoneblades sleeve.
Pre-order: Jace Pack Bundle
When purchased, you will immediately receive the Mind Mage sleeve.
They both cost $49.99 USD and are available until September 17, 2020 when the set is released.
When you purchase both, you also get a bonus Rock pet (also now available in the Store for 3000 Gems or 20000 Gold).