PAX Prime and Battle for Zendikar

Eldrazi cop carFrom the start of PAX Prime 2015 the convention goers knew it had been taken over by Magic the Gathering. Erupting out of the entrance of the convention centre is the arm of an Eldrazi crushing the front end of a police car. Unfortunately I was not in Seattle for PAX Prime. Luckily for those who were similarly unable to get to the convention the magic panels and shows were streamed live and uploaded to the official Magic the Gathering youtube channel.

Not only did the Magic the Gathering World Championships take place, but there were panels about getting jobs at Wizards of the Coast, deck building for beginners, being a Vorthos player and all the flavour in MtG, complete with previews of the awesome things to come in Battle for Zendikar and live versions of the drive to work podcast and the 300th limited resource podcast.

While the panels were full of helpful information and the podcasts were fun to watch live, the star of the weekend had to be the Zendikar Preview show presented by Ashly Burch and Will Wheaton. Attendees at PAX had the opportunity to pilot Battle for Zendikar pre-constructed decks against similarly pre-constructed Eldrazi themed decks piloted by celebrities and personalities from the world of magic. The more games the attendees won, the more cards from Battle for Zendikar were shown at the preview show.

Ulamog, the Ceaseless HungerThe most exciting spoiled cards are probably a new Ulamog, a 10/10 indestructible Eldrazi for ten colourless mana. When you cast Ulamog, you get to exile two target permanents. This means that even if it is countered, you still get to exile two permanents. That’s not all. When Ulamog attacks, it exiles the top 20 cards of the defending player’s library. This means that even if your opponent chump blocks Ulamog or prevents the damage in some way they still have to exile the top 20 cards of their library. In a 60 card format that is a third of your opponent’s library in exile and in a 100 card eternal format, that’s a tenth of their library.

The Eldrazi will have a similar mechanic running through them called Ingest, which reads “Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, that player exiles the top card of his or her library.” Hopefully this will mix up the Meta of MtG. As exciting as seeing mirror matches in professional magic is, having three of the top four decks from this weekend’s Magic World Championship and the fourth being a white devotion deck, I am hoping for something to change things to introduce powerful red or blue spells from Battle for Zendikar.

Gideon, Ally of ZendikarOther exciting spoilers include the new Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Gideon is a planeswalker and in this iteration he becomes a Soldier Ally, makes Soldier Ally tokens and makes emblems that buff all creatures. We already knew that Allies were being reprinted in Battle for Zendikar, however this gives us a glimpse at the lore of what has happened to Gideon since gaining his spark in Magic Origins. He is now on Zendikar uniting soldiers and fighting the Eldrazi. Reading the flavour text of the spoiled cards also lets us know what has happened to some of the main characters that were seen in original Zendikar.

For example on the card Defiant Blood lord, we see that Drana the blood chief of the most wealthy vampire clan is standing up in an effort to put a stop to the Eldrazi’s unstoppable appetite. Meanwhile on the Eldrazi Devastator, Kalitas the head of another very wealthy vampire family has become a thrall of Ulamog and given up all hope of fighting against the Eldrazi.

Prairie StreamLastly on the list of cards spoiled at the Battle for Zendikar preview show were a few of the lands. Earlier in the week we found out that full art lands would be returning in the new set, however we now have got to see the artwork on those lands. Other lands include a cycle of allied coloured non-basic lands that enter the battlefield tapped, unless their controller has two or more lands already in play as well as having basic land sub types that let you fetch them up with the non-basic cards from Khans block. A unique promotion will be included in every booster pack of Battle for Zendikar called Zendikar Expeditions consisting of 25 full frame premium foil non-basic lands. Those that were spoiled at the show are Hallowed Fountain, Steam Vents and Arid Mesa. While these are included in Battle for Zendikar booster, they have a special expansion symbols so they will only be legal in formats that they are already legal in. So while the ten shock lands and the five allied fetches will not be legal in standard when Zendikar is released, the new cycle of rare lands will be legal. All these Zendikar Expeditions will have the same rarity in booster as foil mythic rare cards. 25 of these lands will be in Battle for Zendikar and 20 new premium full art non-basic lands will be included in the same fashion in the small expansion to be released in January of 2016 along with the long awaited art book.

Hallowed Fountain

 

Until the next batch of spoiler cards

–Jared

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