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Commander Review: Zendikar Rising | Part 3 | Green, Multicolor, Colorless, Lands


Zendikar Rising is on the horizon so it's time again for my Commander Review! We covered White and Blue in Part 1, Red and Black in Part 2, and now we're finishing the rest of the set with Part 3! Which cards am I most interested in for our beloved format, and where will they likely find homes? I break it all down so let's get started!

Modal Double-Faced Cards

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Before we begin, I want to briefly cover my thoughts on the new modal double-faced cards in the set. These are cards that you choose which mode you want to play, the front usually being a spell and the back always being a land. So for all these cards they can always be played as a land OR as something else.

The cards are fairly difficult to evaluate at first glance. There's been many, many discussions on how good they are and whether they should count as a land or nonland slot when adding them into your deck. I could write an entire article solely on evaluating modal lands as a concept, but for now here are just some general tips when evaluating them so I don't have to repeat myself a thousand times during this review:

  • The flexibility of modal lands adds a lot of base power to the cards and are important to consider when evaluating.
  • If you are happy playing the card more often as a land, then take out a land for it. If you are happy with playing the card more often as a spell, then take out a spell for it. 
  • Modal lands are never "free" slots. Even the lands that enter untapped, like Emeria's Call, have a cost for running, either not mana-fixing in multicolor decks or simply lacking synergies a Plains card offers when paired with cards that care about basic land types like Emeria, the Sky Ruin, Emeria Shepherd, Extraplanar Lens, etc. Saying "there's no drawback running them" is an oversimplification.

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Modal lands are going to work best in decks that can really take advantage of their modal nature. Decks that can play them as lands and later bounce them back to hand to recast as spells, like Mina and Denn, Wildborn, are gonna have a great time with them. They're also great in decks that can cheat the overcosted cmc that the spell sides are packing, like Narset, Enlightened Master and Golos, Tireless Pilgrim.

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So yeah, modal lands are good in general, terrific in certain decks, but even the best of them have drawbacks. It's a cool design space that I'm excited to playtest.

GREEN

Ancient Greenwarden

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Alright, so we take Crucible of Worlds, add a Panharmonicon effect for lands, and slap it on to a 5/7 Elemental creature with reach, for 6 mana? Uhhh yeah this seems very very good!

Ancient Greenwarden is a new staple for pretty much all Lands decks out there, combining two incredibly desirable effects for the archetype into a single card. What Land deck doesn't want to play and crack a Wooded Foothills from the graveyard to get a land and four landfall triggers, making four elementals with Omnath, Locus of Rage, drawing four cards off Tatyova, Benthic Druid, or doing all the things off Omnath, Locus of Creation? It's just absurd value!

All Lands decks -- Lord Windgrace, Omnath, Locus of Creation, Tatyova, Benthic Druid, and many more -- should start finding a spot for this new staple.

Ashaya, Soul of the Wild

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Ashaya, Soul of the Wild is a busted card. Even played fair, turning all your creatures into mana dorks that tap for G and getting a big beater is a good rate for five mana. But the synergies here get crazy fast: any board wipe that destroys all nonland permanents, like Hour of Revelation, no longer hit your own creatures, and cards that increase the amount of mana your lands tap for, like Nissa, Who Shakes the World grant you ludicrous amounts of mana.

Then there are the infinite combos: Argothian Elder, Ley Weaver, and Krosan Restorer (if you have threshold) all combo with Ashaya, activating them to untap themselves and other lands for infinite mana. From there you can win however you'd like, from Mesmeric Orb mill, Ley Weaver fetching Lore Weaver to draw your entire deck, or dump the mana into a game-winning X spell like Finale of Devastation.

So yeah, Ashaya is a very good card. It works great as a Combo Commander or jammed into the 99 of a bunch of Green decks.

Bala Ged Recovery

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Bala Ged Recovery is one of the strongest modal lands in the set. The Regrowth side is highly desirable for any deck and paying one extra is totally worth it. It's one of the easiest modal lands to include in just about any Green deck, it's exceptional in Lands decks as a way to boost your land count while reducing the risk of flood, and it's one of the best cards in Land decks that can bounce lands back to hand like Mina and Denn, Wildborn.

Inscription of Abundance

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Inscription of Abundance is the only Inscription I really like outside of budget brews. It's a good fit in +1/+1 Counter decks, especially ones that build up a huge threat like Mowu, Loyal Companion and Skullbriar, the Walking Grave. Having two reasonably priced modes that I like, plus being instant speed, makes this Inscription a solid inclusion.

Iridescent Hornbeetle

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Lots of people are glossing over this card at the moment but Iridescent Hornbeetle is a solid token generator for +1/+1 counter decks. It's easy to load up on counters and Hornbeetle translates that into a whole bunch of tokens. At the very least it's a great budget inclusion in just about any +1/+1 Counter deck and especially good in Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest, as it produces tons of tokens which Mazirek then loads up with counters.

Khalni Ambush

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And here we have yet another excellent modal land: Khalni Ambush, which is basically modal Pounce. While it does need you to have a creature that is beefier than the victim, this type of instant speed removal is certainly desirable in Green. I like this card a bunch in creature-heavy Green decks that don't have access to colors with better targeted creature removal, so basically not White / Black. Everywhere else though, this is nice flexible removal or land.

Murasa Sproutling

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While Murasa Sproutling is a far cry from Eternal Witness, it's still a good Kicker card and thus a solid inclusion in any Kicker deck like Verazol, the Split Current or Hallar, the Firefletcher.

Oran-Rief Ooze

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Oran-Rief Ooze is like a baby Kalonian Hydra. It has a much lower power ceiling and I think is a bit weaker overall, but it's still an incredible +1/+1 counter engine that should see play in a bunch of decks like Skullbriar, the Walking Grave and Ezuri, Claw of Progress.

Roiling Regrowth

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Harrow is back but different. The upside of Roiling Regrowth is that sacrificing a land now happens when the spell resolves instead of part of its cost so you don't get blown out by a Counterspell. The downside is that the lands now enter the battlefield tapped so you don't get to use them immediately and Roiling Regrowth is worse to copy than Harrow, since Reverberate'ing Harrow nets you 2 extra lands while copying Roiling Regrowth only nets you 1 extra land.

That said, both are excellent ways to generate two landfall triggers in Lands decks (Omnath, Locus of Creation). Harrow will still be superior in Fork decks like Kalamax, the Stormsire, however.

Scale the Heights

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Is a +1/+1 counter and gaining 2 life paying 1 extra mana for Explore? Not really, no. But this is acceptable budget filler in a +1/+1 Counter deck like Rishkar, Peema Renegade.

Scute Swarm

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I haven't played with Scute Swarm yet but my initial reaction is, "this was a mistake." The card itself is very good: it's trivial to get to 6+ lands in Green and start triggering Scute Swarm like crazy, and since it grows exponentially the numbers become essentially infinite very quick. Once you have 6+ lands you just need 4 landfall triggers to get to 246 copies, and then a 5th landfall trigger takes you to 65,536, and the numbers become comically large from there.

But that's not why I think this card was a mistake. The reason why it's a mistake is because of how abysmal the online clients are at handling huge numbers of tokens and triggers. both on Magic Arena and Magic Online. I know from previous experience that once you start going over 100 tokens and have to deal with 100+ landfall triggers on the stack, both clients become a laggy mess ready to explode. You'd think with the push for making cards a good experience on Arena that Scute Swarm totally goes against that game plan.

It'll be fine in paper. It's easy to track the exponential growth of the tokens with a calculator and once you've reached a thousand of them it's safe to say that you win if you attack with them, or pair with other win conditions like Goblin Bombardment or Altar of the Brood. But online, big yikes, friends.

Tajuru Paragon

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In Party Tribal Tajuru Paragon is one of the best "changelings" in the deck, worse than the best changelings like Universal Automaton and Mirror Entity but better than most thanks to its card advantage kicker ability. This makes it a solid inclusion in Tazri, Beacon of Unity.

Tangled Florahedron

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I can see Tangled Florahedron played in Hatebears decks like Gaddock Teeg which run all the noncreature hate cards like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben so that normal staples like Rampant Growth aren't good options. It's also an Elemental so it might be good enough for Omnath, Locus of Rage.

Turntimber Symbiosis

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Turntimber Symbiosis is a solid modal land: early/midgame it's a meh land that enters untapped, later on you cash it in for a creature. You can hit pretty much any creature and get decent value from this spell but it gets much better if you pair it with topdeck manipulation like Sylvan Library, Cream of the Crop, and Worldly Tutor. The spell can also whiff, which really sucks for a 7cmc spells, but as long as your Green deck is creature-heavy that rarely will happen.

I'm pretty happy jamming Turntimber Symbiosis in pretty much any Mono Green or Green-heavy deck. It's usually a land and sometimes a creature depending on what you need and that's good enough for me.

Vastwood Fortification

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Vastwood Fortification might be good enough running in a Mono Green or 2C Green +1/+1 Counter deck like Skullbriar, the Walking Grave. Even in those decks it's still worse than Tranquil Thicket but I think it's worth trying.

Vastwood Surge

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Vastwood Surge is the latest in the line of Explosive Vegetation+ cards, joining Circuitous Route and Migration Path. Surge is the best of the bunch for Go Wide and +1/+1 Counter decks, working as a basic ramp card early/midgame but lategame being kicked to give your army some extra oomph. I still don't like it for generic Green decks, but for decks that can take advantage of everything this card offers, like Obuun, Mul Daya Ancestor, Surge is a solid inclusion.

Vine Gecko

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Vine Gecko is a fine inclusion in the Kicker deck: not great, but decent and thematic. Good enough for Verazol, the Split Current and Hallar, the Firefletcher.

MULTICOLOR

Akiri, Fearless Voyager

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YES

If you've been following my content, you might know that I really like the Equipment archetype, specifically built around the Kaldra cycle (Helm of Kaldra). I even did a video on it recently. I've loved my Mono White version under Sram, Senior Edificer, but I've always wanted to dip into Red so I can add Sunforger. So you can imagine how happy I was when Akiri, Fearless Voyager got revealed: this is the BEST Equipment commander ever printed and it's in the exact colors I wanted!

Relatively low cmc, a powerful efficient draw engine that can draw 1 card per opponent aka up to 3 card drawn per combat step, and strong efficient protection from removal makes Akiri the perfect Equipment commander. It's not an overpowered commander, but it's REALLY strong. And yes, I'm a big ol' hypocrite complaining about lazy commander designs being "do X easy thing to draw a card" but going gaga over this card, and while Akiri does have a whiff of that in her first ability, to my defense this is card draw in Boros which could certainly use more of it and her second ability is super unique and flavorful: Akiri is saving your creatures from a fatal fall (removal) by swinging out (unattaching) her hook rope thingies to catch you. That's really cool!

Akiri, Fearless Voyager is my favorite card from the entire set and it's not even close. Seriously the rest of the set could've been unplayable trash and I'd still be praising it because Akiri is in it. I may be known for Budget Commander, but I intend to empty my wallet to make a blinged Akiri Kaldra deck once I get my hands on a copy.

Cleric of Life's Bond

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One part Impassioned Orator only for Clerics and one part nerfed Ajani's Pridemate, Cleric of Life's Bond is a solid inclusion in any Cleric Tribal deck. It's not insane but it's a solid beater and lifegain engine which is good enough for me.

Grakmaw, Skyclave Ravager

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Grakmaw, Skyclave Ravager is a neat card that combines a Sacrifice theme with +1/+1 Counters, which isn't new territory but it does so with a small twist of providing a beefy token when it dies. It works best in the 99 of commanders that do this concept better, like Tayam, Luminous Enigma, Reyhan, Last of the Abzan, and Polukranos, Unchained, but it's also fine as a commander especially if you're looking to play this type of deck but want a lower power option.

Kaza, Roil Chaser

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Wizard Tribal always elicits groans at my table. The tribe is inherently very powerful and the commanders that lead them get out of control fast. It doesn't matter how "janky" you want your Inalla, Archmage Ritualist or Azami, Lady of Scrolls deck to be, once they get going it's just a snowball of value churning out whatever Wizards you feel like playing, locking out the table so nobody can have fun, and then winning however you feel like. It happens all the time.

Kaza, Roil Chaser seems like the latest attempt to give a lower power but still fun Wizard Tribal leader. She's not as powerful as Inalla or Azami -- she's basically a restrictive weaker version of Mizzix of the Izmagnus -- but she can do cool things and gives you access to the two primary Wizard colors. We've seen a toned down Izzet Wizard leader before with Adeliz, the Cinder Wind, which is still strong but aggressive, and Kaza seems about the same power level but more Spellslinger Control.

If you want to play a Wizard Spellslinger Control deck but need to tone it down for your playgroup, Kaza is a solid option. It can still be a very strong deck but it won't elicit close to as many groans as someone like Inalla would.

Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate

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Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate is a a beefier Selfless Spirit but has the bonus ability of detaining something once per turn if you have a full party, which she herself helps fill. Linvala is VERY good. The only thing working against Linvala that she's Blue: her sacrifice ability is best in Sacrifice decks that can easily loop her back, and most of the White Sacrifice decks (e.g. Karador, Ghost Chieftain) aren't in Blue, which limits her potential homes but not her power. There's always Sun Titan and Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle for recursion, and she's an excellent inclusion in Legendary Tribal deck like Niambi, Esteemed Speaker, Party Tribal under Tazri, Beacon of Unity, and solid anywhere else really.

Murasa Rootgrazer

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Murasa Rootgrazer is a cute lil' budget engine in Landfall decks! It's a Llanowar Scout that can ramp or trigger landfall at instant speed, plus you can return basic lands back to your hand to trigger landfall again. This is going to make the cut in all but the most expensive Selesnya Landfall decks, easily finding a home in Obuun, Mul Daya Ancestor and Omnath, Locus of Creation.

Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients

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Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients comes with three useful modes for the Equipment deck and Warrior Equipment deck, all which you can use the turn you cast her, and none of which immediately uses up all her loyalty counters. Her +1 is a token generator that saves you mana on equipment costs (Colossus Hammer) and the token being a Warrior is relevant for Warrior Tribal (Kor Blademaster). -2 is solid card selection digging six cards deep for a Warrior or Equipment card. Finally her -3 is conditional removal, not great but a welcome option for when it's needed.

None of Nahiri's abilities are amazing individually for 4cmc but the flexibility of having access to all of them immediately makes her really appealing in Equipment or Warrior Equipment decks. Her +1 is in my opinion her best ability, regularly saving you mana on equip costs while giving you bodies, and you can use the other two abilities as needed. Overall a very solid planeswalker for the archetypes.

Nissa of Shadowed Boughs

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Nissa of Shadowed Boughs is a tough planeswalker for me to evaluate. You can immediately use her -5 ability without killing her the turn you cast her just by playing and cracking a fetchland for two landfall triggers, basically a 4cmc Reanimate or hand ramp that continues to gain value each subsequent turn, which seems really good to me. Her +1 looks ways less appealing though as a mere 3/3 isn't that scary in Commander so you'll usually using the untapped land for mana like a bad Garruk Wildspeaker. I think that's fine though as her -5 is really good and the +1 feels more like a bonus in Commander.

The question is what deck would want to run her? Would Golgari Lands decks like The Gitrog Monster run enough creatures to justify running her? Would Graveyard decks like Meren of Clan Nel Toth want her as a reanimate engine? I'm not sure. I think she's good, just fitting her somewhere may be awkward.

Omnath, Locus of Creation

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First there was Mono Green Omnath, Locus of Mana. Then Omnath got angry, adding Red to become Omnath, Locus of Rage. Then Omnath chilled out with a relaxing bubble bath, splashing Blue to become Omnath, Locus of the Roil. Now Omnath has a nice summer vacation, getting tons of sunshine and adding White to become Omnath, Locus of Creation.

Omnath, Locus of Creation is a powerful new Landfall commander: generating insane mana is as easy as playing + cracking a fetchland, and one more landfall trigger is some serious damage that will make any Superfriends deck cry. Things get really fun when you add ways to blink Omnath (Deadeye Navigator), which not only draws you another card but resets its landfall count so you can gain more life, make more mana, and dish out more damage. It's really strong, and if there's infinite combos with the mana generation then it's even stronger than I give it credit for. Thankfully though it's not strong to the point that 4C Omnath eclipses older Landfall commanders on its own, something I really appreciate as I'm wary of power creep.

Aside from its own abilities, a significant part of Omnath, Locus of Creation strength and appeal is its ability to house four color's worth of Landfall goodies all under one roof: now your Tatyova, Benthic Druid can be in the same deck as your Knight of the Reliquary and Mina and Denn, Wildborn! With four colors' worth of Landfall goodies to work with, the hardest part to building an Omnath, Locus of Creation deck is figuring out what to cut. 

Orah, Skyclave Hierophant

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We've never had an official Cleric Tribal leader. The most popular options before were partners Ravos, Soultender & Tymna the Weaver, Athreos, God of Passage, and Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim, all supporting both Cleric themes of Lifegain and Sacrifice. While these worked great, they didn't support Cleric Tribal specifically, and people want specific commanders, so enter Orah, Skyclave Hierophant. Like the previous options, Orah supports the Sacrifice and Lifegain themes of Cleric Tribal, but focuses more on Sacrifice with a powerful reanimation trigger.

I think where Orah shines in comparison to other Cleric Tribal leader options is his combo potential: Orah + Phyrexian Altar + Doomed Necromancer + Lightning Greaves can get you infinite death triggers / ETBs / LTBs, win with Zulaport Cutthroat or similar. There's many many variants of these types of combos and I think Orah will end up being similar to Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle where they become a pile of interchangeable combo pieces.

Phylath, World Sculptor

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Have you ever wanted Avenger of Zendikar in your command zone? Well now you can, kinda: Phylath, World Sculptor is a nerfed legendary Avenger that adds Red, its ETB plant creation only counts basic lands, and its landfall trigger puts four +1/+1 counters on a single Plant. Despite these nerfs, it's still a very strong card, both as a commander and as part of the 99 of Landfall decks that are heavy on basics. It packs a wallop and you can grow your Plants into huge beaters, perhaps even leading a fun Plant Tribal deck. Phylath is especially good in budget Landfall lists as the basics are less of a restriction there.

Soaring Thought-Thief

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Soaring Thought-Thief is an easy staple in Rogue Tribal, providing a cheap evasive beater that gives your Rogues a bit more power and a powerful mill attack trigger. This is a slam dunk in Anowon, the Ruin Thief.

Spoils of Adventure

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You only need 1 party member for Spoils of Adventure to become equal to Jace's Ingenuity and once you have more than one it becomes real good. It's one of the better cards in Party Tribal aka Tazri, Beacon of Unity, and a solid budget choice in Tribal Tribal.

Tazri, Beacon of Unity

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Tazri, Beacon of Unity is our official Party Tribal commander and thankfully she's a strong one since the archetype itself is pretty shallow and mediocre which makes it difficult to translate into a 99-card singleton format. At best you're casting her for just 1 mana which is awesome and her activated ability is amazingly-costed repeatable card selection/advantage. Considering how much of Party Tribal relies on having a full party to function properly, this is the exact ability you want to see in a commander.

Party Tribal is a low power archetype at this point. Perhaps they'll revisit the archetype next year when we go to the D&D setting. But the good news is that Tazri, Beacon of Unity does a lot of heavy lifting for the archetype so at least she will help the deck run smoothly. She's also strong enough to be a strong inclusion in Tribal Tribal and I plan on testing her out in my personal deck!

Verazol, the Split Current

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Verazol, the Split Current is only the second Kicker commander we've gotten. The first is Hallar, the Firefletcher, a commander that I really like and always surprises people with how strong they are. Verazol is a welcome alternative however, letting us explore Kicker in Simic colors. Like Hallar, Verazol deals with +1/+1 counters and kicked spells, but instead of being cheap to cast and growing in power like Hallar, Verazol wants you to invest mana / counters into it first and then reap some big rewards by spending those counters to copy your kicked spells. I really like how both commanders are roughly similar power levels, with Hallar being more explosive and aggressive and Verazol being more durdly and value-oriented. 

Another great thing about Verazol is that the vast majority of kicker spells are ultra budget-friendly, as most of them are draft chaff that doesn't see high demand in constructed formats. That's not to say they're bad cards -- there's a lot of good ones at this point to fill your deck with -- but they're not the best at what they do so there's less demand. Which is great for Verazol players because this commander gives them the extra oomph to make these cards great and at a low budget!

Verazol is probably the commander that I'm most excited to build a budget brew around since I expect the key pieces to all be quite low and the deck itself to punch way above its weight class. You'll probably be seeing a Budget Commander on this one in the near future!

Yasharn, Implacable Earth

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Angel of Jubilation just got a glow up! Yasharn, Implacable Earth is the mightiest of Hateboars, denying Black's most powerful cards (e.g. Necropotence) and denying everyone the ability to crack fetchlands (Wooded Foothills requires you to pay life!) plus so much more! And as a bonus you're fetching some lands in the process! Yasharn seems like a powerful inclusion in basically any deck that isn't hosed by its effects, so any budgetish deck not running fetchlands but especially decks like Gaddock Teeg Hatebears or Captain Sisay which can tutor up this legendary as a silver bullet. Seems great to me!

Zagras, Thief of Heartbeats

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Zagras, Thief of Heartbeats is a solid card that should show up in at least two different decks. It's obviously an auto-include in Party Tribal as it can be cast for just 2 mana there and that deathtouch anthem is sweet. It also might make the cut in some versions of Edgar Markov Vampire Tribal as some of the better Vampires in the deck happen to be Clerics (Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose), Wizards (Bloodline Necromancer), Warriors (Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet), and Rogues (Nighthawk Scavenger), though admittedly there aren't many per category so I wouldn't expect more than 1 to be on the battlefield when you want to cast Zagras, Thief of Heartbeats.

Finally I'd consider Zagras in Tribal Tribal. It's not the strongest of the Party Tribal cards to cross over to Tribal Tribal, but that deathtouch anthem can be really sweet.

Zareth San, the Trickster

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Zareth San, the Trickster is one of the most powerful Rogues in the set. While it's not great as a Rogue Tribal commander since 1) it doesn't really support Rogue Tribal 2) its "roguejutsu" requires Zareth to be in your hand, not command zone, Zareth is still a great card in the 99 of Anowon, the Ruin Thief since his combat trigger is absolutely brutal, basically a more flexible Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni trigger. Now once Zareth is actually on the battlefield he'll need help to continue connecting and staying alive but just one trigger is all it takes to be worth it, the rest is gravy. 

COLORLESS

Forsaken Monument

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Forsaken Monument is an incredibly powerful but restrictive card. Nearly all of its power lies in its mana doubling ability for colorless mana, the other two abilities are bonuses. This makes it one of the best cards for any Colorless deck (my personal favorite is Kozilek, the Great Distortion), essentially doubling all your mana. It's harder to find other homes for it though, but Artifact decks like Daretti, Scrap Savant are heavily reliant on mana rocks that produce colorless mana so Monument is great there too. Devoid Eldrazi and Morph Tribal can take advantage of the bonus abilities but not the mana doubling so much so I don't think it's good there.

Forsaken Monument also enables some easy combos, like the classic Basalt Monolith for infinite mana and Grim Monolith for infinite tap/untap. Decks that already run Monument -- Colorless and Mono Artifacts -- already run these mana rocks so this is just another reason why Monument is so great in those decks.

Lithoform Engine

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Heyyyy it's our preview card! And it's a sweet one: Lithoform Engine is an amalgamation of Rings of Brighthearth, Strionic Resonator, and Mirari plus a brand new ability. It's not as good as those other cards at the one thing they do, but its power lies in the fact that Engine can do all those things at any given time. The beauty here is that decks that really like any one of its abilities will run it for that specific ability, but they'll also randomly get value out of its other abilities too. For example, Brago, King Eternal decks love Strionic Resonator so they'll run Lithoform Engine to also copy triggered abilities, but in the game they may also want to copy an activated ability like cracking a Flooded Strand for two lands, or copy Diluvian Primordial if they have four extra mana when they cast it.

Oh yeah and it can combo but it's a bit harder too. Like you can combo with it and Dramatic Reversal, maybe other stuff too, I dunno.

Lithoform Engine is a really, really good card. I think a lot of people are overvaluing it though and claiming it's a signal that powercreep has gone too far or whatever. I personally would only run it in decks that really care about a specific ability it provides. I wouldn't jam it into generic decks to get random value out of it; it's fine to do this and it'll generate value, but it wouldn't be great. And it's not better at the job of any of the cards that it mimics. It's really good but hardly broken. Feel free to call me a shill now.

Myriad Construct

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Myriad Construct is a super juicy token generator but there's a hoop you gotta jump through: you only get tokens if it gets targeted by a spell. This makes it a bit harder to find a home for but there's definitely a few out there like Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer and maybe Zada, Hedron Grinder. There's probably better homes for it so let me know. In the decks where it's good it's great since it's highly efficient at what it does and can get HUGE if you have the mana to dump into its kicker.

Relic Amulet

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Relic Amulet is kinda like mini Sphinx-Bone Wand, a card I used to love in Spellslinger and over the years stopped using due to power creep. Amulet is a weaker effect but way cheaper to drop down. Is that good enough? For budget Spellslinger / Wizard Tribal I think so, otherwise no.

Relic Vial

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Cleric Tribal gets a Zulaport Cutthroat in a bottle. This card is sweet, providing steady lifedrain and a good finisher for Cleric Tribal plus also coming with a decent sac outlet that draws cards. This is a staple in the tribe.

Skyclave Relic

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Darksteel Ingot finally got power crept on, oh what a day! Skyclave Relic is a decent enough mana rock. I don't think a 3cmc rock that taps for just 1 mana is a good rate, but if your meta loves Vandalblast and Bane of Progress then its value goes up. But it's the kicker option that makes Relic best 3cmc rocks that taps for 1 and something I'd consider running especially on a budget, though only after I've filled up on 2cmc options.

What really interests me though is the token aspect; is there any way we can abuse these indestructible tokens? I dunno why I'm fascinated with them but I just am.

LANDS

Base Camp

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Why does Base Camp enter tapped? It's already restrictive fixing like Ally Encampment. Were they worried that Party Tribal would be too strong in Limited or something?

Whatever the reason, Base Camp is only desirable as a budget or flavor inclusion in Party Tribal. It's not great but it's functional.

Throne of Makindi

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Throne of Makindi is a surprisingly good storage land for the Kicker archetype, giving you 2 mana when you remove a storage counter instead of the usual/bad rate of 1 mana (e.g. Crucible of the Spirit Dragon). The land comes into play untapped and tapping for colorless is fine since both Kicker commanders are only 2C (Verazol, the Split Current).

Pathway Lands

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The Pathway cycle is great in 2C decks for Commander. They only tap for one mana but they're certainly a step up from tapland alternatives like Evolving Wilds. I'm less interested in 3C+ decks though, where tapping for only one color at a time starts hurting with the deck's consistency.

That's All, Folks!

And so concludes my full review of Zendikar Rising! Now that you've heard all my takes on the new cards, let me hear yours: what cards are you most excited for? Where will you run them? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks for reading!



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