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Set symbol
Zendikar symbol.png
Design team
Mark Rosewater (lead),
Doug Beyer,
Graeme Hopkins,
Kenneth Nagle,
Matt Place
Development team
Henry Stern (lead),
Aaron Forsythe,
Mark Globus,
Erik Lauer,
Devin Low,
Matt Place,
Mike Turian,
Steve Warner
Art Director
Jeremy Jarvis
Release date
October 2, 2009
Themes and mechanics
Quests, Traps
Keywords and/or ability words
Landfall, Kicker
Set size
249 (101 Common 60 Uncommon 53 Rare 15 Mythic 20 Lands)
Expansion code
Development codename
Zendikar block sets
Zendikar Worldwake Rise of the Eldrazi
Magic: The Gathering chronology
Masters Edition III Zendikar Garruk vs. Liliana

Zendikar is the fiftieth Magic expansion and was released in October 2009 as the first set in the Zendikar block. [1] Prerelease events were held September 26-27, 2009. [2] Release events were held October 2-4, 2009. Zendikar Game Day was held October 31, 2009.

Set details[edit | edit source]

Zendikar contains 249 cards (101 Common, 60 Uncommon, 53 Rare, 15 Mythic, 20 Basic Lands), including randomly inserted premium versions of all cards in the set. The expansion symbol of the set is a closed hedron.

Zendikar is the "land set"; it is centered around lands and players' interaction with lands. [3] [4] Besides Landfall and enemy fetch lands, the set features special full art basic lands similar to those that appeared in Unglued and Unhinged. The lands have a regular name box but the mana symbol of the text box and the type line are conflated into one at the bottom of the card. The box is the normal height of the type-box but dents outwards for the mana symbol in the middle. To the left of the symbol are the words "Basic Land" while on the right is the type of the land and the expansion symbol. These special lands appear in booster packs and fat packs. Intro packs on the other hand have normal styled lands as they have appeared in the majority of large expansions. These have the same collector numbers, but with an added letter "a". There are four individual arts for each land and both sets of lands feature the same artwork. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] Full art basic lands function the same way as any other basic lands, since each land with a basic land type intrinsically has the mana ability associated with that type. The set features new planeswalkers, including Nissa Revane, who was previously featured in Duels of the Planeswalkers. [10]

Flavor[edit | edit source]

Deadly Perils, Priceless Treasures.

Zendikar is based on the plane of the same name which had not been featured previously in Magic, but had been alluded to within the planeswalker novel of The Purifying Fire. It is a plane of adventure, many treasures, and potent mana supplies, but mana on this plane works differently than in the rest of the multiverse. [11] [12] [13] The plane is littered with large, floating polyhedron-shaped stones called Hedrons, prominently featured in the artwork. Little is known of these Hedrons as not even the people native to the plane know about their purpose. The floating stones however are also an indicator of the fact that gravity is different on Zendikar than on other planes. [14] [15]

Zendikar is populated by Goblins, Elves and Vampires among others. Zendikar is also the home plane of the Kor and as such they are predominately featured as the race for white in the set. It is revealed that their appearance on Rath and other planes is due to abductions from Zendikar.[14]

"Priceless Treasures"[edit | edit source]

Main article: Priceless Treasures

As a promotion to further the theme of the set, Wizards randomly inserted Vintage legal cards into Zendikar boosters replacing the Basic land slot. These cards are not reprints but from the old printrun and therefore do not violate the Reserved List as they were already existing copies of the cards. Inserted were among others Power Nine-members, Dual lands and other cards with high monetary value on the secondary market, including some that are not on the reserved list, e.g. Sol Ring. Inserted cards are mostly from Beta, Unlimited, Antiquities some of them are signed. However, despite appearing in the boosters, the cards are not legal in limited play, nor did they become legal in Standard or Extended.

Marketing[edit | edit source]

Zendikar 6-card booster

Zendikar was sold in 16-card booster packs, 6-card boosters, 5 intro packs [16] and a fat pack [17]. It was the first large exansion to be sold without tournament packs. The regular boosters featured art from Ob Nixilis, the Fallen, Vampire Lacerator, Nissa Revane, Chandra Ablaze and Sorin Markov. [18] The 6-card booster featured Nissa Revane. The Zendikar block was accompanied by only one novel: Zendikar: In the Teeth of Akoum, written by Robert B. Wintermute.

Prerelease events were held September 26-27, 2009. Release events were held October 2-4, 2009. Zendikar Game Day was held October 31, 2009. The promotional cards given to participants at the prerelease are Rampaging Baloths, highlighting landfall, with alternate artwork and the Celestine Reef plane card for use with the Planechase (2009) set. [19] The promotional card for the release party was Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, which rewards you for playing multiple mountains. The promotional cards given to Game Day Event participants was a full-art Nissa's Chosen, winners received a foil full-art Emeria Angel. [20] The Buy-a-Box card was Day of Judgment.

Regular boosters of Zendikar come with a bonus sixteenth card that is either a "tips & tricks card" or a creature token from Zendikar. One face of the Zendikar bonus card has one of five different rules tips or is one of eleven different creature tokens. The other face has one of 13 advertisements for organized play programs, Worldwake, Duels of the Planeswalkers for Xbox Live, Magic Online, fat packs, A Planeswalker's Guide to Alara and Ultra Pro products for Magic.

Tips & Tricks[edit | edit source]

The tips & tricks cards are

Tokens[edit | edit source]

The Zendikar tokens in numerical order are: [21]

Mechanics[edit | edit source]

The ability word Landfall signals triggered abilities upon lands entering the battlefield under a players control. [23] [24] The set also prints a cycle of enemy pair Fetch lands which support the set in color fixing and give additional landfall triggers.

The set features three new Planeswalkers in Sorin Markov, Chandra Ablaze and Nissa Revane and a new subtype for Instant called "Trap". Trap cards have alternate costs if specific events happen, like an opponent putting two creatures onto the battlefield in the same turn. [25] There are also cards representing small Quests. These are enchantments that gain Quest counters in specific events. After building up counters on them they yield rewards.

The keyword Kicker returns. [26] It also features the new keyword Intimidate which functions like and replaces fear as it makes a creature with intimidate unblockable except for artifact creatures and creatures that share a color with the intimidating creature.

Another new mechanic is centered around the new creature type Ally. [27] [28] [29] A group of creatures with that type have abilities that trigger upon them or another Ally entering play and are either dependent on or beneficial to Allies in play the same player controls.

Bloodied is a vampires theme in the set, where the creature will be boosted if the opponent is at 10 life or below, thematically generating the concept of a hunter encouraged by wounded prey.

Cycles[edit | edit source]

Zendikar has 13 cycles:

Reprinted cards[edit | edit source]

The following cards have been reprinted from previous sets and included in Zendikar:

Functional reprints[edit | edit source]

Zendikar has 5 functional reprints:

Colorshifted[edit | edit source]

Notable cards[edit | edit source]

  • Iona, Shield of Emeria was played as both lock and finisher mostly in Legacy, but also in Standard and Modern.
  • Vampire Hexmage was half of the powerful Extended combo (the other half being Dark Depths), also played in Standard vampires decks.
  • Bloodghast is another vampire that saw widespread tournament play due to easy recursion from the graveyard, e.g. to fuel Dread Return.
  • Halo Hunter is a demon that kills angels, but was widely panned by the magic community for the fact of it being a demon, and thus being unable to handle Baneslayer Angel, a card which haunted the Standard tournament scene at the time.
  • Lorthos, the Tidemaker is a legendary Octopus which takes the theme as far as it gets, with converted casting cost and power/toughness all being 8, and an ability which costs another Mana8.gif to tap eight permanents. There are actually eight instances of eight on this card. [31]
  • Spreading Seas appears to be a very inconspicuous card, but saw widespread tournament play due to its ability to significantly limit the color capabilities of multicolored decks which emerged from the previous Alara block, and later was able to deal with non-basic lands from Zendikar block such as Manlands that followed in Worldwake or cards such as Eye of Ugin.
  • Warren Instigator is closely related to the powerful Goblin Lackey, a card that was once banned in Extended. However, while Warren Instigator is able to put two Goblins into play on the same turn, the larger costs proved him to be slower and thus less dangerous.
  • Goblin Guide's potential as a turn-one play made him a popular choice in red aggro decks despite the advantage he provided to an opponent.
  • The cycle of enemy fetch lands see significant play in all formats.

Intro packs[edit | edit source]

The intro packs are: [32] [33]

Intro pack name
Colors included
Foil rare
White Blue Black Red Green
Kor Armory Armament Master
Rise of the Vampires Malakir Bloodwitch
Unstable Terrain Sphinx of Jwar Isle
Pumped Up Hellkite Charger
The Adventurers Turntimber Ranger

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wizards of the Coast. (March 25, 2009.) "Announcing Zendikar", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Tim Willoughby. (September 21, 2009.) "Zendikar Prerelease Primer", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater. (September 07, 2009.) "Achieving Zendikar, Part I", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater. (September 14, 2009.) "Achieving Zendikar, Part II", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Wizards of the Coast. (August 10, 2009.) "Zendikar Plains", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Magic Arcana. (August 11, 2009.) "Zendikar Islands", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Magic Arcana. (August 12, 2009.) "Zendikar Swamps", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Magic Arcana. (August 13, 2009.) "Zendikar Mountains", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Magic Arcana. (August 14, 2009.) "Zendikar Forests (and Wallpaper of the Week!)", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Doug Beyer. (September 07, 2009.) "Zendikar, the Lethal Landscape", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Zendikar
  12. A Planeswalker's Guide to Zendikar
  13. Zendikar Mini-site. (September, 2009.) "Explore Zendikar", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  14. 14.0 14.1 At the Gathering- In the Near Future, Jeff Phillips,, August 28th, 2009
  15. Jeremy Jarvis. (September 14, 2009.) "The Look of Zendikar", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Magic Arcana. (August 19, 2009.) "Zendikar Intro Packs", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Magic Arcana. (August 26, 2009.) "Zendikar Fat Pack", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Magic Arcana. (August 17, 2009.) "Zendikar Booster Packs", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Magic Arcana. (September 16, 2009.) "Zendikar Prerelease Promos", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Magic Arcana. (October 26, 2009.) "Zendikar Game Day Promos", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Magic Arcana. (September 23, 2009.) "Zendikar Tokens", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  22. Magic Arcana. (January 20, 2010.) "Summoning an Illusion", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  23. Tom LaPille. (September 25, 2009.) "Making Landfall, Part I", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  24. Tom LaPille. (October 09, 2009.) "Making Landfall, Part II", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  25. Tom LaPille. (September 11, 2009.) "You Just Fell For The Trap", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  26. Mark Rosewater. (September 21, 2009.) "Achieving Zendikar, Part III", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  27. Mark Rosewater. (November 02, 2009.) "True Allies", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  28. Matt Place. (October 05, 2009.) "Multiclassing in Magic R&D", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  29. Tom LaPille. (November 06, 2009.) "Know Your Allies", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  30. Tom LaPille. (September 18, 2009.) "This Land Is Your Land", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  31. Mark Rosewater. (October 12, 2009.) "Zendikar Talk", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  32. Magic Arcana. (August 19, 2009.) "Zendikar Intro Packs", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  33. Magic Arcana. (September 30, 2009.) "Zendikar Intro Pack Contents", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.

External links[edit | edit source]

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