Waiting for Zendikar

By this time, I thought we would be flooded by theories concerning the much-anticipated return to Zendikar, but I guess it’s too early for that. All I found was fragmented pieces that I decided to filter, list, complement and comment here.

What to expect?

MaRo always says that WotC works hard to meet players’ expectations. We don’t get bird creatures or green dragons without flying because people expect them to fly. What people remembered of Ravnica? Most answers would bring up guilds and shocklands, and they were there when we returned to the plane. What people remember first about the Zendikar block? A very few of you would disagree that fetchlands and Eldrazi would be the most common answers, followed by “lands matters, tribal, equipment subtheme” and so on.

I’ll try to comment each of them, but first I would like to remind you that originally BFZ wasn’t supposed to be a two-set block, so there may be anomalies in its execution that would be impossible to foresee right now.


We know, from a previous Uncharted Realms focused on Nissa, that at least Ulamog, one of the three titans, is still on Zendikar (the other ones may have left, as hinted by Doug Beyer when catching up with Gideon). The promotional art reveals him facing Gideon, so it’s safe to consider Ulamog to be the major antagonist of the block. We know that legendary creatures can change. Avacyn and Ob Nixilis being two recent examples of new designs to known characters. There’s not much to say, but Mark Rosewater already said it would be possible to reproduce their flavour without annihilator, which is a 7 on the storm scale (see below this answer from Blogatog). I would say, then, that a new Ulamog may be on its way and his new mechanic may relate to turning target lands into colorless-mana-producing lands (as we see in the end of the video teaser).

What we can’t expect is for him “to get a planeswalker card”, as some YouTube channels have speculated. Eldrazi already can travel from one plane to another, since they’re from the blind eternities (the “spaces between the planes”), and they just don’t need a spark to do that. 

Keep reading

For those who hadn’t seen the recent Reddit thread (or aren’t completely aware of the Zendikar block storyline), here’s some pretty cool MTG flavor:

Let’s take a look at the flavor text on Dawnglare Invoker:

“What we knew as Emeria, Ula, and Cosi were not divine beings at all, but a cruel trick, and a grave error.”
—The Invokers’ Tales 

The inhabitants of Zendikar thought that Emeria, Ula, and Cosi were divine beings and worshipped them as such. In reality, they were actually the destructive Emrakul, Ulamog, and Kozilek, who eventually arose to wreak havoc on the plane.

The Voidborne Eldrazi Part 3

Welcome to the third and final part of my article on the Eldrazi (oh look, links to Part 1 and Part 2.) I started talking about the smaller, colored Eldrazi Spawn that hatched after being released from the hedrons on Zendikar. The second installment started looking at the bigger, colorless Eldrazi that emerged from the hedrons after the Eye of Ugin was opened. Today I will be looking at the rare and mythic rare Eldrazi cards. These are the big guns in a race of big guns. These would be the things of nightmares if you brain could even conceive their forms. Spun from the Blind Eternities between planes, you can’t even begin to fathom their existence.

It That Betrays: While the Eldrazi are busy laying waste to Zendikar, some of them are busy raising the dead as minions. We already saw Artisan of Kozilek bringing a single creature back from the dead, but It That Betrays takes on a whole new level of reanimation. It takes any permanent your opponents sacrifice, not just creatures. It also takes them even if they weren’t sacrificed to an annihilator trigger. Geth’s Verdict? You still get that creature.

Spawnsire of Ulamog: We saw a lot of the little Spawn hatchers in Part 1, but this is the daddy of them all. The first ability pumps out our little mana dork Spawn tokens, flooding the battlefield with extra mana and chump blockers. The second ability, however, is far more interesting. In tournament formats it’s limited to the Eldrazi in your sideboard, but when you’re just playing on the kitchen table feel free to empty your binder.

Eldrazi Temple: The hedrons are a large part of the Eldrazi’s power. While many are used as weapons or sources of magic, here they have arranged themselves into a structure. I imagine it’s massive, since it’s a structure for Eldrazi. What its purpose is is unknown. I’m not even sure how we know it’s a temple. The Eldrazi have no observable culture, or even consciousness, so it is a mystery (like so much about the nature of these beasties).

Eldrazi Conscription: With the Eldrazi ravaging Zendikar, many people are out of work. Good news, everyone! The extraplanar monstrosities are hiring! Apparently the Eldrazi have the ability to convert any being into a mana-devouring creature of their own race. Turning your 1/1 into an 11/11 trampley annihilator is pretty fun, and only costs a measly eight mana. It’s also fun enchanting a big colorless Eldrazi with this, making it able to take out a player in one attack.

Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre: Ulamog is one of the three Eldrazi titans, the progenitors of the entire race. The herald of plague, the consort of darkness and depression, and the sire of destruction, Ulamog is the most Black of the three titans. Its lineage consists of tentacle beasts, faceless heads, and multi-jointed arms. Being indestructible is awesome, as it makes Ulamog almost impossible to destroy once it hits the board. And, as most people have figured out, destroying permanents is pretty good too.

Kozilek, Butcher of Truth: As its name suggests, Kozilek doesn’t like reality as it is. Confusion, panic, and lies are the tools of this Eldrazi. Its lineage is marked by multiple eyes along joints, insectoid body designs, and structures of a black stone jutting out from wherever. Kozilek is the commander of my first Commander deck (that still exists in all its colorless glory) because I like drawing cards. It also ends games pretty fast, so that’s a good trait for a commander to have.

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn: Speaking of ending games, Emrakul is probably the most famous of the three for being tied for the largest creature in Magic. And giving you an extra turn. And having the most annihilator at six. And being almost unkillable. Emrakul is the begin of the void, distance, and crushing isolation. Its physical features include a spongy latticework along its underside, tentacles that end in hands, and the ability to warp gravity to float around. I’ve never seen a player enjoy being on the receiving end of an Emrakul attack, so thank Heliod that it’s been banned in Commander. I was tired of being the target of Bribery every game.

All Is Dust: And of course, the final solution of the Eldrazi is to raze an entire plane. This is the mass removal spell to end all mass removal spells. Very few players use a plethora of colorless permanents, so you will usually be wiping out the entire board. It’s an important catch-up card for my colorless Eldrazi deck (casual constructed one, not my Commander one) as I can usually drop it turn three or four. This resets the game and lets me drop huge Eldrazi while everyone else is trying to recover.

The Eldrazi are terrifying. Annihilator is a scary ability, and there is a vocal minority that really, really hates it. It’s a tension mechanic, adding a lot of drama to a game. Like infect, annihilator aims to make the Eldrazi feel like unstoppable plane eaters, and it certainly succeeds. I very much enjoy the Eldrazi, as they are pretty unique in the world of Magic. Their return is likely, as is a return to Zendikar, so it would be logical for those two events to coincide. Until then, planeswalkers, beware what lurks beneath unturned stones.