Battle For Zendikar Spoilers – Duel Deck

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So this is a thing. We always knew this was going to be a thing, but it’s finally here and fully spoiled so let’s get into what matters here. We have some relevant reprints, some relevant spoilers and a whole lot of questions raised about the coming set. Let’s dig in!

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One of the new cards in the duel deck seems like it will be a bulk rare. Historically, cards like this just don’t get there unless they do something else. Getting trample is an interesting twist, though, and this could impact Standard more than previous analogous cards like Eidolon of Countless Battles or Wayfaring Temple. What is relevant about this card is that it seems to indicate Eldrazi spawn will be making a return. This isn’t proof positive, but this does seem like a way to benefit from the tokens. There are Eldrazi spawn producers to pair with this creature in the duel deck, but will we see them in the set? It’s fun to speculate, but I don’t know how much money there is to be made in guessing correctly. Still, this card in Battle For Zendikar without Eldrazi spawn to support it would be strange.

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We were already aware of Oblivion Sower and its implications. Cheating this into play with See the Unwritten isn’t that great, and I think if we don’t see Eldrazi spoiled that are worth cheating into play, there is downside to See the Unwritten. If they plummet, I hope they get very cheap, because I like See the Unwritten as a long-term grower due to EDH play. Cards that help you cast stuff sooner have more upside if the Eldrazi all function like this one. A lack of annihilator is also noteworthy. This seems marginally better than the Eldrazi printed at uncommon last time.

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So much for the New World Order! Here we have a common with two keyword abilities and a trigger when it enters the battlefield (not when it’s cast, which makes us think Oblivion Sower could be unique or unusual in that ability). Devoid is an okay mechanic and if we’re able to have a whole set that lets us benefit from having a lot of colorless cards, it will be important but will still make the colors important. This will make the set easier to draft, for one. Ingest is less exciting—it’s a poor man’s annihilator and that’s the most charitable thing I can say about it. It takes 53 swings to ingest them out of the game and you only need to connect seven times to deal 21 damage. Could ingest get there? Maybe. But I’m not super excited.

[Edit—I realize I did a poor job of fleshing out exactly what I meant with the “ingest as a poor win condition” example. Obviously you’re not milling anyone out with ingest and how unexciting it is as a trigger compared with annihilator was the point. It’s likely that there will be cards that give you access to the cards you “ingest” but it’s hard to know how good that will be, yet. Sorry for the confusion.]

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More devoid shenanigans! This is going to be interesting in Limited, and there is a remote but non-zero chance that we will want to hastify a big Eldrazi in a Constructed format. I like the casting cost to power and toughness ratio here, but that rarely tells the entire tale. We’re seeing a few of the Limited-relevant mechanics in this Duel Deck, but I don’t imagine we’re seeing anything that will impact Standard a ton yet. I am hopeful for cards in the same vein as Oblivion Sower, however.

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That does it for new cards. How about reprints? This set is chock full of them and some of them are punishing.

Butcher of Malakir is a card that has upside based on its EDH potential, but with so many recent printings, I don’t hold out much hope for it getting pricey anytime soon. Can you blame Wizards? It’s a useful card.

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Forked Bolt, on the other hand, had a lot of upside and it was probably pretty expensive when they decided to reprint it. The card has since cooled off but this printing can keep it from ever surging above $5 again.

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The third printing of Primal Command spells a decline to a sub-$5 price point. Since its current high is almost certainly predicated on a spike due to its inclusion in a Woo brew, I imagine absent real demand, an increase in supply will shock this price into snapping back to a realistic one.

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Instead of Battle For Zendikar, they should call this set “Fall of the Eldrazi,” because irrespective of what happens in the story, the prices of reprints are doomed. This used to be a reasonable Eldrazi but its usefulness in EDH and popularity among casuals made it rise precipitously. Not anymore…

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This beauty is going to plunge, which seems sad. It never even really got a chance to go anywhere. Trading with a Restoration Angel is non-trivial, but compared to Celestial Colonnade and Creeping Tar Pit, this has always been a tier-two man land. Could this inclusion be an indicator that we’ll get enemy-color manlands in Battle for Zendikar? Hard to say, but I do know that this price will plummet and that’s too bad.

All in all, this is a pretty average duel deck. The reprint of Avenger of Zendikar almost doesn’t matter because it’s in a Commander precon already and it’s going to be very cheap soon. The value in this set is in Primal Command, It That Betrays, and Wildwood. I don’t expect these cards to maintain much value after this, but that’s what we have come to expect from Duel Deck reprintings.

What we can glean from this is that Eldrazi spawn could be coming back, colorless permanents with colored casting costs that trigger abilities on each other are coming, and Eldrazi can’t decide whether they want to trigger abilities when they enter the battlefield or when they’re cast.  Either way, this should be an exciting set, fetch lands or no.

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19 thoughts on “Battle For Zendikar Spoilers – Duel Deck”

  1. Dude you need to quit rushing these things out.

    If Veteran Warleader was really meant to work with spawn you wouldn’t need allies to tap to activate his ability.

    Ingest as a mill win condition? What? Clearly ingest is the setup and exiled-cards-matter is the larger theme which Oblivion Sower clearly demonstrates.

    1. There’s no reason to think just because Veteran Warleader works with allies that it needs to work with allies exclusively. If you remember allies from last time, you rarely got a ton of them out. It’s possible there will be an ally that makes tokens (which would be sick if it made one for each ally you had and didn’t cost a million mana) but I don’t think it’s unrealistic to think a creature that also scales with eldrazi spawn would be good.

  2. In the right deck, Ingest could either make the card awesome or make it less than favourable – it’s not a pure mill card, the card never hits the graveyard and is a hoser for Eldrazi Gods – we will have to see.

    1. Obviously you’re not milling them with ingest. The whole point of bringing up mill was to point out that ability clearly did something else and it’s not as exciting a trigger as annihilator was.

      1. But you haven’t called out the synergy with Oblivion Sower. It’s not going to be as splashy as Annihilation was, but it will probably see more play due to being more accessible.

    1. I meant like, trade blows with it. For some reason the phrase “trade with” popped into my head even though that means, you know, the opposite of what happens.

  3. When did this site go all under 18’s only.

    Rushing to show how great you are because you caught a trivial mistake and that suddenly makes you better than the author somehow.

    Grow up, pointing out mistakes is good but don’t be d***h**ds about it.

    1. I don’t agree with you. I not only appreciate when people catch my mistakes because it shows they engaged with the material, I like being held to a high standard. I don’t agree that anyone was being a… um… d***h**d, which I assume means “dachshund”

  4. Do you think the different art and the different text formatting of primal command might cause a price increaseon that version?

    1. People pontificate things like this a lot and it’s usually a wash. Unless one art is like objectively better or worse, it shouldn’t matter. I don’t think that is the case here.

  5. I think it’s also worth noting that with Retreat of Kazandu (another spoiled card not mentioned here) Landfall is confirmed. I feel like Sword of the Animist could be a very good spec with high cmc Eldrazi and Landfall as a mechanic. It’s not bulk, but it’s very cheap currently (I picked up a few playsets for $1.5 per copy) and I can’t imagine how it could not be extremely useful once BfZ is in Standard.

    1. That’s indeed worth noting. As much as I want sword to get cheap so I can scoop a ton of them, Standard play could grant it real upside. We need to decide this week if we’re in on them.

  6. Since ingest clearly points to bounce to top of library and making use of the exiled cards. Raven Guild Master anyone? Should be fun in commander.

  7. As ‘ingest’ indicates we will get some interaction with exiled cards, ‘Infinite Obliteration’ becomes a more interesting card to pick up.

      1. I doubt we will be able to play cards from exile. Maybe we’ll get to feed exiled cards to the Eldrazi or something of that nature.

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