By: Cliff Daigle
So the Battle for Zendikar preview event at PAX was last weekend, and there were some cards spoiled, and everyone went and lost their minds over the Expeditions, special foil-only, full-art lands that will show up a little more often than a foil mythic in booster packs.
My current understanding is that Battle for Zendikar will have 25 of these.
I’ve seen a lot of people on Twitter and other articles decrying this super-mega-mythic chase rarity. I’ve added a little to those fires, I admit, trying to call these new lands “crappy duals” or “electrocution lands” (since they are worse than shock lands).
Allow me to say this clearly and rationally: Calm down about these new lands.
When foils were introduced, it was a nod to collectors. Mythics were introduced to improve Limited play but not having Planeswalkers as regular rares.
These Expedition lands are there for the same crowd as the Comic-Con black Planeswalkers: collectors. If you care about having one of these new lands, you’re in the same boat as people paying for the judge foil Terese Nielsen lands, or the promo Force of Will, or having the old-frame Swords of X and Y.
Two years ago, I asked, “Are you a Collector?” and I hope you know the answer to that question in yourself. If you have had the thought about these lands “I can’t wait to snag an Expeditions Steam Vents! But oh my goodness, what are four of them going to cost me?!” then you’re a collector.
Let me reiterate: These super-duper-mega-mythic cards are not new. These are reprints! This supply will be rather small and not affect current paper prices all that much.
I’m also of the opinion that these are UGLY. These aren’t full-art. These aren’t Player Rewards full art, or Game Day full art, with or without the bars across the text that they started doing recently. These are three-quarters art, with a weird hedron frame, and semi-see-through as Planeswalkers are.
If I open one of these, I’m going to move it out. I’m going to ask for the moon in trade and I’m going to get it from someone with more cards than sense. I know it could fit into almost any Commander deck of mine, and I don’t care. If I need fetches, they are already in decks. If I need filters or shocks, I’ll take care of that, likely on the cheap.
To me, the play on these lands is to get rid of them. Looking at the judge foil fetches, they didn’t see a spike or a loss when it was announced that they would be in Khans of Tarkir, and so whatever the initial price is, that’s what they will stay at for the duration. Go ahead and hold it till the end of the block if you want, but I would be more than stoked to open these and then trade them for a big stack of regular shock lands, or anything else that you wanted to have.
How much would I ask for? Everything. Collectors want these things bad, and you should give it to them. Don’t be afraid to say “Well, this Expeditions Polluted Delta closed an eBay auction at $200, so I’d want $250 to $300 in retail value of cards.” These cards are going to be hard to find and even harder to dig up in trade, especially at the beginning.
As for the speculation about why Wizards did this, I think it’s to give an echo of what they did in Zendikar with the Treasures campaign, only this time, they are being upfront about it. There was never any official data revealed about how many of which card was opened, and while there were Power cards opened, there was also Cyclopean Tomb.
This time, we will know exactly what’s out there and about how many of them there are. Is this better or worse than what happened in 2009? Does having the information make the quest easier or harder?
I would object to super-mega-rarity if it was for new cards. Mythics aren’t that hard to find, but a fifth rarity is a concern. Since these are reprints, though, it’s not a big deal. Imagine if these Expeditions were given out as judge foils or a special event or something or other.
One thing seems like a given: Battle for Zendikar will be the most opened set in Magic history. Don’t expect anything from this set to have legs, financially.