Oath of the Gatewatch is out, and it’s sweet! The new cards are so much better than the old ones, the new Expeditions are more fun than the old ones, and Battle for Zendikar only had two good cards so go ahead and ignore it!
At least, that’s what it appears to be on the surface, and we’ve had a lot of people fall into this attitude because of how poorly BFZ stood up to Khans of Tarkir and Dragons of Tarkir, not to mention it’s now faded in comparison to Oath of the Gatewatch.
But don’t let that trick you into forgetting about Battle for Zendikar.
Sure, our first return to Zendikar was in many ways a disappointment. The Expeditions were super cool, but the cards as a whole didn’t stack up, the Limited environment was meh (drafting was good but not great, and Sealed sucked), and outside of a format-warping mana base, the cards didn’t do a ton to Standard, much less Modern. All of these factors led to a lot of frustrating with the second go at Zendikar even as players gobbled up Expeditions for cubes and Commander decks everywhere.
But it turns out we forgot something about Battle for Zendikar: it was only the first set in the block. By itself it turned out to be somewhat disappointing, but now that more cards in the same vein have come out the set has actually turned out much better. And remember, no matter how bad Battle for Zendikar is in Standard now, the format won’t look the same forever. That means Battle for Zendikar, despite selling a ton and using Expeditions to suppress prices across the board, has a chance to be financially relevant again before it’s finished with two Rotations and an 18-month run through Standard. And with Oath of the Gatewatch hitting now, we’re going to see BFZ bottom out even further in the coming weeks before starting to climb back up.
That’s what I want to talk about today, and I’ll start at the top.