I have a confession to make – I was never able to make it to Zendikar the first time this plane came around in Magic. This was during a dark period of my life when I was unable to play Magic due to a lack of friends – no, seriously!
Having just moved to Canada, I was in the middle of transitioning back from playing Magic Online to card playing. And I didn’t have a play group established, so I had no reason to fully get back into buying Magic. It’s a pity too.
I think I would have been like a kid in a candy store with all the Eldrazi goodies being big beefie critters. I know quite a few people who hated the Eldrazi as much as Slivers. Something about being broken, but I would have loved the combination of the big beatsticks having Annihilator. That said, I hate being on the receiving end of those guys. Man are they hard to beat!
Thankfully in Battle for Zendikar, Ingest is a much kinder mechanic. But there are still plenty of combo-riffic ways to make people talk, pay or, in some cases, cry?!
Obviously as far as other mechanics go, Awaken is definitely going to spawn its own deck iterations. Landfall and Awaken will be fun together, but I also think Landfall and Rally (Allies) is going to be nutty.
In the past, when I’ve looked at new sets coming out I’ve looked at it from colour standpoints. And while that may work well for the most part, this set in particular is all about mechanics. There is no one colour that is really strong enough to stand on its own.
The bigger issue with looking at the combos within colours is that the mechanics are not limited to certain colours this time, thanks in part to the story line. Case in point – Zendikar’s would be saviour is Drana, Liberator of Malakir (at least, according to his flavour text), yet he doesn’t boast any of the mechanics of the set. But wait, he’s potentially one of the best Allies out there.
Since I had a love/hate relationship with Annihilator in the OG Zendikar, I’d like to talk about the mechanic’s sequel. I have to say I like how the Eldrazi are Devoid and play well with artifacts. In particular, I like Molten Nursery and Nettle Drone with their triggered abilities for playing colourless spells. Two potentially disastrous pieces to add to our hedron of hurt would be Mycosynth Golem and Primordial Sage. Since the deck would rely on mostly colourless spells, it would make little difference in what colours you played and the Sage would fit very well with the Golem for getting out a ton of critters while doing a ton of damage to the dome.
But to be really evil, you would need to use the Stuffy Doll, Gruesome Slaughter and something like the Furnace of Rath. Then again, would someone really be that mean?! It might be overkill in a duel, but in multiplayer, it would give you a potential game ender for multiple players in the same turn.
Next time, we will look at the mechanics of the set and how they interact with the tribes. This set has a lot of potential beyond just the Eldrazi but you will need to think as more of a combo player for sure in this set. And that works for me.
Until next time, may the Eldrazi ever be in your favour!
— Nicol Billas