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August 31, 2015

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Daily Dose of Battle for Zendikar – Gideon and his Allies!

Welcome to another edition of the Daily Dose of Battle for Zendikar! Yesterday we talked about the evil hungry Eldrazi. Today we will be talking about the ones hoping to protect and save Zendikar, Gideon and his Allies!

Gideon has been one of the most popular Planeswalkers, and he will be the face of this set, as you will see him in all of the marketing and merchandise for Battle for Zendikar. We will see Gideon a little later, but first let us take a look at some of his allies. The Ally creature type was last seen in the Zendikar block where Allies of all colors were running around Zendikar helping each other out. This time they are back, but they don’t just help other Allies, but all of your creatures. Let’s check out, Hero of Goma Fada!

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Let’s take a look at the brand new mechanic of Rally as seen on the majority of the new Ally cards.

“Rally – Whenever ~ or another Ally enters the battlefield under your control, creatures you control gain [Enter awesome ability here]”

So not only will the usual shenanigans commence with all of your Allies helping other allies along the way, but Allies will now help all of your creatures, unlike Zendikar where they only helped other Allies.
Hero of Goma Fada will allow you to make all of your creatures indestructible. Just imagine making them all indestructible and then doing a board clear with End Hostilities. Imagine making all of your creatures indestructible and then attacking knowing that none of your creatures will die.

Let’s take a look at some of the other Ally creatures so far.

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Being able to play a 3/2 onto the battlefield at any time and then have all of your creatures get lifelink is pretty strong and can turn the tides in your favor quite quickly. You can almost think of each Ally creature with Rally as a spell that leaves a creature behind afterwards, which has the chance to copy that spell on future turns with the help of more Allies!
Now that you can see the power of Allies, let’s have a look at their leader Gideon. Here is Gideon, Ally of Zendikar!

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Nothing like a nice 4-mana Gideon to put you in a good mood! First off, he starts at 4 loyalty counters for 4-mana – Not bad! Now let’s have a look at each of his abilities.

+1 – Until end of turn, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar becomes a 5/5 Human Soldier Ally creature with indestructible that’s still a planeswalker. Prevent all damage that would be dealt to him this turn.

First off having a + ability that turns Gideon into a creature is a huge bonus. The fact that Gideon becomes indestructible on top of preventing all damage is quite significant. There are many spells such as Ultimate Price that can instantly kill a creature, so this will help prevent that. Other Gideon’s in the past have not become indestructible and this should not be overlooked. Oh, and did I mention that he becomes an ALLY! The turn after you play Gideon you can give him lifelink or any other ability that will be coming from the many allies that will be running around Zendikar.

0 – Put a 2/2 white Knight Ally creature token onto the battlefield

You are able to do this the first turn Gideon comes into play without hurting his loyalty counters which is nice. Also you are creating Ally creatures which will be able to pump up or activate all of your other allies. Being a free 2/2 instead of a 1/1 is also quite significant.

-4 – You get an emblem with “Creatures you control get +1/+1”

So what you are saying is that if I already have a bunch of creatures on the board I can just drop Gideon and ultimate him on the first turn to permanently give all of my creatures +1/+1. Yes please! The fact that all 3 of Gideon’s abilities can be used on turn 1 makes this quite the versatile Planeswalker for sure.

Thanks again for reading another edition of the Daily Dose of Battle for Zendikar. I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow as we see more amazing preview cards from Battle for Zendikar!

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Welcome to another edition of the Daily Dose of Battle for Zendikar! Today we will be looking at the devastating alien beings that are taking over Zendikar, the Eldrazi! Eldrazi first appeared in the Zendikar block and they’re now back and very very hungry!
Let’s take a look at one of the three Eldrazi titans, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.

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This is one hungry dude! Let’s break this down shall we. To start off this is a 10/10 for 10 mana, now that’s one big creature. Gone are the abilities of Annihilator we’ve seen in the past, but that doesn’t mean he still doesn’t pack a punch.

When you cast Ulamog, you will be able to exile any two permanents on the board. We aren’t talking non-land permanents, but any permanents. This can be a huge game changer for sure. One of the things you will notice different about the Eldrazi titans this time is that, they do not get shuffled back into your library when they hit the graveyard. This will allow you to re-animate them from your graveyard, but remember if you do so you won’t get to exile any permanents, as it’s only triggered when Ulamog is cast.

Now once you get Ulamog into play, no matter which way you decide to do it, it will continue to deal some massive damage. Ulamog is indestructible, which makes it very hard to remove him from the battlefield. Next, whenever Ulamog attacks, you get to exile the top 20 cards of your opponent! Needless to say 2-3 attacks later and it will game over, even if they are able to chump block Ulamog for a few turns. Every time Ulamog exiles a card, it feeds his hunger!!

A lot of times, the problem with playing large Eldrazi titans is that it can take quite a long time to get them out onto the battlefield. What you need is removal that will help you keep the battlefield clear until Ulamog hits the ground running. This is where Titan’s Presence comes into play.

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Did they print a 3-mana colorless instant that can exile any creature?!?! Yes they did! There are some “Just wait a minute!” lines of text though before you get too excited.
Let’s see if these are actually significant drawbacks.

“As an additional cost to cast Titan’s Presence, reveal a colorless creature card from your hand.” This is definitely a drawback that will make this card not very good in the late game when you draw into an empty hand with it. As for having colorless creatures, I don’t see that to be much of a problem. With Eldrazi showing up in all sorts of Devoid creatures, I don’t see this to be a problem. You will want to use this spell early, and most of the larger Eldrazi you won’t be able to cast until later, so you should have these colorless creatures in your hand.

“Exile target creatures if its power is less than or equal to the revealed card’s power.” So you have a colorless creature in your hand, is it going to have big enough power. Chances are yes. If you are keeping this for late game, chances are you’ve cast your creature already and this spell won’t be able to be used anyways. If you cast it turn 3-5, you will have a good chance of being able to exile their creature, as most Eldrazi have power of 5 or higher. The ones that have less, chances are you have already put them on to the battlefield.

Last of all if you haven’t had a chance yet, pick up your playset of See the Unwritten. With the number of huge creatures that will be appearing in Battle for Zendikar, including Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, you will want to get this card now before more huge creatures are announced in this set.

Thanks again for reading another edition of the Daily Dose of Battle for Zendikar and I’m looking forward to seeing all of you again tomorrow for some more preview action!

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Welcome to a special advanced edition of the Daily Dose of Battle for Zendikar, where will we be talking about previews for the upcoming highly anticipated new set, Battle for Zendikar. This set will be released on October 2nd with pre-release events happening worldwide on September 26-27.

First off let’s talk about pre-release weekend. There is a couple new things that will happening starting that weekend. First off, is that this will be the beginning of the new Mulligan rule, nicknamed the ‘Vancouver mulligan’, as that’s where is debuted at Pro Tour Vancouver.

They were too excited to wait until set release, so a week early (and at the past World Championships), you will be able to use this new mulligan rule that will allow you to Scry 1 before the game starts if you have mulliganed at least once to under 7 cards.

I think this will lead to a lot more competitive magic games out there, allowing there to be less blowout games because of running too low on cards due to multiple mulligans. I can see a lot more players keeping 6-card, 1-land hands – whether on the play or draw, they know that they will be able to Scry 1 to try and get that land they need to get their game going.
The next information is that it looks like there will be 6 different pre-release packs to choose from come pre-release weekend instead of the usual 6. Can we say, colorless anyone?

Now let’s take a look at one of the new mechanics that we will be seeing in Battle for Zendikar by looking at the new Forerunner of Slaughter.

forerunnerofslaughter

It looks like one of the larger themes coming out of Battle for Zendikar is going to be cards (only creatures at the moment) being colorless, and Eldrazi. Thankfully they are not all huge Eldrazi, but they’ve curved it out a bit and provided us with Eldrazi of all shapes and sizes. They’ve also been able to spread them out between the colors by giving them colored mana costs, but making the creatures themselves Devoid (This card has no color.) This makes it so that all of the powerful Eldrazi that will be coming out cannot all be played by any color out there. I think this is a smart move and will bring the power creep down a little bit for some of these cards.
Let’s look at some of the cards that will still be in Standard that will benefit greatly from the colorless sub-theme of Battle for Zendikar.

Although this is already seeing prominence in Blue/Red Thopter decks as we speak, come rotation a lot of the main cards from that deck will be gone. Don’t worry though, Ghostfire Blade will see a new home with the colorless Eldrazi! With so many colorless creatures running around, look for this to be a mainstay in Standard decks for months and months to come.

Seen almost as a “Why did you print this?’ type of card, it could see play depending on how many Devoid Eldrazi are running around Zendikar. We will have to wait and see what percentage of the creatures in Battle for Zendikar end up being colorless, but there should be a fair number of them, so look for this card to show up for some life gaining fun.
All Artifact creatures!

“Don’t forget us, we are colorless creatures as well!” says all Artifact creatures from Magic Origins and Khans of Tarkir block. They will also be able to benefit from all abilities involving colorless creatures such as Forerunner of Slaughter’s ability to give any colorless creature haste.
Thanks again for reading the first of many Daily Dose of Battle for Zendikar coming up in the next month. I look forward to more previews coming up!

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Welcome to another edition of the Daily Dose of Battle for Zendikar where today we will talking about some of the wonderful lands from Battle for Zendikar, releasing October 2nd at a store near you.
Let’s start off with something “basic”, but something that has been asked for by players for years. Coincidentally, these were last available the last time we went to Zendikar back in 2009. That’s right people, the return of Full-Framed lands!

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There will be 20 wonderful full-framed lands done by 4 different artists across the 5-land types. You will be able to get them in normal booster packs and inside Far Packs of Battle for Zendikar as well. There is no confirmation on if they will be available in the Event Deck or Intro Packs for Battle for Zendikar, but we are hoping so.
Next is a new original dual-land cycle that we haven’t seen the likes of for quite a long time. Here are those awesome new rare lands!

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These lands hit in all the right places. Obviously you are able to get two colors from them, but they also have the ability to come into play untapped on turn 3 or 4, which isn’t a problem for me. Currently in Standard we are used to this when it comes to our dual-lands, as both Scry lands, and the tri-color lands from Khans of Tarkir always come into play tapped. This will make it a little harder for players playing multiple colors to have an aggressively fast start. This stipulation also makes it so it benefits those wanting to play 2-3 colors, but hurts those who want to stretch it to 4-5 color decks. If you want to play 4-5 colors, chances are these will be coming into play tapped in your near future.

The next and most important part of these new rare lands is the land sub-type. That’s right folks, there are two basic land subtypes on each of these bad boys. Let’s take a look at some of the cards from the upcoming new Standard (Khans of Tarkir block, Magic Origins, Battle for Zendikar) that will benefit from having these subtypes.

Khans of Tarkir fetches – The Fetchlands from Khans of Tarkir have become some of the most important lands in Standard, as they will now be able to retrieve dual lands for the first time ever in Standard. Remember that shocklands were printed before and after the original Zendikar fetchlands, so they never saw play in Standard at the same time.

Knight of the White Orchid – This little guy now allows you to go search for not only a basic Plains, but the new dual lands as well. Now that’s value!

Guardian of Tazeem – This new 4/5 Flyer from Battle for Zendikar give you an amazing ability to tap down your opponent’s creatures anytime you play a land. If that land is an Island though, that creature doesn’t untap during its controller’s next untap step. Thanks for the new dual lands this gives you a lot more choices of lands to play to be able to keep those creatures tapped down for good!

Oran-Rief Hydra – Another set, another fun Hydra! This is another Landfall creature that gives Oran-Rief Hydra a +1/+1 counter each time a land comes into play on your side. If that land is a Forest though, including those new dual lands, it gets +2/+2

Expect there to be many more Landfall cards that will take advantage of this new cycle of dual lands.

Lastly, is the announcement of Zendikar Expeditions. Take a look at these wonderful Full-Framed lands!

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These premium foil cards will be available in packs of Battle for Zendikar and “Sweat” at a rarity we have been told is close to pulling a Foil Mythic. The fact that you are able to not only get the new dual-land cycle, but also all 10 Fetchlands and all 10 Shocklands, will make these very sought after. Look to have many players at your local pre-release events, trying to be the first ones to get these awesome looking lands.
Thanks again for reading another edition of the Daily Dose of Battle for Zendikar and I look forward to seeing you guys again tomorrow for some more preview action!