Once again, I must kindly ask all rumormongers to plug their ears and close their eyes and go “LALALALALA!”
Okay, so I was hit-or-miss on my predictions when it came to Zendikar. >.> The Tribal theme? Yes, that exists. In bunches and bunches. We’re already seeing Tribal support for Merfolk, Vampires, Allies (yes, there’s a new creature type called Ally; it’s the new Sliver!), and most of all, Goblins. Those of you who shop on the secondary market better grab some M10 Goblin Chieftains right now, because their price is about to skyrocket thanks to the recent spoiling of this number, courtesy of the Magic Show:
No joke; You are looking at a “fixed” version of Goblin Lackey, and yes, he is a mythic rare. Just when I thought it was safe to stick up for Wizards of the Coast and their decision to introduce another rarity that they promised to save for “epic-feeling creatures and spells” (Mark Rosewater’s exact words), they turn around and pull this crap! *sigh* …Okay, okay, enough with the doomsaying, Azzy. -.- Deep breaths… On another hand, maybe Wizards can get away with it. If you’re looking at Warren Instigator from a tournament player’s point of view, then you should come to the conclusion that he’s not as broken as he looks. He’s utterly unplayable in multicolor decks because of his two-color cost, he trades in combat with almost every other competitive two-drop, and with the rotation of Onslaught out from Extended and Lorwyn out from Standard, there aren’t gonna be a whole lot of big Goblins left for him to combo with.
Still, you cannot deny that Warren Instigator is gonna be pricey, at least at the start. I do not think it is worthy of the mythic rarity, and I have the sneaking suspicion that Wizards only made it that way specifically to give the middle finger to the secondary market, because they lose a lot of profit from players eschewing booster packs in favor of buying single cards. But what’s done is done, and in the end, there are going to players willing to shell out a lot of money for those Instigators. Goblin decks will see some play with him in both Standard and Extended, but there’s no telling yet whether it will be a Top 8 cockroach like Faeries was. If you think they will be, then by all means, buy those Instigators up now, because that mythic rarity isn’t making them any cheaper.
Now let’s get to a prediction that I was utterly wrong about. Lots of artifacts? Well, so far, not really. <.< I’m still holding my breath for more artifacts to show up (not necessarily cards that care about them, now that we know the “priceless treasures” are mostly just the rewards of quest enchantments), I should have gone with my original gut feeling and said that Wizards was going to print a lot more lands than usual, which they are. Another card (or should I say, group of cards) that will open up at a high price with the release of Zendikar are the new enemy-colored fetch lands. Arid Mesa, the red-white representative of this cycle, was recently revealed at Penny Arcade Expo, and the reception has largely been positive. Not only that, but the timing of the release of these lands actually helps keeps their price down on the secondary market, thanks to their ally-colored cousins rotating out of Extended. (Is it just me, or is Wizards – *gasp* – actually paying attention to the power level of non-Standard formats?!)
Enemy-color fetchlands are great news for anyone willing to buy Zendikar, because they come with a couple obvious positives. First, they fill the void left behind by the exit of both the 10th Edition painlands and Shadowmoor-block filterlands from Standard. With the smaller set size of the 2010 Core Set came the decision not to print any enemy-color dual lands in the Glacial Fortress cycle, and the printing of these enemy-color fetchlands catches the remaining two-color pairs up with them. They’re not quite dual lands, but they’ll do, and they’re trade meat if nothing else. ^^ And second, the fetchlands can trigger landfall abilities twice, without losing any mana from doing so. Mind you, Terramorphic Expanse is probably still the better choice for certain builds (especially 5-Color Control, which is about to lose the Vivid lands and Reflecting Pool), but at least enemy-color decks aren’t dead in the water this Standard season. Let’s go red-white! *clap clap clap-clap-clap* ^.^
More to come when the set is fully spoiled.