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CardName: Zendikar Rising Cost: Type: Topic Pow/Tgh: / Rules Text: New set, let's talk about the new mechanics and themes, like modal dfcs and party. Flavour Text: Set/Rarity: Conversation None

Zendikar Rising
New set, let's talk about the new mechanics and themes, like modal dfcs and party.
Updated on 11 Sep 2020 by Sorrow

History: [-]

2020-09-01 21:45:06: Sorrow created the card Zendikar Rising

"How do we fit 6 dual lands in a set? By not completing the cycle, of course!"

Party is cool, and sets up the Forgotten Realms set next summer

I don't knoow much about the canon-worlds of Dungeons & Dragons, but seeing party appear and that announcement threw me off. Why waste the party concept now, in the discount Dungeosns & Dragons (I will never cease talking smack about Zendikar as a flavor concept) with one of the major inspirations coming within a year?

The plane the D&D set takes place on, the Forgotten Realms, is the most LotR, traditional fantasy world in the current roster. Ton of classic characters and settings there

My guess is that Adventures in the Forgotten Realms (not to be confused with Forgotten Realms Adventures, the 1990 source book for AD&D) is taking a Magic Origins-style approach, since it's replacing the core set for the year. Could easily reprint the party mechanic. They needed something new for Allies here anyway, since cohort sucked

I have to be honest, I am so excited to see the Forgotten Realms set. I'm really hoping for some of the characters/legends that I know from FR, but I think the fact that there's finally a crossover is really cool.

Party is weird to me. I think it's neat in concept but it's just so darn specific. It's also awkward to me because, on cards without reminder text, I feel like it's a very easy thing for players to forget.

How do y'all feel about the untapped "dual" lands?

I hate that there are three ally and three enemy so much. Otherwise I think the design it neat

I don't have a strong opinionn about the untapped duals, although I think they will be useful.

Seems underpowered to have to choose one color for rest of the game. Maybe if they came out ten years ago, more hyped when DFC first came out. But now there are so many better options.

I hope the duals will turn out to be good budget lands for commander, but I sense that they might see a good bit of play. They are almost strictly better basics.

Those other flip cards that are spell/lands worry me. I think they are playing with fire but if the front faces of the cards are weak enough it might be fine.

Party is a rather boring mechanic to me, but they can't all be winners. I liked historic better as a batching thing.

You shouldn't compare party to historic, since they fill different roles. You should compare it to the original Allies and cohort, since that's what it's supposed to be. And this is way better than cohort

Compare Party to other threshold-like and/or scaling mechanics, like delirium, domain, devotion, etc.

Problem with Party are:

  • permanent dependent (contrast Delirium)
  • permanents that cost mana and difficult to assemble (contrast Domain)
  • low upper bound (contrast devotion)

Party seems to be just a "Build this one specific deck" mess, to me.

The lands are so very shiny - no need to ever use a basic land ever again. Except then there's a functional reprint of stripmine they can use against you :)

Party is not really batching, is it. That's like saying devotion is batching. It's a concept to define a numerical value. Not every rules term has to be batching, and MaRo can fight me on this one. : )

But ignoring that party is fine. The low upper bound is a feature. It allows for aggressive costing, which in turn makes much more acceptable power level for cards not played with a full party.

The interesting thing about modal DFCs is that they are accomplished without any card text or reminder text.

Favorite thing to come out of this is not even a new mechanic, but the continued use of set mechanics on planeswalkers. And both kicker and landfall turned into an interesting card.

Yeah; I think this is a strong indication that they're making "You can use this as a (different) land in a pinch" evergreen.

"Yeah; I think this is a strong indication that they're making "You can use this as a (different) land in a pinch" evergreen."

DFCs evergreen? I don't see it.

More modal DFCs, sure. But only if the set already cares about DFCs. And ZNR has very much a reason to care about a mechanic that can add to your lands by putting spells in the deck.

Yeah, what surprised me about these DFCs is that they don't have any reminder text on either side indicating "You can choose which side of these to play". I'm particularly worried about someone who learns DFCs with Zendikar Rising then discovering some older card like, say, Search for Azcanta and thinking they'll just play Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin directly.

Oh man that would be hilariously incorrect!

Also, I missed announcement day, but these new sets sound AWESOME! I'M SUPER EXCITED :)))

Did anyone else roll their eyes a bit at Strixhaven?

Definitely. Hearthstone just released their wizard school expansion last month, Scholomance Academy. But you know what movie was hot two years ago? Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 🙃

Kaldheim and Forgotten Realms are cool though

Eh, not really. I've liked the "wizarding school" setting since long before Harry Potter (there were a number of great fantasy books with that setting), I liked Harry Potter, and I like "wizarding school" settings that have come after Harry Potter. I'm sure I'll enjoy Strixhaven quite a lot.

What stood out to me about the DFC lands is that they're good but they're not splashy, you ideally want to hit them T1, so you have to extract them from a sleeve or mark them every time. That made sense when turning a card over was supposed to seem exciting. Land tokens would have seemed less faffy. Is there some token or somehitng that makes this easier to track without unsleeving and resleeving cards?

Also, I wasted a lot of time saying that "better than a basic land but without a land type didn't count as 'not better than a basic land'", can I get that back? :)

Apparently I also missed Viking Set was coming up!?

Yeah, I like the sound of Strixhaven too. I am a bit torn. I think if they ALWAYS pick "the most obvious popular idea" to turn into a magic set, you pass up opportunities for premises that arise in other ways, like Ravnica has some of the best lore, but was spawned by the idea of a two-colour set, not the idea of a world city. But Kamigawa, Theros, Amonkhet, etc, etc all had really memorable flavour that didn't feel like every other version of those tropes, so it's fine to often choose "mtg version of popular setting".

If anything, what I think worked well about Ravnica is that it had a resonant status quo. Each guild stood out as what it did, what it was like, what it stood for, what sort of people lived in it. Other settings try to have more "story". And I think magic sets tell dynamic status quos a lot better than narratives.

Constant resleeving will be another reason these dual lands will be tedious to play with.

For twenty years they vehemently avoided crisscrossing the two brands, Magic + D&D. So that Magic's worlds can build their own identities and popularity. Forgotten Realms may be indication they are running out of ideas for original settings?

Yeah, instead of checklist cards, they're using marker cards this time, which basically just has a blank white space where the art/rules text would be to write whatever lands appear on the back of your MDFCs. They've tested land tokens before, and either you can't tell whether your bead/dice are tapped, or you shuffle the tokens into your deck after

As the lands are modal, I can't imagine the resleeving condition to be any more of a problem than the (non-Eldrazi)werewolves of Innistrad. I never minded the resleeving issue much though.

Someone pointed out that it appears the Dungeons and Dragons set is taking the place of the core set. While there probably is a limit to the amount of world-concepts to explore, I don't think Magic is anywhere near exhausting that list as a whole. I think Wizards/Hasbro are just cashing in on two popular properties that fit together well.

I'm excited for Strixhaven, though I'm not super-familiar with the trope outside of Harry Potter and Mashle (the latter of which may not even last as it appears the initial popularity has significantly waned). I just like the idea of a school setting for spells.

I have been on the sidelines for a while recently. Someone told me about the Walking Dead Crossovers thing and now I hear about this Forgotten Realms stuff.





They're trying to turn Magic into another Lego with all licensed/derived IPs. I knew it was going to hinge in that direction the second I saw the Godzilla crossovers. Welp. I'm glad I got out when I did now.

Magic has been doing crossovers since 1993. Get over yourself

No - they really haven't. "Arabian Nights" was a one-off outlier, mainly due to needing something in a hurry (and, at the time, the thinking that 'the gathering' would be the overarching concept; not 'magic' - which they then didn't do). Everything since then has been crossed with genres and flavours. Even the topiest-down of top-down sets has tended to try and keep the ideas rather than the named things themselves.

Actually directly crossing over, with named characters and everything? Well, I don't mind it for the occasional charity event and such. I do mind it as actual play-set though. I mind it quite a lot.

"Constant resleeving will be another reason these dual lands will be tedious to play with."

I don't think so. Since one side is always quite a simple land in most environments you probably can get away with a simple marker. No one is going to need to read up on your ETBT Mountain's exact rule text.

So Cleansing Wildfire seems quite strong to me. I don't know how it'll affect standard, but I wonder if it will impact modern and legacy.

I was expecting some type of caveat or hoop to jump through for black's enchantment destruction, but Feed the Swarm's is fairly straight forward. I wonder why black gets the option for enchantment destructionn now.

Yeah; wow. That's a pie-break.

Redefining of the pie, it seems. Definite break of the old pie. Interestingly still respecting the weakness that black originally was supposed to have that started the whole inability to remove enchantments.

Black's weakness (in regard to what is relevant to this design) was supposed to be an inability to get rid of its own dangerous enchantments (Phyrexian Arena & co.). I suppose we are going back to that.

Several sets ago, Wizards decided that black needs to be able to destroy enchantments. Three colors can destroy artifacts but only two could destroy enchantments, and blue and red were worse options. There have been a couple of enchantment edicts already

Re: D&D world, Legends was also based on D&D, although it was a homebrew campaign rather than a canon world. There were other earth mythological figures too

The modal DFC lands might have been better as flip cards.

For years Wizards said they wouldn't "cross the streams" of Magic and D&D. Then they went quiet for a while on the issue. Then they started printing guides to help people run D&D campaigns in various Magic worlds like Ravnica and Innistrad (because, of course, people were doing that anyway, and were looking for "official" guides on what spells and stats and levels various creatures should have). I'm not that surprised that they went the other way at last. I don't have a problem with it.

Black enchantment destruction still feels weird to me, even though I know there's been Pharika's Libation and friends for a little while. Maro is still saying that the rule is black can't destroy its own dangerous enchantments.

Cleansing Wildfire is fun. Seems like a good way to keep people honest, make sure people play at least a few basic lands in their decks. I also like the idea of running it in a deck with Darksteel Citadel, Cascading Cataracts and Flagstones of Trokair.

Oh no, "keeping people honest" is going to be from Confounding Conundrum, IMO (at least as far as mana acceleration goes). I mean, don't get me wrong, Cleansing Wildfire will also be WILDLY popular to keep things like Tron and Field of the Dead in check, but in this format, it's mostly a weird way to potentially trigger landfall in red (since it looks for now like the limited Landfall deck is centered in {r/g})

It sucks that party refers to specific creature types. Like why is a party of Knight, Warlock, Shaman, Archer not a party? How would you alter to make it apply to any types?

"Four creatures with different types," I suppose, but that doesn't accomplish the flavor they were looking for, and you can't refer to "classes" under current rules.

Wouldn't it be " a creature of each of up to four different creature types"?

"CARDAME is also a Cleric, Rogue, Warrior, and Wizard" just sounds so forced, and out of flavor. Especially when they want non humanoids to be "in your party", but have no business being any of those classes. For example, a Beast with this phrase is such huge immersion breaker.

@SecretInfiltrator Maybe, or "Four creatures that share no types?"

@amuseum I agree. It's awkward, and feeling the need to include those should have been, IMO,a red flag regarding the mechanic. The Packbeast flavor isn't so bad, since it's an artifact, but really it should have been a Golem instead of a Beast.

If you asked most gamers who play fantasy games what four creature types made up an adventuring party, I am extremely confident that most would get at least three right. These are the obvious choices

I think the limiting to the four selected types makes for tediousness with tired flavor, doubling-down on the trope so hard that it's no longer appealing. What I would expect to make the mechanic feel natural and not choked into a box would be too expansive for paper Magic to check (a fully digital card game could probably code in the necessary categories). I mean, why can't druids, knights, scouts, shamans, artificer, barbarian, assassin, etc. parts of parties? A monstrous creature like a beast even fits the concept of a party as a mascot. These floppy, farcical flavor choices are why I loathe Zendikar.

I don't like the "party" mechanic it just looks like too messy to me. (I probably would not use this on my own custom cards; there are a few things I would probably not use on my own custom cards.)

Modal DFC is a interesting idea though. (Although there are reasons I dislike cards being double faced in general, this is because of the physical cards and not because of the rules.)

After looking through the whole card set, I do agree there's too much of the party mechanic. It's cute when used sparingly, but I guess it needs to be the main mechanic for as-fan reasons. I like that they added class types to more creature to support it, though, so that other rogue/cleric/fighter/wizard tribal decks get support too

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