Those familiar with Magic: The Gathering will know that the world famous card game refreshes and renews itself through regular themed waves of new cards. Each scheduled release of cards tends to have a theme. The most recent of these is Battle for Zendikar. The setting is one of wild magic; pretty much everything is magical on the plane of Zendikar and that’s why it was used to trap the reality destroying monsters known as the Eldrazi. Battle for Zendikar’s backstory has the Eldrazi up and about and being titanic beings of utter annihilation, need to be stopped. The set seems to focus on the worst of the bunch, Ulamog, the "Infinite Gyre".
One of the easiest ways to dive right in is to get your hands on a Fat Pack; a big box filled with cards and other useful items. The Battle for Zendikar Fat Pack contains Player's Guide with pictures of all cards in the set, two boxes to carry your decks in, nine 15-card booster packs, 80 full-art basic land cards and a twenty sided die that can be used to track numbers when playing. This all comes in a rather pretty and solid box that can be used to store cards.
The land cards are quite pretty and will certainly be a draw for all Magic players. Land cards are an essential mechanic to the game, and it’s nice to have new (and pretty) versions of these essential game components. The additional 135 cards from the boosters are a good way to dive into the game, especially for old hands. We found we could make a couple of decent decks out of the cards we had, and the set is good value for what you get.
For those who aren’t as confident with deck-building, there’s the Event Box, which contains an ‘event deck’ of 60 cards plus a 15-card ‘sideboard’ for fine tuning. The Event Box also comes with another 20-sided number tracker. The deck is a really powerful black/green set filled with cards that would cost way more to purchase individually on the after market.
Rules wise, Zendikar is filled with lots of interesting ideas. ‘Awaken’, for example, let’s you turn lands into creatures as Zendikar itself rises to meet the monsters, and there are plenty of cards in the set that make using this regularly an efficient strategy. ‘Rally’ is back as a rule, which means the good guys can help each other defeat the horrors. ‘Converge’ does a similar thing, allowing multiple mana sources to be more effective. The Eldrazi get some cool abilities as well; ‘Ingest’ lets you devour opponents, taking cards out of play for the entire game, and ‘Processor’ let you take further advantage of your lunch. The ‘Devoid’ trait allows some monsters to have no colour; this means they have some key strategies closed to them, but an advantage over certain magics.
Overall, Battle for Zendikar is a great addition to a great game, and one we want to see more of; we can’t get enough of those monsters.
MAGIC: THE GATHERING – BATTLE FOR ZENDIKAR FAT PACK AND EVENT BOX / DESIGNER: VARIOUS / PUBLISHER: WIZARDS OF THE COAST / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW