MTG Wiki
Battle for Zendikar

Battle for Zendikar
BFZ logo
Set Information
Set symbol
Symbol description Broken Hedron
Design Mark Rosewater (lead)
Ian Duke
Dan Emmons
Ethan Fleischer
Dave Guskin
Ari Levitch

Erik Lauer (lead)
Tim Aten
Kelly Digges
Ian Duke
Ben Hayes
Shawn Main
Yoni Skolnik

with contributions from
Matt Tabak
Art direction Jeremy Jarvis
Release date October 2, 2015
Plane Zendikar
Themes and mechanics Allies, Elementals, Colorless matters, Exile interaction.
Keywords/​ability words Awaken, Converge, Devoid, Ingest, Landfall, Rally
Set size 274 cards
(101 commons, 80 uncommons, 53 rares, 15 mythic rares, 25 basic lands)
+25 full-art basic lands
Expansion code BFZ[1]
Development codename Blood
Battle for Zendikar block
Battle for Zendikar Oath of the Gatewatch N/A
Magic: The Gathering Chronology
Duel Decks: Zendikar vs. Eldrazi Battle for Zendikar Zendikar Expeditions

Battle for Zendikar is the 68th Magic expansion, and the first in the Battle for Zendikar block. It was released October 2, 2015.[2][3][4] Battle for Zendikar is a large expansion, and the Battle for Zendikar block is the first block of the Two-Block Paradigm.

Set details[ | ]

The set contains 274 cards (25 basic lands,[5] 101 commons, 80 uncommons, 53 rares, 15 mythic rares) and includes randomly inserted premium versions of all cards in the set. There are 25 basic lands, instead of the usual 20, and the set also features special full art versions similar to those that appeared in Zendikar.[6][7] The full-art versions appear in booster packs and fat packs, but not in intro packs. The expansion symbol of the set is a broken hedron. While allies represented adventuring parties in the last Zendikar block, they now represent the united army against the Eldrazi. This is also a battle between the colored against the colorless faction.[8] The Eldrazi interact with the exile zone.

Because of the demise of the core sets, R&D experimented with same art reprints in expansion sets (e.g. Felidar Sovereign).[9] As a promotion to further the theme of the set, WotC randomly inserted Expedition cards into Battle for Zendikar boosters.

Storyline[ | ]

Battle for Zendikar returns the storyline to Zendikar, a plane of adventure, many treasures, and potent mana supplies. The plane is littered with large, floating polyhedron-shaped stones called hedrons, which were created by Nahiri, the Kor Lithomancer. Together with Ugin and Sorin Markov she used them to trap the horrendous Eldrazi on the plane. Thousands of years later, the meeting of Sarkhan Vol, Chandra Nalaar and Jace Beleren in the Eye of Ugin chamber unintentionally loosened the bonds that kept the Eldrazi in torpor. The Eldrazi were finally released by the elf Nissa Revane, thinking that they would leave Zendikar far behind them. She was wrong. Two years after the initial destruction, at least Ulamog is still around.[10][11]

Now, Gideon Jura takes the lead of a group of planeswalkers in facing the Eldrazi alongside the residents of Zendikar. Meanwhile, the trapped planeswalker-turned-demon Ob Nixilis is desperate for a way off of the plane. The five cards that represent the pivotal moments in the storyline are Gruesome Slaughter, Nissa's Renewal, Ugin's Insight, Outnumber and Aligned Hedron Network.[12][13][14]

Magic Story[ | ]

Main article: Magic Story


Title Author Release Date Setting (plane) Featuring
Nissa, Worldwaker Kelly Digges 2014-06-25 Zendikar Nissa Revane, Ulamog, Hamadi, Bahkut, Alira, Khali, Sha'heel
Dreams of the Damned Nik Davidson 2014-08-06 Zendikar Ob Nixilis, Nahiri, Jace Beleren
The Lithomancer Kelly Digges 2014-10-29 Unknown destroyed plane, Zendikar Nahiri, Sorin Markov, Lian, Ugin, Emrakul, Kozilek, Ulamog
Stirring From Slumber James Wyatt 2015-05-13 Zendikar Nahiri
Drop for Drop Kelly Digges 2015-05-20 Theros Kiora, Elspeth, Ajani, Thassa, Arixmethes
Project Lightning Bug Doug Beyer 2015-05-27 Ravnica Jace Beleren, Ral Zarek, Niv-Mizzet, Maree, Mizzix, Gideon Jura
Limits Ari Levitch 2015-07-15 Zendikar and Ravnica Gideon Jura, Munda, Dars Gostok, Shattergang Brothers, Krenko, Tazri, Vorik, Jori En, Kendrin
Catching Up Kelly Digges 2015-07-22 Ravnica Jace Beleren, Lavinia, Liliana Vess, Valko, Gideon Jura
Unkindness of Ravens James Wyatt 2015-07-29 Ravnica Liliana Vess, Raven Man
Offers to the Fire Doug Beyer 2015-08-05 Regatha Chandra Nalaar, Serenok, Mother Luti, Jace Beleren, Gideon Jura
For Zendikar Kimberly J. Kreines 2015-08-12 Zendikar Nissa Revane, Ashaya

Main story

Title Author Release Date Setting (plane) Featuring
Slaughter at the Refuge James Wyatt 2015-08-19 Zendikar Gideon Jura, Jace Beleren, Vorik, Tazri
The Silent Cry Kimberly J. Kreines 2015-08-26 Zendikar Nissa Revane, Ashaya, Jori En, Gideon Jura
The Believers' Pilgrimage Doug Beyer 2015-09-02 Zendikar Jace Beleren, Jori En, Kendrin, Gideon Jura, Nissa Revane, Ayli, Ulamog
The Survivors of Sky Rock Kimberly J. Kreines 2015-09-09 Zendikar Gideon Jura, Vorik, Abeena, Tazri, Seble, Tho, Zuri, Daye, Itri
Memories of Blood Ken Troop 2015-09-16 Zendikar Drana, Enkindi, Melindra, Kan
Nissa's Quest Kimberly J. Kreines 2015-09-23 Zendikar Nissa Revane, Pili, Munda, Leek
Home Waters Kelly Digges 2015-09-30 Zendikar Kiora, Turi, Misha, Yenai, Shen, Yesha, Tola, Inash, Runari
Nissa's Resolve Kimberly J. Kreines 2015-10-07 Zendikar Nissa Revane, Ob Nixilis, Ashaya
Revelation at the Eye Kelly Digges 2015-10-14 Zendikar Jace Beleren, Zada, Ugin
Shaping an Army Ken Troop 2015-10-21 Zendikar Noyan Dar, Gideon Jura
The Liberation of Sea Gate James Wyatt 2015-10-28 Zendikar Gideon Jura, Munda, Tazri, Drana, Noyan Dar, Kiora, Nissa Revane, Ashaya, Jori En
Hedron Alignment Kimberly J. Kreines 2015-11-18 Zendikar Kiora, Gideon Jura, Drana, Tazri, Nissa Revane, Munda, Jori En, Ebi, Jace Beleren, Ashaya, Seble, Ulamog, Ob Nixilis
At Any Cost Nik Davidson 2015-11-25 Zendikar Ob Nixilis, Ulamog, Ebi
Promises to Keep Doug Beyer 2015-12-02 Regatha, Zendikar Chandra Nalaar, Gideon Jura, Seble, Ulamog, Mother Luti, Ob Nixilis, Kozilek

Marketing[ | ]

BFZ Booster box

BFZ booster box, featuring Gideon Jura

Battle for Zendikar is sold in 16-card boosters (one card being a marketing card), five intro packs, one event deck and a fat pack. The boosters feature art from Ob Nixilis Reignited, Kiora, Master of the Depths, Ulamog's Despoiler, Veteran Warleader and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar.[15]

Zendikar Expeditions[ | ]

Zendikar Expeditions are all premium foil cards with a special Zendikari frame and a separate expansion symbol. Thus, they are not part of the set.[16] Zendikar Expeditions include all new art set on Zendikar and appear slightly more often than premium mythic rares. These cards are playable in limited and formats where they're already legal. There are 25 Expedition cards appearing with Battle for Zendikar (the 5 new dual lands, 10 shock lands and 10 fetch lands[17]) and 20 more cards in Oath of the Gatewatch.

Main article: Zendikar Expeditions

Prerelease[ | ]

BFZ Deck box

BFZ themed prerelease deck box

At the prerelease (September 26–27, 2015) each player received a special hedron-themed Prerelease pack that they could use after the event as a take-home deck box.[18] Inside each Prerelease box, there were six regular Battle for Zendikar Booster packs along with a randomized, date-stamped premium promo card, a spindown life counter, a deckbuilding guide and a story insert.[19] Starting with this prerelease, seeded booster packs were no longer used.[20] This prerelease was the first to use the "Vancouver" mulligan rule.[21]

Instead of getting a specific set Prerelease card or one of a small subset of Prerelease cards, starting with Battle for Zendikar players receive a random Prerelease card in their boxes that can be one of any rare or mythic rare in the set.[22]

Promotional cards[ | ]

Tokens and emblems[ | ]

For this set, the ratio between token cards and other marketing cards was shifted heavily in favor of tokens. The new ratio is approximately 9:10 for tokens. Tokens’ rarity is based upon the rarity of the cards that make them.[24]

  1. {C} 10/10 Eldrazi for Desolation Twin[25]
  2. {C} 1/1 Eldrazi Scion with "Sacrifice this creature: Add {C}." for Adverse Conditions, Blight Herder, Blisterpod, Brood Butcher, Brood Monitor, Call the Scions, Carrier Thrall, Catacomb Sifter, Drowner of Hope, Eldrazi Skyspawner, Eyeless Watcher, From Beyond, Grave Birthing, Incubator Drone, Spawning Bed and Void Attendant
  3. {C} 1/1 Eldrazi Scion with "Sacrifice this creature: Add {C}."
  4. {C} 1/1 Eldrazi Scion with "Sacrifice this creature: Add {C}."
  5. {W} 2/2 Knight Ally for Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
  6. {W} 1/1 Kor Ally for Retreat to Emeria and Unified Front
  7. {U} 8/8 Octopus for Kiora, Master of the Depths
  8. {R} 5/5 Dragon with flying for Dragonmaster Outcast
  9. {R} 3/1 Elemental with trample and haste for Akoum Stonewaker
  10. {G} 1/1 Plant for Grovetender Druids
  11. {R/G} 5/5 Elemental for Omnath, Locus of Rage
  12. Emblem for Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
  13. Emblem for Ob Nixilis Reignited
  14. Emblem for Kiora, Master of the Depths

Themes and mechanics[ | ]

Eldrazi,[26] Colorless matters,[27][28] colorless instants, allies and landfall make a return from the Zendikar block. Landfall now sometimes is land specific.[29]

There are at five new named mechanics:[30]

A remarkable mechanic is featured on Void Winnower, which cares about "even converted mana cost".[33][34]

Card types[ | ]

Battle for Zendikar introduces the creature types Scion and Processor.

  • Eldrazi Scions are very similar to Eldrazi Spawn, but are 1/1 instead of 0/1. They're created by Eldrazi-themed spells in a variety of ways and all have the ability "Sacrifice this creature: Add {C}."
  • Processor is an additional creature type for some Eldrazi. Each one has an ability that requires you to put your opponent's exiled cards into their graveyard for some effect.

Cycles[ | ]

Battle for Zendikar has seven cycles:

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Retreats Retreat to Emeria Retreat to Coralhelm Retreat to Hagra Retreat to Valakut Retreat to Kazandu
Five uncommon enchantments with a modal landfall triggered effect.[35]
Color-specific landfall creatures Emeria Shepherd Guardian of Tazeem Guul Draz Overseer Akoum Hellkite Oran-Rief Hydra
Five rare creatures with landfall that have a magnified effect when a land of their respective basic land type enters the battlefield. Each is named after a location.
Pump landfall creatures Ondu Greathorn Wave-Wing Elemental Geyserfield Stalker Valakut Predator Territorial Baloth
Five common creatures with a landfall ability that gives them +2/+2.
Common feature lands Sandstone Bridge Skyline Cascade Mortuary Mire Looming Spires Fertile Thicket
Five common taplands that have additional effects when they enter the battlefield and can be tapped for M.
Blighted lands Blighted Steppe Blighted Cataract Blighted Fen Blighted Gorge Blighted Woodland
Five uncommon lands that tap for one colorless mana, and can be sacrificed to activate an ability with a mono-colored activation cost.[36]
Cycle name {W}{U} {U}{B} {B}{R} {R}{G} {G}{W}
Allied color uncommons Roil Spout Ulamog's Nullifier Forerunner of Slaughter Grove Rumbler Grovetender Druids
Five allied colored uncommon spells.
Allied color battle lands Prairie Stream Sunken Hollow Smoldering Marsh Cinder Glade Canopy Vista
Five rare dual lands that enter the battlefield tapped unless the player controls two or more basic lands (reverse of the fast lands). As they all have basic land types, they can be fetched by fetch lands and are the third type of land to do so, after the original dual lands and shock lands.[6][37]
Cycle name {W}{B} {U}{R} {B}{G} {R}{W} {G}{U}
Enemy color uncommons Drana's Emissary Herald of Kozilek Catacomb Sifter Resolute Blademaster Skyrider Elf
Five enemy colored uncommon spells.

Mega cycles[ | ]

Cycle name {W}{B} {U}{R} {B}{G} {R}{W} {G}{U}
Enemy colored Tapland Manlands Shambling Vent (Battle for Zendikar) Wandering Fumarole (Oath of the Gatewatch) Hissing Quagmire (Oath of the Gatewatch) Needle Spires (Oath of the Gatewatch) Lumbering Falls (Battle for Zendikar)
Five lands that can turn into creatures until end of turn. One rare for each enemy color pair, able to produce either color and enters the Battlefield tapped.[38] This cycle completes the enemy color megacycle of tapped manlands that started in Battle for Zendikar as well as the larger Mega-Mega Cycle stared in Worldwake.[39]

Mega-Mega cycles[ | ]

Cycle name
Eldrazi Titans Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger (Battle for Zendikar) Kozilek, the Great Distortion (Oath of the Gatewatch) Emrakul, the Promised End (Eldritch Moon)
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is the first card in the Eldrazi Titan triplet card cycle.

Pairs[ | ]

Battle for Zendikar has a mirrored pair.

Mirrored Pairs Description
Valakut Invoker
Oran-Rief Invoker
Invokers; common Human Shamans with an activated ability which cost {8}.

Reprinted cards[ | ]

Common to Uncommon[ | ]

Functional reprints[ | ]

Card comparisons[ | ]

Many Battle for Zendikar cards are strictly better, and a handful are strictly worse than previous cards.

Notable cards[ | ]

  • Endless One is the simplest and most cost-efficient example of a design previously seen on more than 100 other cards.
  • The battle lands cycle would go on to be heavily played in Standard, due to being in the format with the Khans of Tarkir fetchlands. However, outside of this, they are considered poor lands in all larger formats.
  • Zulaport Cutthroat is one of the best versions of its effect and is played in most Aristocrats-style casual Commander decks.
  • Painful Truths is a strong card advantage spell that has been used in Standard, Modern, Legacy and Vintage.
  • Retreat to Coralhelm has numerous powerful combos and has been most famously combined with Knight of the Reliquary in Modern Bant decks.
  • Bring to Light is a key card in numerous Pioneer and Modern decks from those built around Niv-Mizzet Reborn to those built around Retraction Helix to those built around Omnath, Locus of Creation, and has also seen significant play in Modern decks like Scapeshift decks. It is particularly strong in these decks built around individual cards because of its ability to find and cast key spells in the same turn.
  • Radiant Flames is a strong and flexible sweeper that has seen significant sideboard play in Standard and Pioneer.
  • Wasteland Strangler has seen play in numerous Modern decks that add an Eldrazi theme to the traditional Death & Taxes shell where it can function like a Flametongue Kavu.
  • Strong colorless Eldrazi cards like Sanctum of Ugin and Oblivion Sower would be part of degenerate Modern Eldrazi decks once Oath of the Gatewatch brought even more cheap, powerful Eldrazi cards that could be abused with the previously printed Eldrazi Temple and Eye of Ugin.
  • Dragonmaster Outcast is the first Mythic Rare to be reprinted in an expansion set.

Preconstructed decks[ | ]

Intro packs[ | ]

Battle for Zendikar has five intro packs (three bicolored and two colorless):[40]

Intro pack name Colors Included Foil rare
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Eldrazi Assault B R Barrage Tyrant
Zendikar's Rage R G Oran-Rief Hydra
Call of Blood W B Defiant Bloodlord
Rallying Cry W R Hero of Goma Fada
Swarming Instinct U G Drowner of Hope

Event deck[ | ]

Battle for Zendikar has one event deck.

deck name
Colors Included
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Ultimate Sacrifice B G

References[ | ]

  1. Information below the text box
  2. Wizards of the Coast Twitter (@wizards_magic) (March 6, 2015). "Battle for Zendikar Announced"
  3. Wizards of the Coast (March 6, 2015). "PAX Panel Streaming Live". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Wizards of the Coast (March 9, 2015). "Announcing Battle for Zendikar". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Blake Rasmussen (September 14, 2015). "The Basic Lands of Battle for Zendikar". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. a b Mark Rosewater (August 5, 2015). "Any chance for new full-art lands in Battle for Zendikar or the other 5 fetches?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  7. Michael Yichao (October 5, 2015). "Sketches: Battle for Zendikar Basic Land Art". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Mark Rosewater (October 12, 2015). "Battle Plans". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Doug Beyer (September 14, 2015). "Is there a reason why Felidar Sovereign doesn't get new art?". A Voice for Vorthos. Tumblr.
  10. Adam Lee (June 25, 2014). "Nissa, Worldwaker". Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Doug Beyer (June 16, 2014). "Checking in on the Planeswalkers". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Michael Yichao (September 30, 2015). "Interviewing Maro on Battle for Zendikar". Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Ant Tessitore (October 1, 2015). Snacks with Kelly Digges.
  14. Magic Creative Team (October 7, 2015). "Battle for Zendikar Story Events". Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Blake Rasmussen (September 1, 2015). "Battle for Zendikar Packaging". Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Dan Barrett (August 26, 2015). "Battle for Zendikar: Your First Look". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Blake Rasmussen (September 17, 2015). "All the Expeditions". Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Gavin Verhey (September 21, 2015). "Battle for Zendikar Prerelease Primer". Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Wizards Play Network. "Battle for Zendikar Prerelease"
  20. Mark Rosewater (July 28, 2015). "When do BFZ spoiler weeks start?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  21. Aaron Forsythe (August 20, 2015). "New Mulligan Rule Starting with Battle for Zendikar Prereleases". Wizards of the Coast.
  22. Gavin Verhey (September 1, 2015). "Branded Play". Wizards of the Coast.
  23. Blake Rasmussen (September 7, 2015). "The Promos of Battle for Zendikar". Wizards of the Coast.
  24. Mark Rosewater (October 18, 2015). "Are some tokens rarer than others?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  25. Blake Rasmussen (September 16, 2015). "The Tokens of Battle for Zendikar". Wizards of the Coast.
  26. Sam Stoddard (September 11, 2015). "Challenges of Revisiting Sets". Wizards of the Coast.
  27. Mark Rosewater (September 7, 2015). "Preparing for Battle, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.
  28. Mark Rosewater (September 14, 2015). "Preparing for Battle, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  29. Matt Tabak (August 31, 2015). "Battle for Zendikar Mechanics". Wizards of the Coast.
  30. Wizards of the Coast (September 23, 2015). "Battle for Zendikar Release Notes". Wizards of the Coast.
  31. Sam Stoddard (October 23, 2015). "Developing Devoid". Wizards of the Coast.
  32. Ian Duke (September 7, 2015). "Converging on Zendikar". Wizards of the Coast.
  33. Adam Styborski (September 10, 2015). "Void Where Prohibited". Wizards of the Coast.
  34. Blake Rasmussen (September 10, 2015). "Even Odder". Wizards of the Coast.
  35. Blake Rasmussen (September 15, 2015). "Retreat!". Wizards of the Coast.
  36. Mark Rosewater (September 21, 2015). "Battle for Zendikards, Part One". Wizards of the Coast.
  37. Mark Rosewater (September 28, 2015). "Battle for Zendikards, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  38. Sam Stoddard (September 7, 2015). ""Creature" Lands". Wizards of the Coast.
  39. Mark Rosewater (September 07, 2015). "Is BFZ going to have all 5 enemy-colors manlands?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  40. Blake Rasmussen (September 24, 2015). "Battle for Zendikar Event Deck and Intro Packs". Wizards of the Coast.

External links[ | ]