MTG Wiki
Zendikar logo.png
Set Information
Set symbol
Design Mark Rosewater (lead),
Doug Beyer,
Graeme Hopkins,
Kenneth Nagle,
Matt Place
Development Henry Stern (lead),
Aaron Forsythe,
Mark Globus,
Erik Lauer,
Devin Low,
Matt Place,
Mike Turian,
Steve Warner
Art direction Jeremy Jarvis
Release date October 2, 2009
Plane Zendikar
Themes and mechanics Lands, Quests, Traps
Keywords/​ability words Landfall, Kicker
Set size 249
(101 commons, 60 uncommons, 53 rares, 15 mythic rares, 20 basic lands)
Expansion code ZEN[1]
Development codename Live
Zendikar block
Zendikar Worldwake Rise of the Eldrazi
Magic: The Gathering Chronology
Masters Edition III Zendikar Duel Decks: Garruk vs. Liliana
For other uses, see Zendikar (disambiguation).

Zendikar is the fiftieth Magic expansion and was released in October 2009 as the first set in the Zendikar block.[2] Prerelease events were held September 26–27, 2009.[3] Release events were held October 2–4, 2009. Zendikar Game Day was held October 31, 2009.

Set details[]

Zendikar contains 249 cards (101 Common, 60 Uncommon, 53 Rare, 15 Mythic, 20 Basic Lands), including randomly inserted premium versions of all cards in the set. The expansion symbol of the set is a closed hedron.

Zendikar is the "land set"; it is centered around lands and players' interaction with lands.[4][5] Besides Landfall and enemy fetch lands, the set features special full-art basic lands similar to those that appeared in Unglued and Unhinged. The lands have a regular name box but the mana symbol of the text box and the type line are conflated into one at the bottom of the card. The box is the normal height of the type-box but dents outwards for the mana symbol in the middle. To the left of the symbol are the words "Basic Land" while on the right is the type of the land and the expansion symbol. These special lands appear in booster packs and fat packs. Intro packs on the other hand have normal styled lands as they have appeared in the majority of large expansions. These have the same collector numbers, but with an added letter "a". There are four individual arts for each land and both sets of lands feature the same artwork.[6][7][8][9][10] Full art basic lands function the same way as any other basic lands, since each land with a basic land type intrinsically has the mana ability associated with that type. The set features new planeswalkers, including Nissa Revane, who was previously featured in Duels of the Planeswalkers.[11]


“  Deadly Perils, Priceless Treasures.  ”

Zendikar is based on the plane of the same name which had not been featured previously in Magic, but had been alluded to within the planeswalker novel of The Purifying Fire. It is a plane of adventure, many treasures, and potent mana supplies, but mana on this plane works differently than in the rest of the multiverse.[12][13] The plane is littered with large, floating polyhedron-shaped stones called hedrons, prominently featured in the artwork. Little is known of these Hedrons as not even the people native to the plane know about their purpose. The floating stones however are also an indicator of the fact that gravity is different on Zendikar than on other planes.[14][15]

Zendikar is populated by Goblins, Elves and Vampires among others. Zendikar is also the home plane of the Kor and as such they are predominately featured as the race for white in the set. It is revealed that their appearance on Rath and other planes is due to abductions from Zendikar.[14]

"Priceless Treasures"[]

Main article: Priceless Treasures

As a promotion to further the theme of the set, Wizards randomly inserted cards from older sets into Zendikar boosters replacing the basic land slot.

These cards are mostly from Beta, Unlimited, Antiquities, some of them are signed cards. Cards from the Reserved List are not excluded as these cards are not reprints but are existing copies from the old print run and therefore do not violate the policy. However, due to legal issues, ante-related cards do not appear as Priceless Treasures (Chaos Orb and Shahrazad, both banned in Vintage, did appear however).

Priceless Treasures include reserved cards like Power Nine-members and dual lands, cards not on the reserved list but not reprinted otherwise by then like Sol Ring are also included. Despite appearing in the boosters, cards from Priceless Treasures are excluded in limited play, nor did they become legal in Standard, Extended, or Modern.


Zendikar 6-card booster

Zendikar was sold in 16-card booster packs, 6-card boosters, 5 intro packs [16] and a fat pack.[17] It was the first large exansion to be sold without tournament packs. The regular boosters featured art from Ob Nixilis, the Fallen, Vampire Lacerator, Nissa Revane, Chandra Ablaze and Sorin Markov.[18] The 6-card booster featured Nissa Revane. The Zendikar block was accompanied by only one novel: Zendikar: In the Teeth of Akoum, written by Robert B. Wintermute.

Prerelease events were held September 26–27, 2009. Release events were held October 2–4, 2009. Zendikar Game Day was held October 31, 2009. The promotional cards given to participants at the prerelease are Rampaging Baloths, highlighting landfall, with alternate artwork and the Celestine Reef plane card for use with the Planechase set.[19] The release card for the launch party was Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, which rewards you for playing multiple mountains. The promotional cards given to Game Day Event participants was a full-art Nissa's Chosen, winners received a foil full-art Emeria Angel.[20] The Buy-a-Box card was Day of Judgment.

Regular boosters of Zendikar come with a bonus sixteenth card that is either a "tips & tricks card" or a creature token from Zendikar. One face of the Zendikar bonus card has one of five different rules tips or is one of eleven different creature tokens. The other face has one of 13 advertisements for organized play programs, Worldwake, Duels of the Planeswalkers for Xbox Live, Magic Online, fat packs, A Planeswalker's Guide to Alara and Ultra Pro products for Magic.

Tips & Tricks[]

The tips & tricks cards are


The Zendikar tokens in numerical order are:[21]


The ability word Landfall signals triggered abilities upon lands entering the battlefield under a players control.[23][24] The set also prints a cycle of enemy-colored fetch lands which support the set in color fixing and give additional landfall triggers.

The set features three new Planeswalkers in Sorin Markov, Chandra Ablaze and Nissa Revane and a new subtype for Instant called "Trap". Trap cards have alternate costs if specific events happen, like an opponent putting two creatures onto the battlefield in the same turn.[25] There are also cards representing small Quests. These are enchantments that gain Quest counters in specific events. After building up counters on them they yield rewards.

The keyword Kicker returns.[26] It also features the new keyword Intimidate which functions like and replaces fear as it makes a creature with intimidate unblockable except for artifact creatures and creatures that share a color with the intimidating creature.

Another new mechanic is centered around the new creature type Ally.[27][28][29] A group of creatures with that type have abilities that trigger upon them or another Ally entering play and are either dependent on or beneficial to Allies in play the same player controls.

Bloodied is a vampires theme in the set, where the creature will be boosted if the opponent is at 10 life or below, thematically generating the concept of a hunter encouraged by wounded prey.


Zendikar has 13 cycles:

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Expeditions Sunspring Expedition Ior Ruin Expedition Soul Stair Expedition Zektar Shrine Expedition Khalni Heart Expedition
Each of these common enchantments bear the word "Expedition" in its name, gains a quest counter from Landfall and have an activated ability for removing three counters and sacrificing the Expedition.
Quests Quest for the Holy Relic Quest for Ancient Secrets Quest for the Gravelord Quest for Pure Flame Quest for the Gemblades
Each of these uncommon enchantments bear the word "Quest" in its name, gain quest counters from specific events and a certain number of counters can be removed and the enchantment can be sacrificed for an effect.
Ascension Luminarch Ascension Archmage Ascension Bloodchief Ascension Pyromancer Ascension Beastmaster Ascension
Each of these rare enchantments gain quest counters should specific events occur and another ability is enabled after a threshold of counters is reached. All of them also have "Ascension" in the name.
Common kicker instants Bold Defense Into the Roil Vampire's Bite Burst Lightning Vines of Vastwood
Each of these common instants have a kicker cost.
Strong kicker cycle Conqueror's Pledge Rite of Replication Sadistic Sacrament Elemental Appeal Gigantiform
Each of these rare cards has a big effect that becomes a giant effect for a big colorless kicker-cost.
Landfall pump creatures Steppe Lynx Windrider Eel Hagra Crocodile Plated Geopede Territorial Baloth
Each of these common creatures gain +2/+2 as their Landfall ability. There is also an equipment that has the same function as this cycle: Adventuring Gear.
One mana spell lands Kabira Crossroads Soaring Seacliff Piranha Marsh Teetering Peaks Turntimber Grove
Each of these common lands enters the battlefield tapped, taps for an appropriate colored mana, and then has a one mana spell effect in that color as an "enters the battlefield" trigger.[30]
Rare spell lands Emeria, the Sky Ruin Magosi, the Waterveil Crypt of Agadeem Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
Each of these lands enters the battlefield tapped and taps for one mana of a color. They also have an additional ability and each is named after a specific place on Zendikar, though they are not legendary.
Common "growing" Allies Makindi Shieldmate Umara Raptor Nimana Sell-Sword Tuktuk Grunts Oran-Rief Survivalist
Each of these common creatures have "When this card or another Ally comes into play under your control, put a +1/+1 counter on this creature."
Uncommon Allies Kazandu Blademaster Seascape Aerialist Hagra Diabolist Murasa Pyromancer Tajuru Archer
Each of these uncommon creatures have an Ally-based ability.
Rare Allies Kabira Evangel Sea Gate Loremaster Bala Ged Thief Kazuul Warlord Turntimber Ranger
Each of these Rare Ally creatures has a powerful Ally ability.
Cycle name {W}{U} {U}{B} {B}{R} {R}{G} {G}{W}
Refuge land cycle Sejiri Refuge Jwar Isle Refuge Akoum Refuge Kazandu Refuge Graypelt Refuge
Five lands that enter the battlefield tapped and tap for one of two allied colors. They are functional reprints of taplands except they additionally gain 1 life when they enter the battlefield.
Cycle name {W}{B} {U}{R} {B}{G} {R}{W} {G}{U}
Enemy color fetch lands Marsh Flats Scalding Tarn Verdant Catacombs Arid Mesa Misty Rainforest
Each of these rare lands can be sacrificed along with a payment of 1 life to search for one of two basic land types.

Mega Cycles[]

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Planeswalkers Gideon Jura (Rise of the Eldrazi) Jace, the Mind Sculptor (Worldwake) Sorin Markov (Zendikar) Chandra Ablaze (Zendikar) Nissa Revane (Zendikar)
Five monocolored planeswalkers, each with their own part of the Zendikar storyline.


Zendikar has one mega matched pair with future set Worldwake.

Matched Pairs Description
Marsh Threader (Worldwake)
Cliff Threader (Zendikar)
2/1 Kor Scouts with Landwalk.

Reprinted cards[]

The following cards have been reprinted from previous sets and included in Zendikar:

Functional reprints[]

Zendikar has 5 functional reprints:


Notable cards[]

  • The cycle of enemy fetch lands see significant play in all formats.
  • Iona, Shield of Emeria was played as both lock and finisher mostly in Legacy, but also in Standard and Modern in reanimator decks.
  • Vampire Hexmage was half of the powerful Extended combo (the other half being Dark Depths), also played in Standard vampires decks.
  • Bloodghast is another Vampire that saw widespread tournament play due to easy recursion from the graveyard, e.g. to fuel Dread Return.
  • Halo Hunter is a demon that kills angels, but was widely panned by the magic community for the fact of it being a demon, and thus being unable to handle Baneslayer Angel, a card which haunted the Standard tournament scene at the time.
  • Lorthos, the Tidemaker is a legendary Octopus which takes the theme as far as it gets, with converted casting cost and power/toughness all being 8, and an ability which costs another {8} to tap eight permanents. There are actually eight instances of eight on this card.[31]
  • Spreading Seas appears to be a very inconspicuous card, but saw widespread tournament play due to its ability to significantly limit the color capabilities of multicolored decks which emerged from the previous Alara block, and later was able to deal with non-basic lands from Zendikar block such as Manlands that followed in Worldwake or cards such as Eye of Ugin.
  • Warren Instigator is closely related to the powerful Goblin Lackey, a card that was once banned in Extended. However, while Warren Instigator is able to put two Goblins into play on the same turn, the larger costs proved him to be slower and thus less dangerous.
  • Goblin Guide's potential as a turn-one play made him a popular choice in Burn decks despite the downside of drawing the opponent an occasional land.
  • Felidar Sovereign is an alternate-win card.
  • Punishing Fire has been banned in Modern since December 2011 for its anti-aggro loop with Grove of the Burnwillows, despite the format speeding up dramatically since.

Intro packs[]

Main article: Zendikar/Intro packs

The intro packs are:[16][32]

Intro pack name Colors Included Foil rare
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Kor Armory W Armament Master
Rise of the Vampires B Malakir Bloodwitch
The Adventurers R G Turntimber Ranger
Pumped Up U R Hellkite Charger
Unstable Terrain U G Sphinx of Jwar Isle


  1. Product info
  2. Wizards of the Coast (March 25, 2009). "Announcing Zendikar". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Tim Willoughby (September 21, 2009). "Zendikar Prerelease Primer". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater (September 07, 2009). "Achieving Zendikar, Part I". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Mark Rosewater (September 14, 2009). "Achieving Zendikar, Part II". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Magic Arcana (August 10, 2009). "Zendikar Plains". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Magic Arcana (August 11, 2009). "Zendikar Islands". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Magic Arcana (August 12, 2009). "Zendikar Swamps". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Magic Arcana (August 13, 2009). "Zendikar Mountains". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Magic Arcana (August 14, 2009). "Zendikar Forests (and Wallpaper of the Week!)". Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Doug Beyer (September 07, 2009). "Zendikar, the Lethal Landscape". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Explore the Planes: Zendikar
  13. A Planeswalker's Guide to Zendikar
  14. a b At the Gathering- In the Near Future, Jeff Phillips,, August 28th, 2009
  15. Jeremy Jarvis (September 14, 2009). "The Look of Zendikar". Wizards of the Coast.
  16. a b Magic Arcana (August 19, 2009). "Zendikar Intro Packs". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Magic Arcana (August 26, 2009). "Zendikar Fat Pack". Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Magic Arcana (August 17, 2009). "Zendikar Booster Packs". Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Magic Arcana (September 16, 2009). "Zendikar Prerelease Promos". Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Magic Arcana (October 26, 2009). "Zendikar Game Day Promos". Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Magic Arcana (September 23, 2009). "Zendikar Tokens". Wizards of the Coast.
  22. Magic Arcana (January 20, 2010). "Summoning an Illusion". Wizards of the Coast.
  23. Tom LaPille (September 25, 2009). "Making Landfall, Part I". Wizards of the Coast.
  24. Tom LaPille (October 09, 2009). "Making Landfall, Part II". Wizards of the Coast.
  25. Tom LaPille (September 11, 2009). "You Just Fell For The Trap". Wizards of the Coast.
  26. Mark Rosewater (September 21, 2009). "Achieving Zendikar, Part III". Wizards of the Coast.
  27. Mark Rosewater (November 02, 2009). "True Allies". Wizards of the Coast.
  28. Matt Place (October 05, 2009). "Multiclassing in Magic R&D". Wizards of the Coast.
  29. Tom LaPille (November 06, 2009). "Know Your Allies". Wizards of the Coast.
  30. Tom LaPille (September 18, 2009). "This Land Is Your Land". Wizards of the Coast.
  31. Mark Rosewater (October 12, 2009). "Zendikar Talk". Wizards of the Coast.
  32. Magic Arcana (September 30, 2009). "Zendikar Intro Pack Contents". Wizards of the Coast.

External links[]