|Symbol description||a skyclave|
Mark Rosewater (lead)|
Erik Lauer (co-lead)|
Andrew Brown (co-lead)
|Art direction||Keven Smith|
|Release date||September 25, 2020|
|Themes and mechanics||Lands, creature class tribal, Party, modal double-faced cards, two-brid mana, ETB-attach Equipment|
|Keywords/ability words||Kicker, Landfall|
(101 commons, 80 uncommons, 64 rares, 20 mythic rares, 15 basic lands)
+9 borderless cards
+24 showcase cards
+66 extended art cards
+5 regular frame lands
+1 Buy-a-Box promo
+1 Bundle promo
+5 dark-frame promos
|Forgotten Realms Standard|
|Magic: The Gathering Chronology|
- 1 Set details
- 2 Themes and mechanics
- 3 Cycles
- 4 Reprinted cards
- 5 Preconstructed decks
- 6 Notable cards
- 7 References
- 8 External links
As Mark Rosewater announced "we return to a Zendikar without Eldrazi and revisit the adventure world players fell in love with." It is a "land set" in the sense of the sets of the first Zendikar block, and all about adventure, exploration and reward.
Zendikar Rising contains 280 regular cards (101 commons, 80 uncommons, 64 rares, 20 mythic rares, 15 basic lands) and includes randomly inserted premium versions of all cards. Cards with alternate card frames have another card number than the original version. Like all previous Zendikar sets, Zendikar Rising features full-art basic lands (#266-280). Borderless planeswalkers are numbered #281-283, borderless pathways are #284-289, showcase cards are numbered #290-313, extended artwork cards are numbered #314-379, and regular frame lands are numbered #380-384. The (non-exclusive) Buy-a-Box is #385, and the Bundle promo is numbered #386. Finally there are the FNM-treatment cards from the Universal promo pack numbered #387-391. Both regular and foil versions of the cards above #280 may be found in the Collector Boosters.
The Showcase cards are connected to Landfall mechanic. The card frame is themed around Zendikar’s hedrons, and the art style is intended to imitate bright-colored Travel Posters. The set features no new planeswalkers. The returning planeswalkers are Jace, Nissa, and Nahiri. Starting with Zendikar Rising, the mythic rares are changing their rate of drop. In the past, 1 in every 8 rares was a mythic rare. That is changed so that 1 in every 7.4 rares will be a mythic rare. Equivalently, this is an increased chance, from 37 in 296 packs previously, to 40 in 296 packs now. Draft boosters have a dedicated MDFC slot.
Zendikar is a dangerous world of lethal risks where brave adventurers delve into ancient ruins in search of priceless rewards. The storyline features no Eldrazi but we see the ruin they have caused. From the perspective of its inhabitants, it is a hostile place that seems to be actively trying to kill the creatures that have the audacity to live there. The danger is unrelenting: precarious terrain, cunning predators, natural disasters on a massive scale, and the still continuing Roil — the unpredictable ripples of change that wash through the land — all present a constant challenge to survival. Nahiri has returned to Zendikar, and is willing to do anything to get rid of the Roil. Nissa has also returned home, but for reasons of her own.
The cards that represent the Story Spotlights in Zendikar Rising are:
- Lithoform Engine
- Lithoform Blight
- Maddening Cacophony
- Nahiri's Binding
- Nahiri's Lithoforming
- Nissa's Zendikon
|Episode 1: In the Heart of the Skyclave||A. T. Greenblatt||2020-09-02||Zendikar, Ravnica||Nahiri, Nissa Revane, Jace Beleren|
|Red Route||Miguel Lopez||2020-09-04||Zendikar||Akiri, Zareth San|
|Episode 2: Race to the Murasa Skyclave||A. T. Greenblatt||2020-09-09||Zendikar||Akiri, Jace Beleren, Kaza, Kesenya, Nahiri, Nissa Revane, Orah, Zareth San|
|The Magosi Steps||Miguel Lopez||2020-09-10||Zendikar||Akiri, Zareth San|
|Episode 3: The Dangerous Climb, The Long Fall||A. T. Greenblatt||2020-09-16||Zendikar||Akiri, Kaza, Nahiri, Orah, Zareth San|
|Beneath Riverroot Tree||A. Z. Louise||2020-09-18||Zendikar||Obuun|
|Episode 4: Of Haunting Songs and Whispered Warnings||A. T. Greenblatt||2020-09-23||Zendikar||Akiri, Ashaya, Nahiri, Nissa Revane, Jace Beleren|
|Episode 5: The Two Guardians||A. T. Greenblatt||2020-09-30||Zendikar||Ashaya, Jace Beleren, Nahiri, Nissa Revane|
Zendikar Rising is sold in regular 16-card Draft Boosters (one card being a marketing card), Theme Boosters, Collector Boosters, Set Boosters, the Zendikar Rising bundle, and two Commander decks. A special Gift Edition of the Bundle will release in November 2020. The set is accompanied by a new Welcome Booster. The Draft Boosters feature artwork from Jace, Nahiri and Nissa. The Theme Boosters feature art from Adventure Awaits (Party), Archpriest of Iona (), Field Research (), Blackbloom Rogue (), Teeterpeak Ambusher (), and Murasa Brute (). The Collector Boosters feature art of Omnath, Locus of Creation. The Set Boosters feature art from Needleverge Pathway.
As part of the advertisement campaign for the set, content creators were provided with adventure gear (a water bottle, a bandanna, and a face mask).
The release of Secret Lair Drop Series: Showcase: Zendikar Revisited was timed to coincide with the release of Zendikar Rising.
Set boosters and the List
Zendikar Rising introduced Set Boosters. These are targeted to players that are not interested in Draft or Limited, and sell for a slightly higher price than Draft Boosters. Each pack comes with fourteen objects, twelve of which are Magic cards.
In 25% of the Set Boosters, cards of "The List" can be found instead of a marketing card. The List is a changing catalogue of 300 cards from older sets. These are not Standard legal. In addition, in 5% of the Set Boosters, the marketing card is replaced by a minigame card.
Similar to the original Zendikar Priceless Treasures and Zendikar Expeditions of the second block, Zendikar Rising has its own version of bonus cards from outside the set. There are 30 Expeditions in total, all of which are lands. These include all 10 fetch lands. Unlike those earlier cards, these do not randomly appear in booster packs. Instead, they are only available as Box toppers (non-foil with a high-gloss treatment) and in Collector Boosters (foil).
- Magic Online and MTG Arena release: September 17.
- Tabletop Prerelease: September 18–24.
- Launch party (Outside US & LATAM only): September 26–27.
- Friday Night Magic (Outside US & LATAM only): September 25–January 15.
- Commander Nights (Outside US & LATAM only): September 28–January 14. A weekly Commander league with rotating rules and achievement-based prizes.
- Prerelease: a stamped card that can be any rare or mythic rare of Zendikar Rising.
- Other events: cards from the Zendikar Rising universal promo pack.
- Buy-a-Box: foil alternate art extended art Orah, Skyclave Hierophant.
- Bundle promo: foil alternate art Charix, the Raging Isle.
The sixteenth card in the Draft Boosters is either a token with advertisements on the backside, or a helper card with a standard card back. The Collector Boosters contain a foil double-faced token. In total, Zendikar Rising comes with twelve tokens.
- 4/4 Angel Warrior creature with flying, for Emeria's Call.
- 1/1 Cat creature, for Attended Healer.
- 2/2 Cat Beast creature, for Felidar Retreat.
- 1/1 Kor Warrior creature, for Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients and Squad Commander.
- 2/2 Drake creature with flying, for Roost of Drakes.
- */* Illusion creature, for Inscription of Insight and Skyclave Apparition.
- 1/1 Insect creature, for Iridescent Hornbeetle, Scute Swarm and Swarm Shambler.
- 0/1 Plant creature, for Phylath, World Sculptor.
- */* Hydra creature, for Grakmaw, Skyclave Ravager.
- 1/1 Construct artifact creature for Myriad Construct.
- 0/1 Goblin Construct artifact creature with "This creature can't block" and "At the beginning of your upkeep, this creature deals 1 damage to you," for Relic Robber.
- Copy, for Lithoform Engine, Jace, Mirror Mage, Scute Swarm, Skyclave Relic and Verazol, the Split Current.
- 1/1 Bird creature with flying, for Emeria Angel
- 1/1 Kor Ally creature, for Retreat to Emeria
- 1/1 Faerie Rogue creature with flying, for Notorious Throng
- 0/0 Germ creature, for Bonehoard and Scytheclaw
- 1/1 Goblin Rogue creature, for Marsh Flitter
- 1/1 Rat creature, for Ogre Slumlord
- 4/4 Beast creature, for Rampaging Baloths
- 2/2 Elemental creature, for Zendikar's Roil
- 1/1 Saproling creature, for Sporemound
- 5/5 Elemental creature, for Omnath, Locus of Rage
- 1/1 Thopter artifact creature with flying, for Whirler Rogue
Oona, Queen of the Fae creates 1/1 Faerie Rogue creature with flying, which aren't provided with the deck.
Themes and mechanics
A new mechanic in Zendikar Rising takes a popular theme that players like and twists it in a new way: party, a batching mechanic which resembles the ally tribal strategy of previous Zendikar visits. (Allies themselves do not appear in the set.) A party looks for one of each of Clerics, Rogues, Warriors and Wizards among creatures you control, then scales an effect on the size of the party.
The second new mechanic is modal double-faced cards (MDFCs). Like previous double-faced cards, modal double-faced cards have two faces, one on each side. However, when you play a modal double-faced card, you choose the face you're playing: they don't transform. Each draft booster contains a modal double-faced card. The set also introduces helper cards: similar to the checklist cards of past sets, they can be used to replace an unsleeved card. In lieu of the abandoned block model, R&D has found a new way to tie together the three non-core premier sets in a single Magic "year" (aka the fall, winter, and spring sets—using northern hemisphere seasons): they share a common mechanic. For Zendikar Rising, Kaldheim and Strixhaven: School of Mages that is MDFCs. The MDFC's of Zendikar Rising all feature lands on their back side.
There are two returning mechanics, both of which have appeared in a Zendikar set before. The first of these is kicker, a keyword ability that allows you to pay an extra cost for a bonus effect. Kicker was first featured in the Invasion block, later appeared in the original Zendikar set, and was last seen in the Dominaria expansion. This set also marks the first time a card with kicker having a multicolored cost (Moss-Pit Skeleton) is printed since Kangee, Aerie Keeper from Invasion. The second returning mechanic is landfall, an ability word for abilities that trigger on lands entering the battlefield under your control. All cards with landfall in the set receive an alternate showcase treatment.
The set also sees the return of "two-brid mana", first featured in Shadowmoor, on Tazri, Beacon of Unity. Similar to regular hybrid mana, two-brid mana symbols can be paid with two mana of any color or one mana of a specific color.
Zendikar Rising has a creature class tribal theme, centered on Clerics, Rogues, Warriors, and Wizards. Each class has an associated mechanic for Limited. Each color in the set showcases the four classes in varying proportions: with any two-color combination, you can have a full party with cards from only Zendikar Rising. That said, only three creatures are available in the tertiary colors in total, two in green and one in the other, not counting the "any role" vertical cycle.
It's noted that Green is present in all four classes as their tertiary colors, but in none as their primary or secondary colors. There are ten Green creatures that fill party roles; six commons, three uncommons and a rare.
|Warrior||"Snap-on" equipment (one free attachment)|
|Wizard||Caring about instants, sorceries, and other Wizards|
|Rogue||Caring about eight or more cards in an opponent's graveyard|
Zendikar Rising features the following limited archetypes:
- : Party control (Spoils of Adventure)
- : Rogue tribal, mill (Soaring Thought-Thief)
- : Party aggro (Ravager's Mace)
- : Landfall aggro (Brushfire Elemental)
- : Landfall midrange (Murasa Rootgrazer)
- : Cleric tribal, lifegain (Cleric of Life's Bond)
- : Wizard tribal, "spells matter" (Umara Mystic)
- : +1/+1 counters (Moss-Pit Skeleton)
- : Warrior tribal, Equipment (Kargan Warleader)
- : Kicker ramp (Lullmage's Familiar)
|Mythic Creatures||Angel of Destiny||Sea Gate Stormcaller||Scourge of the Skyclaves||Leyline Tyrant||Ancient Greenwarden|
|Five mythic rare creatures with keyword abilities as well as spelled-out abilities.|
|Mythic Legendaries||Tazri, Beacon of Unity||Jace, Mirror Mage||Drana, the Last Bloodchief||Moraug, Fury of Akoum||Ashaya, Soul of the Wild|
|Four mythic rare legendary creatures and one mythic rare planeswalker, each having a converted mana cost of three or more.|
|Inscriptions||—||Inscription of Insight||Inscription of Ruin||—||Inscription of Abundance|
|An partial cycle of rare non-permanent modal spells with a kicker ability that allows the controller to choose multiple options.|
|Relics||Relic Vial||Relic Amulet||Relic Golem||Relic Axe|
|Four uncommon artifacts, one for each of the party class types, that either reference their respective class or (for Relic Golem) synergizes with the draft subtheme of that class (i.e. mill).|
|Expeditioners||Expedition Healer ()||Expedition Diviner ()||Expedition Skulker ()||Expedition Champion ()|
|Four common creatures, one for each of the party class types, that get stronger if you control another creature of the same type.|
|Full Party Creatures||Archpriest of Iona ()||Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate ()||Nimble Trapfinder ()||Squad Commander ()|
|Four rare creatures, one for each of the party class types, are the only cards that trigger an ability while controlling a "full party" (the only other reference is a sorcery, Coveted Prize). Notably contained with the color pair.|
|Common Tertiary Creatures||Cleric of Chill Depths ()||Farsight Adept ()||Sneaking Guide ()||Highborn Vampire ()|
|Four common creatures, one for each of the party class types, are the only representative of their class at common, and for the non-red creatures, the only representative playable in monocolor.|
|Uncommon Mirrored Pair Creatures||Attended Healer ()||Windrider Wizard ()||Shadow Stinger ()||Fireblade Charger ()|
|Scion of the Swarm ()||Rockslide Sorcerer ()||Sure-Footed Infiltrator ()||Kor Blademaster ()|
|Eight uncommon creatures, two for each of the party class types. Each pair develops a distinct play style: life gain for Clerics, spellcasting for Wizards, saboteur abilities for Rogues, and equipped creatures for Warriors.|
Modal double-faced cycles
|Gold legends||Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate||Zareth San, the Trickster||Zagras, Thief of Heartbeats||Phylath, World Sculptor||Yasharn, Implacable Earth||Orah, Skyclave Hierophant||Kaza, Roil Chaser||Grakmaw, Skyclave Ravager||Akiri, Fearless Voyager||Verazol, the Split Current|
|Ten rare dual-colored legendary creatures, each loosely supporting a draft archetype.|
|Gold signposts||Spoils of Adventure||Soaring Thought-Thief||Ravager's Mace||Brushfire Elemental||Murasa Rootgrazer||Cleric of Life's Bond||Umara Mystic||Moss-Pit Skeleton||Kargan Warleader||Lullmage's Familiar|
|Ten uncommon dual-colored spells, each a signpost for a draft archetype.|
|Pathways||—||Clearwater Pathway||—||Cragcrown Pathway||Branchloft Pathway||Brightclimb Pathway||Riverglide Pathway||—||Needleverge Pathway||—|
|—||Murkwater Pathway||—||Timbercrown Pathway||Boulderloft Pathway||Grimclimb Pathway||Lavaglide Pathway||—||Pillarverge Pathway||—|
|Six rare modal double-faced lands, each side of which enters untapped and taps for a single color of mana. The other four are flagged for Kaldheim.|
|Multiclass creatures||Tajuru Paragon||Veteran Adventurer||Stonework Packbeast|
|Each of these three creatures has a characteristic-defining ability which makes them also a Cleric, Rogue, Warrior, and Wizard. They can therefore fill any position in your party.|
|Goblin Rogues||Relic Robber||Grotag Night-runner||Sneaking Guide|
|Three goblin Rogues that have saboteur-based abilities. Red has three Rogues, unlike the other tertiary classes in the other three colors.|
|Territorial Scythecat ()||Prowling Felidar ()||Two common Cat creatures. Each has a landfall ability that gives it a +1/+1 counter, and another keyword ability.|
|Hagra Constrictor ()||Gnarlid Colony ()||Two common creatures, each of which enters the battlefield with a number of +1/+1 counters and gives creatures you control with +1/+1 counters a keyword ability.|
|Akoum Hellhound ()||Canopy Baloth ()||Two common creatures, each has a landfall ability that gives it a +2/+2 for the turn; unlike previous Zendikar sets, only two creatures have this as opposed to a full cycle.|
The following cards have been reprinted:
- Disenchant, first printed in Alpha, last seen in Core Set 2020.
- Into the Roil, first printed in Zendikar, last seen in Commander 2018.
- Negate, first printed in Morningtide, last seen in Core Set 2020.
- Pressure Point, first printed in Fate Reforged, last seen in Mystery Booster.
- Rabid Bite, first printed in Shadows over Innistrad, last seen in Core Set 2020.
- Smite the Monstrous, first printed in Innistrad, last seen in Battle for Zendikar.
- Subtle Strike, first printed in Kaladesh.
- Tormenting Voice, first printed in Khans of Tarkir, last seen in Game Night.
- Vanquish the Weak, first printed in Ixalan.
Mythic Rare to Rare
- Cliffhaven Sell-Sword is a functional reprint of Blade of the Sixth Pride, Devilthorn Fox, Dromoka Warrior, Knight of New Benalia, Oreskos Swiftclaw, Raptor Companion and Savai Sabertooth, except for creature types.
- Dauntless Survivor is a functional reprint of Ironshell Beetle and Timberland Guide, except for creature types.
- Living Tempest is a functional reprint of Faerie Invaders, Spire Monitor, Stormrider Spirit and Wind Strider, except for creature types.
- Murasa Brute is a functional reprint of Centaur Courser, Harrier Naga and Nessian Courser, except for creature types.
- Tajuru Blightblade is a functional reprint of Moss Viper and Sedge Scorpion, except for creature types.
|Land's Wrath||W||R||G||Obuun, Mul Daya Ancestor|
|Sneak Attack||U||B||Anowon, the Ruin Thief|
Banned and Restricted cards
- Omnath, Locus of Creation combined card draw, lifegain, and ramp in a single card, much like Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath before it. Thanks to ramp cards like Fabled Passage and Cultivate, triggering its landfall ability thrice per turn proved easier than expected. The card quickly took such a large share of the metagame that, on October 12, 2020, it was banned in Standard and Brawl and suspended in Historic. The Historic suspension was extended to a ban in February 2021.
Other notable cards
- Skyclave Apparition became the most played white creature in Modern and one of the most played creatures in the format in general thanks to its ability to permanently remove recurring threats like Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath and Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger.
- The modal double-faced cards enabled in Pioneer and improved in Modern and Legacy strategies based around having no cards counting as lands in your library and winning through different means. Eventually this led to the February 2021 banning of Balustrade Spy and Undercity Informer in Pioneer, two cards that allowed you to mill your entire library and win with a critical amount of creatures that put themselves from your graveyard onto the battlefield for free.
- Wizards of the Coast (September, 2020). "Zendikar Rising Credits". Magicthegathering.com.
- WPN Product info
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- Mark Rosewater (September 04, 2019). "I missed the announcement of the sets for next year.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Magic: The Gathering Panel with Mark Rosewater | Comic-Con@Home 2020 (Video). YouTube.
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- Mark Rosewater (July 25, 2020). "Set Boosters". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Ari Zirulnik and James Wyatt (September 1, 2020). "Zendikar: Thing Have Changed". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Ari Zirulnik (September 2, 2020). "Zendikar Rising Product Overview". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Annie Sardelis (September 14, 2020). "Magic Minigames". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Gavin Verhey (September 15, 2020). "Zendikar Rising Prerelease Primer". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
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- Mark Rosewater (September 2, 2020). "Please say a lot of the color pairs are getting a Type they're missing?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (September 21, 2020). "More Zendikar Rising Stars". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (September 1, 2020). "Why is there six new pathways, as opposed to the usual cycle of 5 dual lands?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (September 11, 2020). "Will they still be "X Pathway // Y Pathway"?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Gavin Verhey (October 30, 2019). "Big Things Are Coming for Commander in 2020". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Ian Duke (October 12, 2020). "October 12, 2020 Banned and Restricted Announcement". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Ian Duke (February 15, 2021). "February 15, 2021 Banned and Restricted Announcement". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Zendikar Rising Teaser (Video). Magic: The Gathering. YouTube (August 24, 2020).
- Zendikar Rising Official Trailer (Video). Magic: The Gathering. YouTube (September 1, 2020).
- The Zendikar Adventuring Party (Video). Magic: The Gathering. YouTube (September 1, 2020).
- Blake Rasmussen (September 17, 2020). "Zendikar Rising Art Descriptions". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (September 28, 2020). "Zendikar Rising Vision Design Handoff Document". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (October 5, 2020). "Odds & Ends: Zendikar Rising". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.