First up, here are some things you can expect:
- A white creature that can make an opponent lose the game simply by attacking them no matter how much life they have — Angel of Destiny
- A multicolor creature that lets you repeatedly reanimate permanents out of your opponent’s graveyard for no mana — Zareth San, the Trickster
- Three creatures with five creature types — Tajuru Paragon, Veteran Adventurer, and Stonework Packbeast
- An artifact granting +2/+2 to a subset of creatures that first appeared in Alpha — colorless creatures (Forsaken Monument)
- X being used for a variable it's never been used for before — party size (e.g. Cascade Seer)
- A 6/6 artifact creature that costs 3 and a 7/5 artifact creature that can cost 3 — Relic Golem and Sea-Gate Colossus
- The return of four mana symbols that have each only ever been used on two cards before — two-brid mana (Tazri, Beacon of Unity)
- Lands that come with a choice you've never had before — Pathway lands and in general all modal double-faced cards have on land side in Zendikar Rising
- Targeted enchantment removal in black — Feed the Swarm
- A red/white creature with a line of rules text that starts with "Whenever" and ends with "draw a card" — Akiri, Fearless Voyager
- A card with three different activated abilities that all copy something — Lithoform Engine
Here are snippets of rules text, you’ll see:
- "three plus" — Skyclave Plunder
- "different converted mana cost X or less" — Agadeem's Awakening
- "equal to 20 minus" — Scourge of the Skyclaves
- "Cowards can't block Warriors" — Kargan Intimidator
- "don't lose unspent red mana" — Leyline Tyrant
- "twice the number of Equipment" — Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients
- "If it's the third time" — Omnath, Locus of Creation
And finally, here are some creature type lines you’ll see:
- Mouse — Canyon Jerboa
- Leviathan Crab — Charix, the Raging Isle
- Shapeshifter Rogue — Glasspool Mimic
- Demon Cleric — Taborax, Hope's Demise
- Wurm Horror — Dreadwurm
- Hydra Horror — Grakmaw, Skyclave Ravager
- Cat Horror — Skyclave Shadowcat
- Angel Wizard — Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate
Banned and Restricted cards
- Omnath, Locus of Creation was the fourth in the series of the ever-expanding Omnath legendary creatures, adding White mana to the Temur combination. Despite the four-color mana cost it became trivially easy to cast, and the base rate of a 4/4 that draws a card and gains 4 life every turn turned aggro from a traditionally bad matchup to a laughably easy one. Decks quickly built to exploit Omnath to its full potential, with Lotus Cobra managing the color requirements and Escape to the Wilds or Genesis Ultimatum being ways to continuously hit four or five land drops a turn, playing almost as a Storm deck. The deck was weakened with the Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath banning, but that merely took away one avenue of long-game inevitability, and controlling a deck with so much mana was nearly impossible. A second build hybridized Omnath with the Adventures deck, making a ramp strategy with enough interaction that only the pure Omnath ramp decks would overpower. After a 70% metagame domination at the 2020 Grand Finals, Omnath was banned alongside Lucky Clover (part of the Omnath Adventures shell) and Escape to the Wilds.
- Charix, the Raging Isle has the highest printed toughness of any black-bordered creature at 17.
- Years seemingly have passed for the Teeterpeak Ambusher, improving his skills and equipment, but using the same method since he was a Reckless Bushwhacker in Rise of the Eldrazi and a just a young Goblin Bushwhacker in the Zendikar set.
- Zendikar Rising is the first draft set since Scars of Mirrodin where no Auras were designed to be placed on one's own creatures due to the prevalence of "snap-on" Equipment.
- Skyclave Relic is the first non-creature artifact with indestructible since Darksteel Relic from New Phyrexia, around nine years after the latter was printed.
- Moss-Pit Skeleton is the second ever gold kicker spell, after Kangee, Aerie Keeper 20 years prior in Invasion.