While we're about 70 cards away from a full set reveal, enough of Zendikar has been spoiled to start making some decisions and pre-ordering cards. Remember, pre-orders carry extra risk due to the unpredictable nature of spoiler season. Before ordering a card that's not an official spoiler, consider carefully your risks. We'll do a comprehensive review of each rare and mythic in the set when all are revealed, but for now we'll just touch on a few early favorites in each color.
Obviously an instant classic. Pre-sales are at 15 dollars and that seems about right. It's got an outside shot at 20, but could just as well sink to 10 if the decks that run it aren't good enough. Regardless, you'll be playing this card for the next two years so secure a set at a good price and sit on it.
She's got a lot of potential. These days, 4-drops need to own the board or generate card advantage, and while the fragile Angel is still in Bolt range, she remains dangerous as long as she's on the board. Possibly not good enough, but keep an eye out.
If counterspells are viable, he will be good. His synergy with the new Force Spike-Negate hybrid is also enviable, but don't play Cancel just to get a free token. They're so ridiculously cheap right now that it would make sense to snag a few sets, just in case.
Mindbreak Trap is going to be a very important card. The ability to counter a Bloodbraid Elf on the draw is nice, and the ability to stop an Enlisted or Bituminous Ultimatum is also great. Foils of this new Legacy and Vintage powerhouse will be worth entirely too much money, so if your play group is mostly Standard players, load up on the foil and sell it to a Vintage player. 18-20 dollars seems high for this card, but it just might not come down. It shouldn't go much higher than 20, so don't rush to finish your set.
If the spoiler is correct, which it most likely is, this card is really ridiculous. It's got all the right things - a low CMC, a non-creature type, an easy and natural quest condition, and a game-breaking effect once the condition is met. It's got great synergy with Lightning Bolt, Bloodbraid Elf, Goblin Guide, and it is a natural partner with Blightning - which turns into Cruel Ultimatum. Combo decks with this and the Archive Trap will probably not be Tier 1, but if there is some sort of way to tutor up a quest, it's a possibility. This is up there with Goblin Guide as a big-time sleeper. It's a perfect one-drop for an aggressive deck, and will utterly dominate the mirror. Your Maelstrom Pulses just got another Bitterblossom to shoot down. Why this isn't already selling for 40/set is baffling, but take the opportunity while they're cheap.
People are trying to do too much with Landfall. Yes, it's an instant win with Warp World, we all know that. But most of the time, Warp World is a win when it resolves ANYWAY! The appropriate way to play Ob Nixilis is to treat him as if his 2nd cost is playing a fetch land in the same turn . That way, a single Lightning Bolt doesn't blow you out. In a deck with 10+ fetch lands, this should not be difficult. The biggest question is how to build the rest of the deck - do you go for Cobra Ramp and Harrow? Or just use him as a finisher in some sort of Black/X aggro deck? Either way, he's got power in spades and doesn't die to everything. Keep a keen eye on this Mythic ex-Planeswalker. He could be better than you think.
This shouldn't need to be said, but here it is. Would you play a 2/2 for [R]? Sure would. How about one with HASTE? No doubt, it's better than any other 1-drop Red has had, except maybe Figure of Destiny. So what about if you added on a drawback that let your opponent draw a card half the time it attacked...? Still good. Sligh decks care about dealing the most damage as fast as possible, not grinding out incremental advantage. The bottom line is, the information they get isn't terribly important when they're being shocked every turn from the word "go". They're pre-selling for less than 5 dollars a card, which is totally insane, and if you haven't pre-ordered a set, you need to.
Those are just a few early picks for now. More to come later!