Insider: Top Ten Battle for Zendikar Gems

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When last we last left Zendikar, the Eldrazi had just gone all Rome on Carthage, and then Chandra went all Jean Grey Phoenix on D'Bari. Ka-boom! Let's just say that Zendikar became less of a destination and more of a smoldering dumpster fire.

The downside is that the entire plane was left in complete and utter desolation. The upside is that travel and vacation rates are very affordably priced! With the world becoming abuzz about Kaladesh it is the perfect time to hone in and revisit everybody's favorite decimated world.

A few things to keep in mind before we go back to Zendikar. First, don't drink the water. Ulamog's Revenge. I don't want to get too specific but it isn't pleasant. Second, Battle for Zendikar block (and particularly BFZ itself) were sets with singles that were suppressed by the value of the premium Expedition lands. As a result, the actual cards have been cheaper than they might otherwise have been because the Expeditions drove the prices down.

It's over a year later now, and the demand and hype surrounding the Expediations has faded while people are no longer clamoring to crack packs of BFZ. People have moved on and forgotten about poor, lonesome Zendikar.

The article I set out to write this evening was about Standard cards that I thought had significant potential upside as a financial investment as we move toward Kaladesh. Once I had narrowed it down it turned out that every single one at the top of my list was Zendikari.

10. Sire of Stagnation

To say that the demand for Sire of Stagnation had stagnated would be a play on words...

I actually thought the card was on the edge of constructed-playable when the set first came out and designed a deck around it for a CFB article. With that being said, I don't think it is outside the realm of possibility that the card has a shot at seeing constructed play in new Standard when the Collected Company oppressors rotate.

If the stars were to align and Sire of Stagnation were to find some fringe playability it would certainly help the price of the card. However, I think that the real value this card may have hidden away has very little to do with its constructed appeal. If it sees some Standard play that would be great but even if it doesn't I still think the card has long-term potential.

As far as big dumb creatures go this one is pretty grand. It also doesn't hurt in the flavor department due to its creature type of Eldrazi. The card is good in Commander. Have you ever cast a Collective Voyage with this guy in play? Wowie. If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it.

9. Quarantine Field

Q-Field is a card that I think has value attached to whether or not it ends up being good in Standard post-rotation. It is a card that I have played in Standard more than most people and have been overwhelmingly impressed by.

As an investment, I love the combination of a card I know is great and a dirt-cheap buy-in. This is about as cheap as a playable mythic can be.

It is one of those cards that can't really go down in value too much but could easily make significant gains if the format is right for it. Low risk, high reward.

8. Wasteland Strangler

Strangler is a good card. I've played it in B/W Eldrazi and Taxes decks in multiple Modern tournaments. Not only did the card pull its weight but it was actively impressive in my deck.

The card is teetering dangerously close to the bulk rare range and is Modern-playable. How does that work exactly?

It also cannot possibly hurt that the card has the Eldrazi creature type. I don't mean to bombard you with the repeated mantra of, "...and it's an Eldrazi too," but I do think it is important. Eldrazi are the new Slivers, and the kitchen table crowd will want these for years to come.

7. World Breaker

It breaks the world---if that doesn't get you excited I don't know what will.

I've seen this card played across a wide array of formats. Good in Standard. Good in Modern. Good in Commander. I've even seen it played in Legacy to some success.

I'm not even going to mention that it is an Eldrazi. Damn. Well, it is.

The card is very unique as a recurrable, uncounterable Disenchant effect attached to a giant creature with great stats. I mean, who wouldn't want to play with that card in basically every Commander deck ever for the rest of time? It's also a mythic which means it can maintain a little higher price tag.

Also, did I mention it's an Eldrazi?

6. Lumbering Falls

The Origins painlands are going to rotate with Kaladesh which means no enemy-colored dual lands besides the tapped lands and this cycle of creature lands. It also doesn't hurt that the creature lands are very, very good cards in Standard.

The thing I like most about the BFZ creature lands is that the price tag is dirt cheap.

I also enjoy the fact that Lumbering Falls is in the color of Sylvan Advocate. It doesn't even matter to me that Collected Company is rotating because I'm certain that Advocate will be good on its own merits. I also think this card has fringe Modern applications.

5. Corrupted Crossroads

Speaking of "the Origins lands are rotating with Kaladesh..."

It seems pretty significant to me that all five of the best sources of colorless and colored mana, aka painlands, are rotating and leaving a big void for decks that want to cast devoid Eldrazi spells. There is a pretty good chance that if there ends up being an Eldrazi deck this card could see some play.

I'm also not prepared to completely disregard the idea that there are more devoid spells with colored mana costs coming down the line. Corrupted Crossroads is a unique card and there is always potential for that.

4. Stone Haven Outfitter

Kaladesh is full of artifacts. Maybe some of them will be equipment...

I've played a lot with Stone Haven Outfitter and the card is off-the-charts powerful but just hasn't had the right supporting cast to go with it. If the stars are right in Kaladesh I could see this bargain-bin favorite making some serious gains in the future.

It is also worth noting that this card will always have a home in equipment-based casual and Commander decks.

3. Shambling Vent

It may not be in the color of Sylvan Advocate but that doesn't mean I can't play it in an Abzan deck! We're also likely to see a B/W Standard deck post-rotation.

All things considered I think that Shambling Vent is the best of the BFZ block creature lands by a wide margin. The card is easily good enough to be a Modern mainstay in Abzan midrange decks and B/W Tokens from now until the end of time.

The price is cheap enough right now and I find it hard to imagine it could go much lower. On the other hand, its continued playability in Modern after rotation all but ensures higher upside.

2. Void Winnower

The only card on this list that I've actually happily sleeved up and played in Vintage. Void Winnower has proven pretty savage to Oath up against Workshop decks. Turns out they don't have a lot of odd-cost cards.

Nevertheless, I think the card also has a lot of potential as a reanimation target in other formats like Legacy or Modern. It could even find a home in UrzaTron sideboards at some point.

The effect is sufficiently powerful and unique that I think it will be a casual and constructed niche card long after it has outlived its time in Standard.

Oh, and did I mention it's an Eldrazi!!!

1. Painful Truths

I may be a little bit of a homer on this card considering I'm actually on a podcast called "Painful Truths." (If you get a chance check it out.)

It's worth noting that I wouldn't consent to being on a podcast named after a card that sucks...

I could see Painful Truths getting better in Standard if the mana is good. However, I think the long-term gains for this card are more closely linked to Legacy and Modern. The card has already proven it is a player in non-Standard constructed formats and will be for a long time. If you want to draw three cards for three mana few other cards will let you do what P Truth does. It's a great efficient value card for grindy matchups.


Well, that wraps up my Battle for Zendikar block picks. I'm very excited for Kaladesh but it's important to keep one's eye on the prize. While there are sure to be plenty of exciting things yet to come, let's not forget to appreciate and show a little bit of love for where we've been---even if the Eldrazi did leave it a foul, barren, reeking waste.

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