We got quite a lot of information from this video first posted on September 1st, 2020. If you don't like spoilers I suggest you skip this article.
While there is a ton of spoiler information in the video, I'm going to highlight the things I'm most excited about and what speculation opportunities I see due to the new cards.
Zendikar Rising Spoilers
At first glance, I almost brushed this mechanic off. The idea is that you need to control multiple creatures with specific creature types to get additional benefits from spells with this mechanic. A party consists of:
We don't have a lot of cards spoiled that include this mechanic just yet, but some of the first ones are impressive if you can reliably get a full party quickly.
I misread this mechanic at first thinking it was completely broken with Changelings, however, the wording appears to mean that even if you have a creature that meets the subtype requirement multiple times you are still limited to only benefiting from that creature once. This feels like a mechanic that WoTC felt they could push the power level of the cards IF you manage to get a full party only because it will likely be difficult to do so, and equally difficult to maintain it.
Landfall Mechanic Returns
The landfall mechanic appears to be the permanent one associated with the plane of Zendikar. So far, spoilers containing landfall cards have been somewhat sparse and I haven't seen any that make me want to take some action, however, if you were inclined to pick up cheap Azusa, Lost but Seeking wouldn't be a bad call. It's a powerful Commander card that also finds a home in Modern ramp decks that tend to play Primeval Titan.
Creature Subtype Matters
While I sort of touched on this with regards to the party mechanic, this set appears to have a lot of dual subtype creatures which opens the door to older cards that interact with any of those subtypes for significant gains. We have already seen Edgewalker spike in price and I expect to see more cards from that era do the same.
I've been a fan of the kicker mechanic since it was first announced in Invasion. Making a spell semi-modal gives players flexibility, something that is highly desirable in a game with a fair amount of variance. My biggest concern with it is that WoTC so far has seemed to be a bit afraid of pushing the boundaries on this mechanic as there have already been 137 cards with the kicker mechanic (or multikicker) and only a small handful ever end up seeing meaningful play in any given format.
I'm not sure what the official name for the new rare dual land cycle is, but I've heard people call them "Pog" lands and I enjoy that nostalgic throwback, so until there is an official name I'm going to stick with that.
These lands serve as "dual lands" when in your hand, but only tap for mana of whichever color you play them as once they leave your hand. This clever design allows players to fix mana the turn they play it but forcing them to live with the decision afterward. I think these lands are hard to evaluate in a vacuum because we don't know how much this restriction will affect deckbuilding. I do think we may see some of the blue options in Merfolk decks as a way to help get around Choke.
On a similar note, there are other dual-faced card lands in the set that instead of having a different land on the back instead have a spell. My two favorites so far are:
While these DFC lands come into play tapped when played as a land, the spell sides seem quite powerful. Regrowth for 1 more mana seems very good later in the game when the additional cost is minimal and the same goes for Valakut Awakening. While some of the other options are a lot less impressive, these two stand out to me so far.
One thing to look for with regards to these lands is older cards that return lands to your hand, as they can potentially sit on the battlefield (protected) from hand disruption, and then if you can return them when you'd like you can cast them when needed.
Apparently foil versions will only be available in Collector Boosters, unlike previous Expeditions, which were always foiled. Nonfoil versions will be available in draft/set booster boxes as box toppers. Collector Booster boxes will also include 2 non-foil Expeditions as box toppers. So far we have seen all the Expeditions spoiled, as the video states that there are 30 total and we have 30 spoiled:
- Scalding Tarn
- Misty Rainforest
- Marsh Flats
- Arid Mesa
- Verdant Catacombs
- Polluted Delta
- Flooded Strand
- Wooded Foothills
- Windswept Heath
- Bloodstained Mire
- Prismatic Vista
- Strip Mine
- Cavern of Souls
- Grove of the Burnwillows
- Horizon Canopy
- Luxury Suite
- Morphic Pool
- Sea of Clouds
- Bountiful Promenade
- Spire Garden
- Darkslick Shores
- Copperline Gorge
- Seachrome Coast
- Blackcleave Cliffs
- Razorverge Thicket
- Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
- Creeping Tarpit
- Celestial Colonnade
- Ancient Tomb
Lastly, we were told that the set boosters may contain a card from "The List" which seems to be a curated list of 300 cards from Magic's past. The likelihood is apparently around 1 in 4. We got the following 3 cards spoiled from "The List"
Judging by the images this appears to have the same planeswalker symbol in the bottom left-hand corner that we saw with Mystery Booster cards.
All we were told about Kaldheim is that it is a Viking themed plane. That isn't a whole lot to work with, but it would make sense to have creature types like warrior or berserker in the plane so for those who really like to gamble look for cards that play with either of those subtypes as potential specs.
Strixhaven: School of Mages
This appears to be a plane with 5 Colleges of Magic. We didn't get much regarding this set, but it would seem likely that wizard might be a prominent creature subtype for this set, so some possible speculation targets might be something like:
Riptide Laboratory has only 2 printings: Onslaught and Jumpstart. Supply is likely to be pretty minimal of course there is a fair amount of risk that it gets reprinted and the price collapses. This is a card I will have in my card as spoiler season rolls around and should it be eliminated from possible contention in the set I'd probably buy a few copies.
Adventures in the Forgotten Realms
This is the Dungeons and Dragons crossover set. My knowledge on that game is pretty limited to games like Baldur's Gate that came out years ago so I don't have any potential speculation opportunities for this set currently.
Return to Return to Innistrad
While the set names haven't been released yet, there will be 2 sets in a return to Innistrad with 1 focusing on werewolves and the other on vampires both of which are beloved casual tribes so keep an eye out on older cards that interact well with either creature subtype.
Time Spiral Remastered
I actually took a break from Magic during my college years which happened to include the Time Spiral block, so I never got to enjoy drafting the block but have been told it was a lot of fun. Similar to the original Time Spiral block they will include timeshifted cards in the packs that include the old style borders, so artifacts will be brown, etc.
As old-style borders tend to be more desirable to many competitive players there could be certain timeshifted cards from the set that become more valuable than their original printing based solely on the old-style border. We got to see the following cards spoiled as timeshifted: