September 1, 2020

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Daily Dose of Zendikar Rising #2 – The return of Double-Faced Cards: Lands Edition

Welcome all to the Daily Dose of Zendikar Rising, where today I’ll be talking about the return of one of my favourite mechanics/designs, Double-Faced Cards. We have seen DFCs (for short), as recently as Ixalan block, but I’m quite happy to see them return in Zendikar Rising. They are slightly different in Zendikar Rising, where they act more like a split permanent. The DFCs from Zendikar Rising basically gives you two options on how you wish to play each card and I couldn’t be more excited.

Before I get into the hyped new dual lands, I want to talk about a couple of cards that can either be a land, or a spell later in the game. Let’s start off with Pelakka Predation // Pelakka Caverns.

Pelakka Caverns / Pelakka Predation

The design of this card is great and puts a lot of decision making into the mind of the player. Early in the game, you can play it out as a tapped land as you probably won’t need mana early in the game. On turn four, you have another decision point to make. Do you believe they have a card with converted mana cost three or greater in their hand you want to make them discard? Perhaps they do, but you need to hit your land drop for later in the game, what do you do then? Later in the game, your opponent could have no cards in hand, therefore making this a tapped basic land. I think this card is best drawn within the first four turns of the game where it will get the most value and I can’t see myself playing a full playset of this land.

Next up is a card that allows you to draw some cards, or simply become a land. Here is Valakut Awakening // Valakut Stoneforge.

Valakut Stoneforge / Valakut Awakening

One of the things Red often needs later in the game is a way to improve card selection and Valakut Awakening // Valakut Stoneforge does this. I see this card being best in a midrange to control deck. The best words on this card are “that many cards plus one”. That way in a worst-case scenario you can instantly cycle this card for three mana and won’t be left with an empty hand. There are also some decision points with this card, where you might not play any lands after a certain point to build up cards in your hand to discard, but if you have that many dead cards in your hand, you could be in trouble in the game. Beware the trap that this card could have, where you don’t want to play any of your spells, so you have more cards to cycle.

Now we are on to the new Pathway dual lands from Zendikar Rising. Here is Branchloft Pathway // Boulderloft Pathway.

Branchloft Pathway / Boulderloft Pathway

New dual lands, I welcome you with open arms. I love the design of these new lands. They act almost as a fetchland that gets, in the case of Branchloft Pathway // Boulderloft Pathway, a Forest or a Plains. The advantage though is that it comes on the battlefield untapped with no drawback. You aren’t hurt by having multiple of these lands in your hand. There is a total of six of these Pathway lands. Red and White appear in three of the lands, while Black, Blue, and Green only appear twice. I’m not sure why they decided to give Red and White more options for these Pathway lands, but maybe more information will come to the forefront, once we see more cards in the set.

It looks like the lands of Zendikar are fruitful and ready to make an impact once again. Thanks again for reading the Daily Dose of Zendikar Rising. Join me again tomorrow as preview season continues with a bang!