Daily Dose of Zendikar Rising #3 – The Graveyard is No Safe Place to Rest
Welcome all to the Daily Dose of Zendikar Rising. Today I’ll be talking all about taking advantage of the graveyard. Zendikar Rising seems to be all about regrowth and reanimation with some of the cards we’ve seen so far. Sometimes you can go through an entire set and have little to no cards that help your graveyard. Today I’ll be talking about three of those cards and what it could mean for a Sultai Graveyard Standard deck. Sultai has always love to play with the graveyard with mechanics like Delirium and Flashback, but Zendikar Rising doesn’t have a graveyard specific mechanic, just lots of cards that play with the graveyard as a resource.
To start off I have a creature that acts like a Ninja, even though it isn’t one. Here is Zareth San, the Trickster.
Zareth San, the Trickster
I love the design of this card and how it can turn your early game creatures into late-game threats. There are a lot of Rogues with Flash in Standard that can be cast during your opponent’s turn before your turn four, allowing you to attack unimpeded to allow Zareth San, the Trickster to deal damage to your opponent. Brazen Borrower is a great card as it can bounce on turn two, cast on turn three, and bring it back to your hand on turn four. Cheville, Bane of Monsters has deathtouch which often means your opponent won’t want to block it if it attacks. One of the best Rogues to have though is Thieves’ Guild Enforcer. Not only is it cheap, it mills your opponent, meaning you have a better chance of getting a quality permanent card to bring back with Zareth San, the Trickster. If you can’t stick a Rogue on the battlefield, it can always just sneak itself.
Next up is the return of the Legendary Drana. Here is Drana, the Last Bloodchief.
Drana, the Last Bloodchief
What a card this is! One of the great power creeps of a card like this is that you don’t even have to damage your opponent to gain its reanimation ability. It shouldn’t be too hard to put a good creature or two in your own graveyard. Having to not rely on your opponents’ graveyard having creatures makes it easier to have this card as a deck build-around card. I like that the reanimated creatures get larger, although there isn’t much synergy now with it also becoming a Vampire. It is a 4/4 Flying creature giving the evasion needed to allow it to attack over multiple turns, helping you grow your army.
Finally, I have the return of a Zendikar favourite. Here is Nissa of Shadowed Boughs.
Nissa of Shadowed Boughs
We have seen Mono-Green Nissa, Simic Nissa, but now we have the first Golgari version of Nissa. Let’s have a look at the abilities of this planeswalker.
Landfall - Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, put a loyalty counter on Nissa of Shadowed Boughs. – This ability is going to make it awfully hard to kill Nissa of Shadowed Boughs in a turn or two. With a land like Fabled Passage you could end the turn with 7 loyalty on Nissa of Shadowed Boughs. Not bad for a four-mana planeswalker. With Fabled Passage you could even use its second ability and have it survive with one loyalty counter.
[+1]: Untap target land you control. You may have it become a 3/3 Elemental creature with haste and menace until end of turn. It's still a land. – This is not at strong as Nissa who Shakes the World who’s land transformation was permanent but being able to untap a land and get in for three damage each turn thanks to evasion is nice. Most of the time you might just want to use it as a ramp.
[-5]: You may put a creature card with converted mana cost less than or equal to the number of lands you control onto the battlefield from your hand or graveyard with two +1/+1 counters on it. – This can lead to some strong creatures entering the battlefield including some Standard greats like Elder Garganoth. Having an 8/8 that gains you a major resource advantage is nice. Using it on a card like Yorion, Sky Nomad will allow you to blink Nissa of Shadowed Boughs and have it back at four loyalty instead of one.
Thanks again for reading the Daily Dose of Zendikar Rising. Join me again tomorrow to investigate some of the powerhouse creatures that Black is bringing to the table in Zendikar Rising.