We’re fast approaching the end of September, and that means two things: a new Magic the Gathering is about to descend upon the store , and the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo is beckoning us! This coming weekend of September 25-27, we’ll be at the Edmonton Expo with a double booth, number 605-705. The guest roster for Edmonton is looking really good this year —Stan Lee, for one will be present! Check on the Edmonton Expo website for further details of this year’s guests!
Magic the Gathering: A Zendikar Primer
While some of us at the store will be up in Edmonton at the Expo, the remainder will be minding the store for what’s shaping up to be a big weekend of a different sort. Over the last few weeks, the zeitgeist among the Magic: the Gathering crowd could be summed up in one word: ZENDIKAR.
Wizards of the Coast is about to release the new Magic set, Battle for Zendikar, which sees a return to one of the game’s most popular settings since its inception back in 1993.
For the uninitiated, from October, 2009 through to April, 2010 Wizards of the Coast release three sets for what was called the Zendikar block (Zendikar, Worldwake and Rise of the Eldrazi). Zendikar was one of the many planes of the multiverse in Magic the Gathering; it was a world defined by its vast, untamed wildernesses and colossal ancient octahedral stones called “hedrons” that floated in the sky—a hint that mana flowed differently on this plane.
The lands of Zendikar were in constant upheaval due to a geological phenomenon called the “Roil” that ravaged and renewed the lands in sweeping motions. The Roil kept the lands roughly hewn, and what few bastions of civilization survived existed primarily for outfitting treasure-seeking adventurers and their expeditions to the far corners of Zendikar, in search of what magical treasure the Roil may have recently unearthed. “In search of treasure” was a key phrase for the Zendikar set.
Zendikar had some interesting hallmarks that quickly made fans realise something special was afoot. With the set emphasising how the land itself in Zendikar was different, there were land cards designed without the standard Magic border, favouring full art and minimal text instead. There was the appearance of a brand-new planeswalker, Sorin Markov, plus the first non-video-game appearance of the planeswalker, Nissa Revane. And the set’s advertising tagline of, “Deadly peril, Priceless Treasures,” was revealed via the Eldrazi who appeared later in the block and by the “Priceless Treasure” cards that were randomly distributed in Zendikar booster packs.
Priceless Treasures Unearthed!
To emphasize that the world of Zendikar presented the possibility of treasure around every corner (to those adventurous enough) Wizards of the Coast inserted Priceless Treasures into random booster packs throughout the Zendikar set. These “treasures” were older, expensive cards that were brought out of the company’s vaults (as it were): essentially making them the Magic the Gathering version of Willie Wonka’s “Golden Tickets.” Some of the inserted cards were were even signed, making the cards all the more rare and valuable!
Deadly Peril Awaits…
The hidden dangers in Zendikar’s storyline were made manifest through the Eldrazi: an ancient and powerful race that in times past had devoured planes and threatened the multiverse itself. The planeswalkers, Sorin, Ugin and Nahiri imprisoned the Eldrazi on the plane of Zendikar; but the seals were weakening. In game terms, the Eldrazi, finding all planes of existence equally delicious, had transcended the colours of magic: Eldrazi cards were colourless and (befitting those whom had threatened the multiverse) insanely powerful cards. The best way to envision the Eldrazi is to consider them as a cross between Marvel’s planet-eater, Galactus …and any of the old gods in the Cthulhu mythos.
Six years after the release of Zendikar, we are now returning to that tumultuous plane to explore it once more through the new set, The Battle for Zendikar! The set is due out on October 2, 2015 and has already begun to turn heads! For starters, all the land in the set’s Fatpacks will be full-art land cards. Also, the new set, mimicking what was done with Zendikar’s “Priceless Treasures,” will have what’s called, “Zendikar Expeditions”; these cards will be reprinted Land cards: basic-land types, all ten fetchlands, and all ten dual lands—all done as premium foils and with full art! Spoilers have been put up by Wizards of the Coast; if you haven’t seen them yet, check them out here.
The Battle for Zendikar’s street date is Friday, October 2; we’ll be running a launch-night draft for Friday Night Magic to ring in the new set—but don’t forget that you can get your hands on some Battle for Zendikar packs a week early by participating in the Pre-Release events around town on the weekend of September 26-27! Imaginary Wars will be running two events this time around: in the afternoons on both days of the weekend to help people get a sneak peek into the lands of Zendikar.
SEPTEMBER 26 & 27: PRE-RELEASE EVENTS