Standard pickups Part 2: Zendikar Rising Edition

By: Jaren White

It’s everyone’s favorite time of the year: Standard rotation and spoiler season. I have been long excited for this set and this time of the year. Especially with the past Standard meta we have had. Zendikar Rising is looking to be a breath of fresh air. With that being said let us dive right in to my picks for this set so far.

  1. Nissa of Shadowed Boughs

When I first saw this card spoiled I got immediately excited. The first thought I had was playing a Uro and following up with a Fabled Passage so I could tick up the loyalty twice in one turn. Then I had thoughts of using the minus ability to put out cards like Elder Gargaroth or Questing Beast. I decided after that to switch the gears to Historic. The first thing that came to mind was using the minus ability to slam out Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.

Due to how much ramp is in Historic it is very easy to make this a reality. Also, we could play Nissa in Kethis combo to play out the missing combo piece. Now, my last thought which is going to tie into a possible archetype and lead into my number two card. Using the minus to put out a Robber of the Rich or a Rankle, Master of Pranks. By the way, Robber has Reach!!!

  1.  Zagras, Thief of Heartbeats

The interesting interactions between this card and Robber of the Rich or Rankle are definitely something that should not be looked over. Especially since all three cards have the subtype of being a rogue. Even if you lose your Robber after you have attacked. Your opponent’s creature will die too and you get a card from their library.  Hmmm, also imagine a 5/5 Rankle, Master of Pranks with deathtouch… and killing your opponents planeswalker sounds like money as well.

  1.  Inscription of Ruin

This card reminds of Kolaghan’s Command and I definitely remember that card seeing a lot of play and this card is no different. I can also see this card being played in midrange mirrors very easily. I’m looking forward to some of the play patterns it’s gonna create. Like mind rotting your opponent, bringing back Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger and killing your opponents Uro all in the same turn. 

  1. Lotus Cobra

I wasn’t around when this card was played but i heard all the stories and we are about to create some new ones. With its best friends Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath and Fabled Passage. Also, I wanna make some new memories with Azusa, Lost but Seeking and Genesis Ultimatum. With that being said I can not wait to play this card.

  1.  Sea Gate Stormcaller

I really like the fact of when this card enters the battlefield and copies a Growth Spiral in pioneer, an Into the Roil in Standard or a Thoughtseize in Historic. It has already done its job. Now casting it with Kicker is just all the sprinkles on ice cream we could want right??? Do not sleep on this card!

  1. Confounding Conundrum

I feel like this card  is particularly designed to stop ramp strategies from running all over Standard. I do like the fact that it punishes my opponent for playing a Uro on curve. With that being said I can see this being played in ramp mirrors as a way to stop your opponent’s Uro.

  1.  Jace, Mirror Mage

A planeswalker with kicker is a very interesting design space that is for sure. I see Jace being played in some midrange and control shells where you don’t want to flood out too much and find answers. The real trick is going to be finding out when to cast Jace for kicker and when to draw a card with Jace. He is definitely going to help out with the issue of consistency in direct correlation with Teferi, Master of Time.

  1.  Sea Gate Restoration

I am definitely a fan of this card. Drawing a bunch of cards while you have a Dream Trawler out on the field is definitely a way to shut the door on a game. Also on the flipside of things, this card optionally being a land is interesting. So if you don’t want to draw a bunch of cards then it helps you fix your mana.

  1.  Emeria’s Call

This particular spell I’m definitely going to enjoy casting. Putting eight power worth of creatures on the board along with giving my Dream Trawler indestructible seems kinda powerful actually and I’m pretty sure this card is a finisher for control.

  1.  Pathway Lands

These lands are definitely hard to evaluate. I do firmly believe they will see play across multiple formats as a way to fix mana bases in Pioneer and Standard. I also believe the lands will help with consistency issues of getting colors on time. With that being said I recommend picking up the lands while they are cheap. 

In Closing 

I am definitely looking forward to playing this set when it is released on Arena and I do plan on streaming some decks once it is released for the masses to play on September 17th.

As always, be kind to one another and be kind to yourself.

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