A to Z 2017: ZENDIKAR

Zendikar was an extremely popular set and the first of the Zendikar block released in 2009. I regret not jumping back into the game here, because on a collector level there were many worthwhile treasures to be had. Some may currently be suffering from reprints, but overall, it was a very lucrative set. To be fair, not just from a monetary standpoint either. The storyline was rich (we are exposed to the existence of the dreaded Eldrazi!) and the format looked like a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I wouldn't come back into the fold until the end of the following block (New Phyrexia).

Wizards of the Coast did a great job marketing the set, the biggest promotion being Priceless Treasures. This involved inserting older Vintage cards (already in print, not reprinted) in random booster packs of Zendikar. This was an attempt to mimic the adventuring/questing themes that existed in the set's storyline. It was a resounding success! Not only did that process evolve and return in Battle for Zendikar, with Zendikar Expeditions, but would actually end up being the precursor for the Masterpiece Series.

Zendikar also brought back the full-art lands (fitting for a land-centric set) last seen in Unglued and Unhinged, which were (and still are) incredibly popular.

A handful of new mechanics were introduced in Zendikar, the most prominent being Landfall, which is a triggered ability taking place whenever a land enters the battlefield under its owner's control.

The set also featured Ally/Allies, which are creature types with abilities that activate when either they or another Ally enters the battlefield; Traps (a subset for instant cards), which offers alternative casting costs for spells if certain conditions are met; Quests, which were enchantments a player places counters on when certain conditions are met and once a threshold is reached a secondary ability may be used; and Kicker (which I mentioned in Invasion) returns, which is an additional cost to pay while casting a card, resulting in an additional ability or function of the card activating.

Most notable among chase cards were Enemy Fetch Lands, which are still sought after today and considered almost mandatory for most tournament play. There has been a lot of discussion around Fetch Lands and they were just reprinted in Modern Masters 2017. I don't even have a playset of a single Fetch Land, but maybe prices dropping from the reprints will make it possible!

I'll finish off with some cards I like or that I know were/are popular:

Do you currently play Magic: The Gathering? Are you a fan of Zendikar? If so, what's your favorite card and/or mechanic/ability from the set? Did you enjoy the storyline of the Zendikar expansion/block? If so, do you have a favorite character? Did you ever find a Priceless Treasure? Do you think evolving into the Masterpiece Series was healthy for the game? Were you glad Wizards of the Coast eventually revisited Zendikar?