Magic: The Gathering is soon returning to one of its most popular planes: an adventure-themed world where the very land rises up to strike the creatures brazen enough to thread its grounds, fabled heroes fight desperate battles, and the Eldrazi, Multiverse’s biggest threat, keeps scarring the plane even after its defeat at the hands of the Gatewatch. Welcome back to Zendikar!
Zendikar is without a doubt one of Magic’s bravest planes - both in terms of its aesthetic, as well as game design. Players of different ages all have fond memories of encountering the plane for the first time back in 2009, defending it against the Eldrazi titans in 2015, and of course, some are yet to lay eyes on the enigmatic stone shapes of the hedrons for the first time this year. Here’s a quick primer on everything you need to know.
Zendikar’s land is special. From the thick forests of Murasa to the infernal fires of the Valakut pinnacle, the seven continents of Zendikar are home to peculiar terrain. The land itself could be woken up to rise up and join the never-ceasing battle, making even traversing Zendikar a test of might and cunning.
Deep below the moving rock shapes and raging seas lies a treasury of mysterious ruins left by ancient civilizations, begging to be explored. Many descent the caves in search of treasure, but only a few return, often refusing to speak of the horrors they saw.
These days, most of the lush land in the plane is turned into waste, annihilated by the Eldrazi in the Battle for Zendikar, but no amount of destruction can break the defiant spirit of the plane and its peoples.
On Zendikar, everyone needs to be a hero. Not driven by valor, virtue, or a noble quest to fulfill, but simply to survive. The plane is home to the nomad race of the Kor, underground-dwelling goblins, arrogant merfolk, powerful elves, and sinister wild vampires.
The adventurous world is also home to the Gatewatch - Magic’s supergroup of heroic planeswalkers, not unlike Marvel’s Avengers.
The very name The Gatewatch is derived from Zendikar - the “gate” through which the Eldrazi once came to lay waste to all the Multiverse. A noble group of planeswalkers (as well as everybody’s favorite femme fatale Liliana) is sworn to watch the gates and meet the invaders in battle if they are to ever come back.
Zendikar has its fair share of monsters - dragons, elemental, and even the very land itself. But these look like pesky vermin in comparison to the Eldrazi - Magic’s most alien and terrifying menace.
The Eldrazi come from the space between planes, known as the Blind Eternities. Little is known about their motivation, other than their endless thirst for mana (whiles they themselves are devoid of color), and their destructive powers. The three Eldrazi Titans who lead the invasion were ultimately captured and neutralized by the Gatewatch, but nobody can tell if they won’t find a way to come back one day.
As stated many times already, Zendikar is all about the land and the theme of adventure. This is reflected in the set’s mechanics such as Landfall that triggers an ability when a Land card is played, or Awaken making Lands creatures.
Zendikar is also famous for its very special lands - introducing full-art Basic Lands in every pack (a tradition that will be continued with the upcoming Zendikar Rising set), and even the fabled Fetch Lands that spark a controversy every time their very name is mentioned. This plane was also the birthplace of the sixth type of Basic Land - the colorless Wastes, that the community seems to hate. All in all, Zendikar is all about the land!
And this brings us to the future of the plane. Zendikar is coming back this year for its third run, promising a different story this time.
While the plane is still scourged by the alien attack, there will be no Eldrazi this time. Instead, we’ll see the aftermath and the way the locals deal with the dread consequences of the Battle for Zendikar. This, much to our delight, implies that we’ll be finally getting a sense of the adventurous aspects of the plane, learn more about the vampires and the Kor, and see Nissa doing cool stuff at her own home for a change.
Finally! We can’t wait!
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