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Zendikar Land Grab

Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

The latest Magic: the Gathering set, Battle for Zendikar releases tomorrow at midnight here in North America with many local gaming stores (like our very own beloved OMG! Games here in Barrie, Ontario) staying open late to hit the street release date.  We'll be zipping on over to the store at midnight in order to avoid a (larger) crush of rabid gamers clearing out singles and sealed product.  As is our custom here at MTG Realm, we will have a Fat Pack unboxing - and this may be the one time where will will NOT complain about getting a 80-card land pack (over the earlier version of a 40-card land pack). 

Why?  Because of these beautiful beasts -
Full-Art Lands

We recall way back in 2009 with the release of the original Zendikar set, some stores were cracking Fat Packs just because of the demand for the full art lands.  In fact, we had purchased a 40-card land pack for $16 bucks, which was a great investment we think considering that just a few short years later single Zendikar full art lands were going for about $2 locally.  Speaking of Fat Packs, you may notice that the price for a Battle for Zendikar Fat Pack is going for anywhere between $50 to $60, which is not surprising at all as these contain that 80-card full-art land pack.

Is the jack in price still worth it?  Here is a quick run-down of what single full-art BFZ lands were selling for (at the time of this post) :
StarCity Games - 49 cents
Cool Stuff Inc - 45 cents
Card Kingdom - 49 cents
MTG Mint Card - 54 cents
And Face-to-Face Games here in Canada (Toronto / Montreal) - 65 cents.

One can expect to pay fairly close to about $40 for a Fat Pack and with that sweet full-art land pack in the back seat of your Fat Pack, it would have been another $40 were you to purchase all those full-arts as singles.

So, yeah . . . we won't be complaining (too much) for forking out a bit more to the retailer.



Hardened Drana

Happy Monday MTG peeps,

We hope all have had a great weekend.  We don't want to be a Debbie-downer but we had to be out of town for a family event and could not get to to OMG! Games here in Barrie to take in a Battle for Zendikar PreReelase.  Very sads - we know - but hey - we'll definitely be there for the Frinday Night Magic Release.   Which brings us to our next problem . . . what to play?

This is a rather exciting time for Magic the Gathering players as everything is unproven which means that anything can go as Battle for Zendikar enters standard constructed.  One particular card which caught our attention early on was Undergrowth Champion -

We've got a thingy for Hardened Scales and when that card came out, we had it paired with Abzan Falconer and High Sentinels of Arashin for a few short weeks of counter party fun.  Unfortunately, although we loved the build, we dropped it after some disappointing results against the standard meta-game.  When Undergrowth Champion was previewed, we already started brewing - and - we waited.  We were to let the pre-order price settle down from the atrocious $8 mark to at least six clams - but no - instead it doubled in price.  We then re-evaluated the card against Managorger Hydra and after some long thoughts, felt that we would rather have a set of Managorger Hydras in the list and dropped any idea of the Champ.  Then, we saw this lovely card - 
We think Drana, Liberator of Malakir is the bee's knees and a critical addition to our soon-to-be built decklist of Abzan Counters.  We've roughed out some cards already we would like to see in the mix . . .
Our focus now is to scrap some cash together to pick up some the the Khans of Tarkir fetchlands we don't have as well as some of the very lovely new Zendikar Battlelands (Tangolands, whatever), to create a solid mana-base and just drop Drana into a shell of a list we already have pretty much laid out on our games table.  We hope to be off to the races with this list or at least something very similiar to that of Ross Merriam's list (linky to StarCityGames article) with a week or two after the release.  This will be of course only one of a few lists the MTG Realm playgroup will want to have - the other members are already yattering about a Black-Red Eldrazi control thingy, which is next on the drafting board.


BFZ Event and Intro Pack Lists

Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

The Battle for Zendikar PreRelease events are taking place this weekend and Magic: the Gathering players are quite understandably rather excited for this.  If you are heading into a local gaming store (like OMG! Games in Barrie, Ontario like we are), we suggest you may wish to review the Battle for Zendikar Release Notes so that you are well prepared.  For today's post, we are letting you know that the decklists for the Battle for Zendikar Event Deck and Intro Packs were posted today on the mothersite (linky over here).  For now, here is a brief summary of contents -

Ultimate Sacrifice Event Deck 

The theme is described within the name of this deck - sacrifice creatures and tokens to your benefit.  Battle for Zendikar Event Deck releases 2nd October and is a perfect way to jump into a Standard tournament, like Friday Night Magic, with a powerful deck.  For an MSRP of about $25 you get the following :
• One Ready-to-play 60-card deck
• A 15-card Sideboard
• One Spindown life counter
• A Strategy insert
• All within one Deck Box

There are five different Battle for Zendikar Intro Packs releasing on 2nd October each featuring a theme along and showcasing new mechanics from the set. These are great for introducing new Magic players to Battle for Zendikar.  For an MRSP of about $15, you get the following:
One Ready-to-play 60-card deck featuring a foil premium card
TWO Battle for Zendikar 15-card booster packs
• A Strategy Insert
• A learn-to-play guide

RALLYING CRY (Red / White)
Featuring the new 'Rally' mechanic and Ally creature sub-type.

Featuring a lot of 'Devoid' (colourless) spells.

CALL OF BLOOD (Black / White)
Featuring a number of creatures with flying and a life gain theme.

Featuring a great sampling of Eldrazi creatures with 'Devoid' and 'Ingest'. 


Featuring a number of spells with 'Landfall'



Eldrazi Nibblers

Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

The much-anticipated Battle for Zendikar prerelease events are coming to a local gaming store near you this weekend!  If you've just moved to a new town (students), be sure to check out the Wizards of the Coast Locator to find a store with a Magic: the Gathering event.  If you happen to find yourself in Central Ontario (north of Toronto, drop by OMG! Games in Barrie, near Georgian College and a short drive away from Canadian Forces Base Borden.

We suspect that at the prerelease events, you will be seeing a lot of Eldrazi Scions at the game table - afterall, there are about 15 or so cards which produce these cute (dangerous?) creature tokens.  This leads us into our post today - a quick summary of Eldrazi Scions - here are the token cards you may pull from your sealed pack ->

T 2/14: Colourless 1/1 Eldrazi Scion
T 3/14: Colourless 1/1 Eldrazi Scion
T 4/14: Colourless : 1/1 Eldrazi Scion
Produced by these Battle for Zendikar cards - Adverse Conditions, Blight Herder, Blisterpod, Brood Butcher, Brood Monitor, Call the Scions, Catacomb Sifter, Drowner of Hope, Eldrazi Skyspawner, Eyeless Watcher, From Beyond, Grave Birthing, Incubator Drone, Spawning Bed and Void Attendant.

Eldrazi Scions are very similar to Eldrazi Spawn, but are 1/1 instead of 0/1 - w00t! They're created by Eldrazi-themed spells in a variety of ways and all have the ability "Sacrifice this creature: Add one colourless mana to your mana pool."

From left: Eldrazi Spawn of the Ulamog, Emrakul, and Kozilek lineages.  Below a quick reference of cards creating Eldrazi Spawn and from an indication within the art or the card name, the particular Titan to which the spawn are related.  Spawn were great for chump blocking and ramping into a ginormous Eldrazi monster.

Emrakul: Emrakul's Hatcher, Nest Invader, Skittering Invasion

Kozilek: Corpsehatch, Dread Drone, Essence Feed, Kozilek's Predator, Rapacious One, Skittering Invasion, Spawning Breath, Skittering Invasion, 

Ulamog: Awakening Zone, Brood Birthing, Growth Spasm, Pawn of Ulamog, Skittering Invasion, Spawnsire of Ulamog


Battle for Zendikar Mana

Happy Monday MTG peeps,

Here at MTG Realm, we are brewing up a tuckload of casual and (semi)-competitive decklists for the the upcoming standard constructed format.  Where to start is a sometime tricky question unless Wizards is pushing a particular theme.  To this end, we usually start with lands - what mana-base is available to us, as this is the foundation upon which all else is built upon.  

Today's write-up we want to take a moment to yatter about the new rare dual-lands in Battle for Zendikar - which does not really have a nick-name yet granted by the Magic: the Gathering gaming community.  See this Reddit MTG TCG thread.

Tangoland is one of many proposed names for a cycle of allied color dual lands that will be introduced in Battle for Zendikar.

Other suggested names for this cycle include "latelands", "baselands", "laglands" and "battlelands"

Tangolands are noteworthy for being one of few dual land cycles with basic land types, along with the original Alpha dual lands and the shocklands.

They enter the battlefield tapped, unless their controller controls at least two basic lands. That ability leads to the name "tangoland", via the English idiom and truism "it takes two to tango".

Prairie Stream (W/U)
Sunken Hollow (U/B)
Smoldering Marsh (B/R)
Cinder Glade (R/G)
Canopy Vista (G/W)

The impact on standard is significant as the Khans of Tarkir fetchlands can look for them, as well as any other cards that allow you to search for these land types.

The Lands of Battle for Zendikar by Joel Larsson posted to MTG Mint Card has this to say - 

Two-color allied-color decks will have better mana than two-color enemy-colored decks.  This means that the White-Green, Blue-White, Blue-Black Black-Red and Red Green decks will have a lot better mana than the White-Black, Blue-Red, Black-Green, White-Red and Blue-Green decks, because they will have both the cycle of BFZ dual lands as well as the Khans of Tarkir fetchlands.


Full Battle for Zendikar Spoiler

Happy Friday MTG peeps,

A very happy Friday indeed - not only are we dropping into OMG! Games here in Barrie, Ontario for our fix of Friday Night Magic, we now look forward to reviewing the fully previewed Battle for Zenkikar set over the course of the weekend.  Be sure to drop by the mothersite's Card Image Gallery linked over here.

A quick summary of what this latest Magic: the Gathering set delivers - 

Keywords and/or ability words
Awaken, Converge, Devoid, Ingest, Landfall, Rally

Set size 274 (+ 25 special promos)

101 Commons, 80 Uncommons, 53 Rares, 15 Mythic Rares, 25 Basic Land + 25 full art versions of the Basic Lands

Here's the quick text list of all the cards -
Bane of Bala Ged
Blight Herder
Breaker of Armies
Conduit of Ruin
Deathless Behemoth
Desolation Twin
Eldrazi Devastator
Endless One
Gruesome Slaughter
Kozilek's Channeler
Oblivion Sower
Ruin Processor
Scour from Existence
Titan's Presence
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
Ulamog's Despoiler
Void Winnower

Angel of Renewal
Angelic Gift
Cliffside Lookout
Courier Griffin
Emeria Shepherd
Encircling Fissure
Expedition Envoy
Felidar Cub
Felidar Sovereign
Fortified Rampart
Ghostly Sentinel
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
Gideon's Reproach
Hero of Goma Fada
Inspired Charge
Kitesail Scout
Kor Bladewhirl
Kor Castigator
Kor Entanglers
Lantern Scout
Lithomancer's Focus
Makindi Patrol
Ondu Greathorn
Ondu Rising
Planar Outburst
Quarantine Field
Retreat to Emeria
Roil's Retribution
Serene Steward
Shadow Glider
Sheer Drop
Smite the Monstrous
Stasis Snare
Stone Haven Medic
Tandem Tactics
Unified Front

Adverse Conditions
Benthic Infiltrator
Brilliant Spectrum
Cloud Manta
Clutch of Currents
Coastal Discovery
Coralhelm Guide
Cryptic Cruiser
Dampening Pulse
Drowner of Hope
Eldrazi Skyspawner
Exert Influence
Guardian of Tazeem
Halimar Tidecaller
Horribly Awry
Incubator Drone
Mist Intruder
Murk Strider
Oracle of Dust
Part the Waterveil
Prism Array
Retreat to Coralhelm
Roilmage's Trick
Ruination Guide
Rush of Ice
Salvage Drone
Scatter to the Winds
Spell Shrivel
Tide Drifter
Tightening Coils
Ugin's Insight
Ulamog's Reclaimer
Wave-Wing Elemental
Windrider Patrol

Altar's Reap
Bloodbond Vampire
Bone Splinters
Carrier Thrall
Complete Disregard
Culling Drone
Defiant Bloodlord
Demon's Grasp
Dominator Drone
Drana, Liberator of Malakir
Dutiful Return
Geyserfield Stalker
Grave Birthing
Grip of Desolation
Guul Draz Overseer
Hagra Sharpshooter
Kalastria Healer
Kalastria Nightwatch
Malakir Familiar
Mind Raker
Mire's Malice
Nirkana Assassin
Ob Nixilis Reignited
Painful Truths
Retreat to Hagra
Rising Miasma
Ruinous Path
Silent Skimmer
Sludge Crawler
Smothering Abomination
Swarm Surge
Transgress the Mind
Vampiric Rites
Voracious Null
Wasteland Strangler
Zulaport Cutthroat

Akoum Firebird
Akoum Hellkite
Akoum Stonewaker
Barrage Tyrant
Belligerent Whiptail
Boiling Earth
Chasm Guide
Crumble to Dust
Dragonmaster Outcast
Firemantle Mage
Goblin War Paint
Kozilek's Sentinel
Lavastep Raider
Makindi Sliderunner
Molten Nursery
Nettle Drone
Ondu Champion
Processor Assault
Radiant Flames
Reckless Cohort
Retreat to Valakut
Rolling Thunder
Serpentine Spike
Shatterskull Recruit
Sure Strike
Touch of the Void
Tunneling Geopede
Turn Against
Valakut Invoker
Valakut Predator
Vestige of Emrakul
Vile Aggregate
Volcanic Upheaval
Zada, Hedron Grinder

Beastcaller Savant
Brood Monitor
Broodhunter Wurm
Call the Scions
Earthen Arms
Eyeless Watcher
From Beyond
Giant Mantis
Greenwarden of Murasa
Infuse with the Elements
Jaddi Offshoot
Lifespring Druid
Murasa Ranger
Natural Connection
Nissa's Renewal
Oran-Rief Hydra
Oran-Rief Invoker
Plated Crusher
Reclaiming Vines
Retreat to Kazandu
Rot Shambler
Scythe Leopard
Seek the Wilds
Snapping Gnarlid
Swell of Growth
Sylvan Scrying
Tajuru Beastmaster
Tajuru Stalwart
Tajuru Warcaller
Territorial Baloth
Undergrowth Champion
Unnatural Aggression
Void Attendant
Woodland Wanderer

Angelic Captain
Bring to Light
Brood Butcher
Brutal Expulsion
Catacomb Sifter
Drana's Emissary
Dust Stalker
Fathom Feeder
Forerunner of Slaughter
Grove Rumbler
Grovetender Druids
Herald of Kozilek
Kiora, Master of the Depths
March from the Tomb
Munda, Ambush Leader
Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper
Omnath, Locus of Rage
Resolute Blademaster
Roil Spout
Sire of Stagnation
Skyrider Elf
Ulamog's Nullifier
Veteran Warleader

Aligned Hedron Network
Hedron Archive
Hedron Blade
Pathway Arrows
Pilgrim's Eye
Slab Hammer

Ally Encampment
Blighted Cataract
Blighted Fen
Blighted Gorge
Blighted Steppe
Blighted Woodland
Canopy Vista
Cinder Glade
Evolving Wilds
Fertile Thicket
Looming Spires
Lumbering Falls
Mortuary Mire
Prairie Stream
Sanctum of Ugin
Sandstone Bridge
Shambling Vent
Shrine of the Forsaken Gods
Skyline Cascade
Smoldering Marsh
Spawning Bed
Sunken Hollow


Battle for Zendikar Spoilers 9-17

Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

We are rounding out the second and final week of Battle for Zendikar spoilers and previews with this full Magic: the Gathering set expecting to be revealed tomorrow - Friday 18th September.  This will give all players one full week to become familiar with the new cards and craft strategy going into the PreRelease Events on the following weekend of 26th/ 27th September.  If you find yourself in Central Ontario (north of Toronto), why not drop into OMG! Games in Barrie, where Battle for Zendikar prerelease events are taking place all weekend long.

For now, here is the summary of fresh Battle for Zendikar cards -

Gruesome Slaughter, 6
Sorcery. Rare
Until end of turn, colorless creatures you control gain "T: This creature deals damage equal to its power to target creature."

OK, but not stellar - a one-way 'Brawl' / fight sorcery for your critters.  We will agree that this would have been waaay too OP were it able to hit face.
Part the Waterveil, 4UU
Sorcery, Rare
Take an extra turn after this one. Exile Part the Waterveil.
Awaken 6—6UUU (If you cast this spell for 6UUU, also put six +1/+1 counters on target land you control and it becomes a 0/0 Elemental creature with haste. It's still a land.)

Magic Show preview - Six mana for an extra turn ain't that bad, but we still think most players will not game with this one, they would have rather seen Time Warp reprinted instead.
Sire of Stagnation, 4UB
Creature - Eldrazi, Mythic Rare
Devoid (This card has no color)
Whenever a land enters the battlefield under an opponent's control, that player exiles the top two cards of his or her library and you draw two cards.

Mothersite preview - this may perhaps be a nice finisher as piece of UB control or at the very least good sideboard tech against lists reliant upon landfall.

Pilgrim's Eye
Flying When Pilgrim's Eye enters the battlefield, you may search your library for a basic land card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.

Makindi Sliderunner
Trample Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, Makindi Sliderunner gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

Snapping Gnarlid
Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, Snapping Gnarlid gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

Unconfirmed - Uncommon 'Blighted' Land Cycle

Blighted Fen 
{T}: Add {1} to your mana pool. {4}{B}, {T}, Sacrifice Blighted Fen: Target opponent sacrifices a creature.

Blighted Woodland
{T}: Add {1} to your mana pool {3}{G}, {T}, Sacrifice Blighted Woodland: Search your library for two basic land cards and put them onto the battlefield tapped.

Blighted Steppe
{T}: Add {1} to your mana pool {3}{W}, {T}, Sacrifice Blighted Steppe: Gain 2 life for each creature you control.

Blighted Gorge
{T}: Add {1} to your mana pool {4}{R}, {T}, Sacrifice Blighted Gorge: Blighted Gorge deals 2 damage to target creature or player.



Battle for Zendikar Spoilers 9-16


Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

Hey there, like Eldrazi Drones 'n' Processors ?  Then you've gotta get in here today for a bunch 'o' commons.  Battle for Zendikar spoilers and previews continue and we think most Magic: the Gathering players will be rather pleased to see Beastcaller Expert - 'nuff said - let's have a looky-loo ->

Beastcaller Expert, 1G
Creature - Elf Shaman Ally, Rare
T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. Use this mana only to cast creature spells.

Planet MTG preview - Love this card!  If there was not a mana dork of similar quality with Battle for Zendikar, we would have cried foul.
Drana, Liberator of Malakir, 1BB
Legendary Creature - Vampire Ally
Flying, first strike
Whenever Drana, Liberator of Malakir deales combat damage to a player, put a +1/+1 counter on each attacking creature you control.

Rumours were apparently correct on this one.  Drana looks good to provide a counter party for survivors of your alpha strike.  The illustration from Mike Bierek also graces the Battle for Zendikar Champion playmat.

Guul Draz Overseer, 4BB
Creature - Vampire, Rare
Landfall - Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, other creatures you control get +1/+0 until end of turn. If that land is a Swamp, those creatures get +2/+0 until end of turn instead.

OK - so it's a 3/4 for 6 cmc and doesn't fly / first strike / etc.  If you do get landfall, that's a nice little pump, even better if it was a swamp - BUT - that does not even pump itself ! This card is crap and destined for the dollar bin. 

Blighted Cataract - Uncommon Land, tap for colourless or 5U, tap, sac and draw two.

Scour from Existence - Common colourless 7 mana instant, exile target permanent.

Benthic Infiltrator - Common unblockable devoid 2U Eldrazi Drone 1/4 with ingest.  Nice.

Murk Strider - Common devoid Eldrazi Processor 3U 3/2 ETB exile to graveyard with conditional bounce.

Culling Drone - Common devoid Eldrazi Drone 1B 2/2 with ingest.

Complete Disregard - Common devoid Instant 2B exiling creature 3 or less.

Mind Raker - Common devoid Eldrazi Processor 3B 3/3 ETB exile to graveyard conditional discard.



Battle for Zendikar Spoilers 9-15

Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

Another slew of Battle for Zendikar cards today for the voracious appetites of Magic: the Gathering players out there.  We continue to see some very decent flavour in the cards supporting the ongoing storyline.  Today's MTG spoilers and previews also hauled in two cycles.  There is something for everyone, so let's dig in now -

Wasteland Strangler, 2B
Creature - Eldrazi Processor, Rare
Devoid (This card has no color.)
When Wasteland Strangler enters the battlefield, you may put a card an opponent owns from exile into that player's graveyard. If you do, target creature gets -3/-3 until end of turn.

An Eldrazi 'Processor' is a trip to flavour town.  We like enters the battlefield effect but think this rather conditional to get the effect of the opponent having an exiled (read: 'graveyard v2.0') card.
Quarantine Field, XXWW
Enchantment, Mythic Rare
Quarantine Field enters the battlefield with X isolation counters on it.
When Quarantine Field enters the battlefield, for each isolation counter on it, exile up to one target nonland permanent an opponent controls until Quarantine Field leaves the battlefield.

SvenskaMagic preview.  We like Oblivion Ring but we are uncertain as to whether this may make the cut to standard.  Looks OK for Limited and Commander.
Ugin's Insight, 3UU
Sorcery, Rare
Scry X, where X is the highest converted mana cost among permanents you control, then draw three cards.

This looks to be pretty damn fine.  Obviously you will want a Leviathan or Planeswalker with a high cmc to get the most benefit from this spell.
Woodland Wanderer, 3G
Creature - Elemental, Rare
Vigilance, trample
Converge - Woodland Wanderer enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it for each color of mana spent to cast it.

Trample and Vigilence makes this thing a threat and chances are that you are playing a two or three colour decklist anywhoos, so we are thinking at least two or three counters.  We are already thinking of including a Rattleclaw Mystic to gather counters.
Angelic Captain, 3RW
Creature - Angel Ally, Rare
Whenever Angelic Captain attacks, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn for each other attacking Ally.

Not bad at all, we can see this getting a solid boost, especially if you were able to swing with several ally tokens. 
A cycle of common taplands which tap for a colour and provides additional effects when they enter the battlefield (etb).  Zendikar is all about dem lands.  These illustrations are rock'n it.

Sandstone Bridge - etb target creature gets +1/+1 + viglience until end of turn.

Skyline Cascade - etb target opponent's creature doesn't untap during next untap step.

Mortuary Mire - etb target creature from your graveyard to top of your library.

Looming Spires - etb target creature gets +1/+1 and first strike until end of turn.

Fertile Thicket - etb you may look top 5 cards of library, reveal one basic land and put on top of library, remainder on bottom of library.
An Uncommon 'Retreat' Enchantment cycle featuring Landfall with the option of two abilities.  Lovely arts.

Retreat to Emeria - Landfall Enchantment, 1/1 white Kor Ally token into play or creatures you control get +1/+1 until turn's end.

Retreat to Coralhelm - Landfall Enchantment, you may tap or untap target creature or Scry 1.

Retreat to Hagra - Landfall Enchantment, target creature +1/+0 + deathtouch or each opponent loses 1 life, you gain 1 life.

Retreat to Valakut - Landfall Enchantment, target creature +2/+0 pump or target creature can't block.

Retreat to Kazandu - Landfall Enchantment, put a +1/+1 counter on target creature or you gain 2 life.
Other non-rare previews -

Horribly Awry - Devoid Instant counterspell cmc ≤4

Molten Nursery - Devoid Enchantment 1 ping when you cast a colourless spell.

Spawning Bed - Land, add colourless, pay + sac for scion tokens.