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Zendikar Uncommon Review

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This article originally appeared on cmus.cz and forms part of the Blackborder.com / cmus.cz partnership.

Adam Koska
Adam Koska

About Adam Koska

Adam is an experienced player from the Czech Republic who has a number of high-profile finishes under his belt:

  • 9th at Worlds 2009
  • 9th at Pro Tour Kyoto 2009
  • 32 Lifetime Pro Points
  • Top 32 GP Vienna 2008
  • Top 64 GP Krakow 2007
  • Two times Czech Nationals Top 8

Hello and welcome to another article from www.cmus.cz.

Today, we‘re going to look at the uncommons from Zendikar for the purpose of limited formats. Those among you who know the Czech site probably also know, that I write reviews like this for each set, covering all the commons and uncommons and sharing my view of each particular card that you can draft or open in sealed deck. What I like about these articles is that they tend to stir up a debate about evaluations of various cards that the readers have a different opinion on – this way, the article doesn‘t just say how things are according to a single person, because – let‘s be honest – nobody has a perfect understanding of a format and I‘m very glad for the comments from readers who disagree with me, since I can learn about different approaches to some cards and hope to correct my views where I‘m wrong. Since this is the first article of this kind here on Blackborder, I‘m curious to see if it ignites a similar debate – so if you feel like you have anything to say about the evaluations I made or if you want to point out where you think I‘m wrong, don‘t hesitate and share your views in the comments – I‘ll make sure to read the comments and answer any questions you might have.

The evaluation of each card consists of two parts. The first one is a brief paragraph that sums up the uses and value of each card, the second part is a numeric rating that tries to put each card on a scale, so that you can see how each card compares to others in terms of value. Of course cards change value during draft according to the needs of your deck (mana curve, colour commitment etc.), so take the numeric evaluations with a grain of salt. It‘s mostly there just to give you an impression. The numeric evaluation uses a scale of one to ten, the borderline of where cards are still playable is somewhere around number five. The higher the number is, the better.

The numeric evaluation consists either of a single number or of a small scale. If it is the first case (4/10, etc.), it means what I believe should be a „median value“ of this card for different decks (where the value of the card changes slightly depending on how problematic a double-colored mana cost can be, for example). The value of other cards, however, can vary so much for different types of decks, that the evaluation consist of a „two number scale“ (5-7/10, for example). This means that a single number is not enough to describe the value of a particular card, since the value differs so much.

White

White

Arrow Volley Trap

A card that I‘ve changed my opinion about a lot since the release of Zendikar. At first, I saw this card as a good removal that sometimes even grants you card advantage, but today I have rather mixed feelings about Arrow Volley Trap. Sure, it kills critters, which is good, but only those that are attacking you, which means if you are the aggressor in a game, the trap is almost a blank. Even if you are on defense, this card is a little slow, since nobody will attack into two spare mana with four creatures and with five mana up, most people will think twice about attacking in a way that would give you tremendous card advantage. All in all, Arrow Volley Trap is just a little slow for the current format. It sure is ok in the right deck (and right situation), but it definitely isn‘t an „auto-inclusion“ in every deck.

5-6/10

Brave the Elements

A cheap and useful trick, provided you have enough white creatures – otherwise it‘s a bit too situational. I don‘t think I would want to play this card in a deck with less than eight creatures (and it should be creatures worth saving). On the other hand, in a deck with twelve and more white critters, Brave the Elements is almost an auto-include in my opinion. Of course the more white dorks, the better, and in a monowhite deck, I would consider taking this card quite high (even though Brave wheels quite often).

4-6,5/10

Kazandu Blademaster

One of the best two-drops in Zendikar and one that would probably deserve an even higher rating, if it wasn‘t for the double-white in his manacost. With ten or more white sources, Blademaster will feel very much at home in your deck, but with less than nine, you‘re risking troubles with casting him. The „Ally“ creature type is a nice bonus, even though this guy won‘t usually be the centerpiece of a dedicated Ally deck for two reasons – first, he‘s so good, that more or less any white player will snatch him up, and second, his double white manacost can be a bit troublesome in a multicolor Ally deck.

7/10

Kor Aeronaut

A very good two-mana „aviator“, that has a similar issue as Kazandu Blademaster – his double white manacost means that I want at least ten sources to make sure he will hit play on the second turn, in case he‘s in the opening seven. If you don‘t have to worry about not having enough plains to support him, he‘ll do a good job, attacking your opponent in the air from the first turns, however, if your manabase is not exactly stable, I would think twice before picking him in draft – since unstable aggro decks usually mean trouble.

6,5/10

Kor Duelist

I wouldn‘t really consider taking this card without a fair number of equipments, and in this case, „fair“ means something like three of four pieces, but probably even more later in draft. Also, it should be cards that improve the stats of the equipped creature, like Adventuring Gear or Trusty Machete, since the Duelist won‘t really be that exciting with stuff like Explorer‘s Scope. I don‘t really like the strategy of taking Duelist early in the draft and then hoping to get shipped some equipment, so pretty much the only situation in which I would be keen on taking this guy over something playable is when I already have several pieces of outfit.

3-6/10

Landbind Ritual

A card that should make it to the maindeck very rarely, but has some potential nevertheless, since it‘s not that bad against aggressive red decks. Cards like Zektar Shrine Expedition or Unstable Footing are quite common additions to such decks and Landbind Ritual can really trump them – provided you‘re running a monowhite concoction or something very close to monowhite.

2-5/10

Pitfall Trap

A card that I changed my mind about in a similar way to Arrow Volley Trap. It‘s fair to say that the conditions that are necessary to meet in order to allow Pitfall Trap‘s alternative cost are a lot easier to achieve here, but still the situations, where your opponent is bashing you only with flying dorks or you need something to break trhough enemy defenses instead of a purely defensive card like this, will be be relatively numerous, so Pitfall Trap indeed is a situational card that won‘t fit in every deck. On the other hand, if you really are looking for a card capable of killing critters like Plated Geopede or Surrakar Marauder early in the game, this card can do it reliably and for a quite cheap cost. In addition, the landfall ability encourages players to attack more, so most games tend to end up in a race and sittuations, where one of the players is entirely on the defense are somewhat rare, so most of the times, Pitfall Trap will be quite useful.

6/10

Quest for the Holy Relic

The conditions you have to fulfill in order to complete this Quest are really hard if you don‘t play it on turn one, and even if you do, the reward is very disappointing, to say the least. This card is aspiring for the position of the „worst card of the set“ in my opinion.

1/10

Shepherd of the Lost

All three abilities of this Angel are highly relevant and together, they form a card, that is both hard to block and hard to attack into. For five mana (and only one of them colored), that‘s a very good deal!

8/10

Windborne Charge

You need the right deck to make this card really shine, but if you do have one, Windborne Charge can play a role of an excellent finisher, delivering loads of extra damage to your opponent almost out of nowhere. It will be of best use in aggressive decks with a high creature count, typically RW, where you can catapult stuff like Ruinous Minotaur or Shatterskull Giant (provided you can stretch your manabase to run cards with both double-red and double-white in their cost). In WG, you will typically have some fatties to fling at your enemy, but green decks tend to be quite heavy on Forests and also a bit slower, playing creatures that can end the game without any support. Typical UW deck also won‘t appreciate Windborne Charge that much, since it usually runs a lot of flyers, which means this card will only do half of its job.

5-7/10

Blue

Blue

Æther Figment

A lot of people see this card as just a five-mana unblockable Hill Giant, but quite often the right play will be to summon Figment on turn two. The „smaller“ version of this card works well especially with some sort of equipment (Explorer‘s Scope comes to mind, but Adventuring Gear or Trusty Machete will be just fine). As for the five-mana version, the current format indeed is really fast, but not so fast that an unblockable creature with power three would be bad.

6,5/10

Gomazoa

It‘s quite obvious that a creature with 0/3 stats won‘t fit in every deck. However, what blue usually does is hold the ground and swing back in the air and Gomazoa is very well designed for this purpose, since once it gets over its summoning sickness, it can get rid of even the biggest green monsters. In addition, Gomazoa „combos“ well with bounce spells, that can lead to it killing two creatures in several turns. And if, by any chance, somebody tries to mill your library with a Hedron Crab, this Jellyfish can make sure, that this plan won‘t work. All you need to do is activate Gomazoa in your upkeep before drawing a card, shuffle it into your empty library, draw it, play it and then rinse and repeat untill the game comes to another end.

5-6,5/10

Hedron Crab

Speaking of milling… Here‘s the most important part of that engine in Zendikar limited. Since the Crab is uncommon, you can‘t really „force“ this strategy and rely on being shipped enough of them, but if everything goes well and you do, it‘s a legitimate deck. However, I would be rather careful with this archetype and try not to go „all-in“ until I‘m positive I have enough of the needed tools, which means at least three copies of Hedron Crab / Archive Trap and a lot of defensive cards.

4-8/10

Living Tsunami
Versions:
Zendikar (Foil)

Living Tsunami

It‘s probably quite obvious, that in addition to being a 4/4 flying monster for four mana, this card works insanely well with all landfall cards, so I guess it doesn‘t come as much of a surprise when I say its quite an impressive card – at least in the right deck. However, you should really watch yor curve when drafting it, since not being able to play your five / six mana spells after casting this beast on turn four can seriously hurt your progress in the game. Also, it might sound as stating the obvious, but bear in mind that you have to return a land in your upkeep – trust me, I can‘t even count the times I‘ve seen the Tsunami binned in the upkeep after its owner forgot to bounce a land. Regarding different archetypes, this card really shines in UG, since that‘s where most of the landfall cards can be found, and so far I didn‘t really like it that much in UB which tends to have a higher curve.

7/10

Merfolk Seastalkers

A very good defensive creature, that can totally dominate the lategame. In order to make sure you live long enough to make the most out of it, I suggest combining this card with stuff like the Kraken Hatchling.

6,5/10

Merfolk Wayfinder

Monoblue is not exactly a viable archetype in Zendikar, because Blue doesn‘t really support the idea and doesn‘t offer enough cards that make a good use of a high number of Islands in your deck. And when you consider Blue more of a support colour, the odds of hitting an Island from the top are just too low to make me want to play this card – and it doesn‘t get any better when you look at the stats of this card.

4/10

Quest for Ancient Secrets

The sole purpose of this card is as a sideboard solution against the „Crab deck“ – if you notice too many Crabs going around in the draft, you can pick the Quest up (though probably not over a playable card for your deck), otherwise I wouldn‘t really bother.

3/10

Seascape Aerialist

I don‘t really want a five-mana card that flings one of my creatures in the air and then trades with the opponent‘s three-drop, so I‘d only run this card in a really dedicated Ally deck with at least 7-8 Allies, some of them possibly with the „grow“ ability that adds +1/+1 counters. However, if that‘s exactly what my deck seems to end up like, this card can be quite good.

3-6/10

Summoner's Bane

If you actually manage to play this spell, it will usually be quite a beating for your opponent. Of course the problem is that in Zendikar limited, even the three-mana Cancel is rather slow, so it doesn‘t get any better with a four-mana counterspell that can only target creatures. But the effect of this card is so powerful that if I‘m running a deck with good early game that can affod to risk „wasting“ turn four with four mana up, I usually give it a go. It‘s often right to side it out on the draw against a fast enemy, though.

5,5/10

Trapmaker's Snare

There are not all that many playable traps in Zendikar and usually it won‘t pay off to waste two mana just to fetch something like a Whiplash Trap. Also, by showing which trap you search for, the surprise element is lost, which can be a major issue when dealing with something as sneaky as traps. The best use for this card is probably finding an Archive Trap in the mill archetype.

2-6/10

Black

Black

Feast of Blood

The clause you have to meet is quite tough, since creatures in Magic tend to die (even those that are undead), so even a number of vampires that looks sufficient „on paper“ sometimes won‘t be enough to support this card. I see the unreliability of this card as a big drawback, because when I‘m playing a card, I want it to do its „job“ every time. The upside – killing a creature and gaining some life – isn‘t that significant (in my eyes) to fully reward the risk, so I would only want to include this card in my deck with a really high number of Vampires – something like seven or eight.

3-6/10

Gatekeeper of Malakir

If you are able to pay three black mana for this Vamp, he‘ll be a monster – card advantage with legs isn‘t something to turn down. However, the „if“ is quite important in this case, since the mana cost is so steep, that you need a deck with Black as the strongly dominant colour. I would be careful about taking Gatekeeper early in the draft, when you don‘t know for sure how your draft will end up in terms of colours, but once you know you can support him, pick him high. In general, I would say I‘d want at least eleven black sources with the Gatekeeper – each Swamp less decreases his value quite a bit.

4-8/10

Hagra Diabolist

Five mana for a 3/2 dork is a very high price and the Diabolist‘s ability starts to be relevant with a very high number of Allies in your deck, otherwise you lose a lot of tempo with playing such a lousy five-drop. If your deck is a dedicated Ally-special, this guy becomes quite reasonable, but more in terms of putting +1/+1 counters on other allies than a win condition. Five mana means the Diabolist well be one of the last Allies you play, so his ability won‘t usually trigger that many times.

3-6/10

Marsh Casualties

Every now and then a card from the „Infest / Pyroclasm“ brand gets printed and it usually tends to be one of the better cards in the set. I don‘t remember seeing a „one-sided Infest“, at least not among the uncommons, and I don‘t think I need to emphasize just how good it is. Marsh Casualties is a card that makes people switch colours in the draft.

9,5/10

Mind Sludge

A card that gets better with every additional Swamp in your deck. Unlike Gatekeeper, it is playable even in a „fair“ two-colour deck, but of course having more Swamps than other basics doesn‘t hurt. If you‘re monoblack by some chance, Mind Sludge will definitely be one of the highlights of your deck, since discarding your opponent‘s hand on turn five can win the game on its own. However, the same „rule“ applies here as with Gatekeeper – early in draft, you should be careful, since you don‘t know for sure just how many Swamps you‘ll play eventually, so evaluating this card correctly is quite impossible at that point. As for the archetypes, this card doesn‘t get on that well with Green and White, since those colours tend to be quite demanding in regard to coloured mana. Blue-Black is the deck where you can usually get the most out of Mind Sludge, because it works well with bounce spells and you can combine Sludge + Whiplash Trap / Into the Roil to get some value from it even in the lategame.

4-7/10

Needlebite Trap

I Personally don‘t like this card at all. It doesn‘t affect the board position in any way and seven mana is a lot (the opportunities where you play it for its trap cost are quite scarce). I would only play Needlebite Trap in a very aggresive deck that lacks a finisher, but I wouldn‘t be too excited about it.

4/10

Quest for the Gravelord

Quite a reasonable card, whose value depends on the removal count in your deck and also on the number of non-flying creatures (those that tend to trade in combat most often). What I don‘t like about this card is that it just gets totally humiliated by bounce spells, but even cards like Kor Sanctifiers or Mold Shambler – sideboarding the Quest out against an opponent with several of those cards can be a good idea. Generally, I would say that in most cases the reward is worth the risk, since getting a one mana 5/5 is quite impressive, even if it takes some time and your opponent might spoil your plans every now and then.

5-6/10

Ravenous Trap

A card purely for constructed, that has no use in limited formats.

1/10

Vampire Hexmage

Two black symbols in the upper right corner mean your deck should have more Swamps than other basics if you want to play the Hexmage as a 2-drop. If you‘re ok with such a clause, this card will serve you well – the format is full of small cheap creatures and attacking into a 2-power first striker can be a serious problem. The „remove all counters“ ability might seem like entirely designed for constructed, but it can be useful even in the 40-card decks, shrinking a kicked Aether Figment or an Ally that got out of hand and sometimes it can be handy to suggest to your opponent that he should really start over with collecting counters on his Quest.

7/10

Vampire Nighthawk

The simple fact, that this card is widely considered as one of the frontrunners for the „best card in Zendikar limited“ award says a lot about the format itself. Nighthawk might not seem like your typical „limited bomb“, a slot usually ocupied by various Dragons and mass removal spells, but don‘t let his furtive proportions fool you: for mere three mana, he can race with ease creatures that cost two more, three toughness means he‘s really hard to kill (immune to both Disfigure and Hideous End… you even need to kick a Burst Lightning to actually kill him) and if all comes to holding the fort, he can trade with pretty much any attacker you name. All in all, Vampire Nighthawk could be the description of the word „value“ in a Magic dictionary.

9,5/10

Red

Red

Geyser Glider

A card that often works as an Air Elemental on offense, but unless you have a fetchland or a Harrow up your sleeve, it can‘t block attacking creatures with flying. In another edition, I can imagine Geyser Glider being a first-pick quality card, but Zendikar is faster than your regular set and the five mana slot is also a bit too crowded in Red. Geyser Glider has to compete with Spire Barrage, Tuk-Tuk Grunts and Torch Slinger among others and each of those cards can be better than Glider under the right circumstances. Usually it‘s necessary to work on the early drops and pick up the 5-drops as they come, since you can‘t really afford more than three/four of them anyway.

6/10

Goblin Ruinblaster

There are quite a lot of playable nonbasic lands in Zendikar and most of them are in the common or uncommon slot, which means the Ruinblaster will screw your opponents manabase on a quite regular basis. However, three mana 2-power guy with haste is also a reasonable deal, so most often there won‘t be any reason to hold him in your hand if you don't have an other play on the third turn and your opponent didn‘t play a nonbasic yet.

6/10

Hellfire Mongrel

A very good Gray Ogre, whose ability is at its best in Zendikar, since the need to trigger landfall often leads to opposing players playing their „redundant“ lands and not holding any cards in hand. In addition, Hellfire Mongrel can really punish opponents for taking mulligans.

6/10

Inferno Trap

A reasonable burn spell for a reasonable price. What‘s not to like?

8/10

Mark of Mutiny

A card that only fits in the right deck – it can be very good in an aggressive deck with a low curve and miserable in a deck that doesn‘t meet this criteria. It‘s useful to keep in mind that you can play it even on your own critter, either to push through some extra damage by untapping a creature (for example trapped by a Paralyzing Grasp) or improving one of your creatures by giving it a +1/+1 counter – for example in order to get your 3/3 around an opposing 3/3.

4-6/10

Murasa Pyromancer

Unlike Hagra Diabolist, this Ally can shoot creatures, which is a very useful ability. To turn him from an overcosted Sparkmage Apprentice into a recursive Flametongue Kavu, you need sufficient allied support, though. With less than six Allies in my deck, I probably wouldn‘t want to run this guy and I don‘t think I‘d be too happy about his presence in my deck unless I had more than seven. In a dedicated Ally deck, he can turn into a real monster and a highlight of the deck.

3-7,5/10

Punishing Fire

A reasonable burn spell with the potential to create card advantage, which, however, won‘t occur too often. Most of the lifegain cards don‘t force you to gain life if you don‘t want to (Ondu Cleric, Grazing Gladehart), so usually the only chance to recur this card is by waiting with three mana up until your opponent casts a lifegain card or puts a lifegain effect on the stack and respond by Punishing Fire to make sure you bring it back. Also, if you know that your opponent is playing Punishing Fire, it might be a good idea to side out cards that force you to gain life, like Kabira Crossroads.

7,5/10

Quest for Pure Flame

A quest with a rather difficult to fulfill clause, which offers situational reward after you complete it. It doesn‘t lead to card advantage and doesn‘t do anything on its own… I don‘t think I would ever want to play this card.

1/10

Runeflare Trap

If you‘re looking for a playable card for your red deck, you‘d better look somewhere else.

1/10

Unstable Footing

A five-mana instant Lava Axe, not much more. Traditionally, there were decks that made a good use of cards like this and this is still true in Zendikar, so if what you need is a way to finish your opponent, this card will get the job done.

5/10

Green

Green

Baloth Cage Trap

Five mana is quite a lot in Zendikar, so although an instant 4/4 dude for five would be great in other sets, here it‘s „merely“ ok. Its weak point is how bad it fares against bounce spells, so feel free to side it out against a blue mage (it can‘t ambush your opponents creatures when they fly, anyway). The trap cost is a bit tricky, but it does mean that if you know your opponent has this card in his deck and two untapped lands in play, you should think twice before playing some artifact that you don‘t necessarily need.

6/10

Baloth Woodcrasher

One of the best green uncommons – six mana is a lot, but this Baloth can easily grow into an 8/8 trampling monster that turns into a one-man army with cards like Harrow, Khalni-Heart Expedition or even Kor Cartographer. Baloth will often be a must-kill for your opponent and will maul him over if he doesn‘t find an answer until your first combat step with this beast on the table.

7,5/10

Cobra Trap

Cobra Trap is just too expensive for what it does – at the point of the game where you‘re able to cast six-mana spells, 1/1 creatures won‘t be much more than chumpblockers, even if there‘s four of them. Sometimes it‘s useful to remember having Cobra Trap in your board, for example if your opponent is running some Goblin Ruinblasters that hurt you, but this card is just not maindeckable under most circumstances, unless you are really desperate for playables.

3/10

Frontier Guide

A really slow way to fix your mana, which is, however, capable of guaranteeing that you never run out of landfall ammo, so in some decks, it will be fine – with Grazing Gladehart, for example, it can almost erase the tempo loss caused by the massive mana investments you have to commit to keep the Guide „online“. Most decks won‘t appreciate this card and even for those that will, sometimes this card will be too slow against fast opponents, so again you should take that into account when sideboarding (I wouln‘t mind taking the guide out on draw against a fast opponent), but if the effect it offers is what you‘re looking for, feel free to pick it reasonably high.

4-6/10

Greenweaver Druid

A fragile creature that can accelerate you into some really explosive plays. Some decks, for example the fast RG decks, don‘t usually need this creature, but if your deck does, the Druid will be golden. The possibility of playing Baloths of various kinds and sizes as soon as turn four is nothing to sneeze at. Just make sure that your deck can work even without the Druid, since the times where you don‘t draw it or it dies to the first removal you can think of will be numerous.

4-6,5/10

Primal Bellow

This card, together with the Timbermaw Larva and Nissa‘s Chosen in the common slot, is one of the main reasons why green is best as a dominant colour. Primal Bellow is as cheap a trick as it gets and the effect can be huge.

5-7/10

Quest for the Gemblades

The clause you have to fulfill to get this quest online is very passable and the effect is also quite ok, but this card still has some issues. The one that‘s probably most important is that your opponent can prepare for the „Giant Growth“ you‘re about to cast at least a full turn in advance, if you want to use it as a combat trick. One of the best things about pump spells is that they‘re supposed to take your opponent by surprise and with Quest for the Gemblades, your opponent can see more or less exactly what you are planning to do. Still, four +1/+1 counters are a lot better than a „generic“ boost that wears off at the end of the turn, so all in all the Quest is a playable card, but nothing to write home about, since it gets hosed by so many tricks.

5,5/10

River Boa

One of the best 2-drops in Zendikar – very hard to kill, almost invincible in combat, unblockable from time to time and can block giant monsters all day long. Everytime I‘m drafting Green, I‘m happy to take one if I see it.

7,5/10

Tajuru Archer

Not very impressive on his own, this Elf can, however, make short work of blue mage‘s creatures if surrounded by other Allies. Provided your deck has about eight Allies or more, that should be enough to play him maindeck. At least he‘ll support the other Allies in the matchups where he doesn‘t wreck the other side of the board. I wouldn‘t like to play the Archer outside of a really dedicated Ally deck, but sometimes you can board him in against an opponent with multiple Welkin Tern.

4-6,5/10

Turntimber Basilisk

A very helpful critter, that doesn‘t look like much, but can work overtime. The worst thing that can happen is that you trade the Basilisk 1 for 1 with some attacker or blocker, but he is capable of creating some serious card advantage if things go right. Not considering the situations where he eats a Hedron Crab or a Kraken Hatchling, you can achieve that with combining the Basilisk with a number of cards. For example any effect that lets you put an additional land into play (Harrow, Kor Cartographer) means you can target another blocker and trade 2 for 1. Adventuring Gear means that if your opponent only left a 2/2 to hold the fort, Basilisk will kill it and survive to tell the tale. For the best possible experience, I highly recommend putting a Savage Silhouette on the Basilisk, which – provided your opponent doesn‘t have a bounce spell up his sleeve – turns this little animal into your private one-sided Abyss.

7/10

Artifacts

Blazing Torch

The first ability, which says that Vampires and Zombies are scared of the equipped creature, isn‘t all that important, but since every now and then it starts to matter, it is good to bear that ability in mind. Apart from that, what we have here is a two mana (cost + equip) Shock, that requires an untapped creature without summoning sickness to throw it. And it is exactly this cause, which makes one of your creatures busy throwing stuff for a turn, that decreases the value of the Torch somewhat. I‘m not saying the Torch is unplayable, since it is a removal spell after all, but a lot of decks would rather have their creatures attack and would prefer some useful Grizzly Bear over the Torch.

6/10 

Carnage Altar

Without the possibility of sacrificing creatures with damage on the stack, it is rather difficult to squeeze some card advantage out of this card. The Altar is also not exactly cheap to operate, which means that it is far too weak for a fast format like Zendikar.

2/10

Khalni Gem

A slow card that works well with landfall and can fix your mana if needed. Most two-colour decks can do without the Gem and focus more on other important things than paying four to avoid colour-screw, but if you have a high curve, more than two colours, or both, this card can be a viable choice.

5/10

Trailblazer's Boots

Too expensive to use, too small payoff. The only thing worth mentioning here is that you can create an interesting combo with this card – if you equip Trailblazer‘s Boots on a Steppe Lynx, the result will be „Puss in Boots“.

1/10

Trusty Machete
Versions:
Zendikar (Foil)

Trusty Machete

One of the best uncommons in Zendikar and probably my favourite one to open pick 1, pack 1. The +2/+1 bonus has a big impact on the board and the Machete is an easy addition to every deck. Not much more to say here.

9/10

Lands

Akoum Refuge

Graypelt Refuge

Jwar Isle Refuge

Kazandu Refuge

Sejiri Refuge

The Refuge cycle is a welcome addition to any appropriate two-colour deck, though most of the times I wouldn‘t want to pick a Refuge over another playable card for my deck – unless trying to „repair“ some draft that has gone awry and has more colours than is healthy.

5/10

Thanks for reading,

Adam

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