Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pauper Perspective: Zendikar

Over all I have to say the commons in Zendikar seem fairly unimpressive, adding very little volume of quality to the pauper player. This will also tend to make limited a bit strange and rather dependant on non-common bombs.

First up there are strikingly few creatures with a relevant power in the set at the common level. Assuming the spoilers are correct, I was unable to find even one example in White or blue, and only a total of eleven in the other three colors. Green, the normal color for big stupid creatures, only appears to have five examples at the common level. Green's Mold Shambler could easily be an MVP, with it's reasonable and versatile kicker to destroy a non-creature permanent, and Scyth Tiger will also see play at almost any level.

Relevant Toughness on the other hand, appears to be very well represented. By my count there are 16 creatures with relevant toughness, making this possibly the most defensive group of commons in some time. I'm not sure how you win this game with defensive creatures, but I guess we are going to find out.

Evasion is another "odd" point for the commons in this set. Flying is not nearly as pervasive as many had hoped. Most of the evasion tends to be color or basic land driven, so very situational at best. Other relevant creature abilities tended to be very lite. I think only three in total, with only one relevant first striker, and one deathtouch.

There were also surprising few traditional combat tricks. Nearly all the modifiers at the common level appear to be driven on the landfall mechanic. Since lands can't be played mid combat, they have to be telegraphed during the first main phase to impact combat, making a lot less tricks for the pauper player.

Acceleration is present, as one would expect in a land matters block, but honestly does not feel as "good" as it did in M10. Removal by contrast was pretty much what I expected, weak at the common level, but present in some form in nearly every color. Starck contrast can be drawn to the equipments at the common level, which all appear to be fairly good. The common level lands are not bad, and may be worth playing in some cases even off color.

These cards, combined with Terramorphic expanse, adds a lot of tricks back into the landfall mechanics, but your opponent should still see it coming. Wizards appears to have been a lot more focused on the mythic/rares for this set, and left the pauper player sort of out in the cold.

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