Knowing What I Know Now: Revising My Zendikar Rising Top Ten
On Destroy Target Permanent our top ten episodes that we do for each set are some of our favorite episodes that we produce. The process of really looking at what cards we like or what cards we believe will be hits in a constructed format only adds to the excitement of a new set. If you have been listening for any amount of time, you will know that we don’t always get things right when it comes to the evaluation of constructed levels cards. Since I began writing for Goblin Traders, I have been looking back at my top tens a week after the given episode is released. We have arrived at the time once again.
This was my original top ten for Zendikar Rising, along with my honorable mentions.
Mythic Modal DFC Cycle
Zareth San, The Trickster/Rogues
Omnath, Locus of Creation
Nullpriest of Oblivion
Jace, Mirror Mage
Honorable Mentions: Kaza, Roil Chaser; Nighthawk Scavenger; Orah, Skyclave Hierophant; Skyclave Shade
While I believe that there is still plenty of time for this list to really enter into the standard metagame, I’m still going to look and provide a critique of the above list.
Currently I don’t see a reason to move any of these cards from this section of my list.
10. Jace, Mirror Mage
This is our eleventh version (including Planeswalker deck) of Magic’s resident telepath. Let me start by saying, I still believe that this card has a place in Standard. Jace, Mirror Mage may be a sideboard player for the time being though. Through my play with this planeswalker, it has become apparent that the power really comes into play when Jace is kicked. Two planeswalkers is better than one, go figure. The most common pattern of play, which I believe to be correct under normal gamestate circumstances, is to plus the copy of Jace and depending on the results of the Scry; then minus the original Jace if the top card will not result in losing said Jace. This process can be repeated as needed. This is a card advantage tool, not the planeswalkers that we are used to. Jace, Mirror Mage most likely will not take over any games while he’s in Standard, but he can and will enable other threats to take over games. At this time Jace, Mirror Mage will be staying at the number ten slot.
9. Nullpriest of Oblivion
This is our first stop in Sadtown on the top tens train. I believed this card was going to immediately become a standard powerhouse. The cost of including Nullpriest of Oblivion in decks that can cast it is negligible. So far, this has not been the case. We still have plenty of time for this to change. The two drop slot has become more important with the release of Zendikar Rising. It feels as if you do not do something on turn two, you are already woefully behind. Don’t get me wrong, the tools are readily available to catch up in a game when behind. That being said, there doesn’t seem to be a place for this card just yet in Standard. Currently, Nullpriest of Oblivion will be moved to the Honorable Mentions section of my list.
8. Akoum Hellhound / Landfall
Landfall is a mechanic that has returned each time we have revisited Zendikar, and with good reason. I believe Landfall is one of the top five mechanics of the modern age of card design. There has also been a one-drop creature with Landfall each time we see its return, Akoum Hellhound being the most recent. This card has been great, but not in the deck that I expected. Akoum Hellhound has been utilized much more effectively in mono red decks in the early days of this standard format. If I had to keep a Landfall creature on my top ten it would be Brushfire Elemental or Kazandu Mammoth. Notice I said “if”; currently Akoum Hellhound falls from my top ten; that could easily change.
7. Pathway Cycle
There’s not much to say here, we all knew they would see play and be good. In fact, they have been great in my experience. I really enjoy the play of this latest version of “dual lands”, they create very interesting decisions from game to game. Currently the Pathway Cycle will be moving up one slot to number six, dropping Omnath to number seven; though not for long.
6. Omnath, Locus of Creation
Talk about powerhouses! This creature is insanely powerful and trivial to cast at best, regardless of the four color mana cost. This is also the fourth iteration of Omnath. Omnath, Locus of Creation literally does it all. I was super high on this card before release and I wasn’t even prepared for how impactful it has been. Spawning an archetype that has dominated the early events in the format. Omnath will be moving to number two on my top ten, thus shifting all of the cards above it down one slot.
5. Ancient Greenwarden