My Favorite Battle for Zendikar Block Cards (Top 10)

That time again… Strange list this time around. There’s a couple of cards I haven’t even played, but I still like very much.

As usual, this isn’t that much about the best cards for any format. This is more about the cards I enjoy for variety of reasons. I like the flavor, I like the unusual gameplay, I like the art… whatever. I’m not trying to be in anyway objective here. This is clearly and cleanly about my strange preferences.

The major contest here seemed to be (as it should) Allies vs. Eldrazi… And like in Modern (and probably in other formats as well) Eldrazi won. Allies just seem like generic good guys, while Eldrazi bring something very different to the table.

The Eldrazi flavor of being outside of the usual bounds of reality works pretty well. Of course, they often do something quite normal, but even things like Kozilek’s Sentinel just seems to break the rules, since aggressive red creatures don’t usually have that much toughness. This is of course subtler and the cards on my actual list don’t go for subtlety. Quite the opposite, in fact. At least mostly.

As usual, you shouldn’t expect the real constructed bombs to be on this list. There’s no Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger or Kozilek’s Return on the list. There is one true constructed bomb in there, but its pretty low on the list.

Honorable Mentions

Bearer of SilenceSlab HammerSire of Stagnation

‘Can’t block’ just seems to be one of my favorite keywords (I know it isn’t, but you know…)

Slab Hammer has pretty interesting gameplay, where you have to decide whether to hold back your development to get a few points of extra damage through, but on the other hand, this block also includes Landfall, which you can trigger, but only after combat. A fun card.

Sire of Stagnation has good flavor, but its just a pain to play against, which knocked it out of the list itself.

10. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

This is the actual bomb of the list. Its ridiculously powerful, but no card can get on the list by that metric alone. I like the flavor of this guy. He’s people were on the bottom of the vampiric foodchain, so they chose a different path. Kalitas hasn’t faired well, and I’m not sure he’s happy with his decision, but what’s done is done.

9. Bane of Bala Ged

Bane of Bala Ged

When the memo to stop annihilating and start digesting was passed around, Bane ignored it completely. In fact, it decided to go one step further.

8. Goblin War Paint

Goblin War Paint

Previous versions of the flavor text have hinted at psychoactive substances and just annoying the goblin, but here they’ve chosen to show how the goblins aren’t just a joke. The art makes them feel like something dangerous in a way few goblin cards manage. Also, just the idea of rubbing some Eldrazi fluids on your body is gross enough to be fun.

I do also like to play it. I often get a couple of these very late in OGW draft and often side them in against the BW decks that tend to create board stalls.

7. Reckless Cohort

Reckless Cohort

Although its been close, I’ve never actually played this card. However, every once in a while, they manage to make these cards that just hit home in a different way, like Blessed Spirits. This is in the same vein. Sure, its fantasy and you don’t want to highlight the casualties of war too much, but that reluctance to do it too often lets these few examples work that much better.

6. Vile Aggregate

Vile Aggregate

Who would’ve thought this would be a played in Modern? Let alone win a Pro Tour? This gets in because I like to play it and its interesting to play against. Being able to make quick calculations helps here. I haven’t played it or against it in Modern, so I can’t really say anything about that…

I do also like the flavor here. Its somehow using the collective power of the Eldrazi around it.

5. Halimar Tidecaller

Halimar Tidecaller

Its a good value card for limited (and might have some constructed applications), but again, I like the flavor. Animating lands in Zendikar is nothing new, but making them fly? That’s a sight to behold. This was also an excellent card in the BfZ limited, even though its lost much of its potential with OGW.

4. Slip Through Space

Slip Through Space

Creating wormholes for one mana? That’s kind of scary, even if they were small, localized and short-lived.

3. Immobilizer Eldrazi

Immobilizer Eldrazi

Apparently the Eldrazi adapt. WHen the Allies took a more defensive stand and began to accumulate smaller edges, the Eldrazi needed new weapons against them and here’s just the thing. It attacks the strengths of their opponents directly, both in flavor and gameplay.

Its an excellent card I’m always happy to pick for the more aggressive strategies I often play in draft.

2. Fathom Feeder

Fathom Feeder

Its cheap and it has the words ‘Draw a card’ on it. What else do you want? Well, they did give it four different abilities, none of which are that impactive, but together they give you an interesting set of options.

1. Inverter of Truth

Inverter of Truth

I haven’t played this yet. I’ve used plenty of time to think about all the ways I could be using this. I do have a Johnny-side and this card tickles that part of me just the right way. I do recognize that its quite vulnerable and being able to play only four of them in your deck is really problematic, but that hasn’t stopped me from brewing and simply having fun with the idea.

I will play it, I just haven’t quite figured out how, because of all the difficulties involved. It just pulls you in so many directions. You want to protect it though counters and discard, but those aren’t necessarily the cards you want in your graveyard when you cast it. You can mitigate this through delve, which lets you handpick the cards you want, but you don’t want to go overboard, because you do need enough cards in the graveyard. You want something to get this guy, but you don’t want to draw it again later. Dig Through Time is especially good for finging him, but bad when you draw it after playing the Inverter. You also don’t want to draw any fecthes after you’ve played this, because you won’t have anything to fetch. Delve helps, again. Do you want to play Tasigur, the Golden Fang? I’d guess not.

Then there’s Disperse. You can return it to your hand, thus enabling replaying it, which means you’ll be able to recycle the cards you managed to save the first time to play again.

The complexity of it all just makes it so intriguing, even if it is the 11th (out of 12) best mythic for limited according to Frank Karsten and gets only 2.5 from LSV constructed review (although Conley obviously found it much more intrguing and gave it 3.5-4).

(One thing that did go wrong with this card is that “The Truth” became part of Magic lingo a bit too late.)

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