Battle for Zendikar Prerelease Primer

Cards, Deck, Game play, Magic the Gathering, MtG -

Battle for Zendikar Prerelease Primer

Do you want to Ingest all opponents in your path at the BFZ prerelease this weekend? Are you currently Devoid of the knowledge needed to win? Well, you have an Ally in Wizardry Foundry today, as we’ll show you how to Process the new set and Converge on the format fully prepared!

 

Note: While most of the keywords and abilities in these color combinations are also present in other colors, these are the two-color pairs that can best make use of them.

UW: Awaken

Blue and white have an unusually-high number of quality, tempo-oriented instants and sorceries in BFZ. The problem with this fact in most sets would be that you need to be ahead or at parity for these spells to be good, but thanks to Awaken, these can function as creatures late in the game to ensure that you are developing your board while also detracting from that of your opponent. If you pretend that the spells are instead expensive creatures with the ability to be cashed in early (Evoke, if you will), they all look a lot better. Focus on giving your UW deck the ability to chip in damage consistently with evasion and cheap threats, and let your Awaken cards push you over the top in the late game.

Key commons: Clutch of Currents, Sheer Drop

Key uncommons: Coastal Discovery, Halimar Tidecaller

Ideal Rare: Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper

GW: Big Allies

The nice thing about Allies in this set is that they all affect your entire board, instead of only your allies, so even non-ally decks can make use of the powerful Rally effects. Your GW deck should have plenty of creatures to make full use of the effects provided to you in the late game – preferably Allies, so you can trigger Rally multiple times! Combat tricks are key here to make sure your creatures can punch through defenses, because you’ll want to knock them out sooner rather than later.

Key commons: Tajuru Beastmaster, Makindi Patrol

Key uncommons: Tajuru Warcaller, Kor Entanglers

Ideal Rare: Hero of Goma Fada

GR: Landfall

Landfall asks very little of you, other than making all of your land drops. Green and red have a plethora of powerful and aggressive Landfall creatures, so if you find yourself with several of them, play more lands than you think you might normally, because you’ll want to trigger Landfall consistently…trust me. There are plenty of cards to sink mana into as well, from Eldrazi to Awaken and more, so don’t be afraid of flood!

Key commons: Valakut Predator, Snapping Gnarlid

Key uncommons: Grove Rumbler, Tunneling Geopede

Ideal Rare: Akoum Hellkite

RB: Devoid Aggro

As always, red and black are aggressive in BFZ, but this time there is a high critical mass of colorless creatures to further your cause. The powerful cards that care about colorless creatures and spells will give you the edge you need to sneak underneath people before they can get their own engines online, giving your creatures additional bonuses like haste and first strike to punish slower opponents. If you have a close choice between two creatures in your final deck slots this weekend, lean towards the colorless card to maximize your chances of synergizing effectively.

Key commons: Dominator Drone, Swarm Surge

Key uncommons: Forerunner of Slaughter, Skitterskin

Ideal Rare: Dust Stalker

UB: Ingest

Blue and black contain lots of devoid creatures, but also prominently features Ingest, which triggers when a creature successfully damages a player. For many decks this ability won’t matter, but UB also contains “processors,” which give you bonus abilities if your opponents have cards in exile. This means that if you have such processors you will want as many Ingest creatures as possible, and also ways to get those Ingest creatures through. That means you’ll want some combat tricks, cheap removal/bounce, or other ways to help your creatures survive to make the best use of these abilities.

Key commons: Benthic Infiltrator, Murk Strider

Key uncommons: Ulamog’s Reclaimer, Ulamog’s Nullifier

Ideal Rare: Wasteland Strangler

UG: Converge

While there isn’t necessarily a 5-color theme in the set, Converge allows you to splash and get extra rewards off of additional colors of mana. This can range from small (an extra +1/+1 counter here and there) to large (gaining control of creatures), which of course depends on the Converge cards that are in your deck. It also gives you extra incentive to splash your bombs, so if you have a single-colored card in another color that you want to play, and you have some Converge in your UG deck, consider splashing! Make sure you have the appropriate fixing to go along with it, however, because depending on that third color without the proper support won’t end too well for you.

Key commons: Lifespring Druid, Natural Connection

Key uncommons: Skyrider Elf, Infuse with the Elements

Ideal Rare: Exert Influence

GB: Scions/Sacrifice

This is the deck that can best support the giant Eldrazi that are running around in the set, because it has the majority of Eldrazi Scion that can ramp you up to the large amounts of mana you’ll need to cast them. There is also a small sacrifice theme that rewards you when your creatures die, so look out for cheap creatures with bonuses when they die, like Blisterpod. Just focus on value cards and cheap enablers and you’ll be casting 10/10’s in no time!

Key commons: Blisterpod, Bone Splinters

Key uncommons: Brood Monitor, Rot Shambler

Ideal Rare: From Beyond

BW: Lifegain

Incidental lifegain is a common occurrence in limited, but in this set, it is especially pronounced for black and white. You might see a mediocre lifegain ability tacked onto a land or a creature and wonder why you would ever want to play it, but if you have enough creatures that get extra triggers when that happens, you can outpace many opponents trying to win the conventional way. If you end up with such a deck, focus on the tempo – if you get into a racing situation, chances are you’re favored thanks to all the lifegain you can produce out of nowhere! Evasion and cheap removal are key.

Key commons: Courier Griffin, Stone Haven Medic

Key uncommons: Retreat to Hagra, Bloodbond Vampire

Ideal Rare: Defiant Bloodlord

WR: Small Allies

White and red also have a strong Ally subtheme, and share a lot of the same cards as the GW version, but it focuses instead on going wide with lots of smaller guys instead of going tall with beefy finishers. You’ll want to focus your early game on making lots of small bodies to make use of the mass pump effects and other abilities that care about having lots of creatures in play. Once you start triggering Rally multiple times, you can then easily run over opponents trying to stabilize.

Key commons: Outnumber, Inspired Charge

Key uncommons: Resolute Blademaster, Unified Front

Ideal Rare: Lantern Scout

UR: Devoid Control

Blue-red has the strongest “colorless matters” theme of the set, with cheap defensive creatures giving your other colorless creatures and spells bonuses, like extra toughness and cheaper mana costs. Synergy is the name of the game here; the more cards that care about colorlessness, the better. As long as you keep your life total high, you can grind out opponents with gradual value and finish the game with something that goes over the top. And if you’re lucky, maybe you can assemble a Molten Nursery combo kill!

Key commons: Ruination Guide, Nettle Drone

Key uncommons: Herald of Kozilek, Molten Nursery

Ideal Rare: Barrage Tyrant



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