Sometimes it's nice to look back and see just how far things have come since the early days of Magic: The Gathering. To that end, we're bringing you a series of short videos that highlight Magic: The Gathering expansions throughout the years.
In this video, we take a look back at Worldwake, the middle set in Magic: The Gathering's original Zendikar block.
You can check it all out in our retrospective video (below).
The second set in Magic: The Gathering’s original Zendikar block, the 145-card Worldwake released on February 5, 2010.
The middle set of the block, the set continues (card-wise) where Zendikar left off, but not necessarily where it left off story-wise, as the entire story of Zendikar was in the on-off novel, Zendikar: In the Teeth of Akoum.
If you’re unfamiliar with the story, we recommend you check out our Magic: The Gathering History – Zenidkar video.
Don’t worry. We’ll wait.
<Intermission video clip.>
Yeah, we’re not waiting. But, please, do check that video out when you have a chance.
As for Worldwake, there’s quite a bit to tell about the set.
<MARO DTW WW1, 0:41-1:05, 1:40-2:05 “The set was…and myself.” “The idea of the…Zendikar had done.”>
As could be expected, Worldwake continues the themes from its predecessor, Zendikar, such as Landfall and the vampire-specific “bloodied,” as well as quests, traps, and allies. The set also introduced a variant on the “kicker” mechanic, called “multikicker,” which lets you create multiple instances of the kicker enhancement. At least, as many as you can afford to pay, such as the card Skitter of Lizards coming it with a +1/+1 counter upon it for each time you pay its multikicker cost when cast.
<MARO DTW WW1, 3:39-4:04 “We actually had…in the set.”>
Also, like its predecessor, Zendikar, the emphasis in Worldwake is lands (though not in the same way) as, thematically, the set is more focused on “manlands,” or lands that can become creatures, as well as cards that specialize in that sort of thing.
<MARO DTW WW1, 8:05-15, 8:52-9:00 “The one big thing…come alive.” “One of the…in this set.”
Essentially, the theme here was “when lands attack.” As such, it featured a cycle of allied-colored manlands:
- W/U Celestial Colonnade;
- U/B Creeping Tar Pit;
- B/R Lavaclaw Reaches;
- R/G Raging Ravine, and;
- G/W Stirring Wildwood, as well as one colorless land that can temporarily turn into a creature;
- Dread Statuary.
Other cycles within the set include:
- Landfall instants, which are spells that care whether or not a land had entered play previously that turn;
- Common multikicker creatures, such as the previously mentioned Skitter of Lizards;
- Common spell lands, which each come into play tapped, can tap for a single color of mana, and have an enter-the battlefield triggered ability;
- Zendikons, which is a cycle of common land enchantments that turn their enchanted land into a creature;
- Allied beneficiaries, which is a cycle of creatures that get a bonus ability if you control a specific type of allied basic land type, and;
- Enemy-colored activated traps, which are trap cards that can be cast at a drastic discount if a spell of a specific enemy color is cast by an opponent, such as the card Ricochet Trap being able to cast for just R (rather than 3R) should a blue spell be cast beforehand in that same turn.
Worldwake also introduced a new planeswalker card: Jace, the Mind Sculptor. The card, which is Magic’s first four ability planeswalker, was once considered the most powerful planeswalker card ever printed. It was a key component in a number of standard, modern, and legacy decks not just at the time, but for quite a long time afterwards as well. In fact, it was banned in Standard in June of 2011, in Modern in August, and in Extended in that September. It wasn’t until February of 2018 that the card was unbanned in Modern. As for Standard and Extended, well the card fell out of standard eligibility well before then and Extended had been retired as a format in August of 2013, having been replaced by what is now Legacy.
<MARO DTW WW2, 17:30-37, 18:18-28, 22:30-36 “Jace the Mind Sculptor…dun dunn.” “So…broken.” “This card was…very strong card.”
But Jace wasn’t the only card from Worldwake to receive a hit from the ban-hammer. In fact, a total of four cards from the set were considered to be too powerful to be played.
Stoneforge Mystic, which saw large tournament popularity in multiple formats thanks to it being not just an efficient way to seek out a specific equipment card in your deck, but also an easy way of getting equipment cards into play, was eventually banned in Standard, Extended, and Modern all in 2011. It was finally unbanned in August of 2019. It’s a key card in Legacy Death & Taxes builds, as well as well as Modern versions of that deck. Also, it’s an auto-include in modern Stoneblade decks and Modern “Hammertime” decks.
Eye of Ugin, which was a card printed as a storyline forshadow of the Eldrazi breaking free in the next set, Rise of the Eldrazi. The card eventually saw play in Tron decks here and there, but really became a force when Magic: The Gathering returned to the plane for the sets Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch. The card was banned in Modern April of 2016. It has yet to be unbanned.
Finally, the card Lodestone Golem, which is an artifact creature that taxes non-artifact spells, received a restriction of only one per deck in Magic’s Vintage format. For a moment, it became a turn one or turn two play that caused an early soft lock on non-artifact-focused decks in the format.
Of course, those four aren’t the only Worldwake cards worth a mention. There’s also:
- Abyssal Persecutor, a very undercosted creature with an interesting drawback: You can’t win the game and your opponent can’t lose the game;
- Amulet of Vigor, which is a key component in the popular and powerful Amulet Titan deck in Modern;
- Basilisk Collar, an equipment that grants deathtouch and lifelink to whichever creature has it equipped. It’s often seen in Eldrazi Tron decks, and, at the time, was a standard staple when paired with the next card on the list;
- Cunning Sparkmage, an unassuming creature that can hit pretty much anything on the board for one point of damage;
- Death’s Shadow, a 13/13 for a single black mana (though with an interesting drawback). The card inspired a number of Modern decks based around it;
- Horizon Drake, a card that, interestingly enough, has protection from lands;
- Kor Firewalker, a popular anti-red sideboard card;
- Tectonic Edge, a land destruction land, and;
- Wrexial, the Risen Deep, which is a fun and punishing commander card in EDH.
The set also had a number of promotional cards around its release.
Prerelease participants were given a foil Comet Storm and release day event participants received a foil Joraga Warcaller. Both cards showcase the set’s new multikicker mechanic. At the set’s Game Day event, participants received a full art Hada Freeblade, while top-eight finishers also received a full art Kalastria Highborn. Finally, those who bought an entire booster box of Worldwake received a Celestial Colonnade as a buy-a-box promo.
And, tournament-wise, Worldwake was front-and-center at Pro Tour San Diego, which was held just after the set’s release in late February, 2010. It started with five rounds of Standard, followed by three rounds of Zendikar-Worldwake draft on the first day. Day two was done in reverse order, with another three round Zendikar-Worldwake booster draft with five rounds of Standard afterwards.
In the end, German Simon Görtzen defeated Kyle Boggemes three games to two to take home $40,000 in prize money. Both players were on Jund (that’s R/G/B) decks that ran a couple of Worldwake’s manlands: Lavaclaw Reaches and Raging Ravine.
<PRO TOUR VIDEO CLIP>
So, is Worldwake one of your preferred Magic: The Gathering sets? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
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