Saturday, 19 September 2020 16:18

Zendikar Rising: Ranking the Reprints

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Zendikar Rising: Ranking the Reprints WOTC

Reprints are expected in nearly every Magic: The Gathering set.  Some are good, some bad, and some are downright unexpected.

We rank the ten reprints that Magic players will find in the upcoming Zendikar Rising set (expeditions notwithstanding) from worst to best.

Pressure Point (C) – Not exactly a card that will wow anyone, Pressure Point does little to pressure one’s opponent unless it’s times just right.  Really, the tapping aspect isn’t even the real draw of this card as that honor would be for, well, card draw.  While one card for two mana isn’t amazing (even if at instant speed), it’s better than nothing and that is especially true in white.

Subtle Strike (C) – Good enough in Limited, this modal card can be both removal and a buff.  Add in the fact that it’s all done at instant speed and you have a card worth drafting on the second turn.  In constructed play, however, there are better options such as Doom Blade, Unexpected Fangs, and even Cartouche of Ambition – even if they lack modal flexibility.

Vanquish the Weak (C) – Black is arguably Magic: The Gathering’s king of targeted spot removal, so the bar is rather high for the color in that regard.  Vanquish the Weak, which only destroys creatures with power three or less doesn’t quite fit the bill.  Why not?  While the effect is desirable, the cost of 2B is one generic mana too expensive.  The card wasn’t all that special when it debuted in Ixalan and it’s not all that great now, either.

Smite the Monstrous (C) – White doesn’t too often get great instant speed creature removal these days.  Smite the Monstrous, a card that made its debut in Innistrad, isn’t exactly exciting.  While it’s better than the previously-mentioned card, Vanquish the Weak, due to its ability to take out a big threat, its casting cost of 3W doesn’t exactly make it the most desirable option – especially when you consider the card only destroys a creature rather than exile it.

Into the Roil (C) – A carbon copy of the Dominaria card Blink of an Eye (or, rather, the other way around as Into the Roil came out in the original Zendikar), the card will see some interest in both Limited and Standard play.  At 1U, it’s strictly better than Boomerang (which cost UU) and, thanks to its kicker, can replace itself for 2UU if needed.  Not too shabby, all things considered.

Tormenting Voice (C) – Since its introduction not to long ago in Khans of Tarkir, Tormenting Voice has been reprinted a whopping ten times (and that includes a reprint in the Khans block itself).  The card does have its uses, however, as it is a good way to toss away unneeded cards such as extra lands in the mid- to late-game in exchange for card draw.  It also works well in U/R mill decks with the likes of Teferi’s Tutelage, Sphinx’s Tutelage, Jace’s Erasure, and Psychic Corrosion.  Midrange aggro decks might also find it useful when paired with the likes of Ominous Seas, Oneirophage, and Chasm Skulker.  In-set, however, there’s isn’t a ton of noticeable synergy.

Rabid Bite (C) – Who doesn’t like a one-sided fight (Especially when you’re the one doing the fighting)?  Well, that’s exactly what Rabid Bite is.  In the past, it’s seen maindeck inclusion pretty much any deck that runs green and has any sort of sizable creature of sorts.  And, well, let’s be honest – that’s pretty much all of them.  It’s effective spot removal in green.  How nice is that?

Disenchant (C) – The “O.G.” Naturalize, Disenchant is sticking around in Standard for a little bit longer.  An iconic and practically required sideboard card for any deck running white, it’s effective and efficient at artifact/enchantment spot removal.  Always has been and (power creep aside) probably always will.  It’s great to see it in yet another Standard-legal set and we hope to see it again sometime around the next rotation.

Negate (C) – A now-classic situational counterspell, Negate is a welcomed reprint in Zendikar Rising.  For 1U, you can counter absolutely anything except for a creature card.  Planeswalkers, artifacts, enchantments, sorceries, and instants (including other counterspells) are all fair game.  It’s no wonder that the card sees sideboard and (sometimes) maindeck play in Magic formats of nearly all types.  It might not be worth much monetarily, but it’s worth more than the cardboard its printed on during gameplay.

Lotus Cobra (R) – Ramp is good.  Walking ramp is (arguably) better.  That’s what Lotus Cobra is.  A 2/1 for 1G, the card has a great landfall ability by granting its controller one mana of any color whenever a land (any land) comes into play on its controller’s side.  It’s sometimes seen maindeck in Amulet Titan and can be a blast to combo off with.

Zendikar Rising is scheduled for release Sept. 25.