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Zendikar Rising Standard Set Review: Green and Lands

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Check out the other entries here!

White | Blue | Black and Gold | Red and Artifacts

Yesterday we went over the Red and Artifact cards from Zendikar Rising and we had some good ones. Today we will be wrapping up with the Green and land cards from Zendikar Rising. Before we begin, let us go over my grating scale.

I will not be going over cards that I believe will not see play in Standard and I will not be going over the Commander cards that will not see Standard play. For example, cards like Paired Tactician and Emeria Captain will be omitted since they are just Limited cards and saying, "This is just a Limited card" repeatedly gets old rather fast. Do not worry though, I will be covering all the rare and mythic cards in the actual Zendikar Rising set. So, if you like a certain rare or mythic, it will be mentioned in the review.

Keep in mind I'm rating all these cards for Standard playability. I will mention Modern applications if I believe the card has some.

Each card will be listed by color, then alphabetically by name.

Each card will be given a rating of 1-5. If a card would receive a 0, meaning it will see no play in that format ever, its rating is left off the list.

Rating | Explanation | Standard Examples

0 - Will never see play in this format (0 ratings are not listed).

1 - Unlikely to see play. (Pursued Whale)

2 - Could see fringe play, or occasional sideboard card. (Squad Commander)

3 - Commonly played, staple in a single deck, or frequent play in several decks. (Angel of Destiny, Skyclave Apparition, Terror of the Peaks)

4 - Format staples. Sees play in multiple decks, one of the best cards in the format. (Emeria's Call, Teferi, Master of Time, Fabled Passage)

5 - Format warping. If you are in these colors, you play that card or keep that card in mind when building decks. (Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon)

Now that we have that out of the way, let's begin!

Green

Ancient Greenwarden
Ancient Greenwarden - 2.5 - Doubling land triggers is sweet, especially in a landfall set. Ancient Greenwarden is a powerful card but usually will not impact the board the turn he comes into play. He also competes with expensive spells like Genesis Ultimatum in the Temur decks and that is not a place you want to be, I think that will hinder his playability.
Ashaya, Soul of the Wild
Ashaya, Soul of the Wild - 2 - Just another Lord of Extinction. Cute with things like Planar Cleansing but ultimately not a competitive card.
Cragplate Baloth
Cragplate Baloth - 2 - No trample really stinks but this is still a fine Sideboard card for control matchups. It's no Carnage Tyrant though.
Inscription of Abundance
Inscription of Abundance - 3 - Solid Kicker charm. It reminds me of Dromoka's Command. Because it is instant it will see a good amount of play in Constructed, especially since it is so versatile.
Lotus Cobra
Lotus Cobra - 5 - If you are not playing Lotus Cobra then you better have a way to deal with it. Your opponent untapping with Lotus Cobra could mean you lose that turn as this card generates so much mana and so quickly, especially alongside Fabled Passage and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath. Every deck you build, you will have to ask yourself, "How can this deck deal with a turn two Lotus Cobra?"
Oran-Rief Ooze
Oran-Rief Ooze - 2 - Another thing for The Ozolith or token decks. Kind of like a pseudo lord for +1/+1 counters tribal. Cute but ultimately not the meta we are in. Either go way over the top or you go under with a hyper aggressive deck.
Roiling Regrowth
Roiling Regrowth - 3.5 - Fixed Harrow is still two landfall triggers. This will see play in landfall decks obviously but especially in rg landfall aggro.
Scale the Heights
Scale the Heights - 3 - If Uro is banned, then I expect people to start playing some Scale the Heights or Roiling Regrowth. Scale the Heights is good because it gains you life which buys you time, and time is all you need as a ramp deck before you bury your opponent with haymakers.
Scute Swarm
Scute Swarm - 3 - Scute Swarm gets out of hand quick! Did you know that if you mutate onto Scute Swarm, whenever you play your 6+ land, the copy will be whatever you mutated onto Scute Swarm? This makes Scute Swarm and excellent target for Migratory Greathorn. Even on its own, the Scutes get out of hand quick.
Swarm Shambler
Swarm Shambler - 2 - Cute but ultimately too gimmicky and way too slow, especially if you do not have this card early. Drawing it mid to late game is just terrible, not a fan of this one personally unless you really want to try that Ozolith deck out.
Tajuru Paragon
Tajuru Paragon - 3 - This is just the best party filler card. If there is going to be a party deck, you can bet it has Tajuru Paragon in it. I expect the party deck will get better the more sets we get, keep an eye on this one.
Vastwood Surge
Vastwood Surge - 2.5 - Different option if you do not want Migration Path. A kicked Vastwood Surge is excellent for all your little Scute Swarms, and simply great for your rg landfall aggro deck. I would max out on Roiling Regrowth before playing any of these though.

Bala Ged Recovery
Bala Ged Recovery - 3.5 - This card is as strong as the best card in your deck. It can be a land or late game it can be an Ugin, the Spirit Dragon or a counterspell. My personal favorite spell land.
Kazandu Mammoth
Kazandu Mammoth - 3 - Just a solid card, especially in the landfall aggro decks as it acts as a land or a creature that goes with your game plan. Even outside of Landfall aggro it is a decent creature in a stompy deck.
Khalni Ambush
Khalni Ambush - 2.5 - This card is fine, but it is really hard to justify playing this over Primal Might, as Primal Might is so much better. The best thing about Khalni Ambush though is that it is instant and if you are looking for an instant speed removal spell that can also be a land, Khalni Ambush is for you.
Tangled Florahedron
Tangled Florahedron - 2.5 - Land or ramp? Tangled Florahedron is great when you are trying to out ramp your opponent, but the problem is, you want colored mana for Omnath. So, you will most likely want Ilysian Caryatid since it also works with Omnath and Uro.
Turntimber Symbiosis
Turntimber Symbiosis - 4 - This whole cycle is simply great, Turntimber Symbiosis is no different. I love that it even works in Collected Company decks by putting three counters on your small creatures. Just an extremely versatile spell / land.
Vastwood Fortification
Vastwood Fortification - 3 - Depending on how removal shapes up, Vastwood Fortification could easily start seeing main deck play as it protects Lotus Cobra from Spikefield Hazard and Omnath from Thundering Rebuke.

Top 5 Green Cards

  1. Lotus Cobra
  2. Turntimber Symbiosis
  3. Bala Ged Recovery
  4. Roiling Regrowth
  5. Kazandu Mammoth

No surprise Lotus Cobra takes first place as the best Green card and it gets my vote for just the best card in the set. Be prepared for Lotus Cobras everywhere, if you are not, your opponent's side of the battlefield will get out of hand extremely quickly.

Let us go over the lands real quick from Zendikar Rising!

Lands

Riverglide Pathway
4 - These are just excellent and will see play for as long as they are in Standard. Highly recommend picking them up if you play Standard.
Base Camp
Base Camp - 2 - Coming into play tapped is a big no no for this card and aggressive decks. Because it comes into play tapped, I do not expect it to see much play outside of fringe decks.
Crawling Barrens
Crawling Barrens - 3.5 - Solid card in a colorless, mono-colored, or two-colored deck, creature lands are hard to come by and Barrens is a good one.
Throne of Makindi
Throne of Makindi - 3 - I like this card as well for decks that have a lot of kicker spells, or even just a colorless deck running Myriad Construct and Skyclave Relic.

The Pathways are extremely solid and do help aggressive strategies a bit as they really need their lands to come onto the battlefield untapped. The rest are nice and outside of Base Camp I expect the rest to see competitive play at some point, especially Crawling Barrens.

Well, that is it for Zendikar Rising! This looks like an amazing set that will heavily impact Standard but also older formats because of the spell lands. I am excited for this set and to see how Lotus Cobra Standard shapes up, love me some ramp!

As always, thanks for reading,

Ali Aintrazi

Follow me @AliEldrazi

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