2/9/2010 LI: "Rough Landing"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Limited Information, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.

Surprised Steve didn't mention other potential plays with the Zendikons. The first instinct is to play it on an "expendable" basic land, but its not always the right one. I had two interesting interactions at the launch:

Playing red/green...

My opponent cast spreading seas on my raging ravine. Damn him! I cast crusher zendikon on the new island and sent in for a suicide swing. Realising he couldn't afford to be hit for 4 a turn, he traded with a 2/2, I got through 2 points of damage and of course my unenchanted ravine back.

My intention though was to play the zendikon on the ravine once it had a few +1/+1 counters on it - never did pull that off.

Playing black....

My opponent was hitting me with two marsh threaders... I had one quicksand, and no kill spell in hand. Played corrupted zendikon on the quicksand, killed threader #1, and then replayed the quicksand on my turn to keep #2 at bay.
Yes, I used a Zendikon to reuse Quicksand at the prerelease. And I saw one game where putting a Zendikon on the "target creature can't block" land would have won the game, but the player was playing on autopilot and missed that.

Incidentally, Raging Ravine will still gather counters if you activate it once it's got a Zendikon on it. It'll just shrink a bit the first time or two.

I've seen a Vastwood Animist as the only Ally around (this was Sealed) make a very effective stream of chump blockers late game. It's not ideal, by any means, but it can set you up to avoid 16+ damage towards the end of a game.

And one very interesting trick I saw was: Opponent cast Quest for Renewal. Then tapped her Greenseeker and a Zendikon-land for mana, tapped the Vastwood Animist to animate a land, tapped that land for mana, and ended her turn - not using the mana, but immediately turning the Quest online!
I think the Zendikons are much better than they seem in this article. If you're not playing against red or black, the Wind Zendikon can get a fair amount of damage through, chump blocking a bigger enemy flyer later in the game, while setting up Windrider Eel or other landfall creatures for your next turn.
Crusher Zendikon almost certainly pushes through some damage, while killing one of your opponent's creatures and returning the land to your hand for landfall and/or CITP-effects.
I think with the possible exception of Guardian Zendikon, the Zendikons are awesome.
I never got to go to the Worldwake Pre-release but I do like the machanics (in theory, at lest) and the theme of the Zendikons as well as land coming to life. I belive it's a good balance of gameplay and flavour. Once I get my hands on some Worldwake, I will try them out.

Great on-theme article Steve! What to do with the cards that allow you to animate lands in Worldwake Limited is a very important topic to discuss right now, and I truly appreciate your hindsight, as these cards are much harder to evaluate than, say, most creatures.

I mostly agree with you about the Zendikons. While I didn't get an occasion to play it yet, without reading your advice about it, I must admit I probably would have taken too much risk with Wind Zendikon, playing it on the first or second turn even against red or black decks. I'll be sure to be careful with it. In addition to red and black, people should also be careful about white, because of Journey to Nowhere : while it's only one card compared to red and black's multiple cheap removal, that card is the absolute worst blowout you can take when playing Zendikons. You don't get your land back, so your opponent gets a two-for-one and a Stone Rain for two mana. A-w-k-w-a-r-d.

I didn't get an occasion to play Guardian Zendikon either, but it doesn't seem too worthwile to me. The format is still very fast, and barring acceleration, your wall-land can only be up for blocking on turn 4. I think I'd take a Pillarfield Ox, which can attack and doesn't require me to keep a land untapped, over it. If it costed two and gave you something like a 2/4 or 1/5, I'd like it a lot more, but as of now, even in the UW evasion deck, I sometimes won't play it. It still has a place as a filler card in that archetype, though.

Crusher Zendikon is the one for which my opinion shifted the most radically since I first saw it. Contrary to you, I overevaluated it at first, and then I realized that it trades with everything and their mother and started to hate it. Corrupt Zendikon is so much better; 3/3 is a better body than 4/2 in Limited unless you're ultra-aggressive, and it costs less! Crusher Zendikon still has its place in an heavy red aggro deck in draft, but I really dislike it in Sealed where it's much harder to focus your deck on beatdown. The best it could do for me is blocking 4-toughness creatures, which is fine, but not really what I had in mind. To be fair, it's most likely still an OK card, and I'm probably undervaluating it right now. The fact that Corrupt Zendikon is clearly superior does nothing to the fact that it is playable itself. Still, if you're red/black going into pack 3, and you've got a choice between the two, you know what you have to do!

As for Vastwood Zendikon, it's Craw Wurm with haste (as long as you don't play it on the land you laid this turn; watch for it folks!), which is not bomby but very good. Definitely the most straightforward of the bunch.

Magic The Gathering DCI Lvl 1 Judge Don't hesitate to post rules question in the Rules Q&A forum for me and other competent advisors to answer : http://community.wizards.com/go/forum/view/75842/134778/Rules_Q38A
Having multiple Wind Zendikons was completely nuts for me in U/r quick flying beats in draft, even though one game my Halimar Depths got J2N'd on turn 3.  Yeah, it's definitely one that requires more thought as to when you'll use it and can also vary a great deal in value as a pick depending what you already have.
The end is always nigh.
werid i thought if you played a land this turn then put the enchantment on it turning it into a creature it would still have summoning sickness?

The biggest Vorthos Ever I'd rather have an awesome mechanic than the most flavor any day. Constantly coming up with cards all the time. So if you see a card you like tell me. Constantly trying to get into card of the week if you see a card you like please nominate.

I drafted three Crusher Zendikon in a double Worldwake draft and it was a pro. Helped me return Teetering Peaks, retrigger landfall on Geopede, and create gamewinning turns with Smoldering Spires.

I look at it as a 4 mana 4/2 trample,haste.

werid i thought if you played a land this turn then put the enchantment on it turning it into a creature it would still have summoning sickness?

Yes, which is why you don't cast it on the land you played this turn. 
In a pinch, one could play Guardian Zendikon on an opponent's manland to stop it from attacking.

What would happen if you put a zendikon on a land that already has a zendikon on it?
In a pinch, one could play Guardian Zendikon on an opponent's manland to stop it from attacking.

What would happen if you put a zendikon on a land that already has a zendikon on it?

Layering rules would mean that it would have most of the characteristics of the new Zendikon, but the creature types and abilities of both.
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