Insider Information – Zendikar Under The Hammer

SCG 10K Philadelphia... the first major event featuring Zendikar!
Friday, September 25th – Last week, Cedric Phillips fired a blazing salvo into the spoiled Zendikar cards. He called out the spells he felt unworthy, and highlighted a handful he thought to be strong. Today, he continues this task, before regaling us with the epic tale of Lotus Cobra…

Last week, we bashed Zendikar.

This week?

More of the same!

Overrated Card #1: Journey to Nowhere

Journey to Nowhere



When Journey to Nowhere enters the battlefield, exile target creature. When Journey to Nowhere leaves the battlefield, return the exiled creature to the battlefield under its owner’s control.

I think this card stinks. I have never liked Oblivion Ring in Constructed because it gives my opponent options, and I hate giving people options unless it is win/win for me (Fact of Fiction, Gifts Ungiven). When I put removal spells in my deck, I want them do one thing; remove the spell that I am targeting. Is that too much to ask? The fact is, Journey to Nowhere is much worse than Path to Exile because of Path’s raw power, and slightly worse than Oblivion Ring because Oblivion Ring presents you with more options. It may be a good Block Constructed card, but White has much better options than this.

Underrated Card #1: Day of Judgment

Day of Judgment



Destroy all creatures

I’m not sure why more people aren’t talking about this card. Everyone was up in arms about Wrath of God not being reprinted a few months ago, and now that it is back, no one is really talking about it. Yes, it was one of the first cards spoiled, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the chase rares of this set. Simply put, Day of Judgment is a spectacular card, and its inclusion should be receiving more press. It is right behind the fetchlands and Goblin Guide as one of the best cards in this set.

Underrated Card #2: Kazandu Blademaster

Kazandu Blademaster


Creature — Human Soldier Ally

First strike, Vigilance

Whenever Kazandu Blademaster or another Ally enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a +1/+1 counter on Kazandu Blademaster


I may be a bit biased on this one, but I am in love with this card. If soldiers are respectable as an archetype, which I’m hoping they will be, this will have a lot to do with it. Few cards will draw the attention that Knight of Meadowgrain did, but Kazandu Blademaster is an ample replacement for the lifelinked Kithkin on a goat. First strike and vigilance are a nasty combination, and one that I look forward to attacking with in the near future. This card will never be expensive, but you will always be pleased with the results it puts forward. This is my kind of card.

Overrated Card #2: Luminarch Ascension

Luminarch Ascension



At the beginning of each opponent’s end step, if you didn’t lose life this turn, you may put a quest counter on Luminarch Ascension. (Damage causes loss of life)

1W: Put a 4/4 white Angel creature token with flying onto the battlefield. Activate this ability only if Luminarch Ascension has four or more quest counters on it.

I don’t like situational cards. I actually hate situational cards. A lot of things have to go right for Luminarch Ascension to be awesome, and if those things are going right, wasn’t I probably going to win anyway? I understand how good this card can be in a draw-go mirror, but with Esper Charm and Maelstrom Pulse looming in those type of control decks, it seems fairly unlikely that the dream will be lived. Luminarch Ascension is a sideboard card at best. Bank on it.

Overrated Card #3: Archive Trap

Archive Trap


Instant — Trap

If an opponent searched his or her library this turn, you may pay 0 rather than pay Archive Trap’s mana cost.

Target opponent puts the top thirteen cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.

If I hear one more person talk about how mill might be a viable archetype, I’m going to do some reconstructive surgery on their face, Dexter-style. Milling someone is not viable. Ever! Trust me, I tried with Sanity Grinding, and I was the embarrassment of the tournament.

“But what if I have all four of these in my hand and they crack…”

Just shut up! It isn’t going to happen. Forget Magical Christmas land. That is a different place altogether.

A place where Decimate has all four targets

A place where Greater Harvester actually connects with the opponent

A place where Mono Black Control is actually good.

It’s a place so scary…

That it doesn’t exist.

Why Card #1: Cancel




You know what it does because it keeps being reprinted.

We get it! We aren’t getting Counterspell back. Just please, for the love of God, stop printing this card. It isn’t good enough, and it’s going to continue not being good enough for as long as you (WOTC) keep printing two-mana 4/4s and one-mana 3/3s. Enough!

Why Card #2: Giant Scorpion

Giant Scorpion




Okay, now I’m going over the edge on this one. I’m fully aware of that. But can’t a scorpion kill a human being with a single sting of their tail? If this is the case (which I believe it is), I feel like this should have been a little bigger than a 1/3. How about a 3/1? It is giant, after all! Is it just a gigantic scorpion with the tiniest tail in this history? I’m not even reaching for material here. I have plenty more to write about. I just read over the spoiler and lol’d at this when I read it. [It does have Deathtouch… – Craig, amused]

Correctly Rated Card #1: Halo Hunter

Halo Hunter


Creature — Demon

Intimidate (This creature can’t be blocked except by artifact creatures and/or creatures that share a color with it.)

When Halo Hunter enters the battlefield, destroy target Angel.

It can’t kill Baneslayer Angel, see? Because it’s a Demon, see? It’s funny, see? Like this big hat on my head. It’s funny, right?

Brokeback Phillips

Overrated Card #4: Lotus Cobra

Lotus Cobra


Creature — Snake

Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may add one mana of any color to your mana pool.


I was watching Lotus Cobra last week on WWEMTG, and it was taking on all comers. Here is a recap of the show:

Snake Versus Spider!

Quite the opening bout! It was a heated battle between Lotus Cobra and a guy that many consider to be the best fighter in mixed martial arts history, Anderson the Spyder Silva. Silva, known for his deadly striking, had trouble connecting with the slithery two-drop. Maybe Lotus Cobra was a bit better than Silva expected, or maybe it’s difficult to punch a cobra standing up, but either way you slice it, Silva was having a difficult time and was becoming noticeably frustrated.

To get an advantage, Silva would have to take this match a place he doesn’t frequent.

To the mat!

Silva had good hand control on Lotus Cobra early, but couldn’t get an arm triangle locked in as well as he would have liked. Frustrated once more, Silva tried to lock in a guillotine choke.

It didn’t work.

Because cobras don’t have a neck.

Lotus Cobra slithered out, and bit Silva. Silva died.

Winner = Lotus Cobra

Snake Versus Mega-Hydra!

Our resident hydra avatar was thought to have protection from everything. That was until it was introduced to Lotus Cobra. Lotus Cobra was getting pummeled left and right by Progenitus. The referee, Sheldon Menery, thought about stopping the fight, but Lotus Cobra insisted that he did not. Louts Cobra devised a plan. He would distract Sheldon just long enough to go get his secret weapon!

Lotus Cobra went outside of the ring and started throwing illegal cards into the ring! Skullclamp, Contract from Below, and Rebirth (among others) were littering the ring. With Sheldon’s back turned, Lotus Cobra reached for what he had been setting up all along.

No, not a steel chair… This isn’t fake wrestling.

Misty Rainforest!

He cracked Misty Rainforest right in Progenitus’s face!




Winner = Lotus Cobra

Snake Versus Idiots!

WHAT A RUSH! Here comes the Legion of Doom! By the order of general manager, Bob Maher Jr., Lotus Cobra was forced to compete in a handicap match! The odds were stacked against Lotus Cobra, and it showed. Signature tag team move after signature tag team move was done to the new WWEMTG employee, but he kept kicking out at two. The Legion of Doom was stunned. If Progenitus couldn’t beat him, what makes them think they could?

But Road Warrior Animal wasn’t done yet. He had Lotus Cobra set up for their finisher, The Doomsday Device! Road Warrior Hawk missed the flying clothesline, and now the reptile stood a chance! He started hitting all of his signature moves!

Harrow to Hawk!

Kodama’s Reach to Animal!

Explosive Vegetation to Hawk!

Reap and Sow to both of them… with entwine!

Lotus Cobra was on fire! He went for his finisher, the Scapeshift!

It resolved!





Winner = Lotus Cobra

Snake Versus Goyf!

To win the heavyweight title, Lotus Cobra would have to go through the eighty-nine-time world champion:


Tarmogoyf gave Lotus Cobra a chance to leave the ring and save its dignity, but the cocky snake declined. The bell rang and the match was underway.

Lotus Cobra began the match on the offensive. First, he hit Tarmogoyf with the Flooded Strand. Then came the Snow-Covered Island. Tarmogoyf went for the Shower of Sparks, but he missed, and turned right around into the Krosan Verge!



Kick out !

Only two!

It was time to end this. Lotus Cobra was signaling it. He was calling for the Scapeshift!


It connected. It’s academic at this point!



Kick out!

Only two again?!

The crowd was stunned. Lotus Cobra couldn’t believe it. He’d used all of his best moves, but none of them had worked.

Tarmogoyf worked his way to his feet. He was beaten badly. Lotus Cobra was setting up the Scapeshift again. Tarmogoyf couldn’t possibly kick out of another one!

Tarmogoyf ducked!

Now he was setting his up his own finisher!

The Reality Check!




Your winner, and still WWEMTG Champion of the Wooooooooooooooooooooorld…


But Tarmogoyf wasn’t through yet. He had something to say, so he grabbed the microphone:

“There’s a reason I’m the eighty-nine-time champion, and it’s not just because that’s my power and toughness when all the card types are in the graveyard. I’m the eighty-nine-time champion because no one can beat me in a fight. NO ONE! Sure, I’ve lost a few times, but when push comes to shove, I win when it matters most. No new kid on the street is taking my belt. I don’t care how much mana he adds to your mana pool!”

And that was the end of the show. It was actually pretty good. I still can’t believe the Legion of Doom lost.

Cedric Phillips
[email protected]