Collecting Zendikar Rising

Posted in Feature on September 1, 2020

By Mike Turian

Before joining Magic Online as its digital product manager, Mike worked as a producer for Wizards's technology department, a product manager for organized play, and as an R&D lead developer. He has played Magic Online since it came out in 2002 and Magic since The Dark.

Expeditions are back! Landfall cards can be found in a new showcase frame! The perils and adventures of Zendikar have returned, and we tapped back into Zendikar's essence to bring you more cool cards than ever before in Zendikar Rising. I'm Mike Turian, principal product designer for Magic and lead architect for Zendikar Rising. In this article, I'll be showing off all the awesome treatments that you can find in Zendikar Rising in more detail than ever! Alright, adventure awaits, so let's get to it!

(If you just want to see the cut-and-dry lists of what is in a Collector Booster and where each treatment shows up in various products, you can jump to the end by clicking here.)

Flooded StrandWastelandPrismatic Vista

Expeditions

Expeditions are back! If you want to find an Expedition, just buy a Draft, Set, or Collector Booster display box, and you will find them.

  • A single one-card Box Topper with an Expedition inside is included within each Draft Booster Display Box and Set Booster Display Box.
  • Two one-card Expedition Box Toppers are included with each Collector Booster Display Box.

Each Expedition found in Expedition Box Toppers is a non-foil and has been treated with a stunning, smooth high-gloss varnish treatment on elements of the frame. Of note, we have improved the technology on the varnish used to be both sleeker and more durable. While digital images don't do the high-gloss treatment justice, follow @wizards_magic to check out some videos of the physical cards.

I can't wait for you to hold one in person. I'm glad that we were able to bring non-foil versions of Expeditions into Zendikar Rising for the player who wants to experience Expeditions in non-foil.

We have picked from among the best lands ever printed in Magic and chosen 30 lands to be represented as Zendikar Expeditions. They each feature the Zendikar Expedition expansion symbol. This distinction from the Zendikar Rising symbol is to indicate and remind players that they aren't legal in Standard, as this printing of Expeditions doesn't impact what formats these cards are legal in.

I think the only way we could possibly compete with Expedition Box Toppers is by creating foil Expeditions! The foil Expeditions are found only in Collector Boosters with about 1 in 6 Collector Boosters having a foil Expedition (see below for full details on Collector Boosters). These foil Expeditions have the same high-gloss varnish treatment as their non-foil counterparts and contain the same set of 30 cards.

I'm excited that we could bring you foil Expeditions, available only in Collector Boosters, and non-foil Expeditions, available as one-card Expedition Box Toppers in Draft and Set Booster Displays and as two one-card Expedition Box Toppers in Collector Booster Displays.

Showcase Landfall

Beginning with the adventurer cards in Throne of Eldraine, we have created showcase cards that aim to capture an iconic element of the world we are in with frames and art styles which showcase that iconic element. With Zendikar Rising, we tapped into the mechanic that has been featured in each of the Zendikar sets, landfall. With us looking to return landfall to the heights of the original Zendikar, we knew we had to bring back a Zendikar classic, Lotus Cobra! Let's take a look at Lotus Cobra and the showcase Lotus Cobra side by side.

Lotus CobraShowcase Lotus Cobra

James Arnold, senior graphic designer for Magic, built the initial versions of both the showcase hedron frames and the Expedition frames shown above. When talking about the showcase hedron frames that feature the landfall cards of Zendikar, he said, "The geometric nature of Zendikar makes it one of Magic's most iconic worlds; the blend of organic precision is truly beautiful. I wanted to pay homage to this sometimes-gentle giant, to tap into the wild essence of what makes Zendikar so special." While taking a look at the frame design, you can see how we have structured the frame to have the art fit into a hedron shape with the diagonal angles. Additionally, the frame features the patterns that match what lives on hedrons highlighted by glowing activation lines. For the art, principal art director Tom Jenkot shared that "the creative conceit for the showcase art was to show off Zendikar as travel posters with a rich, sun-kissed setting and colors. To show off Zendikar in a way that is as vibrant as it is dangerous."

Every landfall creature—plus a few non-creatures—in Zendikar Rising has an alternate showcase version featuring this frame and unique artwork. You can find showcase landfall cards in Draft, Set, and Collector Boosters as well as within products that contain those boosters. Additionally, select showcase commons and uncommons can be found within Theme Boosters.

Borderless Planeswalkers and Pathways

Alt Nahiri

Borderless Pathway
Borderless Pathway

As each borderless card has new alternate art, they give us a chance to show off another version of the character or place being shown. With our borderless planeswalker cards, we wanted to show the Planeswalkers taking on the various perils of Zendikar. Creative manager for Magic, Alicia Mickes, talked about the inspiration: "The borderless planeswalker card art concept was to build on the many facets of each Planeswalker by featuring exciting vignettes of their varied Zendikar adventures."

Lead art director for Zendikar Rising, Taylor Ingvarsson added, "This time around, we wanted to deliver on a risen lost civilization that provided the characters in the story and players to engage in the high risk, high reward of daring adventure into these lost Skyclave ruins." This Planeswalker art really captures the spirit of Zendikar so well that we turned them into posters and shared them with stores.

Nahiri Poster

Taylor continued about the borderless Pathways: "Something that has always been amazing about Zendikar is that the path you need to follow is not always linear. We strived to really show how precarious and challenging following a path could be on this plane." The six borderless Pathways being double-sided means that we get to show off two additional pieces of stunning landscapes in a new borderless double-sided frame.

You can find borderless planeswalker cards and Pathways in Draft Boosters, Set Boosters, Collector Boosters, and products that contain these boosters.

Extended Art

Extended-art TazriExtended-art Linvala

Extended-art cards give us a chance to highlight the beautiful Magic art that our cards have for each rare and mythic rare that doesn't otherwise have an alternate version. These cards feature the same art as the respective regular cards but feature a unique frame that shows more of the art.

In these two examples, we are looking at two cards that feature the new party mechanic in Zendikar Rising. For capturing the feel of party, I spoke with the Taylor Ingvarsson about the direction he gave to the Creative team. "With party being a major mechanic, we really wanted to give each member of the party their own unique visual identifiers to help players recognize what was across the table from them. It was important for us to give each party member a specialized skill while still being a very capable adventurer."

We used the extended-art rares and mythic rares for both regular rares and mythic rares as well as double-faced rares and mythic rares in Zendikar Rising. Since we've never done extended art on a double-faced card before, I'd encourage you to check these out and the foil versions look incredible. Each rare or mythic rare in the main Zendikar Rising set that doesn't have one of the treatments listed above will be available in extended art. Each Collector Booster will have a non-foil extended-art card, and some Collector Boosters will have an additional foil extended-art card as well.

Buy-a-Box Orah, Skyclave Hierophant

The Buy-a-Box promotion for the set is a foil extended-art Orah, Skyclave Hierophant. The Buy-a-Box card is no longer a mechanically unique card, such as Nexus of Fate or Kenrith the Returned King, we have made it so that this extended-art version of Orah is only available through the Buy-a-Box promotion.

Collector Booster Contents

Collector Booster Contents

The Collector Booster is packed with all the treatments we have talked about above! Let's take a look at the contents of the Collector Booster and have a breakdown of each slot.

1 Foil alternate-frame rare or mythic rare – This is the premier slot in the Collector Booster. It features only rares and mythic rares in this slot. This is where you could find an amazing foil Expedition, which happens about 1 in every 6 Collector Boosters! If you don't get a foil Expedition, then your pack will have either a foil showcase landfall card, a foil borderless Planeswalker or Pathway, or a foil extended-art rare or mythic rare.

1 Foil standard-frame rare or mythic rare – This is a foil rare or mythic rare from the Zendikar Rising main set, including double-faced rares and mythic rares.

1 Non-foil borderless or showcase rare or mythic rare – This slot will contain only rares and mythic rares in non-foil. You will get either a borderless planeswalker, a borderless Pathway, or a showcase landfall card.

1 Non-foil extended-art rare or mythic rare – Extended-art cards remain exclusive to the Collector Booster. This slot features an extended-art rare or mythic rare, including double-faced rares or mythic rares. While you can get Orah, Skyclave Hierophant in this slot, it will be an extended-art version from the main set art. The Buy-a-Box art is only available through that promotion.

1 Foil showcase common or uncommon – If you missed it above, go back and check out that stunning showcase treatment! While this slot will only have commons and uncommons, it will feature cards with that stunning art and frame treatment. Every pack will have at least three showcase landfall cards between this slot and the non-foil slot below.

2 Non-foil showcase commons or uncommons – This slot could have 2 commons, 2 uncommons, or 1 common and 1 uncommon.

2 Foil standard-frame uncommons – This is a foil uncommon from the Zendikar Rising main set, including double-faced uncommons. We have updated the standard double-faced frame to better align with the modal aspect of choosing which side of the card you want to play in Zendikar Rising.

5 Foil standard-frame commons – This is a foil common from the Zendikar Rising main set. This slot won't have any basic lands because we have a dedicated slot in this Collector Booster for the full-art basic lands.

1 Foil full-art basic landZendikar Rising Draft Boosters have a non-foil full-art basic land in every pack, so it is fitting that the Collector Booster has a foil full-art basic land in every pack. There are 15 new full-art basic lands in Zendikar Rising, three of each land type.

1 Foil double-faced token – There are twelve different token types in Zendikar Rising Collector Boosters. Six types on the front, six types on the back, and they are all foil!

Where Do I Find All of These Cool Cards?

While the Collector Booster is a great way to find a lot of the cool cards in Zendikar Rising, there are amazing cards to be found all over the place. We have a lot of great products as well, which Ari Zirulnik covers in his article detailing Zendikar Rising products (article release delayed to September 2).

Expeditions – Non-foil Expeditions are found in Expedition Box Topper boosters. You get one one-card Expedition Box Topper in Draft and Set Booster Displays and two one-card Expedition Box Toppers in Collector Booster Displays. Foil Expeditions are available only inside Collector Boosters.

Showcase landfall cards – Draft Boosters, Set Boosters, and Collector Boosters will have all the showcase landfall cards. Our Theme Boosters have selected commons and uncommons as well.

Borderless Pathways and planeswalkers – Draft Boosters, Set Boosters, and Collector Boosters

Extended-art – Extended-art cards are available in Collector Boosters. The Buy-a-Box, alternate-art version of Orah, Skyclave Hierophant is available through the Buy-a-Box promotion.

Full-art basic lands – Draft Boosters and Set Boosters each have full-art basics. Collector Boosters will always have a foil full-art basic land. Our Bundles include full-art basics in the 10 Draft Boosters inside, but the 40 additional lands (20 non-foil, 20 foil) use a regular-crop basic land instead of the full art. Similarly, the Commander decks for Zendikar Rising use a regular-crop basic land.

Art cards, signature art cards, and cards from The List – as shown and discussed in Mark Rosewater's article on the Set Booster, art cards and The List cards are only available in Set Boosters.

Bringing the Booster Fun initiative to an established plane gave us an opportunity to create new treatments that we hope you love. I am excited to open my first boosters of Zendikar Rising and get to playing some Magic! If you have feedback, I would love to hear it. You can find me @mturian on Twitter. Thanks for reading!

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