Once again, it’s time to get a new box for all of my MTG goodies. I purchased the Battle For Zendikar Holiday Gift Box from the Tangled Web with some Web Bucks that my mom gave me for Christmas. Thanks Mom! (Web Bucks are basically a gift certificate.)
So is this a great gift for a MTG player? How did it go for me? Keep reading!
Flipping the box over, you get to see the contents. (So why am I doing this?)
You remove the cellophane, and then this cardboard sleeve. I am throwing this sleeve away. It is just something obstructing me from getting to my cards. Some people might not want to. But I have no attachment.
So this is the image I will see every time I use the box! Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger squaring off with Gideon, Avenger of Zendikar. Ugly…
Opening the box, I saw…this…(It is an extra piece of cardboard meant to shield the contents from getting bumped around.)
Here’s what was really there.
This is a nice box. I considered buying the box alone, which would have been about $8. But I wanted to write on my blog and talk about the cards some. So it was worth getting the sealed product. I have the Kahns of Tarkir Holiday box from last year, and there are two Theros Holiday boxes floating around my house somewhere. They are terrific boxes. Good and sturdy, with two dividers to help in organizing the cards. I’m not sure the exact number of cards a box like this can hold. But each row can hold more than a “fat pack” box. So a good many. A great place to put “bulk cards,” pieces of decks, organizing lands, or whatever. I hear that some people use these boxes to hold their “cube.” Since I don’t have a large enough pool of playing friends to care about making a cube…
Here are the other contents. I like how this year we get the stickers on card sized paper! The big thing from years past is just in the way. In fact, I don’t use these stickers because that thing is just annoying. But already, I have used some of these, (I am writing two days after my unboxing.)
We get these beautiful dividers. I really like the art from Zendikar. That one on the very bottom right is “blighted” something. It is really pretty. Zendikar has floating islands, towering mountains with waterfalls, and of course corrupted areas of “dust” produced by Ulamog and the other Eldrazi. These dividers are handy in almost any deck box. I tend to use them exclusively with the Holiday boxes to create a concrete reference for how I organized my cards. For instance, I had a bunch of special lands in a spot, and then put down a divider, and had my pieces of “tiny leaders” decks next.
This box came with this exclusive printing of Scythe Leopard. This card is equivalent to “Steppe Lynx” from the older Zendikar set. He’s not quite as good, but he sees some play in constructed. Standard nowadays has five fetch lands from Kahns of Tarkir block, as well as Evolving Wilds, which can really pull a lot of value out of a 1/1 kitty cat for only a forest.
This box came with these also…
Normally this wouldn’t be all that significant. But it is this time because every other product released for Battle for Zendikar has featured “full art” lands. This is the only time I have seen regular basic lands for this set. I was aware of them because they were in the card image gallery, and wondered why I had never opened one. Now I know. And I wonder if the intro packs also have these lands. (confirmed)
Basically, full art basic lands sell for $1.00 apiece, helping make each and every booster pack of BFZ all that much more valuable than boosters from other sets. I suppose the Wizards thought it might be a bad idea to print one of each full art land and put them in the holiday box. (The sealed product would gain a ton of value on the third party market.)
So what was in my five booster packs? I will show you a photo of each pack fully opened, and then make some commentary. (Spoiler: No Zendikar Expedition this time 😦 )
I am really partial to the full art island. The token is for Kiora. Retreat to Coralheim is notable…a great way to get reliable card draw. And the rare…
Fathom Feeder has seen some play in Blue-Black Aristocrats. I am glad to add another to my collection.
This pack has a great gold ally, Resolute Blademaster. Dispel is a great card for Modern…(last time I played against a Splinter Twin player, he sided in Dispel, and it gave him an edge.) Also notable is Angelic Gift, to those casual angel players. This can make an Icarian Priest fly, and net you a card! The token is an Eldrazi Scion. It can be an attacker, OR be sacced for a colorless mana.) The full art land here is a swamp. My readers know that my color is black. But the Swamps are the least exciting and interesting of the BFZ full art lands. Orion Rief Hydra…I could take him or leave him.
Notable in this pack is Brilliant Spectrum…a card that I believe will become more commonly used when the next set comes out. Its “confluence” effect counts how many colors were spent to cast it, and then you get to draw that many cards. It is a sorcery, so it isn’t great. But in a five-color deck, it can net you some good advantage. We get a Kor Ally for Gideon, a good full-art island featuring an EPIC waterfall, and…
Major score. Prairie Stream! This is about a $3.00 to $4.00 card. And as a Plains Island, can be fetched with either Windswept Heath, Flooded Strand, Marsh Flats, and on and on the list goes. No…it isn’t a “shock land,” but it is what the Wizards have given us for Standard. I think of these as “budget” lands for Modern. (It is the fetches that are valuable.)
This pack contains Hedron Archive, one of the cards that gets featured in propaganda art for this set. This card sees some play in mid-range or control decks. Vestige of Emrakul gives us some things to speculate about…Emrakul is not on Zendikar…and the next big set is called “Shadows over Innistraad…”
No token this time…a tip card instead. BOO. The full-art Plains reminds me of a shot from the new Star Wars movie, (the one where Rey is on a vehicle flying in front of a downed Star Destroyer.)
I love this card! With X in the mana cost, you get exactly what you pay for!
Maybe the best pack for the SpartanNerd….Zulaport Cutthroat is the main reason. This card goes great in Blue Black Aristocrats…It is in fact the enabler of that deck. Brilliant Spectrum, explained in an earlier pack. Smite the Monstrous has been called the most underrated card in the BFZ Standard environment. So many targets! Altar’s Reap is one of my favorite cards. Imagine chump blocking some giant thing with a 2/2 zombie token, then before combat damage resolves, casting altars reap, sacrificing the zombie, and drawing two cards. SCORE! I have had new players accuse me of cheating with that one. But it is totally legal, however wrong it might seem.
So what was the rare?
I have heard people say that this guy is the spokesman for slowing the format down. We did have Elvish Mystic, and Sylvan Carytid. And this is who stands in their place. Sure, he can swing or be tapped on the turn you play him, but he is a TWO DROP, and his mana can ONLY be used for creatures, most of which don’t have haste.
Here are the cards plus some other cards so you can see how well the box works!
What’s soon to come for the SpartanNerd and MTG reviews? I have all five new Commander decks coming my way! And I think I will approach reviewing them differently…Keep reading!