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Predicting Zendikar Part 3 March 31, 2009

Posted by James in : all, fake cards, speculation , trackback

A New Kind Of Poison (part 1)

Since “poison” appears to be the most likely returning mechanic of Zendikar, I will spend the next two articles revealing what the poison cards might be like. One important reason to think that Zendikar is about poison is that Mark Rosewater promised that poison would return in a future set here. That was quite some time ago. If poison doesn’t return in Zendikar, then it would probably return in the next block.

Mark Rosewater said that no one would have guessed that we would get [CENSORED] without [CENSORED]. This could means that we will get [poison] without [poisonous], or [poison] without [poison counters.]

Poison without poisonous: This option is indeed hard to believe because poisonous creatures was the whole point of poison. Most of the game is about creatures, so it is hard to imagine playing a poison deck without poisonous creatures. Not only that, but poison offers a win condition, and alternate win conditions tend to be notoriously uninteractive (and therefore unfun.) To repalce poisonous creatures with poisonous spells and artifacts could make poison very unfun.

Poison without poison counters: This possibility will end up being meaningless because poison counters would be replaced with something that means the same thing, like “poison points.”

If poison returns in Zendikar, then it will be greatly innovated. This is necessary to satisfy the following conditions:

  1. Poison should be interactive.
  2. Poison will probably involve creatures somehow.
  3. Poison will need to do something new in order to help hype the set.

Some ideas for innovative poison cards:

  1. Poison can be used as a drawback.
  2. Poison can be involved with instants and sorceries.
  3. Poison can be used as a resource.

In this article I will concentrate on the first two ideas, which were also explored by Bloodyspasm. The card ideas I will present are based on ideas that he already presented.

And now for the card ideas:

poison mushrooms

Poison Mushrooms is like a poison Lightning Bolt. Poison damage is worth more than regular damage, but it seems balanced because poison needs an extra boost to be worth playing.


Purification is the poison Healing Salve.

kila assassin

Kila Assassin is the closest thing a creature can get to being poisonous without being poisonous. Swamp Mosquito doesn’t count because it is only slightly different from poisonous and would defeat the purpose of not having poisonous. It is more interactive than Poisonous Mushrooms, but it is less interactive than poisonous creatures.

polluted lake

Poison is a perfect drawback to dual lands. If you only draw a couple dual lands and poison isn’t a threat (like in type 1), then it can be as good as a real dual land. However, if you keep drawing poison duals, then the drawback can become quite severe.

reocurring nightmares

Return Soul has a bonus for people who have poison counters, which would imply that poison is being used as a drawback, such as with Polluted Lake.

My next article will be posted on Friday 4-3-2009.


1. michael - March 31, 2009

Reoccurring Nightmares name is much to similar to the existing card Recurring Nightmare. I could see problems with translation issues or even people mixing up the cards.

I am not sure turning poison into a “tim” ability is the right way to go.

Poisonous specifies combat damage. They could make poison creatures that deal with non-combat damage.

2. michael - March 31, 2009

Another theory for this set is Hideaway without Lands.

Not sure that was much of a fan favorite…

3. James - March 31, 2009

Poison creatures with non-combat damage would defeat the point. Could you imagine poison without poisonous? Yes! Just make the mechanic slightly differently.

4. michael - April 1, 2009

Some of the original poison creatures didn’t have to deal combat damage. Some had to just be unblocked, others did have it on any damage.

5. James - April 1, 2009

Yes, I mentioned Swamp Mosquito when I talked about Kila Assassin and I explained that it would be pointless to replace poisonous with Swamp Mosquitoness. It’s not going to happen for three reasons. One, it’s not new. What will happen will be new. Two, it’s not interesting. Three, they just made the keyword “poisonous” and it would be pointless to get rid of it and replace it with a ability that is almost the same thing.