Best Commons of Battle of Zendikar


It’s that time again. Wizard’s newest installment, Battle for Zendikar is hitting stores and the Paper Champion will be reviewing the best commons you will be seeing in your packs.

It seems that Wizards is slowing the game down in this set. (Not that I’m complaining.) With this in mind, decks containing new tricks will be played by even more people and casual players will enjoy new deck themes as we revisit Landfall and Rally with the new abilities, Awaken, Ingest and Converge.

None of these commons will be game breaking or be staples in any non-rotating format but many will find homes in Limited formats like Draft or Sealed.

Altar’s Reap

I’ve enjoyed using this spell in my Three Pack Ante games of late. Best used when your creature chump blocks and the resulting damage would kill it anyway. Why not get two new drawn cards out of the deal? It also can be used as a fail safe when your creature is about to be targeted with some malicious enchantment or removal.

Complete Disregard

At first glance, this card seems poor. On second glance, you realize that it slips under the radar of creatures with protection from black. This isn’t really anything game breaking but just something of note when looking for budget sideboard options.

Felidar Cub

I really feel creatures got the short end of the stick in this expansion. Nothing really caught my eye with a power and toughness in the commons slot other than this little cat beast. It begins as a 2/2 for two mana and can be sacrificed for enchantment removal. Once again, nothing game altering, but a solid creature for limited games where enchantment removal might be needed.

Gideon’s Reproach

White seems to be getting more and more removal tricks up it’s sleeves as the expansions roll on. This instant can bring down some decent sized attackers and blockers, something that will be needed as you face Eldrazi in limited or Standard.

Mortuary Mire

Out of all the lands in this set that imitate spells when played, Mortuary Mire seems the best to me. This land could potentially see play in some mono black pauper decks.


It seems Wizards has been tempting players into the tried and true Goblin decks of old. This spell, which fires damage at a creature equal to the amount of creatures you control can blast away potential blockers that can foil your small swarm’s assault.

Seek the Wilds

Playing with this card is a joy and let me tell you, it could be the best common of the set. For just two mana you get to look at your top four cards and put a land or creature into your hand. That’s some top notch digging.

Spell Shrivel

This counterspell is a Mana Leak on steroids. In a set that’s mana intensive and your opponent will be tapped out often, it’s a keeper.

Sure Strike

In the right hands, Sure Strike can be a dangerous spell in a player’s arsenal. Play it as your small creature is blocked, play it when your small creature blocks, or play it as a game ending +3 damage. This card is going places.

Swell of Growth

This instant is a tricky one and here is why. In decks consisting of Landfall creatures, attacking with one without an additional boost from the ability is common. This spell, an instant, can give +2/+2 to a creature, and help trigger landfall as an instant. For some creatures with a +2/+2 Landfall ability, this is an instant +4/+4 for just two mana. If you played a land in your prior Main Step, this adds up to a +6/+6. Wow.

Next week we will review the best uncommons of the set.

Swing Last.


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