Best Uncommons of Battle of Zendikar


Welcome back to the Paper Champion. Today we continue our review of the best Uncommons in the Battle For Zendikar set. The commons seemed to be a bit weaker than usual and no creatures were featured, so let’s take a look at what the uncommons have in store…

Breaker of Armies

This creature can be crippling to cast but if you do ever manage to bring it into play and attack with it, it will do exactly what it’s named to do, break armies. Ten damage goes a long way to finishing off all of a players blockers and allows for other creatures to sneak in for damage.

Carrier Thrall

Carrier Thrall at first seems like a garbage creature but it has value. When it dies, hopefully trading one-for-one on a block or attack, you get a comparable 1/1 into play you can use for additional mana in a pinch. Not to shabby.

Catacomb Sifter

If there is one thing in Magic creatures do well, it’s dying. Don’t let their deaths be in vain. With Catacomb Shifter in play, any creature you control that dies nets you a Scry effect. This includes the 1/1 Eldrazi token the Shifter brings into play.

Drana’s Emissary

For those of you that know me, this card is right up Orzhov player’s alley. It’s a 2/2, flies, and munches away at your opponent’s life total every upkeep. I vote this creature to be the best of the uncommons but I’m a tad biased.

Encircling Fissure

I’ve played with this card over the last few weeks. It’s a great combat trick to drop on blockers or rushing opponent’s creatures. When cast they will be fed into the buzzsaw while dealing no damage in return. Also add you can cast it for the Awaken cost and gain an additional creature to block with.

Retreat to Coralhelm

I really like the Retreat cards in this set. They all offer just a little boost for just playing lands. Out of the five, the Retreat to Coralhelm seems the best to me. It offers the chance to scry as well as tap or untap creatures. This can get you additional creature ability triggers, tapping the opponent’s creatures for quick attack or even playing the land during the second Main Step to allow for an additional blocker.

Roil Spout

This is a fun annoying card to play on offending creatures. It keeps the peace for a turn and ruins the opponent’s next draw step. Rarely will you get the Awaken ability due to it’s cost but the spell stands on it’s own without the added benefit.

Stasis Snare

For those of you that have been riding Oblivion Ring for it’s budget removal capabilities, there is a new king in town. Stasis Snare can be cast as an instant and ruin your opponent’s plans.

Sylvan Scrying

Land fetching is all the rage nowadays and this spell can dig up some prime real estate. Just cast, dig, draw and drop.

Transgress the Mind

I’m curious how many black decks in Modern will be sideboarding this card against decks like Twin, Tron or Delver. This discard has what it takes to stuff these decks cold if played early enough. Time will tell.

Vampiric Rites

If you thought Alter’s Reap was decent, you will love this enchantment. You can now turn your sacrificed creatures into a small stream of life and drawn cards.

Many of the uncommons were highlighted here. I found the uncommons slot to be better than average and many cards listed here can find a place in multiple deck types, especially casually.

A final word, one thing I’d like to pat the Wizards crew on for this set is the staggered power and toughness of creatures. So many other sets focused on creatures with 2/2 or 3/3. Battle For Zendikar has many creatures with 2/3 and other oddball power/toughness rankings. In my games, this has led to more thought involved, especially in gang blocking in order to kill off pesky attackers. Anything that decreases the no-brainer blocks of the past is a good thing and I hope Wizards keeps this in the future.

Swing Last,


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