The San Diego Comic-Con's "SDCC@Home" initiative has shown us many things so far this weekend. From a panel interview with Junji Ito to some teasers involving various comics, television shows, and the like, SDDCC@Home has had it all. This means it's no surprise that, as usual, the team responsible for Magic: The Gathering made a showing, namely Head Designer Mark Rosewater, who gave a half-hour long panel from his home about the things we can broadly expect from the next set to hit Standard, Zendikar Rising.
In the panel, Mark teased broad strokes of the new set, stating off the bat that no mechanics or cards would be revealed for Zendikar Rising in this panel. However, other aspects of the set would be very much revealed. Mark then went on to tell viewers about the origins of the original concept for the plane of existence called Zendikar.
An important aspect of the new expansion set is the introduction of the Set Pack into the Magic: The Gathering booster product line. Set Packs as they stand presently will contain a total of twelve playable cards, a "play aid" (likely a token!), and an Art Card, not unlike what we had seen previously in Modern Horizons.
Upon speaking with Product Architect Mark Heggen about this product, we have gleaned the following additional information about the product. Heggen had this to say about it:
Set Boosters include 12 Magic cards and a total of 14 objects – one is the Art Card and the other
is a token. Though, about a quarter of the time we actually replace your token with a card from
The List, so that's kind of a bonus. We went through a lot of iterations of the Set Booster with
the goal of creating a booster product curated for opening with a broad appeal for many types
of Magic players. As we looked at how players opened boosters and what they wanted from
them, we found that people often ended up with more copies of commons than they actually
wanted. Those extra commons helped with drafts, but a majority of players weren't excited to
have them around. So, we rebalanced the numbers with Set Boosters and used the resources to
give players more of the things they wanted like rares, foils, and special treatment cards, and
fewer raw commons.
The art in the set looks fantastic, as a slight aside, but that's probably par for the course for Magic nowadays anyway. On the topic of Terese Nielsen and Noah Bradley, former Magic artists who were cut ties with by Wizards of the Coast, Heggen had a thought on that as well with regard to Zendikar Rising:
We are no longer commissioning artwork from Noah Bradley, and we will remove reprints of his
work from our products. That said, the long timeframe between commissioning art, the
manufacturing of printed products, and that product being available for purchase means that
some of his artwork will appear in products still scheduled to be released.
Terese Nielsen has no art cards in Zendikar Rising Set Boosters. There is one reprinted card with
Terese Nielsen art in the 300 cards on The List.
"The List" is a list of cards that will be included in one in four Set Booster Packs, taking up the token slot in the pack. These will feature similarly to Mystery Booster cards, with the Planeswalker symbol in the bottom-left corner of the card. Of the 300 cards on the List, three have been revealed: Cloudgoat Ranger, Pact of Negation, and Muscle Sliver. The full Magic: The Gathering panel with Mark Rosewater can be found below. Are you excited for Zendikar Rising? Let us know in the comments below!