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Zendikar Rising Draft Guide – Gold | Magic: The Gathering

Welcome back to another Zendikar Rising draft guide for Magic: The Gathering! Last time, I went over all the cards for green. Today, we will be looking at all the gold cards.

Before I get into my rating for each card, here’s a brief overview of my Zendikar Draft Guide rating system.

  • 1 – Bad card or only useful in the sideboard
  • 2 – Passable, but not something I would pick early or often
  • 3 – A solid card I’m happy to pick most of the time
  • 4 – Powerful cards that provide a lot of value on their own
  • 5 – Cards that will almost always win the game if your opponents can’t deal with them

Now that we know how I’ll be rating each card, let’s get straight into the ratings.

Zendikar Rising Draft Guide – Gold

Akiri, Fearless Voyager
Akiri, Fearless Voyager – 4.5

Akiri provides solid card draw and sticks on the board well. Indestructible is strong in limited since exile effects are hard to come by. Plus, with so much equipment printed at common rarity, it’s not hard to support Akiri at all!

Brushfire Elemental
Brushfire Elemental – 2.5

Brushfire Elemental is a great creature for landfall decks. It hits hard and prevents your opponent from chump blocking it.

Cleric of Life's Bond
Cleric of Life’s Bond – 3.5

This cleric is the best enabler for life gain synergies. Also, the fact that he gets bigger himself is a nice cherry on top.

Grakmaw, Skyclave Ravager
Grakmaw, Skyclave Ravager – 4

There are definitely scarier threats, but make no mistake, Grakmaw is a value machine. This horror is extremely hard to remove and only gets stronger the more +1/+1 counter synergies you have. The only downside to this creature is that it’s not strong enough to change colors for.

Kargan Warleader
Kargan Warleader – 3

Warrior tribal is legitimately strong. The warriors in Zendikar Rising have beefy stats to start with and will benefit greatly from a lord.

Kaza, Roil Chaser
Kaza, Roil Chaser – 2

1-power is too weak for this card to be impactful. Sure, you’ll have cheaper spells but is it really worth it to tap down your creature each time? There is some potential here, but I’d only recommend picking this card if you already have strong expensive spells to begin with.

Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate
Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate – 4

I would never sacrifice Linvala unless I really needed to since the stats on her are solid already. Overall, this is a great card that will pressure your opponent early, and completely take over the game once you have a full party.

Lullmage's Familiar
Lullmage’s Familiar – 3 

Lullmage’s Familiar is an amazing Simic mana dork. The 2/4 body blocks well, and gaining life from kicked spells will keep you alive until you find your threats.

Also, can we just take a second to admire the unique art?

Moss-Pit Skeleton
Moss-Pit Skeleton – 2.5

Initially, I thought Moss-Pit Skeleton was going to be broken. However, once I read it carefully, it turned out to be an above-average playable. The ability to constantly have a 5/5 body present is strong, but constantly having it placed on the top of your deck instead of your hand is not desirable.

Murasa Rootgrazer
Murasa Rootgrazer – 3.5

A strong creature that simply ramps and triggers landfall multiple times.

Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients
Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients – 5

Getting a 1/1 every turn is always nice. However, the fact that she brings out warriors makes me really excited. Overall, Nahari requires some build-around to make use of her other abilities, but the upside that she provides is well worth it.

Nissa of Shadowed Boughs
Nissa of Shadowed Boughs – 5+

At first, you might think that Nissa doesn’t protect herself. However, I’d argue that getting loyalty counters off lands is a form of protection. There’s so much landfall synergy in this set that I’m sure Nissa will be almost impossible to kill, unless you’re extremely behind on board.

Omnath, Locus of Creation
Omnath, Locus of Creation – 1

A great standard card, but a little too difficult to cast for limited.

Orah, Skyclave Hierophant
Orah, Skyclave Hierophant – 4

Although not a bomb, Orah is a great payoff for cleric and life gain decks. There are good common clerics in black and white, making Orah a great first pick.

Phylath, World Sculptor
Phylath, World Sculptor – 5++

You usually get at least 6 extra creatures from casting this card, and those creatures will eventually become 4/4s. Phylath is a bomb.

Ravager's Mace
Ravager’s Mace – 2 / 2.5

Menace is one of the stronger keywords in Magic: The Gathering, and the ability to instantly attach it to a creature is strong. However, Ravager’s Mace equip cost is high and relies on your ability to assemble a full party. Generally, I’d avoid picking up this card too early unless I knew I could fulfill the party requirements consistently.

Soaring Thought-Thief
Soaring Thought-Thief – 3

Soaring Thought-Thief is one of the best enablers for 8+ graveyard synergies. I wouldn’t mind picking this card up early, since it slightly increases the value of all my rogues.

Spoils of Adventure
Spoils of Adventure – 3.5

I think Spoils of Adventure can consistently come down for 4-5 mana, making it an extremely efficient form of card draw.

Umara Mystic
Umara Mystic – 4

Umara Mystic is one of the best payoffs for going into Izzet spells.

Verazol, the Split Current
Verazol, the Split Current – 4.5

Generally, spells that cost X are good because of the flexibility they provide throughout the game. Verazol is no exception.

Yasharn, Implacable Earth
Yasharn, Implacable Earth – 3.5

A 4-mana 4/4 that grabs you two lands from your deck. Simple and effective.

Zagras, Thief of Heartbeats
Zagras, Thief of Heartbeats – 5

Since Zagras provides deathtouch to all creatures, you don’t even need a party theme to get tons of value from him. The way I see it, all you have to do is cast Zagras and slam your opponent for 4-damage every turn until they die. If they try to retaliate, they have to deal with all your deathtouch creatures first. Zagras is one of the best rares in the set, and can be easily splashed into any deck.

Zareth San, the Trickster
Zareth San, the Trickster – 5+ 

When I first read Zareth San, The Trickster, I immediately thought about Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow. Anyways, this card essentially brings back your opponent’s strongest creature under your control. With all the mill present in Dimir, finding targets for Zareth’s ability should be a piece of cake.

Branchloft PathwayBrightclimb PathwayClearwater PathwayCragcrown PathwayNeedleverge PathwayRiverglide Pathway

Branchloft Pathway, Brightclimb Pathway, Clearwater Pathway, Cragcrown Pathway, Needleverge Pathway, Riverglide Pathway – 2.5

Having a Pathway land is nice, but never a necessity. I would argue that they are even worse than Guildgates because you are forced to stick with one color the whole game.

Anyways, that’s it for the Zendikar draft guide for gold! Next up are the artifacts!

Stay tuned to SQUAD for more Magic: The Gathering content.

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Paul Dudsdeemaytha

Paul Dudsdeemaytha is a Vancouver, BC-based writer and content creator at SQUAD. Paul specializes in creating guides for Magic: The Gathering and Legends of Runeterra. When he's not writing, you can probably find him throwing frisbees nearby.
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