Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Zendikar Expedition Lands

Hallowed Fountain | Illustration by Min Yum

Welcome to Zendikar, traveler! Let’s explore the Zendikar Expedition Lands, some of the most beautiful and powerful lands ever printed in Magic: The Gathering.

Expedition Lands offered a much-needed “reprint” to some of the most sought-after and useful lands in nearly all of Magic. While these aren’t the conventional Standard printing many would like to see, it radically changed how Wizards of the Coast approached bonus cards in packs.

Let’s get going!

What Are Expedition Lands?

Verdant Catacombs - Illustration by Alayna Danner

Verdant Catacombs | Illustration by Alayna Danner

Expedition Lands can refer to Zendikar Expeditions (found in the Battle for Zendikar and the Oath of the Gatewatch expansions) or Zendikar Rising Expeditions (found in the Zendikar Rising expansion).

In all cases, they’re reprints of some of the most powerful MTG lands ever printed.

Zendikar Expeditions are made up of 45 lands, with alternate art treatments such as foils, found in boosters from Battle for Zendikar block. There are 25 Expedition cards in the Battle for Zendikar expansion (5 battle lands, 10 shock lands, and 10 fetch lands), and 20 in the Oath of the Gatewatch expansion (10 filter lands, and 10 assorted lands). Each Expedition Land has full, new art featuring the Zendikar plane and has a special Zendikar frame.

Zendikar Rising Expeditions are 30 lands (again including the fetch lands) found in Collector Boosters and box toppers from the Zendikar Rising expansion.

All Expedition lands have a separate set symbol and expansion code (EXP for Zendikar Expeditions, and ZNE for Zendikar Rising Expeditions), and thus aren’t part of the main sets they come in. Both EXP and ZNE are part of the Masterpiece Series.

Zendikar Expedition Lands Full Card List

Battle for Zendikar Expedition Lands

These are the 25 Zendikar Expedition lands found in Battle for Zendikar boosters. They all have their own set symbol and their own expansion code: EXP.

Oath of The Gatewatch Expedition Lands

These are the 20 Zendikar Expedition lands found in Oath of the Gatewatch boosters. They all have their own set symbol and have EXP as their expansion code.

Zendikar Rising Expedition Lands

These are the 30 Zendikar Rising Expedition lands found in Zendikar Rising Collector boosters and box toppers. They all have their own set symbol and have ZNE as their expansion code.

Notable Cards

Expedition lands include some of the most powerful land cycles ever printed in Magic: The Gathering.

Even though they’re all reprints (and were reprinted again later, most of them several times), their alternate frame and foil finish make Zendikar Expeditions particularly expensive. For example, a copy of Arid Mesa can cost around $15-20 if it’s the Modern Horizon 2 version, but the Zendikar Expeditions version costs well above $100.

Fetch Lands

The 10 fetch lands, like Arid Mesa for example, are lands that you can sacrifice and pay 1 life to search your library for a land card with one of two basic land types, and put it onto the battlefield.

Fetch lands provide mana-fixing and consistency (by thinning your deck), and they can be used to shuffle your library on command if needed. They’re among the most versatile lands in Magic, so they aren’t legal in either Standard or Pioneer.

Shock Lands

Shock lands, like Hallowed Fountain, are 10 dual lands that enter the battlefield tapped unless you pay 2 life (that’s to say, you Shock yourself).

They have basic land types, so they can be retrieved from your library by the corresponding fetch lands.

Battle Lands

Battle lands, like Prairie Stream, are a cycle of 5 dual lands that enter the battlefield tapped unless you control at least two basic lands. These are originals; since Wizards wanted for all Zendikar Expeditions to be found in some other set, battle lands are the only Expeditions that can also be found in the main set (Battle for Zendikar), although with normal art treatment.

Like shock lands (but unlike fast lands) they have basic land types: Prairie Stream, for example, is both an Island and a Plains. Therefore, battle lands can be fetched with fetch lands.

Filter Lands

The 10 filter lands, like Flooded Grove, can either spend 1 mana of two possible colors and produce 2 mana of any combination of those two colors or tap for colorless mana.

Fast Lands

The fast lands are a cycle of 5 dual lands, like Blackcleave Cliffs, that enters the battlefield tapped unless you control two or fewer other lands. They don’t have basic land types, so they don’t work in conjunction with fetch lands.

“Opponents” Lands

Zendikar Rising Expeditions includes a cycle of 5 lands like Bountiful Promenade that enter the battlefield tapped unless you have two or more opponents. These aren’t legal in Modern, Pioneer, or Standard, but they tend to be among the most affordable dual lands for Commander.

How Do You Get Expedition Lands in MTG?

The most straightforward way to get the Expedition lands you want in tabletop MTG is to buy or trade them on the secondary market (either from local game stores, online card vendors, or by dealing directly with other players).

For Zendikar Expeditions, you can also try your luck opening boosters, but they are very rare.

In Zendikar Rising‘s case, you’re guaranteed one or two Expeditions when you buy a full display box: Set and Draft booster display boxes bring one Expedition as box topper, and Collector display boxes bring two. You can also find Zendikar Rising Expeditions in Zendikar Rising Collector boosters.

Can You Get Expedition Lands in Zendikar Set Boosters?

Short answer: no, you can’t.

More specifically:

The different types of boosters (Draft, Set, and Collector booster) that are the norm for current expansions is something that Wizards of the Coast hadn’t yet developed back when Battle for Zendikar block was released. There’s no such thing as a “Zendikar Set Booster”; they were just regular boosters at the time. You can find Expedition Lands in those boosters, but the odds are very low.

WotC introduced Set boosters with Zendikar Rising, but you won’t find Expedition Lands in those. You can only find Expedition Lands in Zendikar Rising Collector boosters or as box toppers.

What Are the Odds of Opening an Expedition?

For Zendikar Expeditions, which could be found in regular boosters, “you will open one slightly more often than you will open a premium/foil mythic rare,” wrote Magic’s head designer Mark Rosewater on his blog.

And again according to Mark, from his article describing the Masterpiece Series (of which Zendikar Expeditions were the first installment), the odds are “roughly 1 out of every 144 boosters. This is slightly more often than opening a premium mythic rare.”

In other words, Zendikar Expeditions are very hard to find by opening boosters.

Zendikar Rising was handled differently, and there are two ways to open one:

Non-foil Expeditions are guaranteed in Expedition Box Topper boosters. You get a single Expedition box topper when buying a whole Draft or Set booster display, and two Expedition box toppers when buying a Collector booster display.

Foil Expeditions are available only inside Collector boosters, found in roughly 1 in 6 boosters.

Expeditions vs. Invocations

Amonkhet Invocations, like the Masterpiece Series, is a concept similar to Zendikar Expeditions: 54 foil cards with unconventional frames, randomly found in boosters of the Amonkhet block: 30 in the Amonkhet expansion, and 24 in the Hour of Devastation expansion.

Amonkhet Invocations cards have their own set symbol and expansion code (MPS).

Although following the Expedition Lands’ trail, Invocations didn’t achieve the same level of success. According to Mark Rosewater, “the Zendikar Expeditions were awesome, (and) since Expeditions were so well received, they inspired us to make more. The Kaladesh Inventions were also pretty cool, but the Amonkhet Invocations didn’t have the advantage of having a theme as clean and simple as lands or artifacts (…) and the audience never quite warmed up to it.”

Wrap Up

Marsh Flats | Illustration by Sam Burley

And that would be all for this foray into Expedition Lands! I hope you have enjoyed our journey through Zendikar and some of MTG’s most iconic lands. Expedition lands are not only some of the most beautiful Magic cards you’ve ever seen but also some of the most important ones in your deck.

If you happen to have comments or feedback about this article, please let us know in the comments, stop by for a chat at the official Draftsim Discord.

Until next time, stay safe!

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