According to Mark Rosewater, "we return to a Zendikar without Eldrazi and revisit the adventure world players fell in love with." It is a "land set" in the sense of the sets of the first Zendikar block. Like all previous Zendikar sets, Zendikar Rising features full-art basic lands. Starting with Zendikar Rising, the mythic rares are changing their rate of drop. In the past, 1 in every 8 rares was a mythic rare. That is changed so that 1 in every 7.4 rares will be a mythic rare.
Zendikar Rising contains 280 cards () and includes randomly inserted premium versions of all cards. A unique Buy-a-Box promotional card is also considered to be part of the set. Cards with an alternate card frames have another card number than the original version. The Showcase cards are connected to TBA. They feature a TBA style. The set features no new planeswalkers. The returning planeswalkers are Jace, Nissa, and Nahiri.
Zendikar is a dangerous world of lethal risks where brave adventurers delve into ancient ruins in search of priceless rewards. The storyline features no Eldrazi but we will see the ruin they have caused. From the perspective of its inhabitants, it is a hostile place that seems to be actively trying to kill the creatures that have the audacity to live there. The danger is unrelenting: precarious terrain, cunning predators, natural disasters on a massive scale, and the Roil — the unpredictable ripples of change that wash through the land — all present a constant challenge to survival.