// floating card image

Thursday, July 27, 2017

EDH Bombs Clash of the Planeswalkers Part 3 – The Legend Lives On

July 3, 2014 by  
Filed under FAQ, In-Depth FAQ, Strategy

Planeswalkers

“No Fear. We are here.”

Planeswalkers, the new added permanent type, had since their addition to MtG made a great impact on how the game is being played. Although Wizards had made it a point to not overload any block with them unless they are story-related. They had kept their numbers low most of the time. Though it is quite a glad thing to know that Wizards are not making the Planeswalkers to be too overpowered and impossible dealt with. Since their debut, there had been an increased number of cards printed to destroy them outright. A lot of removal cards are now targeting permanents or nonCreature permanents, making them more vulnerable to removal and not too difficult to answer to when they hits the battlefield. Some Creature removals are also targeting Planeswalkers too. Below are just some few examples of such cards.

All Is Dust

No Planeswalkers, except Karn, are spared.

Angel of Despair / Ashen Rider / Necrotic Sliver / Vindicate

White and Black way to deal with the Planeswalkers.

Argentum Armor / Lux Cannon / Worldslayer

Artifact ways to deal with Planeswalkers.

Banishing Light / Detention Sphere / Oblivion Ring

All purpose removal.

Bramblecrush / Desert Twister / Rootgrapple

All purpose all round Green removals.

Chain of Acid

Destroy target nonCreature permanent and allow the permanent’s controller to copy the spell. Green way of destroying stuff.

Dreadbore / Hero’s Downfall

Target removals which can target Planeswalkers.

Fated Retribution

A Wrath for both Creatures and Planeswalkers.

Mold Shambler / Woodfall Primus

Pretty much the two most played removal for Green.

Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker / Karn Liberated

The plan-screwers. Totally topple an opponent’s battlefield whenever one hits the battlefield.

Pentarch Paladin

Destroy by choosing color. Slow but effective against one color.

Planar Cleansing

Restarts the board leaving only Lands on the battlefield.

Reaper King

They don’t call my Commander the “Nuke King” for no reason.

Scourglass

White aligned Artifact which destroys all permanents except Artifacts and Lands.

Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

Vindicate on legs. REALLY BIG LEGS.

So as you could see from the above list, Planeswalkers are not as almighty and invulnerable as per old days. Ever since the reboot of the “Spark”, they are made more mortal and could be killed as easily as Creatures.

 

Return to Ravnica Block

Gatecrash Fatpack

Heroes for hired.

At the end of the block, it was revealed that Niv-Mizzet had found the Implicit Maze, which Jace had researched and chose to forget due to the danger of the knowledge of it. The maze created by Azor I was to be revealed in case the Guildpact dissolved, in hopes of fostering an atmosphere of peaceful collaboration between the guilds. Its true purpose was to determine if a new guildpact (as the old one broken would result in the maze revealing itself) could be formed, and also to determine what shape it would take if possible. However Azor I had also created a failsafe should the guilds not seek harmony with each other. He had given the maze runners access to the Supreme Verdict which would eliminate the guilds entirely to prevent their desires to lead to war that might destroy the plane.

 

Ral Zarek

Ral Zarek

“I’m good and I know it.”

Ral is a high ranking Izzet guildmage. He was the one who was responsible for discovering the Maze, although not chosen to be the maze runner for his guild. He had ascended but had somehow managed to hide this fact from his guidlmaster, a feat considered to be nigh impossible since all minds of the members of the Izzet guild is linked to the Firemind. He has never really looked to Niv-Mizzet as a role model nor mentor, but more of a nuisance or likely adversary.

 

Ral has a very handy plus ability which allows for some small amount of control and acceleration. He controls by tapping down a permanent and accelerates by untapping a permanent. This works in a way that he could tap down a potential blocker so your attackers can get through. Then there is also the tapping down of other permanents; like Artifacts which needs to tap or be untapped to use; or Creatures with abilities which require them to tap. The untapping part being used as acceleration is needless to say familiar to many; untapping the ever famous Sol Ring or Temple of the False God is just couple of the ways to accelerate your mana. The ability has many combinations of uses limited only by one’s imagination and is a very versatile ability in my opinion. The second ability is very useful for getting rid of those pesky little Creatures which are annoying just by staying on the battlefield. Many of such Creatures (Leonin Arbiter; Dark Confidant) do not need to attack and would cause trouble just by being on the battlefield. This second ability could also be used to deal with opposing Planeswalkers when they are within the damage range. Ral’s ultimate is a bit too random to depend on in EDH. While EDH is all about fun plays, it could sometimes lead to really bad results if you are down on your luck. Although I had yet to seen anyone getting zero extra turns out of his ultimate, I personally do not think that it is ever necessary to use the ultimate. Ral is a good add solely by the first two abilities to decks which could use him. Dependent on the ultimate might lead to serious case of flipping the table.

 

Core Set 2014

Ignate your Spark

Ignate your Spark

Like a break from each block, the core set takes on some loose plot points and update on characters in past blocks. A new feature adopted by Wizards starting from Core Set 2013 was to feature a Planeswalker for the set. They did this with Nicol Bolas, coupling him with numerous spells (Augur of Bolas; Disciple of Bolas; Gem of Becoming; Mindclaw Shaman) related to him. For Core Set 2014, the spotlight was on Chandra Nalaar. Pyromancer’s Gauntlet and Young Pyromancer were the new cards printed to tie in with her. Also reprinted was Chandra’s Outrage & Chandra’s Phoenix

 

Chandra, Pyromaster

Chandra, Pyromaster

“When in doubt, just make an explosion. And make sure to make it a BIG ONE~!!!”

Chandra v4.0 cost the same as v3.0 though with a bit more demanding on R (v3.0 costs 3R; v4.0 costs 2RR). Continuing the trend with previous, Chandra v4.0 also deals damage but this time upgrades the ability to deal the damage to both the player and a Creature that player controls. She even further upgrades that ability by preventing the Creature damaged by the ability from blocking. V4.0 second ability of exiling the top card of your library and having the option to play that card is rather risky if you do not have some knowledge of your library top card. It is to be noted that although the ability allows you to play the exiled top card, you still have to pay the cost to play the card. If you do not play that card, then it would be exile forever. So it would definitely benefits you more if you have an idea of what is that top card of your library before using the ability; at least to prevent situations where you exiled a card which you can’t play. Her ultimate ups the second ability one more level by exiling ten cards and allowing you to copy any one Instant or Sorcery three times and then cast the copies without paying their mana costs. Unlike the second ability which if the exiled card is an Instant or Sorcery being played would result in it going to the graveyard, the ten cards exiled by the ultimate are exiled outright and do not go to the graveyard after being copied. The copies however do count towards Storm count since the ultimate creates copies of the exiled spell and allows you to cast them. But like the second ability, library top knowledge or library manipulation is recommended here to prevent misfire.

 

Chandra v4.0 is as much the reckless pyromancer she is portrait to be in the profile. Her second ability acts like a mini Future Sight allowing you to play cards from your library even for a mono Red deck. The ultimate on the other hand is rather over dependent on your deck to be heavy on having Instants and Sorceries. Either way, if you really want to use her, Sensei’s Divining Top & Scroll Rack are both good Artifact choices recommended to ensure the two abilities do not miss.

 

Garruk, Caller of Beasts

Garruk, Caller of Beasts

“Come, let’s hunt.”

Garruk v4.0 totally lives up to his name here. All three abilities are made to the title given to him. Long before v4.0, we had already been playing with the card Commune with Nature, gaining the benefits of tutoring and library digging. V4.0 first ability is very similar with Commune with Nature in the same number of cards revealed. But the big benefit comes in that you do not just put one Creature card into your hand like with Commune with Nature but fill your hand up with all Creatures cards revealed with his ability. That is easily more than one card if your deck is Creature based one. Furthermore the first ability also serves as a buildup to the second ability which is a major killer. The ability allows you to put a Green Creature from your hand to the battlefield. The reason that this is a major kill is that Green is the color of Creature and is not short of big mean Creatures. Although not necessary the biggest, Green does has a huge range of Creatures ranging from all sorts of shapes and sizes, so you are practically spoiled with choices. The ultimate is an ultimate nightmare if it is active. Thus far there are no cards which can deal with Emblem. V4.0’s ultimate Emblem is a win more ultimate. Tutoring in EDH is a very powerful tool. With the Emblem, now all your Creature spells are tutors. In no time after you activated the Emblem you will become the nemesis of the table. Every Creature you cast would result in another Creature threat hitting the battlefield; that is equivalent to casting two threats at once. Even countering the Creature spell is not going to help as you will get to search for a Creature as you had casted a Creature. A very valuable add-on to all Green EDH decks which use Creatures.

 

Theros

Theros Poster

Slay a Hydra, Save a World. Everyday stuff of a Planeswalker.

Theros is block with the setting based on Greek anthology. It is also the plane where Elspeth had gotten her signature sword from. This is also the home plane of the new planeswalker, Xenagos. The main storyline here is how Xenagos, after ascended and explored the multiverse, came to realize how insignificant the Gods of his home world are in other worlds and decided to return to his home world and tried to be God of his world. Elspeth having returned here after the events from Scars of Mirrodin was manipulated by Xenagos to aid in his plans. The end result of all that was Xenagos succeeded in becoming a God and Elspeth was branded a betrayer for aiding him do so and became resent by all who once looked up to her. She almost gave up on all hopes until Ajani, having been a mentor to the native Leonin, had tracked her to Theros and came to learn of his friend’s ill fate. He aided her quest to take down the now God Xenagos. Although they were successful in slaying Xenagos, Elspeth was betrayed once more by Heliod, the God who named her his champion, and killed with her own sword-spear, Godsend, citing his reason for doing so was to protect Theros’ well being for fear of someone like Xenagos would rise in power as he had. Elspeth died on Theros and had went on to live in the Underworld there.

 

Ajani, Mentor of Heroes

Ajani Mentor of Heroes

Trainer of Heroes, Mentor of Kings

Ajani, as mentioned above, had travelled to Theros in the past in his planeswalking and had befriended and mentored the Leonins during his last visit. In fact, Brimaz, King of Oreskos, was mentored by him. He had recently tracked Elspeth to Theros after their last encounter on Dominaria, where he returned her armor which she left on Alara, before she set off to Mirrodin. At the end of their quest on Theros, he was prevented from saving Elspeth by the Leonins and was pulled aside to watch her die which the Leonins had cited was for his own good. After all the events, with Elspeth died, Ajani now wore her cloak in honor of his friend.

Deicide

God Slayers

 

Ajani, one of the five beginning core Planeswalkers, has now enter into his v4.0 in this version. Following his base of magic of empower allies’ souls, Ajani v4.0 is very similar to v3.0. Both version works to support Voltron style decks. V4.0 is stronger in this sense in that he does not have a minus ability, less his ultimate. He is stronger than v3.0 in that he gives more +1/+1 counters (up to three) to more targets with his first ability as compared to v3.0 which only gives one. This can create a lot of opportunities as not only are there more counters, those counters can be distributed among your Creatures as you choose. The second ability lets you dig four cards into your library in search for Aura, Creature, or Planeswalker. This helps in Voltron decks to allow you to find the Aura needed to power up your Voltron; or to find your Voltron. And if you are daring enough, v4.0 can also aid you in a Super Friends EDH deck. His ultimate, which is not exactly game breaking or winning, can be rather annoying. Although I had yet to see anyone reach it, gaining 100 life is sure to raise a couple of eyebrows and draw tons of attention to you to take you down. On the other side, it could also discourage everyone to leave you alone for a while since you are suddenly out of damage range to kill; unless you have something like Felidar Sovereign or Test of Endurance, which would probably bring every damage right into your face immediately before your upkeep comes by for your victory.

 

Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver

Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver

“So tell me about your Worst Fear.”

A Planeswalker of unknown origin who specialize in materializing one’s dreams and fears, giving them forms in reality, Ashiok would then be able to command these beings to do his bidding. His hollowed out face is the result of his use of this power over time. Ashiok is of Dimir colors and plays very well into the guild main theme of milling. He is rather powerful for his low cc in that he can comes out very early and starts his milling which brings us to his first ability. The ability brings his loyalty to a total of 5 while milling an opponent for three cards in the process. Ashiok’s milling, what I called a power mill, is a much powerful form of milling. EDH is notorious for having many retriever cards thus making milling sometimes rather redundant. Since Ashiok exiles instead of milling, there is really not much way to retrieve those cards. Then comes the second ability which is what Ashiok do best. He could sort of “cast” a Creature exiled by him by removing the same amount of loyalty counters equal to the cc of the Creature. This is very similar to how we would mill an opponent and then reanimate their Creatures. Nothing sucks more to have your biggest threat facing you on the other side of the table. Ashiok’s ultimate is one of those which are rarely used unless for the final strike. To a player who is relying on his graveyard as resources, it is a devastating blow to his or her plans; otherwise I don’t really see a need to use the ultimate. Ashiok is very good to use in a Mill style deck, although not very dependable in EDH as he will always be the no.1 target when he hits the battlefield. I would recommend playing him even if you solely use the first ability. It is a good enough ability to disrupt opponents denying them of the nonbasic lands and spells which have only one copy in the deck.

 

Elspeth, Sun’s Champion

Elspeth Sun Champion

Unwilling Hero

V3.0 of Elspeth and by far the most expensive out of all her versions, offers a very control role in normal variant. Usually used as the kill con for most normal variant decks, it also serves the same purpose in EDH. As with previous version, v3.0 also produces tokens, this time taking v2.0 minus ability and making a plus instead. This offers some blockers for you to block with over the turns. The second ability, which I really like, is a Retribution of the Meek of sort minus the “can’t be regenerated” clause. Elspeth can aid you in sweeping the board of big Creatures leaving your tokens alive. The ultimate is a winning kill con. It is to be noted that Emblem are cumulative. One of this Emblem is already turning all your little tokens into a Flying horde of air terrors. It is even more imba that the tokens she produced are just out of her Retribution of the Meek power range even after being pumped, which is of course not the case if you had two of the said Emblem. That would be another story to be facing a horde of 1/1 tokens with +4/+4 and Flying (2x Elspeth Emblems). Elspeth v3.0 is very versatile in that you could either use her in a Token style deck for her token producing ability; or use her for her controlling board sweep ability. Either way is fine before you build up to the ultimate. She is very handy in that even if you used her board sweeping ability and it happens to sweep her tokens, she could also replace those tokens. Very recommended Planeswalker for decks which can play her.

 

Kiora, the Crashing Wave

Kiora, the Crashing Wave

“If it’s big, I would like to have one please.”

Kiora hails from the plane, Zendikar. She had travelled the multiverse in search for the titanic deep sea Creatures in hopes of using their power to help deal with the Eldrazi problem back in her home plane. This quest had led her to Theros. She is not on really good terms with Thassa, God of the Sea, as she was mistaken as Thassa and had not really bothered to explain the misunderstood. In fact where the story last saw her, she had tricked Elspeth and Ajani by posing as Callephe, a supposedly skilled navigator who they seek to bring them to the Temple of Mystery; her real purpose was to capture a massive Kraken with the sunken city of Arixmethes built upon it. This had set the upfront confrontation between the Sea God and the deep sea dwellers lover.

 

Introductions aside, Kiora is a rather one-sided Planeswalker in that she is pretty useful in a one on one matchup. She is not that good when in multi-player format as she cannot really survive too long with her abilities and low loyalty without a lot of help. Her first ability does well only to neutralize one threat for everyone till your next turn, making it a relief for everyone to breathe a while until the turn comes back to you. This can aid in keeping her alive politically. The second ability is a very good ramp and certainly a welcome one. In fact both of her abilities are very good at gaining you politics position and self ramp through cards and Land respectively. That is only if her starting loyalty is not so low at just 2 making her too easy a target to kill off. What makes matter worse is her ultimate of giving you an Emblem of producing a 9/9 Kraken token at the end of your turn. Anyone who is in their right mind after reading that would not let her live to that ultimate. Still I would still give credit to that ability being a superb win con in normal variant though.

Kraken Token

Catching the wrong attention…..

 

Xenagos, the Reveler

Xenagos the Reveler

“Life’s too short to not Party.”

The antagonist of the Theros block, Xenagos is of the colors of unrestrained nature, Red and Green. That being said Xenagos is actually quite dependable of you having Creatures to support him. His first ability, producing an amount of mana in combination of R and/or G equals to the number of Creatures you control, is a great boost to your mana ramp. But you could actually end up doing nothing if you have zero Creatures on the battlefield. That is probably why his second ability, zero to activate helps to set up for his first ability. He puts Satyr token onto the battlefield. The token ain’t small either, at 2/2 which also comes with Haste ready to attack if needed to. The ultimate is also very powerful in that if the deck is built right could result in having all seven exiled cards entering the battlefield. There are ways to ensure that your library top cards are Creatures (Scroll Rack; Sylvan Tutor; Worldly Tutor). Xenagos’ color identity also has cards which grant Haste to your Creatures. So you could always activate the ultimate and sends the new added members to your army in for the kill. Xenagos is a very good mana booster in decks which can use him. Maybe you would like to consider using him to cast the Creatures to pump up with Xenagos, God of Revels, just saying.

 

Core Set 2015

Hunt Bigger Games

Hunt Bigger Games

Hunt Bigger Games”. That is the slogan for M15. Core Set 2015 was made as the set depicting the aftermath of what happened in the past few sets that had went by. There are quite a number of new yet familiar faces in the set. The featured Planeswalker for this set is Garruk.

 

Ajani Steadfast

Ajani Steadfast

Living in honor of the fallen.

Ajani, after the events on Theros, now wears his friend’s cloak in honor of her while continuing to lend his power to others, becoming one of the first two Planeswalkers to reach v5.0. At v5.0, Ajani is now truly the go to Planeswalker for Voltron style. His first ability thoroughly pumps up a Creature by giving it +1/+1, First Strike, Vigilance, and Lifelink until end of turn. Now you have both an attacker and a blocker at the same time, which also has an edge, with First Strike on it, over those who block it. Now wouldn’t it be wonderful if that Creature also has Deathtouch (Basilisk Collar)? The second ability also shows that Ajani works best as the party supporter. He not only pumps up your whole army by giving them a +1/+1 counter each but also give a loyalty counter to each other Planeswalkers on your side. Although not all ultimate are powerful, most of them are devastating enough if used. V5.0 puts you one step closer to that for not one but all your other Planeswalkers. The ultimate, an Emblem in the form of an enhanced Forcefield for you and all your Planeswalker, is a very much welcome Elblem to have. Planeswalkers usually have a huge target board on their head whenever they hit the battlefield. This Emblem would serve well in protecting them and you too.

Fallen hero

In memory of a fallen friend.

 

Garruk, Apex Predator

Garruk Apex Predator

None is safe….

The featured Planeswalker of the set definitely ain’t disappointing us at all. Garruk v4.0 is the second Planeswalker to have four abilities and not disappointing set of abilities at that. The first ability is what the “Hunt Bigger Games” is all about, Garruk now hunts Planeswalkers. He helps you deal with a Planeswalker threat right after he hits the battlefield. If there are no Planeswalker threat in sight, then you could use his second ability to get yourself a 3/3 Beast token, with Deathtouch to boot. Even though Garruk now hunts bigger games, he still hunt “smaller” games at times. The third ability lets you destroy Creature and “eats” it for life. This is a very good control against Creatures and you get to stay alive by gaining life equal to the destroyed Creature’s toughness. All the first three abilities are very controllish abilities in my opinion, which may be due to Garruk’s color identity of Black and Green. Traditionally this color combination is the colors for The Rock; a control deck combining the two colors for their disruption and ramp, while ending the game with big Creatures. The ultimate is the ultimatum against the table’s nemesis. It is also the first time an Emblem is given to an opponent instead of the Planeswalker’s controller. This Emblem is like a bounty set on the nemesis, now everyone who attacks the bounty gets a free “Overrun”. Even the smallest of critters is a giant now when attacking the bounty. And the fact that Emblem is cumulative, it is a relief, and balance too, that the ultimate is quite high and not easily activated. Garruk v4.0 is a very good addition to decks which can use him. If there is any drawback to him is that he has a very high cc for all those power, probably a balance Wizards had designed into him. Also v4.0 has a failsafe for this power too, just in case your turn gets controlled by opponents. It is to be noted that v4.0 cannot do much harm to you even when you are being Mindslaver or Worst Fear; as he cannot destroy himself, nor can he give the Emblem to you.

 

Jace, the Living Guildpact

Jace, the Living Guildpact

One in All; All in One.

After preventing the guilds from almost annihilating themselves in Ravnica, Jace had become the living embodiment of the Guildpact at the end of that story. This also brings him to be the first few v5.0 Planeswalkers along with Ajani. To be honest, I feel that v5.0 is not as over power as previous Jace but wins in that he has a high starting loyalty of 5, which becomes 6 when you use his first ability. The first ability is a library manipulation which allows you to dig two cards into your library and set one up for graveyard reanimate later. His second ability of bouncing nonLand permanent is a good control ability. Threats are instantly neutralize with it as long as it is not a Land. This ability could also be used as a mean to reset permanent stats when you recast the bounced permanent. The ultimate may look fair at first glance but is actually very powerful as a late game play. As the drawing a new hand of seven cards is not symmetrical, this could use to your advantage much like discarding your opponents’ hand. V5.0 is not really a must add Planeswalker to decks and rather situational to play. In my opinion, he would fare better in normal variant than EDH as the ultimate, although not a full symmetrical Timetwister is still rather dangerous to allow all opponents to get their used spells and neutralized threats back into the library. But if you are looking at a Reanimator deck, Jace is a good addition if the color permit.

 

Nissa, Worldwaker

Nissa Worldwaker

“Awaken. And follow my call.”

After her failed attempt to save her home world, Nissa had vowed since then to find ways to defeat the Eldrazi and redeem her failure. She had changed from her previous status as the Elf Planeswalker to the more powerful Land Planeswalker. Instead of focusing her power on Elves, she now uses Lands as her main source of power. Nissa v2.0; like Elspeth v1.0, Ajani v4.0 & her v1.0; has no minus abilities except for the ultimate. The first ability of permanently animating a Land into a trampling 4/4 Elemental is quite powerful when combo with Darksteel Citadel because the combo actually grants you an Indestructible 4/4 trampling beatstix. But that is not as powerful as the second ability. The second ability, untap up to four target Forests, is a much stronger and what I sees as the more and maybe even only ability to be used from her. Garruk v1.0 who has a similar ability of untapping two Lands was a much played Planeswalker which could use him partly due to the ability too. Effectively the ability makes v2.0 cost just 1cc to cast. Like her change of status, her ultimate also reflects that as she now searches for basic Lands from your library instead of Elves and put them all onto the battlefield. An added bonus here is that she also animates those Lands into 4/4 Elementals with Trample permanently. V2.0 is a must play if you are looking for ramp in your deck but the other abilities are not really recommend to use. This is because unlike normal variant, board sweep is abundant in EDH. Turning a Land or a ton of them into Creatures is like LandD-ing yourself after a sweep as the Lands do not turn back from being Creatures after being animated. This also leaves the Lands vulnerable to removals as you faced multiple opponents in multi-player games; giving your opponents 1 card for 2 sort of advantage (1 removal for both a Creature & Land).

 

You Never Walk Alone

Planeswalkers are like an extra player on your side. Having one on your battlefield is privilege many would not mind to have although there are always exceptions to this fact too. Some Planeswalkers may not be all that useful when in a multiplayer game; some may need some extra help to be useful. Thus it is always up to the players who use to find ways to utilize them. We hope that the above opinions on the Planeswalkers could give you some ideas or insight as to which Planeswalkers to add to your decks. Do you have any ideas to use the new added Planeswalkers? Do let us know in the comments below. I shall end this article here and we will meet again in our next article.

 

This is yours truly, Edward “Reaper King” Leong, signing off.

:D~

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!