Are Planeswalkers Good in EDH? – EDHREC


(Pools of Becoming | Art by Jason Chan)

We stand as soon as extra on the finish of one in every of these rating spiels. We’ve spent the past 20 weeks each single planeswalker ever printed. From Elspeth, Undaunted Hero to Narset, Parter of Veils, from Kytheon, Hero of Akros to Nicol Bolas, God Pharaoh, and from Tibalt, the Fiend Blooded to Jace, the Mind Sculptor, we’ve got traveled the windy path to the final word conclusion.

“So why are you here now?” you would possibly ask. Well, I can’t put this sequence to relaxation fairly but. When I began this sequence, I received requested by a couple of individuals what I consider planeswalkers in Commander. They see lots of play, however the common notion of ‘walkers is fairly unfavorable, so what provides? Are they good? Are they dangerous? Are they underplayed? Are they overplayed?

Back in 2017, I might have mentioned ‘walkers were absolutely overrated in Commander. However, it’s been years since I actually requested this query, and I feel that’s true for lots of people. The format is a distinct beast, and War of the Spark fully flipped the planeswalker sport on its head. I really feel that after trying by all 213 ‘walkers, I ought to attempt to take one good stab at this query: are planeswalkers truly good in Commander?

The Elephant in the Room

Before we begin speaking about planeswalker playability, I really feel like I want to deal with the plain: planeswalkers are actually cool! I feel that’s one thing that you just’re anticipated to develop out of, however I definitely by no means did, and I don’t plan to. ‘Walkers at all times really feel distinctive. When I open a Ral Zarek, I wish to slot him in no matter deck might play him simply because the attract of enjoying playing cards that may accomplish that a lot could be very sturdy! If you wish to play playing cards like Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh as a result of you just think they’re neat, then it’s best to do this!

EDH content material like these articles tends to lean in the direction of optimization and what makes your deck probably the most highly effective, however typically energy stage isn’t why playing cards see play. If you wish to play a planeswalker, do it!

Finding a Spark

However, that’s probably not what most individuals are asking. They’re asking if planeswalkers are price enjoying from an influence stage perspective. Why aren’t ‘walkers like Jace, the Mind Sculptor nearly as good in EDH as they’re in 1v1? Are there some ‘walkers we will play in EDH, or do ‘walkers simply not do sufficient to justify their downsides?

Well, to provide a non-answer, I’d say sure and no. I feel we will take all 200+ planeswalkers we’ve seen, and any future planeswalkers Wizards could print, and broadly stick them into six or seven classes that may inform us which ‘walkers pass the bar and which ones don’t. Most ‘walkers won’t match the archetype precisely, however when it’s essential consider a ‘walker for Commander, you possibly can usually stick them into no matter archetype matches finest and consider them from that standpoint. (Fans of Fire Emblem or the Commedia Dell’arte would possibly perceive my soul higher now.)

So let’s speed-run (speed-walk?) by this sequence yet one more time!

1: Planeswalker Deck ‘Walkers

Okay, so these should not truly ‘real’ planeswalkers. We had fun these ‘walkers, which were made for beginners to get into the game, and aren’t truly price enjoying in Commander. You can principally disregard these.


Almost all of those aren’t price your time, however there are a couple of I discovered to be playable, if not first rate. To be sure to by no means have to take a look at Rowan, Fearless Sparkmage once more, I made this list of the best Planeswalker Deck ‘walkers.

Over, Under or Just Right? Overplayed: Let’s transfer onto the actual ‘walkers.

2: Generically Good

Here’s the primary factor that folks have mentioned about planeswalkers, and stays the largest impediment to their playability: planeswalkers are extremely fragile. They’re fragile by design, permitting an opponent in a 1-on-1 sport to take them out simply by attacking. With a number of opponents, that’s amplified to 11, and in a format composed of big board states the place Ghalta, Primal Hunger is taken into account a small fry, they develop into extra fragile than porcelain china to a Sanctuary Cat.

Planeswalkers should not going to die immediately each sport. Sometimes there will likely be board stalls, otherwise you’ll be up in opposition to three Baral, Chief of Compliance decks, however there’s a great likelihood that, with three opponents, at the least one in every of them will be capable to assault a ‘walker. Planeswalkers should be played on the assumption that you’ll want to guard them properly or else they’ll die.

Given that, lots of the ‘walkers whose average case is being generically good get way worse in Commander. It’s not that ‘walkers like Nissa, Voice of Zendikar are doing issues which might be dangerous in Commander. Nissa mainly does the whole lot token decks might need. The problem is that there’s a typical situation the place Nissa does one in every of her skills as soon as after which dies, and the instances the place Nissa sticks round, she’s solely ever good, and never glorious. If it’s important to put in the hassle to maintain Nissa alive, you would possibly as properly run a neater option to make tokens, like Trading Post, or a neater option to put counters on issues, like Felidar Retreat. In common, in case you’re a ‘walker and everything they do is just fine, they probably aren’t “made for Commander.”

Over, Under or Just Right? Overplayed: This is often the place the dialog stops, however I feel there are lots of different ‘walkers to take a look at.

3: High Risk, High Reward

Given the truth that ‘walkers are naturally fragile, one option is to play ‘walkers with the expectations that you’ll must be tremendous vigilant about defending them. Some ‘walkers will reward you in the event that they stick round lengthy sufficient, most frequently from their final. If you final a Ral Zarek, you’ll be doing one thing totally distinctive that can in all probability win you the sport. They can be price defending if activating a few their skills will acquire you a really substantial benefit. Protecting ‘walkers like Garruk Relentless will reward you with tutors for days in addition to a very stable final.

There’s usually extra advantage to this archetype, as there’s a larger ceiling for shielding them, however typically I discover that this ceiling nonetheless doesn’t make up for the low ground. Planeswalkers like Sarkhan Unbroken will win you the sport in the event that they stick round, however the quantity of labor wanted to tug it off isn’t fairly price it.

Over, Under or Just Right? Overplayed: There’re some price contemplating, however in common, we’ll must look elsewhere for good planeswalkers in Commander.

4: Superfriends!

Here’s an archetype that almost all are accustomed to, though I’d argue that Superfriends ‘walkers are kinda simply the “High Risk, High Reward” ‘walkers taken to the intense. In a traditional deck, Nahiri, the Harbinger isn’t an awesome planeswalker. Even in case your deck can defend her, she’s not going to be the perfect ‘walker in her color combination. However, in a Superfriends deck, Nahiri is an all-star, because she’s elimination that additionally synergizes with all of the Proliferate and different planeswalker-centric playing cards like Oath of Teferi. The cause these ‘walkers are a few of the most profitable in Commander is similar cause a card like Thousand-Year Storm is sweet in Spellslinger. They want a ton of infrastructure to be good, however when they’re, they’re wonderful!

Over, Under or Just Right? Just Right: Also in this class is any ‘walker whose main operate is to go off with Doubling Season. If I’ve made something clear this sequence, it’s {that a} ton of ‘walkers fit this description, so be selective. You don’t want Vraska, Scheming Gorgon when Tamiyo, Field Researcher exists.

5: One-Shot Spells

Now we’re attending to a few of my favorites. If we settle for that ‘walkers are fragile, we might additionally simply see them as fancy sorceries. When you employ the -2 on Koth of the Hammer and make ten mana, it doesn’t even matter if he dies proper afterward. You received your mana’s price out of Koth. In truth, you’ll discover lots of the top-tier ‘walkers fall into this class, like Tezzeret the Seeker or Ugin, the Spirit Dragon.

The wonderful thing about these ‘walkers is that you just kinda get to have your cake and eat it too. You can dream concerning the video games the place Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast makes three copies of Staff of Nin, however when all he does is kill a creature, that’s nonetheless in all probability high quality. It actually is all upside when these ‘walkers go off.

Over, Under or Just Right? Underplayed: This class incorporates lots of the ‘walkers that I’ve been gushing about as underplayed, so I like this model.

6: Stumbling Blocks

This leans into the “One-Shot Spell” facet, however is a bit more everlasting. These are ‘walkers whose sole purpose is to annoy opponents into killing them. Sure, if they don’t die, opponents are in all probability in for a foul time, however they don’t have methods to guard themselves, and so they don’t must.

A number of the unusual ‘walkers, like Ashiok, Dream Render, fall into this class. Ashiok comes down, eats the graveyards, after which mainly locks searches out till opponents can kill Ashiok in 1-Three turns. That’s a high quality tradeoff. Also showing in this class are ‘walkers which might be tremendous annoying to kill, like Vraska, the Unseen or Gideon Blackblade.

However – and that is actually the important thing factor – it shouldn’t be assumed that these ‘walkers are going to be here for a long time. They aren’t enchantments, like Embargo, which might be round till somebody finds elimination. Most tables are by no means going to depart Teferi, Time Raveler alive, so he ought to be considered a distraction from the actual threats.

Over, Under or Just Right? Just Right: I feel a few of these are underplayed, and I feel others die too early, but it surely actually is dependent upon what you’re asking them to do.

7: Personal Howling Mines

Finally, we’ve got a wierd center between the “One-Shot Spell” planeswalkers and the “High Risk, High Reward” planeswalkers. These are fancy Staff of Nins with some additional upside. Usually the ‘walkers that say “draw a card” are in extra defensive colours, so that you’ll normally get them to stay round some time. If they stick round, they’ll reward you by being a gradual stream of playing cards, but when they solely draw you two or three card after which kick the bucket, that’s additionally high quality.

Over, Under or Just Right? Underplayed: I’d say these, as a complete, are probably the most underplayed. ‘Walkers like Jace, Unraveler of Secrets are so generically good that you possibly can slot them in wherever, and so they’ll do work in most lower-power (and even some higher-power) metas.

So Are ‘Walkers Overplayed?

I’d say the “Generically Good,” and the “High Risk, High Reward” planeswalkers at the moment outnumber the others, and so, sadly, I feel ‘walkers as a whole are still slightly overplayed. There’s too many who simply require an excessive amount of infrastructure to work, or simply aren’t well worth the effort of defending.

However, I don’t need individuals to stroll away from this sequence and assume ‘walkers are all unplayable! There are a ton of actually cool ‘walkers that you just ought to be enjoying proper now. I discovered lots of cool playing cards that I needed to check out, and I hope this sequence inspired you to provide a few of the ‘walkers sitting in your assortment a shot.

With that, I feel I’m lastly out of issues to say about planeswalkers! I proceed to be equal elements baffled, grateful, and overjoyed that folks proceed to learn, remark, and debate me on this lovely web site! I’ll say it each time, I wouldn’t be on this web site with out y’all! Next time I come again, we’ll be rating each Equipment! There’s lots of hidden gems in there, so I feel it’ll be lots of enjoyable!

To prep for that, I will likely be occurring a two or three week break after this text goes out. Hopefully a few of the different writers can preserve you entertained whereas I’m gone.

In the meantime, I’ve by no means completed one thing like this earlier than, so I’m in individuals’s ideas. What do you consider ‘walkers? Are they underplayed? Are they overplayed? Did you discover any new toys? Anything I ignored? I sit up for all of your ideas in the feedback! Until the subsequent journey!

Joseph began enjoying in Theros Block however determined that one of the simplest ways to play the sport was to be taught each single card and hope that may by some means make him good at Magic. It hasn’t. He is a university pupil in Santa Fe, New Mexico and in addition enjoys studying and different video games of all sizes and shapes.

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