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Thread: Speculation on planeswalkers going forward

  1. #1

    Speculation on planeswalkers going forward

    I originally posted this to the mtgfinance Reddit, because I think it's one of the better places for MTG discussion in general. The force is less populated, but probably the best. I'll part it here too.

    *****

    I was looking at the WAR card file yesterday and noticed a pattern. Planeswalkers in WAR that cost four or less don't really have ultimates. The closest are Jace and Chandra, but they are not really as game breaking as what we are used to. In fact, all CMC <= 4 planeswalkers hardly generate much threat at all on their own. The only real exception is Gideon, who is a mythic. Planeswalkers that cost five or more (rares and mythics) tend to both produce threats and have an ultimate.

    Why do I think this is relevant? It could represent a change in planeswalker design philosophy. If we see rare and uncommon planeswalkers in future sets, I'm pretty sure these maxims will hold. For mythics, it could be that you need to play at least five to get a game breaking ultimate to threaten.

    What does this mean? Four is pretty much the cutoff for playable spells in eternal formats (barring ramp and cost cheating decks). Teferi is the exception, because he 'costs three.' The days of compact win conditions at three or four mana may be over. Jace is obviously the high water mark, but Liliana the last hope could play that strategy at the three spot.

    I've run new Teferi and Narset in legacy and they're great. What they don't do is apply any real pressure. I'd put them in the same league as back to basics or search for Azcanta. Your deck still needs a card that wins.

    Why is this financially relevant? If my theory is correct, we may already have the best eternal planeswalkers as far as compact win conditions go. Jace and Liliana are already pricey. There's a good chance Jace never becomes obsolete, but this new design philosophy would cinch that.

    On another note, I also think we may have seen the most powerful iterations of the 'only value, not threat' planeswalkers in baby Teferi and Narset. WOTC tends to overshoot on their first go round. The fact that these cards are in the same discussion as back to basics is telling.

    It's no secret that WOTC is making another shift in design philosophy in general (with the focus on the play test team). With WAR I believe we are some hints as to how they will handle the flashiest card type in the future.

  2. #2
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    Re: Speculation on planeswalkers going forward

    I think most of what you're listing here are trying to rectify a loose concept of PW design 'rules' [like threat beginning at 5cmc] and financial impact [as a function of playability]. Something you're going to need to take into account is the need to upgrade an existing effect, or offer a scaffold around which decks can be built upon [an example of the latter being new Karn].

    When it comes to new Narset and Teferi, you're not actually upgrading anything. It would be most correct to classify them as cards that got their slots by taking out cards like cantrips, CJ, or CB. While these new walkers do cool things, you're going to drop more games to TNN and CB-susceptible combo. There was also excitement about flip-Jace for a while in these same decks using new Narset/Teferi, but historically these novel additions see diminished play over time [particularly when REB-susceptible].

  3. #3

    Re: Speculation on planeswalkers going forward

    What kind of crack are you on? None of the rate or uncommon 'walkers have an ult. The uncommons are basically enchantments with a variable number of spells built in, the rares are enchantments with the normal 'walker + and - ability, and the Mythics are normal 'walkers except they have their "emblem" active as long as they're on the field.

    There's not any kind of "casting cost" rules at all.

    Arlinn is six mana. Kaya is six mana. They don't have anything like ults. You're looking for something that isn't there.

    Well, wait, no, it is there, it's just based on fucking rarity like they said, repeatedly, when talking about the set, and like any reasonable person can tell by glancing at the colors of the set symbols on the cards. Don't spread stupid on here son, that's what FaceBook and Reddit are for.

    Play nice mate.
    Dice.
    Last edited by Dice_Box; 05-13-2019 at 07:02 AM.

  4. #4

    Re: Speculation on planeswalkers going forward

    Well that was needlessly aggressive..

    We will get new planeswalkers in Modern Horizon, Serra being the first one, but after that I think we won't be seeing many planeswalkers at all.

    I think there's plenty of 4CC planeswalkers that can win the game by themselves in WAR.

    4cc Karn, the Great Creator (1 mycosynth lattice in the sideboard makes "this win by itself", The reason I list it is because you don't need to draw another card.)
    4cc Chandra, Fire Artisan (This card has inevitability written all over it)
    3cc Vivien, Champion of the Wilds (-2 to grabs a creature, yes it needs another card, but jace pulls away with its +0 as well, virtually winning the game before it's won.)
    4cc Angrath, Captain of Chaos (Ok, this obviously doesn't do enough)
    3cc Saheeli, Sublime Artificer (Young Pyromancer, you don't need any specific other card, you just need to play the game of magic to win.)
    4cc Vraska, Swarm's Intelligence -> Doesn't just create 1/1 deathtouchers that can blow up planeswalkers, but grows them into threats (4 or 5 turn clock, 1+3+5+7+9=25dmg)

    What they have done in WAR (i believe), is be much more careful with the numbers of the walker abilities. Yes, Teferi can generate card and tempo advantage, but it's a -3, not a -1. Yes, Vivian can draw cards but it is a -2 instead of a +0. The one card where they were rather generous in WAR is Ashiok, Dream Render starting at 5 loyalty and having a -1. I also think Nicol Bolas is competitively balanced but he costs 5CC so falls outside the scope of this discussion.

  5. #5

    Re: Speculation on planeswalkers going forward

    Quote Originally Posted by morgan_coke View Post
    What kind of crack are you on? None of the rate or uncommon 'walkers have an ult. The uncommons are basically enchantments with a variable number of spells built in, the rares are enchantments with the normal 'walker + and - ability, and the Mythics are normal 'walkers except they have their "emblem" active as long as they're on the field.

    There's not any kind of "casting cost" rules at all.

    Arlinn is six mana. Kaya is six mana. They don't have anything like ults. You're looking for something that isn't there.

    Well, wait, no, it is there, it's just based on fucking rarity like they said, repeatedly, when talking about the set, and like any reasonable person can tell by glancing at the colors of the set symbols on the cards. Don't spread stupid on here son, that's what FaceBook and Reddit are for.

    Play nice mate.
    Dice.
    That is some righteous nerd rage. Well done.

    I know I wrote quite a bit, but you didn't actually address the point. The uncommon planeswalkers by definition can't have an ultimate. Some if the rares technically have an ultimate in WAR, but they aren't really game ending.

    My point is that it looks like WOTC is getting away from 3/4 Mana planeswalkers that can end the game with an ultimate. At 5 or higher, it's still fair game. There is not much evidence yet, but the last few sets have followed this item. Why I think this is relevant to legacy is that I don't think we'll see JTMS, CTOD, LTLH, and LOTV value engine finishers at 3/4. I think Jace is an acknowledged mistake, but I think the play pattern he allows is also on the chopping block.

    The new designs seem to indicate that 3/4 Mana gets you a value engine that doesn't apply much pressure. 5+ gets you a value engine and finisher. As new sets come out, we'll see.

    If you want to address that point, or if you think it's a positive move for the game, please do. Try smiling more often too. Nothing on the internet is worth increasing your blood pressure over.

  6. #6

    Re: Speculation on planeswalkers going forward

    Quote Originally Posted by bruizar View Post
    Well that was needlessly aggressive..

    We will get new planeswalkers in Modern Horizon, Serra being the first one, but after that I think we won't be seeing many planeswalkers at all.

    I think there's plenty of 4CC planeswalkers that can win the game by themselves in WAR.

    4cc Karn, the Great Creator (1 mycosynth lattice in the sideboard makes "this win by itself", The reason I list it is because you don't need to draw another card.)
    4cc Chandra, Fire Artisan (This card has inevitability written all over it)
    3cc Vivien, Champion of the Wilds (-2 to grabs a creature, yes it needs another card, but jace pulls away with its +0 as well, virtually winning the game before it's won.)
    4cc Angrath, Captain of Chaos (Ok, this obviously doesn't do enough)
    3cc Saheeli, Sublime Artificer (Young Pyromancer, you don't need any specific other card, you just need to play the game of magic to win.)
    4cc Vraska, Swarm's Intelligence -> Doesn't just create 1/1 deathtouchers that can blow up planeswalkers, but grows them into threats (4 or 5 turn clock, 1+3+5+7+9=25dmg)

    What they have done in WAR (i believe), is be much more careful with the numbers of the walker abilities. Yes, Teferi can generate card and tempo advantage, but it's a -3, not a -1. Yes, Vivian can draw cards but it is a -2 instead of a +0. The one card where they were rather generous in WAR is Ashiok, Dream Render starting at 5 loyalty and having a -1. I also think Nicol Bolas is competitively balanced but he costs 5CC so falls outside the scope of this discussion.
    I agree with all of your examples. I don't think it's not that 3/4 Mana planeswalkers can't end the game, it's that they can't be protected for a few turns for a game breaking ultimate.

    Karn is a weird example because it interacts with cards that aren't in the standard pool. He's an exception, that is outstanding because his -2 is secretly an ultimate, but wasn't intended to be.

    We've never seen a planeswalker that is better than Jace is a vacuum. That is the high water mark that I doubt will ever be surpassed. It seems like they're getting away from the Jace play pattern in general. Kaya and Dovin from RNA indicate this as well. They can both win the game, but never at a level where the opponent can't recover. New Bolas is 5. He gets an ultimate that wins the game. Same for 6 drop Liliana.

    There's not a ton of evidence thus far, but there are signs this is where we're headed.

  7. #7
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    Re: Speculation on planeswalkers going forward

    After Jace, the Wallet Sculptor faux pas. I will expect all PW will be worse.
    Karn the Creator is probably a mistake in legacy it is a Turn 3 win, Modern is turn 4. I do not know about Vintage. It is very consistent, I will not be surprise the ban hammer will knock to the doors soon. It can be played in any deck because colorless.
    I will side with Morgan Coke here.

  8. #8

    Re: Speculation on planeswalkers going forward

    I think you're trying to draw about the the future from the part of the set that won't at all be used again.
    Namely, you're looking at the uncommon and rare planeswalkers, something that won't happen again, and trying to say that's what will happen going forward.

  9. #9

    Re: Speculation on planeswalkers going forward

    Quote Originally Posted by FourDogsinaHorseSuit View Post
    I think you're trying to draw about the the future from the part of the set that won't at all be used again.
    Namely, you're looking at the uncommon and rare planeswalkers, something that won't happen again, and trying to say that's what will happen going forward.
    This. I think the closest we got to Jace TMS so far is Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. Yes, it's 5cc, but the +1 makes it a turn 5 3-drop, sort of,, Sure it runs into daze and spell pierce in a bad way but the untap ability attached to another good ability offsets the downside a little bit.

    Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast could have been a great 3CC planeswalker, but falls a little short unfortunately. Dack Fayden is reasonable, but another build around like Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas although to a lesser degree. I have very high hopes for Narset, Parter of Veils, because it's similar to Dig Through Time except Narset can pick another Narset from the top 8 and cast it. With Dig Through Time, you wouldn't have anything left to delve and we know resolving a DTT was usually game ending. I would not be surprised to see decks play 4 Narsets and 0 Jace.

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    Re: Speculation on planeswalkers going forward

    That is a bold statement about a walker that can't set up Terminus, and has no ability to protect itself @bruizar. It also dies to Bolt, without any way to really play around it.

    The one thing I'll add about [big] Teferi is that when he ticks up you not only bury an opponent in CA - you also get closer to winning.

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    Re: Speculation on planeswalkers going forward

    Narset is going to be very good but I doubt it's ever a 4of replacing Jace completely.
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cheese View Post
    I've been taking shitty brews and tier 2 decks to tournaments and losing with them for years now. Welcome to the club. We meet for cocktails after round 6.
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    Top quality german restraint there.

    If I'm at the point where I'm rage quitting, you can bet your kransky that I'm calling everyone involved a cunt.

  12. #12

    Re: Speculation on planeswalkers going forward

    They should abolish the Plainswalker card type entirely because they're nothing but a blight to the game.

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    Re: Speculation on planeswalkers going forward

    Quote Originally Posted by Erdvermampfa View Post
    They should abolish the Plainswalker card type entirely because they're nothing but a blight to the game.
    When i have return to play MtG after a 15 years hiatus, I have ask other players how can you cast a PW when in the rules it is stated that you are the PW. And you cast those mighty creature to fight on your side. Those youngster looked at me very confused.

    Now you are just a player, not a PW.

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    Re: Speculation on planeswalkers going forward

    microprose.

    mtg: duels of the players.
    -rob

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    Re: Speculation on planeswalkers going forward

    Quote Originally Posted by Erdvermampfa View Post
    They should abolish the Plainswalker card type entirely because they're nothing but a blight to the game.
    I wish this could happen
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cheese View Post
    I've been taking shitty brews and tier 2 decks to tournaments and losing with them for years now. Welcome to the club. We meet for cocktails after round 6.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stevestamopz View Post
    Top quality german restraint there.

    If I'm at the point where I'm rage quitting, you can bet your kransky that I'm calling everyone involved a cunt.

  16. #16

    Re: Speculation on planeswalkers going forward

    Quote Originally Posted by Erdvermampfa View Post
    They should abolish the Plainswalker card type entirely because they're nothing but a blight to the game.
    Would be nice but unlikely since WotC has tilted so hard into pushing them not just as part of the game but in all their branding and marketing and the storylines etc...

  17. #17

    Re: Speculation on planeswalkers going forward

    Quote Originally Posted by Matsu View Post
    Now you are just a player, not a PW.
    Yeah, but who else gets 20 starting loyalty?

  18. #18
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    Re: Speculation on planeswalkers going forward

    Quote Originally Posted by FourDogsinaHorseSuit View Post
    Yeah, but who else gets 20 starting loyalty?
    I think there are some mechanic to use, imagine you were allowed to use only one type of PW in your deck for example Matsu.
    Matsu cost 4 black and has loyalty equal to your life total.
    All abilities are minus and you subtract your life which means when you kill Matsu you win the game. I think it will be more flavorful to descend to the battlefield and do some magic, but also when your card alter ego dies you lose. Your life will be like magic points. you can even go further. You can have abilities which use mana. For example U and -1 life make a Brainstorm effect. This will be extremely flavorful. Or even the inverse you can gain life fighting with you minions, for example B+1 all players discard a card.

    But this will need some well design mechanics and a good understanding of mathematics, mechanic etc.

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    Re: Speculation on planeswalkers going forward

    Likely too hard to balance pre-loaded abilities (which is a hearthstone type design). While a little off topic, I'll echo support for ban card type planeswalker (or have a no pw legacy format.

  20. #20

    Re: Speculation on planeswalkers going forward

    Quote Originally Posted by Matsu View Post
    I think there are some mechanic to use, imagine you were allowed to use only one type of PW in your deck for example Matsu.
    Matsu cost 4 black and has loyalty equal to your life total.
    All abilities are minus and you subtract your life which means when you kill Matsu you win the game. I think it will be more flavorful to descend to the battlefield and do some magic, but also when your card alter ego dies you lose. Your life will be like magic points. you can even go further. You can have abilities which use mana. For example U and -1 life make a Brainstorm effect. This will be extremely flavorful. Or even the inverse you can gain life fighting with you minions, for example B+1 all players discard a card.

    But this will need some well design mechanics and a good understanding of mathematics, mechanic etc.
    Wasn't this the design behind Garruk, The Slayer

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