What's the best Planeswalker to get next? Version 2.

GilescloneGilesclone Posts: 266 Mover and Shaker
edited November 9 in MtGPQ Tips & Guides

This is a question many people ask here.  I have often asked the same question.  Of course, the correct answer is: "It depends".  But that's no fun so I created a semi-objective method for comparing PWs based on 5 criteria.

The first and most heavily weighted rating is the Ability Score (A).  This has been totally reworked from the previous version.  It is now based on the mana cost of spells/supports/creatures that are equivalent to the PW ability.  Those scores are then divided by the cost in loyalty.  I sum the best 2 abilities from each PW.  The best PW score (Koth/Nahiri) is assigned a 10 and every other PW gets a score based on how they compare with the best.  This is much less subjective than before, but I did have to estimate mana scores for abilities where there really is no card equivalent.

The second most heavily weighted rating is the Color Score (C).  This is a subjective rating of the value of the colors available to the PW.  This and the remaining ratings have also been changed so that the best is set to 10 and the others based on their comparison with the best.

The other factors are M - mana bonuses, H - PW health, and F - flexibility of card types (how many creatures/spells/supports they can use in a deck).

The weights I used to combine these scores are also subjective.  I gave A an 8, C an 8, M a 6, F a 3 and H a 3.

I've grouped the PWs into tiers of similarly valuable PW.

For comparison I show the previous score in parentheses after the new score.

Tier 1 - Best All Around

Saheeli Rai
A: 6, C: 10, M: 10, F: 10, H: 9, rating: 245 (226)

Nahiri
A: 10, C: 9, M: 8, F: 6, H: 8, rating: 242 (199)

Nissa(3), Steward of the Elements
A: 8*, C: 10, M: 7, F: 7, H: 9, rating: 234 (191)

 

Saheeli and Nahiri are just solid all around and Nissa 3 is a cycling monster.  I find that I use them in nearly every event.  Saheeli is only average in abilities, but everything else is to notch.  Her mana generation is crazy good.  Nahiri's and Koth's first abilities are completely out of line with other first abiliites.  If Koth ever gets nerfed, people will be screaming about Nahiri next.  
*Speaking of broken, I deliberately understated Nissa's 3rd ability.  While not infinite it is arbitrarily huge in mana value.  I could have scored her as 10, 20, 100…  Note when cycling goes away she'll drop to 6th tier or so.

 

Tier 2 - Other Great Walkers

Kiora
A: 7, C: 10, M: 6, F: 8, H: 8, rating: 220 (212)

Tezzeret(2) The Schemer
A: 6, C: 9, M: 9, F: 7, H: 8, rating: 219 (203)

Koth
A: 10, C: 7, M: 7, F: 5, H: 8, rating: 217 (155)

 

These are all great choices.  After adjusting my color ratings, I must admit that Koth is one of the best.  I hear endless complaints about his 1st ability, but his 3rd is nearly as bad.  If his mana was reliable he'd be at the very top.  Kiora's mana is meh, but everything else is excellent.  Tezz 2 is also an excellent all around choice, don't let his average abilities dissuade you.

 

Tier 3 - Slightly Flawed But Still Excellent

Ob Nixilis
A: 9, C: 7, M: 5, F: 10, H: 9, rating: 215 (172)

Arlinn Kord
A: 7, C: 9, M: 6, F: 7, H: 9, rating: 212 (200) - standard 188

Ajani(1) Vengeant
A: 5, C: 9, M: 8, F: 8, H: 9, rating: 211 (200)

Samut
A: 7, C: 9, M: 7, F: 6, H: 10, rating: 210 (169)

Samut is pretty well rounded, only her health is top tier, but an excellent aggressive PW.  Ob Nix is the creatureless monster, if his mana was better he'd be up there with Koth.  Arlinn is only tier 6 for standard but her first ability is so solid she can be used in a pinch.  Ajani's abilities are average (second) to total tinykitty (first) but everything else about him is top tier.  If they replaced his first with a real ability you'd see him all the time.

 

Tier 4 - Good PWs, Especially For PvE

Elsbeth
A: 7, C: 7, M: 8, F: 7, H: 9, rating: 208 (173)

Sarkhan
A: 6, C: 8, M: 7, F: 9, H: 9, rating: 208 (173)

Jace(2), Unraveler of Secrets
U, A: 6, C: 7, M: 9, F: 7, H: 8, rating: 203 (171)

Because of her mana curve Elsbeth is called the "White Koth".  But her mana is actually better and her abilities are very good, but not overpowered.  Sarkhan's first ability is literally the worst in the game.  His dragon focus is a bit limiting, but still a very fun PW.  Jace 2 is the best mono-blue by a long shot.  His abilities don't look like much, but they can be abused!

 

Tier 5 - Middle Of The Road

Gideon(3) of the Trials
A: 6, C: 7, M: 9, F: 5, H: 9, rating: 200 (151)

Dovin Baan
A: 5, C: 9, M: 6, F: 8, H: 9, rating: 199 (180)

Sorin
A: 5, C: 9, M: 8, F: 8, H: 5, rating: 199 (176)

Ajani(2) Unyielding
A: 6, C: 8, M: 6, F: 6, H: 10, rating: 196 (163)

Lilliana(3), Death's Majesty
A: 6, C: 7, M: 8, F: 5, H: 9, rating: 194 (137)

If Elspeth's mana is a bit too unreliable for you, try Gideon 3. He has an exile focus, but should still be viable even after the current set rotates out. Dovin's abilities are a bit too energy forcused and his mana is meh but very flexible. Sorin's low health and creature based abilities hurt him in PvP. Lilliana 3's third ability requires some planning to abuse, but fortunately you can do well with just her first two.  Not very flexible for spells and supports, but the best option for all those "lose x creatures" nodes. Ajani 2 is a (very) healthy pile of mediocre.

 

Tier 6 - Just Okay

Lilliana(2), The Last Hope
A: 5, C: 7, M: 9, F: 4, H: 9, rating: 189 (156)

Gideon(2), Ally of Zendicar
A: 6, C: 7, M: 6, F: 8, H: 8, rating: 188 (156)

Gideon(1), Battle Forged
A: 6, C: 7, M: 5, F: 9, H: 8, rating: 185 (145)

Lilliana(1), Defiant Necromancer
A: 6, C: 7, M: 5, F: 10, H: 6, rating: 182 (156)

Nissa(2), Vital Force
A: 5, C: 6, M: 9, F: 6, H: 7, rating: 181 (133)

These single color walkers have their uses but can't compete with the top tiers.  Lilliana 2 is lacking flexibility and her 3rd ability is fairly lame in standard. Lilliana 1's first ability is a fun answer to many PvE/story nodes but there are better options in Black.  Gideon 2 suffers from a very weak 3rd ability and meh mana, but he's great for those "summon x or less creature" nodes.  Nissa 2 has good mana and energy but her abilities are meh and she's limited to green.

Tier 7 - People Have Actually Used These To Beat Bolas!  (But I Can't Recommend It)

Jace(1), Telepath Unbound
A: 6, C: 7, M: 5, F: 10, H: 5, rating: 179 (140)

Chandra(1), Roaring Flame
A: 6, C: 7, M: 5, F: 9, H: 5, rating: 176 (137)

Chandra(2), Torch of Defiance
A: 4, C: 7, M: 9, F: 5, H: 6, rating: 175 (119)

Garruck
A: 5, C: 6, M: 8, F: 6, H: 7, rating: 175 (119)

 

More recent PWs have passed Jace 1 by, but at least he's not Tezz 1. Chandra 1 has solid abilities but lacks the mana and health to power them.  Chandra 2's abilities are the worst in the game.  Garruck's abilities only summon creatures, why then doesn't he have more spells and supports?

 

Tier 8 - Teeny Tinykitty

Nissa(1) Sage Animist
A: 5, C: 6, M: 5, F: 9, H: 6, rating: 163 (137)

Tezzeret(1) the Seeker
A: 4, C: 7, M: 5, F: 8, H: 6, rating: 160 (118)

Tezz 1 has some of the weakest abilities in the game.  Nissa 1 is a good starting PW, because everything else seems like an improvement.

 

The actual value of a pw depends on a lot of things.  What cards do you have?  Do you like aggressive play or prefer control?  Which colors do you already have covered? 

I welcome comments and criticisms.


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Comments

  • ThéséeThésée Posts: 121 Tile Toppler

    This is really interesting, thanks a lot for all this work !

    As you note every attempt to rank the PWs is a bit subjective, but your post is really cool to have elements to introduce to new players (and to ramble with old veterans)


    Since you've used ratings I find it interesting to see what ratings you gave to each colour for the C criterion :

    Mono green : 2

    Mono red : 3

    Mono blue, black and white : 4

    Green/White and Red/Black : 7

    Red/Green, Blue/White, Red/White, Black/White and Blue/Black : 8

    Blue/Red and Blue/Green : 9

    This can be discussed forever of course (personnaly I would rate mono black lower). Nevertheless this automatically puts the mono coloured PWs at the bottom of the list (best ranked are in Tier 4).

    Of course having access to two colours is really powerful but Koth and Ob Nixilis for example are extremly powerful PWs. You've ranked their abilities 10/10 but despite that they are ranked 11th and 18th (18th for Koth !! yes you guessed right about the ranting coming :-)

    Don't you think the C criterion weighs too much ? Or at least that the gap between giving 3 points for mono red and 9for blue/red is too important ?



  • asm0deusasm0deus Posts: 9 Just Dropped In
    Just a slight correction for liliana3. You do not need zombies in your deck to use her abiities. Ability 1, destroys your creature and brings it back as a zombie. Ability 2, returns a zombie from graveyard. If you use 1st ability on a creature, once it goes to the graveyard, you could bring it back into play using 2nd ability. Ability 3, after using ability 1, once you summon the same creature from hand or bring it back from the graveyard it is considered as a zombie and it will trigger the effect. Try using hangarback walker with her, turn those thopters into zombies, get abilty 3 out and watch those tokens deal damage everytime you match 3 gems.
  • bken1234bken1234 Posts: 1,057GLOBAL_MODERATORS Chairperson of the Boards
    @Gilesclone

    While for the most part I agree with the outcome of this -- the PW I most recommend are Saheeli, Aj1, Ob, Elspeth, Kiora and Tezz2, I don't at all agree with the ability rating on Saheeli -- in fact, I think her abilities are way too specialized and will become dated quickly. 

    HOWEVER -- I think Saheeli is the one PW who stands on her own without abilities. I play her in 5 nodes of RotGP (Including creatureless in Bolas which basically makes her abilities worthless) and also in HoR with very little deck variation -- her manna gains and the synergy between R/U make her probably the most versatile PW we have. 
    Founder, ThePower9 Alliance
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  • GilescloneGilesclone Posts: 266 Mover and Shaker
    Thank you so much for your comments!
    @Thésée ;
    i played around with different values for color and I’m still not sure how they should be rated.  I feel colors are very important, especially having a second color. This allows one color to balance another’s weakness.

    I originally had Black as 3 but it seemed low.  How would you rate them? And my color rating was 8.  Do you feel that’s too much? Maybe 7 or 6?
  • GilescloneGilesclone Posts: 266 Mover and Shaker
    edited November 3
    @asm0deus   Thank you so much for your feedback.
    Good points. I was surprised to see her end up so low.  That likely explains it.  

    What would you suggest for her A score?  I still feel her abilities don’t compare with the best. Maybe a 7?
  • GilescloneGilesclone Posts: 266 Mover and Shaker
    @bken1234 Thank you for your comments. 

    Saheeli’s abilities are a bit hard to rate since a) they depend on what cards you own and b) they are set dependent.  

    Her first is a solid level one ability, it doesn’t compare with Koth or Nahiri, but a 4/4 flyer is a fairly serious threat.  Her second is meh.  But her third just ends games right then and there in most cases if you have any of the best vehicles (especially Boomship and HoK).

     I’m not sure how to rate that.  If your best vehicle is Sky Skiff but even 4 uncommons make a pretty nasty stack.  How would you rate her abilities?  A 6? 5?
  • bken1234bken1234 Posts: 1,057GLOBAL_MODERATORS Chairperson of the Boards
    @bken1234 Thank you for your comments. 

    Saheeli’s abilities are a bit hard to rate since a) they depend on what cards you own and b) they are set dependent.  

    Her first is a solid level one ability, it doesn’t compare with Koth or Nahiri, but a 4/4 flyer is a fairly serious threat.  Her second is meh.  But her third just ends games right then and there in most cases if you have any of the best vehicles (especially Boomship and HoK).

     I’m not sure how to rate that.  If your best vehicle is Sky Skiff but even 4 uncommons make a pretty nasty stack.  How would you rate her abilities?  A 6? 5?
    Considering Kaladesh is scarce to come by, probably a 6 — personally a 5 but 6 is more fare based on her first and the fact that the second boosts it. 
    Founder, ThePower9 Alliance
    Co-Leader, TeamReckless

    [MOD MIC ON] means I am using my extraordinary powers of good to fix something or restore joy, peace and harmony to the MTGPQ forums. 

    Any other time, I am just a player like the rest of you, and will be freely sharing my own thoughts, opinions, expertise and hopes for the game. 

    Not an employee of D3 Go! / Oktagon. 
  • GilescloneGilesclone Posts: 266 Mover and Shaker
    Changing her A score to a 6 makes her total 210, just 2 behind Kiora.  That sounds about right. 
  • asm0deusasm0deus Posts: 9 Just Dropped In
    Solid 8 for her A and F. But that is just my opinion. She is currently my go to walker for black nodes.
  • GilescloneGilesclone Posts: 266 Mover and Shaker
    The F score reflects the creature/spell/support limitations.  Lilliana 3 can only have 4 spells or 4 supports.  While not crippling, it’s one of the most restrictive out there.  I will update my list with the suggestions you all have offered when I get home.

    Thanks again!
  • asm0deusasm0deus Posts: 9 Just Dropped In
    With the comes into play ability of the creatures you would/could use, 4 spells or 4 supports is not the big of a deal for her. She is the only PW that i am ok with those limitations. Noxious gearhulk could replace creature removal spells. Other creatures draw cards, etc. The supports i use are basically gem converters to get that loyalty as fast as i can and use her abilities to make the most of my deck.
  • GilescloneGilesclone Posts: 266 Mover and Shaker
    I’m working on an improvement.  The color, flex, health, and mana scores are spread too wide.  And I want to create a less subjective rating based on actual game mana costs for abilities.  I’ll do an update when I have something.
  • GilescloneGilesclone Posts: 266 Mover and Shaker
    I have made major revisions.  Let me know what you think. 
  • ElvaanStrideElvaanStride Posts: 62 Match Maker
    Very interesting how some of the positions changed. The new list looks more like what I expect based on what I've seen and heard so far.
  • bken1234bken1234 Posts: 1,057GLOBAL_MODERATORS Chairperson of the Boards
    I played Aj1 and Nahiri straight through RotGP recently with my Platinum alt - which has great cards like Nyx and Lightning Runner. 

    I would have to strongly disagree with your rating of Nahiri, her limits on spells and supports make her very hard to use for objectives. She was great for 3.1 which is all stomp, but I missed the objectives more than once on the x or more spell rounds just because they didn't come -- with more than 400 health on 3.2 this shouldn't happen with any PW. I would seriously reconsider this rating. She was great in Legacy, but is very limited in Standard event play. 
    Founder, ThePower9 Alliance
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    [MOD MIC ON] means I am using my extraordinary powers of good to fix something or restore joy, peace and harmony to the MTGPQ forums. 

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    Not an employee of D3 Go! / Oktagon. 
  • GilescloneGilesclone Posts: 266 Mover and Shaker
    I rated Nahiri a 6 for flexibility, one of the lowest ratings.  So she can’t do everything, but at what she does, she’s unexcelled.  I’ll play around with higher weighting for flex, but I already had one complaint that it was weighed too heavily. 
  • hawkyh1hawkyh1 Posts: 595 Critical Contributor
    edited November 9
    imo flexibility is weighted. spell > support > creature.
    having 4 for creature slot is nowhere near as inflexible
    as having the same 4 for spells. better slots flexibility
    usually means better chances at secondary objectives.

    HH
  • GilescloneGilesclone Posts: 266 Mover and Shaker
    I think that’s probably true.  There are summon 5 creature nodes, but probably not as many as cast x spells/supports. I’ll take a look at my flex ratings.
  • bken1234bken1234 Posts: 1,057GLOBAL_MODERATORS Chairperson of the Boards
    hawkyh1 said:
    imo flexibility is weighted. spell > support > creature.
    having 4 for creature slot is nowhere near as inflexible
    as having the same 4 for spells. better slots flexibility
    usually means better chances at secondary objectives.

    HH
    This exactly -- remember when we had to play Samut with cast x or more spells, Nahiri is the same way -- ironically, that one extra slot doesn't seem to mean much until you actually get in a game. 

    In addition, while her abilities are great, they are pretty specialized for Stomp -- If I'm playing TG or NOP red, I will go with Nahiri every time, but for anything else, meh. 

    I would like to see this project take on a broader classification, ie ratings based on play type. The more I think of it, the more I just don't see any of these PW fitting into broad tiers, however they can be tiered by best for Story Mode, best for PvE, best for TG, best for legacy, etc. 
    Founder, ThePower9 Alliance
    Co-Leader, TeamReckless

    [MOD MIC ON] means I am using my extraordinary powers of good to fix something or restore joy, peace and harmony to the MTGPQ forums. 

    Any other time, I am just a player like the rest of you, and will be freely sharing my own thoughts, opinions, expertise and hopes for the game. 

    Not an employee of D3 Go! / Oktagon. 
  • bken1234bken1234 Posts: 1,057GLOBAL_MODERATORS Chairperson of the Boards
    A couple other suggestions, lowering Samut's mana -- I've lost many matches with her by being mana denied and getting only -1 matches. 

    Aj1 should have his mana slightly lowered and his abilities greatly increased. He is the only PW who can substitute abilities for control cards -- this offers a great advantage to newer players who don't have control cards and to advanced players who can free up more deck slots. I generally get my kill 3 or more objective in 2.3 almost exclusively with his second ability. This is a great benefit to someone who does't have a lot of kill options. 

    Also Elspeth should have mana lowered -- really any PW with -mana shouldn't be over a 6 or 7 because you either have to add gem changers or risk loss to getting mana denied. 
    Founder, ThePower9 Alliance
    Co-Leader, TeamReckless

    [MOD MIC ON] means I am using my extraordinary powers of good to fix something or restore joy, peace and harmony to the MTGPQ forums. 

    Any other time, I am just a player like the rest of you, and will be freely sharing my own thoughts, opinions, expertise and hopes for the game. 

    Not an employee of D3 Go! / Oktagon. 
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