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Standard Format Planeswalker Power Rankings (Post Dominaria)

Hi my name is Max Moed-Nelson (IGN: mrhibachi) and today I've am updating my planeswalker power rankings (for those of you who did not read the first article, check it out here). This article will be based on my assessment of each of the planeswalkers currently in Magic Puzzle Quest. Now that Dominaria has been released and Amonkhet has rotated out of standard, the overall power level of meta has gone down a pretty decent amount. With the phasing out of cycling-based decks in particular, deckbuilding choices have become more diverse and meaningful and many planeswalkers who were previously outclassed have now become viable.

Dominaria also brought with it three new planeswalkers. Jaya Ballard and Teferi will be discussed in the rankings below. For Karn, however, I will be discussing him afterwards (feel free to skip it if you're bored by that point). Similar to last time I will not be listing every single fact about every single planeswalker since that information can be found in quite a few places on the internet. 

Note: Planeswalkers in each tier are listed in alphabetical order and are not being directly compared with each other. The goal of this ranking is not determine which broken planeswalker is more 'overpowered' for example but rather to explain why they should be considered 'overpowered' in the first place. Some planeswalkers will have numbers next to their name if they share the same name with another planeswalker. For this article, I am evaluating each planeswalker with their level 60 stats and abilities and treating the deckbuilding options primarily based off non-masterpiece cards (they are not very accessible and it's hard to guarantee access to any one particular card). The tier names have also been slightly redone to give a more accurate representation of the various tiers.

Okay I've typed more than enough already. On to the rankings!

Broken

Koth: It doesn't matter what cards rotate out of the meta or get added to the meta. As long as Koth has +9 red mana bonus with a 1st ability that makes it very difficult to deny him red gems, he will remain in this tier. Admittingly, the majority of strong red cards added in Dominaria are mythic/masterpiece rarity and have high mana costs, but they are extremely powerful are not difficult to cast thanks to Koth's consistent ability to get the mana he needs.

Nicol Bolas: Unlike Koth who was eventually buffed after being very weak initially, Nicol Bolas has remained extremely broken from the start. Although the loss of Amonkhet removed a large chunk of cycling cards and zombie cards, it hasn't impaced Bolas in the slightest. He still has access to 3 colors which allows him to overcome the power dip that has impacted alot of the single and double-colored planeswalkers. Even when Immortal Sun or Sorcerous Spyglass are used to shut down the 1st ability, there are so many other ways to win thanks to the access to three different colors. 

Overpowered

Elspeth: Amonkhet rotating out particularly hurts Elspeth due to the loss of many cards that synergize with her 3rd ability (ie. Angel of Sanctions) as well as the loss of a very overpowered win condition card in Approach of the Second Sun. For this reason, Elspeth has been moved out of the 'broken' tier. Dominaria did provide some strong white cards as well as decent cards that synergize with the aforementioned 3rd ability, but the overall power level of the strongest cards is about the same as the white cards released in Ixalan. Additionally, the current pool of cards that produce white gems without rival colors are all much higher-costed than the equivalent cards in previous sets (Fall of the Thran is pretty broken with Elspeth though). Elspeth is definitely still very strong without question, but it's difficult to keep her in the 'broken' tier after losing so many core cards in Amonkhet.

Huatli 2: As I mentioned in the previous rankings, Huatli 2 had a very good chance to move into the 'overpowered' tier once more players had access to her and were able to figure out her most optimal deckbuilding options. Whereas Ajani 2 is better suited to stall out games with his first two abilities, Huatli 2 is better at snowballing a lead since to her 3rd ability is really great for unloading cards onto the board. Although her heavy reliance on having creatures on the board is still an issue, Dominaria introduced alot of cards that are either creatures that stick to the board or cards that produce a bunch of creatures to help reload after board clears are used.

Jace 2: Despite losing a few overpowered staples such as Pull From Tomorrow and As Foretold from Amonkhet, Dominaria has been kind enough to Jace 2 to the point where it doesn't feel like he should be moved to a lower tier. He synergizes well with the sagas and is especially good with Jodah, Archmage Eternal thanks to his 1st ability. It should also be noted that support-based blue planeswalkers are particularly strong at the moment because Storm the Vault is one of the most broken cards in Standard. One of my current concerns with mono-blue, however, is that a good chunk of its creature removal is either high-costed or work conditionally (or in the case of Turn to Frog, it leaves a creature on the board). When HoD rotates out, this problem will be exacerbated by the loss of Unsummon and Farm in particular. For now though, Jace 2 can be considered the strongest mono blue deck and remains in the 'overpowered' tier.

Kiora: Even with cycling gone, Blue/Green is still an extremely powerful two-color combination. Dominaria also provided Kiora with alot of strong deckbuilding options -- she is arguably the best planeswalker for using Jodah, Archmage Eternal because her 1st ability lets her play any single card for free and her 2nd ability can help fetch Jodah which allows for more consistent combos. Kiora has also been indirectly helped by the fact that the only other Blue/Green planeswalker in the game (Nissa 3) was hit hard by the loss of Amonkhet, thus making her the best option to utilize the color combo.

Nahiri: Not much has changed when it comes to Nahiri. Her 1st two abilities are as solid as ever and her 3rd ability actually synergizes well with the new creature reinforcement based synergies released in Dominaria (they aren't particularly strong but they do make for some very fun decks). Although the current Standard rotation doesn't have many cards that support hyper-aggressive decks, there are still options for constructing strong decks that win games relatively quickly. 

Saheeli Rai: Cycling may be gone but Saheeli's still has the ability to use alot of cards that were already broken in Standard (Storm the Vault anyone?). Dominaria didn't add many new synergistic cards outside of the aforementioned creature reinforcement strategies. It did however introduce Naru Meha, Master Wizard, which is an extremely powerful card when combined with such broken spells as Hazoret's Undying Fury, Hour of Devastation, and River's Rebuke. This archetype is just one of many examples of the power of the blue/red color combination in Standard. Saheeli also has plenty of other deckbuilding options that don't just use the biggest and baddest spell, which is part of the reason why she is still overpowered (let's not forget about her strong mana gains). 

Samut:
 Although Samut lost some pretty good cards in Amonkhet and didn't gain many new good cards in Dominaria, she still has a plethora of strong options that allow her to still be extremely effective playing the same type of decks as before. Normally I would be using this time to point out that Samut is as board-reliant as Hualtli 2 and several other planeswalkers. The difference here is that Samut is designed to win games at a much faster pace and her access to red allows her to use burn cards to push through damage when her creatures are all shut down. This might not hold true after all of the extremely powerful green/red cards in HoD rotate out (Hazoret's Undying Fury, Imminent Doom, and Reason immediately come to mind). Until that time comes, Samut remains in the 'overpowered' tier.

Teferi: 
Teferi is the first of the three new planeswalkers that will be discussed in this article. As of writing this article, he has been available with mana crystals for several weeks now so there are more than enough players who have his level maxed. My current evaluation is that he is 'overpowered' because of his extremely high mana bonuses (+2 Green, +4 Blue, +1 Red, +White, and -2 Black) and because his 2nd and 3rd abilities are really strong. His 102 HP and 6/7/6 maximums for Creatures/Spells/Supports is also pretty solid. Although the 1st ability can't target most of the common creatures seen in the meta and it doesn't kill the targeted creature (meaning it is completely outclassed by Nicol Bolas), it isn't a terrible abiltiy by any stretch because at least it provides a good tempo swing. Time will tell whether or not this ranking has to change, but for now Teferi can be considered the most powerful (at the very least he's the most consistent) of the three new planeswalkers.

Tezzeret 2: I am going to take this time to admit that I was wrong about Tezzeret 2 in my last rankings. My overall assessment  completely ignored the release of Storm the Vault which happens to be an extremely broken card and pairs really well with him in particular thanks to each of his abilities. Although Dominaria did not provide any cards that synergize with the "fabricate" mechanic, Tezzeret 2 is in a good spot deckbuilding-wise since he has access to two colors unlike Jace 2. When Storm the Vault rotates out down the line or if Blightcaster ever becomes banned from Standard, Tezzeret will most likely go back down to the lower tiers. But for now, Tezzeret 2 can be considered 'overpowered'.

Vraska: Despite not receiving any new synergistic cards in Dominaria, Vraska is still as strong as ever. Even when pirates eventually rotate out, Vraska's abilities do not rely on them to be effective. Additionally, Green/Black is still a very strong two-color combination and the ability to destroy supports (on a 1st ability no less) can still be considered borderline broken (it is especially useful in dealing with some of the stronger supports in Dominaria such as some of the sagas as well as Darigaaz Reincarnated). The 2nd ability does synergize to a small extent with the creature reinforcement synergies mentioned earlier, but that doesn't move the needle as far as power level goes. The 3rd ability didn't get any new cards to support it outside of Voltaic Servant, but that combo doesn't matter too much for Vraska's overall power level since it's usually best to maximize the use of her 1st ability. I don't think Vraska belongs in the 'broken' tier because decks that use her should still use at least one support removal card (incase of Immortal Sun or Sorcerous Spyglass) and because her 3rd ability doesn't have the same impact on creatures as Nicol Bolas's 1st ability (or even Koth's 2nd ability). My opinion on this matter might change if any new synergies are introduced for Vraska in whatever set comes next.

Balanced 

Ajani 1: Between the three red/white planeswalkers, Ajani 1 is still the best suited for control-heavy strategies. Dominaria did at least release some good cards for the archetype such as some of the saga cards and Firesong and Sunspeaker. However, none of these cards make Ajani 1 the superior overall option compared to Nahiri or Huatli 1 (as far as red/white planeswalkers go). The only reason I haven't demoted him yet is because although red/white creatureless strategies are very powerful, Nahiri still has a low support maximum (4) and Huatli 1 relies on having creatures to use her abilities effectively. When Hazoret's Undying Fury, Inferno Jet, and Hour of Devastation rotate out after the next set, there is a very good chance I will be demoting Ajani 1 to a lower tier.

Ajani 2:
 Huatli 2 is generally the better green/white planeswalker with her superior mana bonuses and spell/support maximums. Despite all of that, Ajani 2 hasn't been completely pushed out of relevance and is still not a bad planeswalker. The reasons for this is that his first two abilities are still pretty useful and unlike Huatli 2, he doesn't get completely shut down by having no creatures on the board.

Angrath: 
Dominaria didn't provide any cards that synergize well with treasures, whereas the loss of Amonkhet had a pretty big impact on the pool of black cards (Final Reward, Cartouche of Ambition, etc). Angrath is still pretty solid, however my estimation for the previous rankings that Angrath could potentially be "broken" was a bit premature. His abilities are all pretty solid but they lack the ability to create the huge board swings needed to deal with the large creatures in the meta (what's especially painful is the fact that alot of the strongest creatures in the meta cost more than 15 mana which means they can't be stolen by ability #2).

Dovin Baan: Dovin Baan still has good drawing capabilities even after losing cycling and Pull From Tomorrow thanks to his 2nd ability. His 1st ability also synergizes well with the aforementioned Jodah, Archmage Eternal and he can also abuse Storm the Vault not having abilities that really synergize with support-based strategies. He remains in the 'balanced' tier though because he lost access to alot of important control cards in Amonkhet and because Teferi is the stronger Blue/White planeswalker (better abilities and better mana bonuses). 

Garruk: Mono-green lost a few noteworthy cards with Amonkhet rotating out such as Sandwurm Convergence and Shefet Monitor. Although Garruk would normally be the best abuser of the new creature reinforcement cards, green only received a total of two cards for it (go figure). Besides that, green did gain some good cards in Dominaria but most of them don't synergize with Garruk's abilities any better than with other green planeswalkers. Additionally, the Ambuscade change hurt mono-green's removal package more than expected and it will hurt even more once the card rotates out after the next set is released. I've opted not to demote Garruk because he is still a relatively solid planeswalker thanks to his good mana bonuses and his ability to create his own creatures (thus allowing him to run creatureless or 'low-creature' strategies effectively). When the extremely broken green cards in HoD rotate out, however, that might be subject to change.

Gideon 3: With the recent release of Oath of Teferi in the Dominaria set, Gideon 3 finally received a card it has synergy with. The rest of the set, however, did not really provide cards that synergize better with Gideon 3 than other white planeswalkers. Elspeth should still be considered the superior choice to Gideon 3 as far as mono-white planeswalkers go, and that is not likely to change any time soon unless she receives some sort of nerf. 

Huatli 1: Although Dominaria did not provide cards that uniquely synergize with Huatli 1, she has been helped by Amonkhet rotating out because it helped push dinosaur decks to prominence. Although not being a green planeswalker means no access to Ghalta, Primal Hunger, there are plenty of really strong red and white dinosaurs that more than make up for this(ie. Zetalpa, Primal Dawn and Etali, Primal Storm). Although Huatli 1 has three abilities that are best suited for winning games quickly, they all have the ability to be used for control purposes provided there is at least one creature on the board. That flexibility can be pretty useful since the Standard format has slowed down alot after Amonkhet. It is because of this that Huatli 1 can be considered 'balanced' as opposed to last time where I prematurely placed her in the 'weak' tier.

Jaya Ballard: 
Jaya Ballard is the second of the three new planeswalkers that I'm going to talke about in this article. She has only been available for mana crystals for about a week at this point so not everybody has leveled her up fully. Eventually there will be enough people who will have figured out the optimal playstyle, but my current assessment is that she belong in the 'balanced' tier. The +5 mana bonus on red and +4 mana bonus on blue are very strong and her support maximum of 6 is not bad. The issue when it comes to Jaya Ballard is whether or not to build a deck with a few really powerful spells (red arguably has the best 'high-costed' spells in the game which is good) or to build a deck with a bunch of cheaper spells (her spell maximum is 8). For the first option, her 1st ability lends itself well to consistently drawing the 'broken' spells plus giving them a good chunk of mana but her 3rd ability loses effectiveness. For the second option, her 3rd ability becomes extremely powerful but the overall power level of red's 'low-costed' spells isn't quite as good as other colors. My guess is that the second option wins out in the end because Jaya Ballard does a pretty good job of unloading alot of spells and her 2nd ability is really good for reloading. Until it is determined which of the two options is better (or it is determined that a 3rd option is even better), Jaya will remain 'balanced'.

Liliana 1: Surprisingly enough, Liliana 1 received alot of help for her 1st ability from Dominaria. Not only are there a ton of cards that pair well with her 1st and 3rd abilities, but most of them are historic cards. This allows her to build historic-themed decks that can utilize extremely powerful cards like Primieval's Glorious Rebirth, Thran Temporal Gateway, and Yawgmoth's Vile Offering. Admittingly the problem with these decks is that most historic cards are high-costed which makes them more difficult to play and Liliana 1 doesn't have good mana bonuses or abilities that provide mana ramp. Regardless, Liliana 1 has plenty of new deckbuilding options thanks to Dominaria cards, and as a result she is in arguably her best spot ever as far as power level goes.

Liliana 3: My opinion regarding Liliana 3's being 'underrated' by most players has not changed since the last power rankings. The difference now is that alot of the best zombie synergy cards rotated out which hurts Liliana 3 quite a bit more than Nicol Bolas (who had significantly more infinite deckbuilding options to begin with and doesn't use his two zombie abilities very often). Although alot of Dominaria cards synergize well with Liliana 3, she still doesn't have access to support removal which is especially problematic when facing some of the supports that have been released in the set. 

Nissa 1: Although the new "drain mana" mechanic synergizes decently with Nissa 1, the mechanic is not very good and neither are the cards that use it. Other than that, there weren't really any notable cards in Dominaria that don't also pair well with other green planeswalkers. At least Nissa 1 can still be considered one of the better original planeswalkers since all three of her abilities are useful regardless of the green cards she has access to during any given rotation.

Ob Nixilis: "Creatureless Ob" is still the most optimal strategy for Ob Nixilis and it is still very powerful when pulled off. This is mainly because his 3rd ability still is powerful enough to win games by itself. With that being said, the demotion to the 'balanced' tier is due to three main reasons. The first reason is the increased prevalence of Vraska in the meta as well as more people getting access to (and using) Immortal Sun/Sorcerous Spyglass (these two cards are extremely problematic for mono-black since it doesn't have any support removal). The second reason is that the overall mana costs of the majority of newer spells/supports that synergize with the deck are somewhat higher than in previous sets (Amonkhet had some very cheap and powerful cards that worked well for black control decks). The final reason (that will be discussed here at least) is that the loss of Faith of the Devoted from Amonkhet means that creatureless black decks have extremely limited access to lifegain -- all of which give very low amounts of life (Chainer's Torment tends to do more damage than it heals). It's true that control decks can circumvent this by adding lifelink creatures. But even if we ignore the mana costs of alot of these "mono black control" creatures for a second, these creatures open the deck up to being punished heavily by certain blue and red cards such as Hour of Devastation, In Bolas's Clutches, and Hostage Taker. In a nutshell, although this Standard meta is the arguably most unfavorable for Ob Nixilis ever, he is still a viable option particularly for events where decks with low creature counts are essential to winning.

Sarkhan: Sarkhan actually gained a bunch of options from Dominaria. He even received two more dragons to pair with his 3rd ability--both of which are borderline broken. Lich's Mastery is also a particularly notable card that pairs well with both Ob Nixilis and Sarkhan. Speaking of Ob Nixilis, it can no longer really be said that he completely outclasses Sarkhan thanks to Sarkhan's access to red and non-reliance on abilities to win games (even if Sarkhan is locked out from using his 3rd ability by cards, Dragon creatures are more than strong enough to win games on their own). For those not looking to play dragons for whatever reason, Sarkhan has access to plenty of creatures that pair well with his 2nd ability (such as the newly released Squee, the Immortal). Even creatureless decks are an option since he has spell/support maximums of 7 and 6 respectively. Sarkhan will probably never be "overpowered" so long as Angrath exists, but this is probably one of the most favorable metas ever for him as far as deckbuilding options go.

Sorin: Now that cycling decks have rotated out, it's safe to make the claim that the vampire strategies produced by the Ixalan block are pretty good in this meta. Dominaria does have two new vampires in it, but both of them tend to be better utilized in non-vampire decks because other vampires outclass them as far as tribal synergy goes. The reason I bring this up is that although there are a bunch of cards in Dominaria that pair well with Sorin such as cards that deal self-inflicted damage, cards that gain life (for use with his 3rd ability), and knights, it is my personal opinion that vampire decks are still the most optimal choice for him. When HoD rotates out, vampire decks won't really be impacted which might move Sorin into the 'overpowered' tier. It's difficult to put him there for now because compared to other creature-reliant planeswalkers such as Huatli 2, Nahiri, and Samut, Sorin has a more difficult time reloading onto the board since black/white does not have much access to mana ramp or card draw. This is a big deal so long as alot of the broken removal cards in HoD such as Gideon's Defeat and Hour of Devastation are still around.

Tezzeret 1: In my opinion, Tezzeret 1 is currently better than he has ever been. It's true that he is probably never going to be 'overpowered' so long as Jace 2 and Tezzeret 2 outclass him. With that being said, these last three sets have all introduced a bunch of good cards that synergize well with abilities (the treasure mechanic in particular is great with his 3rd ability). Tezzeret 1 used to have very limited options when it came to win conditions (I personally considered him useless without Thopter Spy Foundry). It should also be noted here that when it comes to support removal black still doesn't have any and blue only has River's Rebuke (which is expensive and doesn't bounce Vault of Catlacan aka the transformation of Storm the Vault). This makes it very difficult to deal with the high shield count supports created by Tezzeret 1 unless support removal cards drawn (which can be difficult for decks that don't have ways of consistently drawing them). Overall, Tezzeret 1 is in a good enough spot now where it doesn't seem right to consider him 'weak' anymore.

Weak

Jace 1: The only reason Jace 1 is in the 'weak' tier as opposed to the 'bad' tier is that mono-blue has access to alot of really good spells that can be used to create decent spell-based decks. Additionally, Dominaria provided some powerful cards for spell-based synergies such as Naru Meha, Master Wizard and The Mirari Conjecture. However, the reason Jace 1 can't be considered "balanced" either is that some of the other planeswalkers such as Kiora, Nicol Bolas, and Saheeli Rai have high enough spell maximums where they can also play spell-heavy decks and do it better because they have access to multiple colors and better abilities/mana bonuses. It should also be noted that his 1st ability (which was broken in the early days of Magic Puzzle Quest before it got nerfed) is really weak especially now that planeswalkers such as Nicol Bolas and Teferi can do much more with their 1st abilities.

Jace 3: It is unfortunate for Jace 3 that no new Illusions have been released to pair with his 2nd ability since Labyrinth Guardian in Amonkhet (which just rotated out and wasn't a good card anyway). If Jace 3 had synergies with Wizards instead, he might be a tier higher since Dominaria produced a whole bunch of those (some of them are really strong individually but the tribe as a whole is pretty weak). Both Jace 2 and Tezzeret in particular are superior because they have are much better at using Storm the Vault (and pretty much every other blue card in general).

Liliana 2: Now that Amonkhet is gone, zombie decks are dead (pun not intended... okay maybe a little). Despite having really strong mana bonuses and a 1st ability that both produces mana and synergizes with graveyard strategies, Liliana 2 has been moved down a tier because every other mono-black planeswalker currently has superior deckbuilding options (and the color still doesn't have any support removal). The argument could even be made that some of the other black planeswalkers were still better at utilizing Zombies when Amonkhet was still in Standard.

Nissa 2: Nothing has changed for Nissa 2 in Dominaria. Her abilities aren't weak enough to be considered 'bad' but she isn't good enough to be placed in the same tier as Nissa 1. 

Nissa 3:
 Nissa 3 was largely designed to synergize with cycling cards. Although she still has her good mana bonuses, her abilities are pretty weak without cycling since they are only effective if you have alot of cards in hand (or if you replace the Amonkhet cyclers with the noticeably weaker HoD cyclers).

Bad

Arlinn Kord: The only real synergy Arlinn Kord has that Samut doesn't in Dominaria is with creature reinforcement cards and even that only works after using the 3rd ability to transform. Until a set is released with more wolves/werewolves, nothing changes here.

Chandra 1: There is no red archetype in the Standard format that is best utilized by Chandra 1. Her 1st and 3rd abilities used to be more significant in terms of their impact in the meta. The big problem is that with each new set there are more and more planeswalkers and cards that gain large amounts of life thus ruling out a pure burn deck. The 2nd ability is good for killing smaller creatures, but unfortunately the Standard meta contains alot of creatures that have more than 4 toughness (usually alot more than 4). There were some cards released in Dominaria that are good with gem destruction, but even cards like Volcanic Rambler and Abbot of Keral Keep do the job better than Chandra's 1st ability because they destroy more gems and they have a more significant impact on the board.  

Chandra 2: Energize cards are long gone which make her last two abilities hard to use and her 1st ability is one of the most inconsistent planeswalker abilities in the game. 

Gideon 1: 
The Ixalan block and Dominaria set combined introduced a bunch of First Strike/Double Strike cards as well as some dinosaurs with Enrage. Neither of these synergies warrant Gideon 1 being played over other white planeswalkers. 

Gideon 2: 
Gideon 2 did actually receive an indirect buff in Dominaria because its 2nd ability creates knight tokens. Although some of the knights are pretty good, the tribal synergy for knights is not particularly strong and even if it was, almost every other white planeswalker would be stronger using them than Gideon 2.

What About Karn?

When it was announced that a five color planeswalker was going to be released, I was extremely concerned about how broken it was going to be. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your opinion) the five colors can only be used together in some events, whereas in the other events he is limited to usually one or two colors. Because of this nuance, Karn's 'tier' is based on each individual event. Even if there were no color limitations, his abilities (the 1st and the 3rd in particular) require alot more deckbuilding considerations than other planeswalkers. At worst, Karn is a mono-colored planeswalker with 120 HP and access to plenty of built-in drawing effects and potentially good mana bonuses (which is pretty darn good). At best, Karn is a 5-color planeswalker with mana bonuses that qualify him for the 'broken' tier (provided the deck utilizes most if not all of the five colors and has at least one colorless card in it to increase the loyalty bonus).


I've decided that I'm going to try to update these rankings whenever a new set is released. This could be a potentially awkward decision since planeswalkers that have already been released almost never get changed. The last planeswalker to be nerfed was Kiora during the Innistrad block. With that being said, each rotation introduces new cards and rotates out old cards that have a big impact on the meta. Hopefully this guide has been informative for some of you when making planeswalker/deck choices for events. As per last time, feel free to post commments/questions in the section below (I know my writing needs work and I write too much but I'd like to think I'm getting a little better). Anyway, thanks for reading.

Comments

  • Mainloop25Mainloop25 Posts: 1,646 Chairperson of the Boards
    OK. Here is my response to your assessments:

    Koth: It doesn't matter what cards rotate out of the meta or get added to the meta. As long as Koth has +9 red mana bonus with a 1st ability that makes it very difficult to deny him red gems, he will remain in this tier. Admittingly, the majority of strong red cards added in Dominaria are mythic/masterpiece rarity and have high mana costs, but they are extremely powerful are not difficult to cast thanks to Koth's consistent ability to get the mana he needs.

    While it's true that Koth is strong again thanks to all the mono-color gem changers available in standard right now, I still find him wildly inconsistent in actual gameplay. Sometimes you steamroll him, sometimes he has a ridiculous boardstate by turn 3. Hard to treat him as a top-tier candidate in PvP events because there are much more reliable walkers in dual-color red(and of course Bolas).

    Nicol Bolas: Unlike Koth who was eventually buffed after being very weak initially, Nicol Bolas has remained extremely broken from the start. Although the loss of Amonkhet removed a large chunk of cycling cards and zombie cards, it hasn't impaced Bolas in the slightest. He still has access to 3 colors which allows him to overcome the power dip that has impacted alot of the single and double-colored planeswalkers. Even when Immortal Sun or Sorcerous Spyglass are used to shut down the 1st ability, there are so many other ways to win thanks to the access to three different colors.
    First off, I have no idea what you're basing your criteria of "broken"/"OP" on, so it's hard to discuss that part of it. But I will say that Bolas is the most consistent PW, to the point where I don't use him unless I really have to because it's so easy to win with him. Having access to red gives him access to cheap support destruction which puts him into god territory. And of course his first ability frees up space in your deck that a creature destroy would take. But just having access to blue and one other color puts Bolas into tier 1 walker territory.

    Elspeth: Amonkhet rotating out particularly hurts Elspeth due to the loss of many cards that synergize with her 3rd ability (ie. Angel of Sanctions) as well as the loss of a very overpowered win condition card in Approach of the Second Sun. For this reason, Elspeth has been moved out of the 'broken' tier. Dominaria did provide some strong white cards as well as decent cards that synergize with the aforementioned 3rd ability, but the overall power level of the strongest cards is about the same as the white cards released in Ixalan. Additionally, the current pool of cards that produce white gems without rival colors are all much higher-costed than the equivalent cards in previous sets (Fall of the Thran is pretty broken with Elspeth though). Elspeth is definitely still very strong without question, but it's difficult to keep her in the 'broken' tier after losing so many core cards in Amonkhet.
    Again, I don't understand your criteria of what makes a card broken or overpowered, so I can't agree that Approach is overpowered. I also don't put any mono-color walker in overpowered territory. Only some cards will give her an advantage over more balanced mana gains. She has good abilities and cards that can play to her strengths but I don't find her to be too strong. I never use her in PvP events.

    Huatli 2: As I mentioned in the previous rankings, Huatli 2 had a very good chance to move into the 'overpowered' tier once more players had access to her and were able to figure out her most optimal deckbuilding options. Whereas Ajani 2 is better suited to stall out games with his first two abilities, Huatli 2 is better at snowballing a lead since to her 3rd ability is really great for unloading cards onto the board. Although her heavy reliance on having creatures on the board is still an issue, Dominaria introduced alot of cards that are either creatures that stick to the board or cards that produce a bunch of creatures to help reload after board clears are used.
    H2 is in NB territory in that it's hard not to use her for everything because she wins so consistently. I agree that she is overpowered simply because her mana gains in green and white are so high that it's easy to get anything on the board with a decent deck. Starfield combos mean you can usually take your time to set your board up as well.

    Jace 2: Despite losing a few overpowered staples such as Pull From Tomorrow and As Foretold from Amonkhet, Dominaria has been kind enough to Jace 2 to the point where it doesn't feel like he should be moved to a lower tier. He synergizes well with the sagas and is especially good with Jodah, Archmage Eternal thanks to his 1st ability. It should also be noted that support-based blue planeswalkers are particularly strong at the moment because Storm the Vault is one of the most broken cards in Standard. One of my current concerns with mono-blue, however, is that a good chunk of its creature removal is either high-costed or work conditionally (or in the case of Turn to Frog, it leaves a creature on the board). When HoD rotates out, this problem will be exacerbated by the loss of Unsummon and Farm in particular. For now though, Jace 2 can be considered the strongest mono blue deck and remains in the 'overpowered' tier.
    Ok. As Foretold was never OP except in Tezz2. Storm the Vault is for sure overpowered though. I only ever use Ixalan and newer bounce these days (which destroy creatures now so they are now better) so HOU rotating out will barely make a dent in my J2 decks. He's mostly hurt due to no cheap support destruction (even River's Rebuke leaves dangerous flipped lands on the board) so he will never be overpowered for me until this gets addressed. But for the sake of the game I hope blue never gets cheap support removal.

    Kiora: Even with cycling gone, Blue/Green is still an extremely powerful two-color combination. Dominaria also provided Kiora with alot of strong deckbuilding options -- she is arguably the best planeswalker for using Jodah, Archmage Eternal because her 1st ability lets her play any single card for free and her 2nd ability can help fetch Jodah which allows for more consistent combos. Kiora has also been indirectly helped by the fact that the only other Blue/Green planeswalker in the game (Nissa 3) was hit hard by the loss of Amonkhet, thus making her the best option to utilize the color combo.
    Even with the words you wrote, I don't see why you put her into OP territory. OP implies that these walkers need to be rebalanced. But the problem seems to be the cards you cite, not the walkers themselves.

    Nahiri: Not much has changed when it comes to Nahiri. Her 1st two abilities are as solid as ever and her 3rd ability actually synergizes well with the new creature reinforcement based synergies released in Dominaria (they aren't particularly strong but they do make for some very fun decks). Although the current Standard rotation doesn't have many cards that support hyper-aggressive decks, there are still options for constructing strong decks that win games relatively quickly.
    I barely use Nahiri anymore. Not that she's not good, but that she has lost so many of her best cheap aggro weapons as sets have rotated out. Her first ability can make good decks out of jank, but she is nowhere near OP in the current meta. Again, please define your criteria before creating this ranking.

    Saheeli Rai: Cycling may be gone but Saheeli's still has the ability to use alot of cards that were already broken in Standard (Storm the Vault anyone?). Dominaria didn't add many new synergistic cards outside of the aforementioned creature reinforcement strategies. It did however introduce Naru Meha, Master Wizard, which is an extremely powerful card when combined with such broken spells as Hazoret's Undying Fury, Hour of Devastation, and River's Rebuke. This archetype is just one of many examples of the power of the blue/red color combination in Standard. Saheeli also has plenty of other deckbuilding options that don't just use the biggest and baddest spell, which is part of the reason why she is still overpowered (let's not forget about her strong mana gains).

    Again, see my Kiora response. Hour of Devastation is powerful yes, but not broken. Your definition of 'broken' needs more clarity. Had she more useful abilities I'd put her in the OP category but her abilities in the current meta keep her balanced.

    Samut: Although Samut lost some pretty good cards in Amonkhet and didn't gain many new good cards in Dominaria, she still has a plethora of strong options that allow her to still be extremely effective playing the same type of decks as before. Normally I would be using this time to point out that Samut is as board-reliant as Hualtli 2 and several other planeswalkers. The difference here is that Samut is designed to win games at a much faster pace and her access to red allows her to use burn cards to push through damage when her creatures are all shut down. This might not hold true after all of the extremely powerful green/red cards in HoD rotate out (Hazoret's Undying Fury, Imminent Doom, and Reason immediately come to mind). Until that time comes, Samut remains in the 'overpowered' tier.

    What balances Samut out is her extremely restricted deck capabilities. If she had one more spell or support capability in her deck, she'd be in OP territory for me. Again, HUF is broken, not Samut. She is a great walker, and I use her a lot, but yea it's very dependent on HUF and HoD's strength.



  • Mainloop25Mainloop25 Posts: 1,646 Chairperson of the Boards
    Teferi: Teferi is the first of the three new planeswalkers that will be discussed in this article. As of writing this article, he has been available with mana crystals for several weeks now so there are more than enough players who have his level maxed. My current evaluation is that he is 'overpowered' because of his extremely high mana bonuses (+2 Green, +4 Blue, +1 Red, +White, and -2 Black) and because his 2nd and 3rd abilities are really strong. His 102 HP and 6/7/6 maximums for Creatures/Spells/Supports is also pretty solid. Although the 1st ability can't target most of the common creatures seen in the meta and it doesn't kill the targeted creature (meaning it is completely outclassed by Nicol Bolas), it isn't a terrible abiltiy by any stretch because at least it provides a good tempo swing. Time will tell whether or not this ranking has to change, but for now Teferi can be considered the most powerful (at the very least he's the most consistent) of the three new planeswalkers.

    See, I don't agree that his mana bonuses are overpowered. I've used him enough to understand the limitations of his mana loadout. I thought his mana gains would be far superior to DB, but the -2 on black really hoses a lot of would-be good matches. And DB's first ability is far superior in practice to Teferi's. His 2nd and 3rd abilities are great though, I do agree. In the end though, his mana gains end up on par with DB a lot of the time.

    Tezzeret 2: I am going to take this time to admit that I was wrong about Tezzeret 2 in my last rankings. My overall assessment  completely ignored the release of Storm the Vault which happens to be an extremely broken card and pairs really well with him in particular thanks to each of his abilities. Although Dominaria did not provide any cards that synergize with the "fabricate" mechanic, Tezzeret 2 is in a good spot deckbuilding-wise since he has access to two colors unlike Jace 2. When Storm the Vault rotates out down the line or if Blightcaster ever becomes banned from Standard, Tezzeret will most likely go back down to the lower tiers. But for now, Tezzeret 2 can be considered 'overpowered'.

    Again, the culprit is one glaring card in blue, not the planeswalker itself. He does happen to be the PW who benefits the most from vault due to generating his own tokens, but if it's ever fixed he will be balanced again. Also, his lack of cheap support destruction balances him out especially in the current meta. Many games come down to who gets Vault out first.

    Vraska: Despite not receiving any new synergistic cards in Dominaria, Vraska is still as strong as ever. Even when pirates eventually rotate out, Vraska's abilities do not rely on them to be effective. Additionally, Green/Black is still a very strong two-color combination and the ability to destroy supports (on a 1st ability no less) can still be considered borderline broken (it is especially useful in dealing with some of the stronger supports in Dominaria such as some of the sagas as well as Darigaaz Reincarnated). The 2nd ability does synergize to a small extent with the creature reinforcement synergies mentioned earlier, but that doesn't move the needle as far as power level goes. The 3rd ability didn't get any new cards to support it outside of Voltaic Servant, but that combo doesn't matter too much for Vraska's overall power level since it's usually best to maximize the use of her 1st ability. I don't think Vraska belongs in the 'broken' tier because decks that use her should still use at least one support removal card (incase of Immortal Sun or Sorcerous Spyglass) and because her 3rd ability doesn't have the same impact on creatures as Nicol Bolas's 1st ability (or even Koth's 2nd ability). My opinion on this matter might change if any new synergies are introduced for Vraska in whatever set comes next.

    Vraska is a very mediocre PW without her first ability, which is her saving grace. In fact without it, she is 'underpowered' territory. Her mana gains are average, her other abilities are OK, and her color combo is great yet she still tends to fall short of other dual-color walkers who have green and black as other colors. Her first ability right now is currently bugged anyway. We shall see if new sets make B/G a more viable combo for standard but right now she is low tier-2 for me.


  • mrhibachimrhibachi Posts: 15 Just Dropped In
    My evaulation of the top two tiers:
    Broken = The planeswalker is way too powerful such that it crowds most if not all of the other planeswalkers of that color. Usually this means they have one or more abilities that have 0 counterplay (Koth would have counterplay if he didn't destroy so many gems). In the case of Nicol Bolas, he also crowds out most of the Blue/Red/Black planeswalkers.
    Overpowered = The planeswalker has aspects that are too powerful but there are ways to play around the abilities (and/or they aren't as strong as the broken planeswalkers).

    As for alot of planeswalkers having ranks based on particular cards, I feel the available card pool is extremely important when choosing one planeswalker over the other. If I were strictly going off of abilities for instance, Tezzeret 2 would be weaker than even some of the 'balanced' planeswalkers but I think he should definitely be stronger than Tezzeret 1 (who does have arguably stronger abilities) because he has access to better cards and synergizes better with the blue cards available.

    Now I'll respond to each of your individual planeswalker points (I do like some of them which is not a surprise given that you've played this game for awhile if I'm not mistaken):

    Koth: I agree that there are a few games where it's hard to get red gems but with all the access to gem destruction, I think it's few and far between. As for the card pool limitations it's true dual-colors do have better options but mono-red (combined with his 2nd ability) has plenty of powerful cards to choose from.
    Elspeth: +7 on any color is insane and when combined with +3 blue and +3 green it gets really nuts (it's not too difficult to avoid the -2 on red/black gems unless facing something like a Koth for instance). Her creature tokens from her 1st ability have to eventually be answered each time or they kill things for free. Her 3rd ability is actually pretty good with some of the rarer cards in Standard (I myself used her with the 'activate' dinosaurs for HoD and never lost a point on the node).
    Huatli 2: What is NB? I think the issue with Huatli 2 for Starfield decks is that her abilities don't pair well with it and her maximum support count is 5 but of course it can still work.
    Jace 2: As foretold isn't as busted as Storm the Vault (you're right it's not super busted with Jace 2 it's still pretty strong especially when paired with his 2nd ability). If River's Rebuke didn't exist in standard he would definitely be demoted but River's Rebuke answers pretty much every OP support except a few like Storm the Vault and Atzal, Cave of Eternity.
    Kiora: Her abilities by themselves are insanely strong (thank god her 1st ability was nerfed from 9 mana). Blue/Green is especially deadly no matter what cards exist in Standard because it always provides the drawing/ramping combo which means you usually can play more cards than your opponent (and faster than them to boot).
    Nahiri: I agree with your first point about less aggro options but even for midrange decks her 1st ability can be deadly.
    Saheeli Rai: I went back and forth on her. Blue/red has alot of options because red isn't as limited in Magic Puzzle Quest as it is in paper magic for instance. Personally I also think Hour of Devastation is extremely broken especially when compared to similar red cards previously released (we differ in opinions on that which is fine). I thought about about demoting Saheeli Rai but her mana bonuses are borderline broken and she still has synergies for her 1st and 3rd abilities (I forgot to talk about artifact synergy in my article which was a mistake). When vehicles rotate out, I will probably demote her though.
    Samut: Her spell/support maximums are indeed too low to run spell based decks but she doesn't need too. Green/Red has access to so many extremely powerful creatures it's not even funny. The 1st ability in particular can win games by itself.
    Teferi: I disagree about the -2 on black being a problem and I think the +10 on the other four colors more than makes up for it. I will concede though that you are right about Dovin Baan's 1st ability being better.
    Tezzeret 2: See above regarding my opinion of River's Rebuke. I agree that his abilities aren't particularly strong on their own but there are too many cards in Standard that synergize with his support creation (a bunch of which I didn't discuss above). When Storm the Vault rotates out, Tezzeret 2 will get demoted to 'balanced' or 'weak' for sure.
    Vraska: I disagree about her mana bonuses being weak (+8 total is most likely above average but I haven't confirmed that for 100% sure). I didn't talk about it much in the article, but green/black has an insane number of combo decks it can pull off thanks in no small part to their two-color synergy (for instance, Gather the Pack with all of the black graveyard synergies is pretty nuts when utilized correctly). The last two abilities are indeed suboptimal but that 1st ability is so broken because it shuts down so many meta decks that rely on OP supports to win games (good luck playing Ob Nixilis or any sort of Starfield/Storm the Vault deck).

    I think I covered all your points. Thank you very much for your insight/criticism. Let me know if I missed anything else. 

  • vx9vx9 Posts: 1 Just Dropped In
    I'm trying to use posts like this and others to help guide which PW to get next, but I'm having trouble reading your rankings. Who is Jace 2, Lilliana 3, etc ? I gather its the order they came out? but that doesn't seem to be easily discoverable in game. Is there an easy to reference list somewhere?
  • RathorRathor Posts: 1 Just Dropped In
    edited August 16
    vx9 said:
    I'm trying to use posts like this and others to help guide which PW to get next, but I'm having trouble reading your rankings. Who is Jace 2, Lilliana 3, etc ? I gather its the order they came out? but that doesn't seem to be easily discoverable in game. Is there an easy to reference list somewhere?
    I faced a similar issue man. I was able to figure out which one they were speaking of by comparing the description to https://mtgpq.info/planeswalker. If they say that ability 1 is great for destroying creatures and one kills and the other doesn't then you know. Or check the colors. It's definitely tough to just start out now in this game!
  • mrhibachimrhibachi Posts: 15 Just Dropped In
    tinykitty that's my bad. i just didn't want to type out their full names but yea its basically the order in which they were released
  • GilgaladGilgalad Posts: 10 Just Dropped In
    I've been following this tread since started playing this game couple weeks ago. Good job, btw, would be even better if u add the PWs names, instead of Nissa 1, 2, 3, etc, but its not too difficult to figure it out, as someone already pointed out.

    I just would like to know how the new PW, The Edrazi Desolation will be ranked, and if u have any comment about him, @mrhibachi
  • mrhibachimrhibachi Posts: 15 Just Dropped In
    @Gilgalad The Eldrazi Desolation (aka TED) is worse than Karn. I haven't updated my Power Rankings since there were so many new planeswalkers that came out in M19 but once Guilds is released, I might put out another rankings. The big problem with TED is that his abilities aren't particularly good on their own and don't synergize with cards that are in Standard. Furthermore, his mana bonuses are a worse version of either Bolas planeswalker (the +1 green doesn't help much). The only reason you should ever consider TED over Karn is if you want to run alot of spells since he can hold two more spells than Karn.
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