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Standard Format Planeswalker Power Rankings (Pre Ravnica Allegiance)

Hi my name is Max Moed-Nelson (IGN: mrhibachi) and today I am going to be doing another planeswalker power ranking for Standard except this time I will be doing it before the next set is released instead of after. I've decided to try the new approach this time because I realized this information might be useful to players who are unsure about how the next set will affect the overall state of the Standard metagame. It's true that this set of rankings will be based more so on my predictions rather than actual fact/evidence. However, I am fairly confident that most of what I go over today will hold up after all of the new content has been released.

My first impression of Ravnica Allegiance is that the overall power level of the set is not as high as Guilds of Ravnica but it's still pretty good. The five dual color combinations which did not receive special attention in the last set will be getting that attention in this set, thus making them more viable. Speaking of the five featured color combinations, here are my initial thoughts on each of their new mechanics and cards:

Simic (Green/Blue): If my understanding is correct that each adapt creature only gets the gems once, I think the mechanic is not particularly good. With that being said, Simic was already a ridiculously strong color combination and I think the other cards in the new set make it even better.
Gruul (Green/Red): Riot is probably the worst mechanic of the five especially because the cards that use it aren't very good even with its effect. Gruul as a whole seems to be getting the weakest card pool but at least there are a few good cards in the mix (ie. Borborygmos and Sunder Shaman).
Azorius (Blue/White): The addendum mechanic feels like a solid mechanic but not particularly strong. The cards that use it are decent though and Azorius seems to be lots of viable overall cards in the new set.
Rakdos (Red/Black): I need to get clarification as to whether or not spectacle triggers each time an opponent is damaged or if it is only once per turn (like the raid mechanic). In either case I feel that spectacle is the strongest of the new mechanics even though not all of the cards that use it are good. I also think that Rakdos is receiving the most powerful cards in the set thanks in some part to the various new demon creatures being released.
Orzhov (White/Black): Afterlife is comparable in power level to riot because the effect can't be trigged unless the creature is killed somehow. With that being said, the mechanic still serves a pretty useful niche. There are quite a few white planeswalkers who become completely useless without creatures on the board, and this new mechanic solves that problem really well. Outside of the new mechanic, Orzhov seems to be getting some really nice cards in general such as Consume and Final Payment.

As far as other things going on in this set, I will probably start building more gate-based decks down the line. The synergy has turned out to be underrated so far in Guilds of Ravnica and is going to get even better with the new cards such as Gate Colossus and Plaza of Harmony. Although some colors have better land/gate support than others, I feel like any planeswalker with a high enough support maximum (I recommend at least 6 but it can probably work with 5) can use the strategy effectively.

Unlike my previous editions of the power rankings (the last one can be found here), I will not be discussing on every single planeswalker in depth since there haven't been any new direct buffs/nerfs to them and there are too many to talk about at this point. Although there is a change being made to the game to limit how long turns take, this will have a minimal impact on Standard since there are not that many ways to create a consistently long loop. Instead I will discuss only the newest planeswalker (Sarkhan 3), the upcoming planeswalkers (three of them in the new set), as well as the planeswalkers I feel are most directly impacted by the new set. I will still use the full planeswalker names with nicknames in parentheses but this time I will also add colors next to those who I discuss more in detail.

Note: Planeswalkers in each tier are listed in alphabetical order and are not being directly compared with each other (... usually). The goal of this ranking is not determine which broken planeswalker is more 'Broken' for example but rather to explain why they should be considered 'Broken' in the first place. For these rankings I am evaluating each planeswalker with their level 60 stats and abilities and treating the deckbuilding options solely based off non-masterpiece cards (they are still not very accessible despite recent changes to the elite pack system and it's difficult to guarantee access to any one particular card). 

And now on to the rankings predictions!

Tiers:
Broken: If a planeswalker is listed as 'Broken', it means it's power level is unhealthy for the game and deserves to be nerfed because it crowds out other planeswalkers with the same/similar color(s).
Strong: If a planeswalker is listed as 'Strong', it means it is generally stronger than the average planeswalker but not to the extent that it makes other planeswalkers become obsolete.
Solid: Planeswalkers that are listed as 'Solid' are good enough to be used to win games but not good enough to be considered the best option for any given game.
Weak: If a planeswalker is listed as 'Weak', it either means they have enough weaknesses to make them difficult to win with or there are a number of other planeswalkers who outclass them in their role.
Bad: If a planeswalker is listed as 'Bad', it should never be used to try to win games because no amount of deckbuilding can make it good.

BROKEN

Kiora, Master of the Depths (Kiora)
Koth of the Hammer (Koth)
Nicol Bolas, God-Pharoah (Bolas 1)
Ral, Izzet Viceroy (Ral)
Sarkhan Unbroken (Sarkhan 3)

Noteworthy in this tier
Kiora, Master of the Depths(Kiora) (Green/Blue): I debated moving Kiora down a tier with the addition of Sarkhan 3 but I feel her abilities are slightly better than his and the new Simic cards in Ravnica Allegiance are likely going to be very good with her.
Ral, Izzet Viceroy(Ral) (Blue/Red): It didn't take me long after leveling him up to realize that my initial assertion was wrong. Ral is borderline broken. Each of his abilities are extremely good on their own and he is (in my opinion) the best planeswalker for Beacon Bolt decks. Although Sarkhan 3 has access to one more color than him, Ral fills a unique niche thanks to his greater focus on casting as many spells as possible. It should be noted that the Ravnica Allegiance set has some pretty powerful spells in it for Ral to abuse such as Mass Manipulation and Goblin Gathering. When the Ixalan block eventually rotates out of Standard, Ral will not be impacted much since he'll only be losing access to a few really good spells (all of which are fairly replaceable). It is for these reasons that I am placing Ral in the 'Broken' tier for now. 
Sarkhan Unbroken(Sarkhan 3) (Green/Blue/Red): The only major change that has taken place in the game since my last set of rankings is the release of Sarkhan 3. He is the third planeswalker released that utilizes three colors and is the only planeswalker who can utilize Temur (Green/Blue/Red) in every event. My opinion of Sarkhan 3 is that his particular color combination is ridiculously broken. He also has good HP (118) and spell/support maximums (7 and 6 respectively). With that being said, his mana bonuses are the same as Bolas 1 (which aren't great) and only his 3rd ability is broken whereas the other abilities don't feel like they are particularly strong.

STRONG

Angrath, the Flame-Chained (Angrath)
Elspeth, Sun's Champion (Elspeth)
Garruk Wildspeaker (Garruk)
Huatli, Radiant Champion (Huatli 2)
Jace, Unraveler of Secrets (Jace 2)
Jaya Ballard (Jaya)
Liliana, Death's Majesty (Liliana 3)
Nahiri, the Harbinger (Nahiri)
Nicol Bolas, the Ravager (Bolas 2)
Nissa, Worldwaker (Nissa 4)
Ob Nixilis, Reignited (Ob Nixilis)
Saheeli Rai (Saheeli)
Samut, the Tested (Samut)
Sorin, Grim Nemesis (Sorin)
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria (Teferi)
Tezzeret the Schemer (Tezz 2)
Tezzeret, Artifice Master (Tezz 3)
Vraska, Relic Seeker (Vraska 1)
Vraska, Golgari Queen (Vraska 2)

Noteworthy in this tier
Angrath, the Flame-Chained(Angrath) (Red/Black): I had good feeling that I would move Angrath up a tier once the Rakdos cards in Ravnica Allegiance were added to the game. His first ability pairs extremely well with the 'Spectacle' mechanic and he has the potential to make very good use of the other Rakdos cards in the set.
Garruk Wildspeaker(Garruk) (Green): The two new green mechanics in Ravnica Allegiance (Adapt and Riot) are not very good and don't synergize with Garruk. Despite that being the case, there are two reasons I am moving him up to the 'Strong' tier in this set of rankings. The first is that I see some really good green control-based cards in the set such as Incubation/Incongruity and Thrash/Threat along with a decent number of cards that synergize with creature reinforcements (perfect for Garruk). The second reason is that I think he will be one of the better users of gate-based decks thanks to his 6 support maximum and the fact that he doesn't need to have creatures in a deck to make that work (although Gate Colossus would be recommended in the deck but that's besides the point). This allows him to 6 gates and 4 spells (or perhaps 3 spells and Gate Colossus) to form a potentially explosive control deck. I don't think he will ever supplant Nissa 4 as the best mono green planeswalker in the game but I do feel that the upcoming set will make him better than every planeswalker in the lower tiers.
Huatli, Radiant Champion(Huatli 2) (Green/White): Huatli 2 is one of the only planeswalkers I will discuss today that is not changing tiers. I do think, however, that she is going to get noticeably stronger (not 'Broken' level) because of the addition of creatures with the 'Afterlife' mechanic. The fact that these creatures are difficult to remove means that one of her biggest weakness is going to be significantly minimized. It should also be noted that the creature tokens created by the aforementioned mechanic pair really well with her first ability because the bonus it gives is based on creature reinforcement counts.
Nahiri, the Harbinger(Nahiri) (Red/White): See: Huatli 2. In addition to what I discussed above, Nahiri's third ability also pairs well with the 'reinforcement losing' effects that are being added in the next set.
Ob Nixilis, Reignited(Ob Nixilis) (Black): In my opinion, the next set is going to be one of the best things to have happened to Ob Nixilis in quite some time. Part of it is because the gate-based decks that were already good with him are getting even better, (having alot of gates on the board makes it hard for support removal effects such as Vraska's first ability to destroy his third ability's support). The other part of it is that black is receiving a lot of strong cards that provide lifegain which is fantastic news for a planeswalker that does a decent amount of self-inflicted damage with abilities.
Sorin, Grim Nemesis(Sorin) (White/Black): See: Huatli 2. One area where Sorin differs from other creature-based white planeswalkers is that he gets access to all of the 'Afterlife' creatures since he is both white and black. There are also a decent number of cards in the new set that cause self-inflicted damage which should pair nicely with both of Sorin's life gaining abilities.
Vraska, Golgari Queen(Vraska 2) (Green/Black): Although Golgari (Green/Black) is not receiving any new cards in Ravnica Allegiance, the Rakdos synergies (Spectacle, reinforcement losing, etc) all pair really well with her abilities. I'm still not going to say that she is going to be as good as Vraska 1, but the difference in power level will definitely be much smaller partially
because Vraska 1 isn't actually receiving any noteworthy synergies in Ravnica Allegiance.

SOLID

Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants (Ajani 3)
Ajani Unyielding (Ajani 2)
Ajani Vengeant (Ajani 1)
Chandra, Roaring Flame (Chandra 1)
Dovin Baan (Dovin 1)
Dovin, Grand Arbiter (Dovin 2)
Gideon of the Trials (Gideon 3)
Jace, Cunning Castaway (Jace 3)
Jace, Telepath Unbound (Jace 1)
Karn, Scion of Urza (Karn)
Kaya, Orzhov Usurper (Kaya)
Liliana, Defiant Necromancer (Liliana 1)
Liliana, Untouched by Death (Liliana 4)
Sarkhan the Mad (Sarkhan 1)
Sarkhan, Fireblood (Sarkhan 2)
Tezzeret, the Seeker (Tezz 1)
Vivien Reid (Vivien)

Noteworthy in this tier
Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants(Ajani 3) (White): The main reasons that Ajani 3 is moving up a tier is because his 8 support maximum is great for gate-based decks (not that he has any noteworthy synergies with gate-based decks) and because Hero of Precinct One is a fantastic card to pair with him. These cards gives him two additional deckbuilding options which should both be viable in the Standard format. I will eventually build a deck after Ravnica Allegiance comes out using Hero of Precinct One as my only creature along with a bunch of white spells and supports because I think that has the potential to be really good.
Chandra, Roaring Flame(Chandra 1) (Red): I think there are a bunch of solid red cards in the new set which might make Chandra 1 viable again. The fact that she can instantly trigger the  'Spectacle' mechanic with her 1st ability should not be overlooked and I also think it's plausible for her to utilize a gate-based deck with some card draw in it to win the game by using all of her abilities as frequently as possible.
Dovin, Grand Arbiter(Dovin 2) (Blue/White): The first upcoming planeswalker I will be discussing today is Dovin 2. Unlike the other two Azorius planeswalkers, Dovin 2 is a much more creature-oriented planeswalker. And unlike other creature-oriented white planeswalkers, he doesn't get completely shut down by having no creatures on the board. Personally I think he is better than Dovin 1 since his mana bonus is superior as is his spell maximum. The fact that he has a spell maximum of 9 is a pretty big deal since gives him access to a whole host of deckbuilding options including the Beacon Bolt strategy that has been prevalent in Guilds of Ravnica. With all of that being said, I don't think his abilities are as good as Teferi's so I will be leaving him in the 'Solid' tier for now and will consider moving him up a tier after I get a chance to play a sufficient amount of games with him.
Jace, Telepath Unbound(Jace 1) (Blue): Jace 1 is another one of the original five planeswalkers who I feel will be getting a little bit better with the release of the next set. This is because the Ravnica Allegiance contains quite a few good cheap spells which pair well with the second ability of Jace 1. I'm not going to guarantee that Jace 1 will remain in this tier for long, but I do think cards such as Deploy/Depose, Incubation/Incongruity, and Lawmage's Binding give him an increased amount of overall versatility.
Kaya, Orzhov Usurper(Kaya) (White/Black): Kaya is the second of the three upcoming planeswalkers that I will be discussing in this article. Unlike Sorin who is heavily creature-reliant, Kaya is the more control-oriented Orzhov planeswalker given that all of her abilities require her to exile her opponent's cards to be used. Personally I think it's great that there's finally a control-oriented planeswalker option for Orzhov (Sorin is a poor choice due to his abilities and his 5/5 spell/support maximum) since there are so many great control cards in the color. This strength is going to be augmented even more by the various control-oriented cards released in Ravnica Allegiance. The problem with Kaya is that her abilities are not super powerful in the first place and aren't the easiest to use without deckbuilding help and without the opponent's deck playing to her strengths to some degree. Additionally, although her second ability can deal with creatures with hexproof (which is great news), it only targets creatures with converted mana cost 13 or less which means she can't deal with the strongest hexproof creatures in the game (Gaea's Revenge anyone?). I do think Kaya has the potential to be really good but I need to see more evidence of that first before I move her up a tier.
Liliana, Untouched by Death(Liliana 4) (Black): Out of all of the evaluations I made in the last set of rankings, I feel that the one I did for Liliana 4 was probably the most inaccurate. Although it's true that the zombie creatures in the Standard format are mediocre, her first ability allows her to utilize graveyard-based strategies to great effect (Blood Operative and Creeping Chill are particularly fantastic with her). Although Ravnica Allegiance is adding two really good zombie cards (Awaken the Erstwhile and Captive Audience), neither of them are creatures so they don't do anything with her first or third ability. Luckily for Liliana 4 though, the new 'spectacle' mechanic only requires at least one point of damage to be dealt to trigger (shoutout to Theater of Horrors which does not have the mechanic but will also be easy to use for the same reason). So as long as there are a few zombies in the deck, Liliana will make great use of these new Rakdos cards. I still think Liliana 3 and Ob Nixilis are superior as far as mono-black planeswalkers go. But just like last time, there is always the chance I am wrong again about the power level of Liliana 4, at which point I will be forced to move her up a tier yet again.
Vivien Reid(Vivien) (Green): Vivien is definitely going to be better in the next set because her first ability means makes her arguably one of the better users of gate-based decks and because her second ability is likely goign to see a lot more usage  especially against decks with creatures that have the 'Afterlife' mechanic. I still don't think she is as good as Nissa 4 or Garruk, but I do think there is the potential for Vivien to move up another tier if flying creatures dominate the Standard format.

WEAK

Domri, Chaos Bringer (Domri)
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar (Gideon 2)
Huatli, Warrior Poet (Huatli 1)
Nissa, Sage Animist (Nissa 1)
Nissa, Steward of Elements (Nissa 3)
Nissa, Vital Force (Nissa 2)
The Eldrazi Devastation (TED)

Noteworthy in this tier
Domri, Chaos Bringer(Domri) (Green/Red):
It is my belief that Domri is the weakest of the new planeswalkers being released in the upcoming set for two main reasons. The first reason is that her abilities all seem to be weak. The second reason is that as a Gruul planeswalker she has to compete with both Samut and Sarkhan 3 for viability, both of which are superior planeswalker options in pretty much every deckbuilding scenario imaginable. I am not putting Domri in the bad tier because she has a higher net mana bonus than both Samut and Sarkhan 3 (+8 to their +7 each) and her 7 spell maximum is pretty good. With that being said, I wouldn't consider her to have a noteworthy deckbuilding niche that makes her viable either.
Huatli, Warrior Poet(Huatli 1) (Red/White): There are no new dinosaurs being released in the upcoming set (not a surprise) and there aren't really any noteworthy synergies that Huatli 1 will be able to take advantage of. On top of that, Nahiri getting stronger and more viable means Huatli 1 becomes weaker and less viable since they are both predominantly creature-oriented Boros (Red/White) planeswalkers.

BAD

Arlinn Kord (Arlinn)
Chandra, Torch of Defiance (Chandra 2)
Gideon, Battle Forged (Gideon 1)
Liliana, the Last Hope (Liliana 2)

Noteworthy in this tier
Nothing


Well anyway this concludes the end of my first set of power rankings with this new format. If you have any comments regarding the new format or about the contents of the post itself, feel free to leave comments about it below. As always, thank you for taking the time to read this.

Comments

  • Mburn7Mburn7 Posts: 2,443 Chairperson of the Boards
    As usual, thanks for putting this together!  Also as usual, I have comments:

    1.  I don't think Adapt is a 1-time only buff here like it is in paper.  Too many cards rely on being adapted multiple times for that to be the case.

    2.  I think Liliana 2 is better than you give her credit for.  She is incredible in a Prized Amalgam/Diegraf Colossus deck, since her 1st and 3rd abilities synergize perfectly with what those cards are trying to do.  I run that deck through ToTP Black with ease.  I do agree she is pretty useless otherwise, though.  

    3.  I still think you are undervaluing Vivien.  Her Green mana bonus is no joke, and her abilities are solid in almost any green deck.
  • mrhibachimrhibachi Posts: 24 Just Dropped In
    As usual, thank you for taking place in this discussion so at least I know someone is reading!

    Regarding Adapt: I'm hoping you're right but in either case the ability still requires hitting multiple activated gems which isn't easy to do (and would probably require a bunch of turns to do by which point it's inefficient). At least some of the creatures have other effects to make them decent.

    Regarding Liliana 2: This is Standard only so no Prized Amalgam/Diregraf Colossus. If this were a Legacy ranking she would be higher up (although honestly 95% of planeswalkers can work in Legacy).

    Regarding Vivien: I tend to rate 'half mana' effects pretty low because it guarantees that the card can't be played without extra mana being added to it unlike 'full mana' or even 'fixed mana'. I agree that her abilities are solid which is why I put her in that tier. I see pretty much no scenario in which I would pick her for an event over Nissa 4 or either of the Vraskas or a good chunk of other strong green planeswalkers and I still don't like the niche aspect of her 2nd abiliity (good luck killing Darigaaz Reincarnated, Lich's Mastery, or Starfield of Nyx for instance). Perhaps the gates make her substantially better but I'll need to playtest that first before deciding.
  • Mburn7Mburn7 Posts: 2,443 Chairperson of the Boards
    mrhibachi said:
    As usual, thank you for taking place in this discussion so at least I know someone is reading!

    Regarding Adapt: I'm hoping you're right but in either case the ability still requires hitting multiple activated gems which isn't easy to do (and would probably require a bunch of turns to do by which point it's inefficient). At least some of the creatures have other effects to make them decent.

    Regarding Liliana 2: This is Standard only so no Prized Amalgam/Diregraf Colossus. If this were a Legacy ranking she would be higher up (although honestly 95% of planeswalkers can work in Legacy).

    Regarding Vivien: I tend to rate 'half mana' effects pretty low because it guarantees that the card can't be played without extra mana being added to it unlike 'full mana' or even 'fixed mana'. I agree that her abilities are solid which is why I put her in that tier. I see pretty much no scenario in which I would pick her for an event over Nissa 4 or either of the Vraskas or a good chunk of other strong green planeswalkers and I still don't like the niche aspect of her 2nd abiliity (good luck killing Darigaaz Reincarnated, Lich's Mastery, or Starfield of Nyx for instance). Perhaps the gates make her substantially better but I'll need to playtest that first before deciding.
    Well after playing with some Adapt, I am (sadly) forced to agree it is awful.  You only get to match the gems once until you cast another copy of the creature, and if you have any un-matched adapt gems when casting the second copy you don't get the full adapt number added to the board (although that may be a bug)

    As for Vivien, I've had a lot of success running her with Elves and/or Gigantosaurus, since her naturally high Green bonus gets absurd really fast (I think my record is +12 or something) which leads to huge Steel Leaf Champions and such.  Nissa Worldwaker is definitely more versatile for most events, though, since she makes her own creatures and mana.
  • GargoyleGargoyle Posts: 20 Just Dropped In
    Sarkhan Unbroken is Broken... who knew? Gotta love the irony.

    What exactly makes Koth 'Broken'? I noticed he's the only single colour PW in your highest tier.
    is it based on his ultimate?

    Considering how to spend; I'm fairly new.
  • mrhibachimrhibachi Posts: 24 Just Dropped In
    edited March 15
    Koth is broken because even though mono red is in a pretty weak spot powerwise his 1st ability is extremely broken. His second and third abilities are pretty good but I wouldn't say they are OP. Feel free to checkout my last article (here) if you want more in depth explanations on any planeswalker.
  • GargoyleGargoyle Posts: 20 Just Dropped In
    edited March 16
    mrhibachi said:
    Koth is broken because even though mono red is in a pretty weak spot powerwise his 1st ability is extremely broken. His second and third abilities are pretty good but I wouldn't say they are OP. Feel free to checkout my last article (here) if you want more in depth explanations on any planeswalker.
    Maybe the first ability sounds a lot worse on paper than you're implying it performs; I realise destroying those off colour gems is going to help you but as text it just looks like 'wreck some stuff and cross your fingers'. I guess the average cascade is passable, but having never seen an effect of that nature firsthand I default to skepticism compared to gem conversion or upfront mana gains etc. While 6 is cheap there's a possibility it does virtually nothing and I find it troubling that the thing you need to get started is luck based. Variance on a second or third ability wouldn't matter to me, but I want a 'kickstarter' to be a sure thing...

    Having played with Freyelise lately I do rate the second ability pretty well, although I feel like +X/0 is more niche as extra toughness helps break parity in a board state. Some damage on face is nice but the real clincher is crushing their creatures while keeping your own. Amazing if you've used your third ability already, but in that case it feels a bit win-more, which is why I was asking if the third one is what earnt Koth a 'Broken' rating. It could make a huge difference in Campaign where the enemy has a big health total.

    In terms of current rotation he does get better guild gates, technically; Rakdos and Gruul give neutral secondary gems rather than negative ones. Also a bit of removal options etc doesn't hurt.
    Regardless I think I lack the cards right now to make a Mono Red PW work. He's definitely far better than Chandra 1(who only sucks a tiny bit less thanks to Spectacle, considering you can just play it like Raid), and I'm not saying Koth isn't the best Mono Red PW, but he doesn't really seem broken... 

    Meanwhile Sarkhan is so good and I'm getting close to 850. Chandra may suck but so does Jace...
  • mrhibachimrhibachi Posts: 24 Just Dropped In
    The first ability is insane because it blows up so many gems already that large cascades happen more often than not (which allows him to use the ability even more). If it converted less gems then I would agree. You're absolutely right about his other two abilities though (couldn't have said it better myself).
    Unfortunately Koth is one of the few planeswalkers that can't make good use of gates due to his support maximum being the lowest in the game (3) and I don't think the spectacle mechanic is quite strong enough to build a whole deck around it. 
    I really hope D3 nerfs his first ability someday because then he would be much more balanced (would probably move him down two tiers if that ever happened)

  • GargoyleGargoyle Posts: 20 Just Dropped In
    edited March 18
    Well I bought Elspeth now for the event(albeit a bit late so I'm not going to be able to place that well anyway). Can't afford Koth or I'll miss Sarkhan this rotation; already going to need some currency from Story mode.

    Honestly, most Spectacle cards aren't that good even though it's a neat effect; I think you either build around Cryptborn Horror, use Rix Maadi to mulligan or don't play Spectacle at all. The Gruul Support Cindervines would be key(or Scab-Clan Berserker but as a creature which trades it's hit and miss), I imagine, for damaging in their turn consistently. Basically halves the clock.
    I don't have those cards anyway but if I did I'd play them with anyone but Chandra still. 

    I'm actually really disappointed with Elspeth's performance; the first ability looks good but that one Exert gem can really get itself stuck and the second ability has similar problems. Then you need to spend 15 for consistency or rely on chance(not good for your removal and kind of defeats the point to put buffing off until later). Great if they wouldn't already be dead with some more reliable benefits but the delay is like a bad joke.
    Maybe she scales better but right now it just seems a waste to own her. I generally win without her abilities playing much of a role.
    I don't need her tokens to enable Convoke; I do that with Lifelink Soldiers and the fact they don't stack is what makes me regret owning her. I can just use spells for removal and have stuff on board that I actually want. This isn't 'real' MTG with limitless space. 

    Honestly have more success with Gideon; can't understand why you rate him below so many others that have abilities with no real impact. I read your last list but the reason given seems quite sketchy; ie the claim that requiring creatures makes something inherently worse, except Huatli(who I think might be a tier higher than Elspeth if anything so maybe even there). I feel like you're ranking puts a bit too much weight on having an empty board...

    Doing sub-par stuff without creatures isn't better than capitalising effectively on the creatures you actually play. Synergy isn't the same as 'win-more'. I'd rather enhance good creature cards than clog the board with lame tokens that I can't stack particularly high.
    Jace only has one worthwhile ability(second, of course) and it's not enough by itself.
    Chandra bombs out with nothing impressive. You can burn but so what? Destroy blocks but hope doesn't win most games.
    Nissa has good options and is pretty stable but lacks a clear direction. I think she was well chosen as the starter PW but nothing exceptional.
    Liliana gets a lot better the higher her level goes but is a bit awkward until then and very niche when you get there. I'd prefer to just focus on getting Sarkhan or Nicol and cheat big creatures from multiple colours if I'm going to sink a lot of XP.

    Gideon, however, takes what you have and creates advantage every game. Play the board, eat their small creatures and white always has spell removal that targets the bigger ones. It gets better with certain keywords(Double Strike, for example) and while his second ability costs more than Nahiri's first her second is basically unrelated and the third is very aggressive(scarily so at high levels, I admit) but misses their board. I'm not claiming he's better than her, per se, but not comprehensively worse and I'd swap Elspeth for Nahiri quite happily anyway.
    Gideon consistently develops your creatures on every single ability. My only real problem with him is that being a starter he has naturally low colour values and his keyword combinations are a bit awkward overall(namely Champion pairs Berserker with Defender instead of Trample even though we already have Vigilance on his first ability and attacking their creatures is worse when you're about to block). He lacks power like all of the original 5 but he's by the far most focused of them and I feel like comparisons like this are where this list is flawed.
  • mrhibachimrhibachi Posts: 24 Just Dropped In
    edited March 18
    I am sad that most of the Ravnica Allegiance mechanics/cards aren't that great but oh well.
    Regarding Elspeth, she is there because of her white mana bonus. It's true that the exert gem isn't easy to proc but it is still a dangerous thing to leave on the board. Her 3rd ability is decent with the right deck but its not the reason to play her.
    As for Gideon 1 (I assume you're strictly talking about the original), all of his abilities are relatively weak in general (compare his 2nd to Nahiri's 1st and Nahiri gets an extra color). Also mono white doesn't currently have alternate win conditions besides creatures (no beacon bolt for them). If gideon 1 can't stick a creature, he becomes absolutely useless.

    It's a shame to think how bad the original 5 planeswalkers are now. It's crazy to think how broken original nissa, chandra, and jace were. I hope articles like these get read by D3/Oktagon and it convinces them to do some sort of rebalancing.
  • Mburn7Mburn7 Posts: 2,443 Chairperson of the Boards
    mrhibachi said:

    It's a shame to think how bad the original 5 planeswalkers are now. It's crazy to think how broken original nissa, chandra, and jace were. I hope articles like these get read by D3/Oktagon and it convinces them to do some sort of rebalancing.
    Its really funny to see how things changed.  Chandra used to be the strongest walker out there, now she is absolute garbage.

    I wonder if Oktagon should restore their abilities to their pre-nerf levels (Chandra's first costs 3, the first for the rest costs 6), just so that they are somewhat viable in competition.
  • mrhibachimrhibachi Posts: 24 Just Dropped In
    i think jace 1 would still be bad since his 1st is piss poor compared to bolas and ajani and the like (plus creatures are much bigger these days) but yea id like that as well as having the tinykitty "themed planeswalkers" like chandra 2 and arlinn and gideon 2 get reworked outright so they dont complete rely on their sets to be effective
  • GargoyleGargoyle Posts: 20 Just Dropped In
    edited March 19
    Mburn7 said:
    mrhibachi said:

    It's a shame to think how bad the original 5 planeswalkers are now. It's crazy to think how broken original nissa, chandra, and jace were. I hope articles like these get read by D3/Oktagon and it convinces them to do some sort of rebalancing.
    Its really funny to see how things changed.  Chandra used to be the strongest walker out there, now she is absolute garbage.

    I wonder if Oktagon should restore their abilities to their pre-nerf levels (Chandra's first costs 3, the first for the rest costs 6), just so that they are somewhat viable in competition.
    Were the costs just different or?
    I feel like the big weakness they have collectively is their bonus average is blatantly sub-par. They should get +1 to their secondary colours or at least just to their primary.

    mrhibachi said:
    i think jace 1 would still be bad since his 1st is piss poor compared to bolas and ajani and the like (plus creatures are much bigger these days) but yea id like that as well as having the tinykitty "themed planeswalkers" like chandra 2 and arlinn and gideon 2 get reworked outright so they don't complete rely on their sets to be effective
    Yeah, Jace is awful. Thus my confusion at Gideon ranking two tiers below him and Chandra, who suck outright.
    3 is absurdly cheap though, so even a mediocre ability can be pretty dangerous at that cost.

    I think anything with set-related abilities needs to follow the design principle of self made synergy. Internal consistency won't be as good as combining with their set but if the abilities are strong to begin with it's enough for the PW to stay relevant. 
  • mrhibachimrhibachi Posts: 24 Just Dropped In
    Chandra/Jace/Nissa all had cheaper costs on their abilities and they were more powerful too IIRC.

    My thing with Jace 1 is that mono blue is far superior to mono white in every way but lifegain and thanks to Ravnica Allegiance blue doesn't even need to worry anout that anymore. Chandra 1 I think is also better because she's like a poor man's Koth.

    I agree about their mana bonuses needing buffs.
    I also agree about set related PWs which is why Arlinn and TED and Gideon 2 are so awkward. At least zombie planeswalkers get zombies in every set.
  • vx9vx9 Posts: 2 Just Dropped In
    @mrhibachi I asked a few threads back if you could include the full pw names; thanks much for incorporating that in the recent threads; it's made your terrific posts even easier to read.

    @Gargoyle ; re Elspeth -- I find her practically unstoppable. I've been running her with Resplendent Angle and Lyra Dawnbringer as my only creatures, and they synergize brilliantly. Then I add a chord of calling to speed up getting whichever I need, and her own tokens of course. As for the exert gem, I added fall of the thran, and rupture spire, and her 3rd ability of course -- so I don't find the gem gets stuck too badly to often. The rest of the deck is usually creature removal and 2ndary objective filler. And I sideboard support removal against some PWs. I've found her to be close to unbeatable.

    I've also been really impressed with Koth.


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