What's the best Planeswalker to get next? Version 2.
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
A: 6, C: 10, M: 10, F: 10, H: 9, rating: 245 (226)
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
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)
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
A: 9, C: 7, M: 5, F: 10, H: 9, rating: 215 (172)
A: 7, C: 9, M: 6, F: 7, H: 9, rating: 212 (200) - standard 188
A: 5, C: 9, M: 8, F: 8, H: 9, rating: 211 (200)
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
A: 7, C: 7, M: 8, F: 7, H: 9, rating: 208 (173)
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)
A: 5, C: 9, M: 6, F: 8, H: 9, rating: 199 (180)
A: 5, C: 9, M: 8, F: 8, H: 5, rating: 199 (176)
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)
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.