Strategies for the Five Starter Planewalkers for new players

Larz70Larz70 Posts: 74 Match Maker
If you are new to the game and don't wan't to spend too much for new PWs, there are still ways to progress using the starting five PWs.  Here are some tips on how to make the best use of them.

A lot of PW recommendations can depend on the cards that you have and your luck in pulling good and useful ones.  However, PWs come with abilities that you can treat as the 11th, 12th and 13th cards on your deck.  Some of these abilities can really turn the tide of the battle.

1) Chandra - She's very easy to play with. Lots of offense and not much defense. When leveled up to 38, her first ability will gain destroy 3x3 gems.  Although her third ability already has this and destroys more gems, it's too expensive at 21 loyalty. At six loyalty, her first skill at level 3, Flameshot, has the potential to be cast on every turn.  Simply prioritize loyalty gems and once it's charged up, cast it and pray for random cascade matches.  If you are lucky with the cascades, you'll find that your cards will easily fill up with mana and your Flameshot's loyalty as well.  Flameshot also has a chance to destroy enemy support and activated gems.  Beware as it can also destroy your supports but on the plus side, it can trigger the effect of your activated gems.  I usually play without support but a good rare support that I use is Sword of the Animist.  Volcanic Rambler, an uncommon creature is also good for additional 3x3 gem destruction.  If you have cards with Activate or Exert, use them and watch Flameshot trigger them accidentally.  There are risks that the board destruction can give an advantage to the AI but the rewards are surely worth it.  So what are you waiting for, spend the 25,655 total mana runes required to level her up to level 38!

2) Nissa - She's your first and she comes for free and chances are you already spent mana runes to level her up.  The best trick she has up her sleeve is converting gems to green.  Like Chandra's Flameshot, there's a chance that greens gems are accidentally matched and trigger cascades.  Compared to Flameshot though, converting gems is a bit more reliable in producing mana. The more green gems you convert the more mana you can produce.  If you have enough loyalty saved to trigger the 24-loyalty ability Nature's Regrowth and have a big creature waiting to be cast, you may have just won the match.  You'll have to be patient though, but luckily, there are several spells and support that convert gems that Nissa can use while waiting for Nature's Regrowth to charge up.  Nissa's Pilgrimage and Elvish Visionary are available early on.  Fertile Thicket, Attune with the Either and Desert of the Indomitable are cheap and common cards.  Green matches and cascades gives loyalty so you'll be pleasantly surprised when Nature's Regrowth is suddenly charged up and ready to go.  Bring your biggest/baddest creature and position it to reap the benefits of all those mana.

3) Gideon - Probably the best attacker and defender of all the five.  Compared to Chandra and Nissa, he lacks board destruction and gem conversion skills, and so, he's a little slow to set up.  But once you do, he can create an impenetrable wall to the opponent.  If you have a creature with first strike (the earliest I got was Consul's Lieutenant) and you have Sharp Eyes at level 3 (Gideon at level 38), you can cast it on the creature and give it Flying and Vigilance.  In Story Mode or against easy opponents, a defender with flying and first strike is usually enough to sweep all your opponents creatures.  If it's not yet strong enough, use a spell like Enshrouding Mist to give it Prevent Damage and survivability for a turn, until you can increase it's Power/Toughness with Gideon's second skill Call to Arms.  Otherwise, don't cast Flying and Vigilance on it yet, until you are confident that it will be able to withstand your opponent's attacks.  Like Chandra, it is worth leveling up Gideon to 38.

4) Lilliana - Of all the five, she has the most powerful ability.  In order to reap her full potential, she needs to be leveled up all the way to 60.  The combination of her ability Corrupt (6 loyalty) and Raise Dead (15 loyalty) is so potent and gives a glimpse of the powerful discard/embalm/eternalize mechanics in the advanced stages of the game.  To play her, bring your strongest creatures (usually the most expensive) and focus on matching loyalty.  Once you've casted Corrupt twice or have lost at least three creatures through discard or on the battlefield, cast Raise Dead to bring them back to life and straight onto the battlefield.  If you are playing against another Lilliana, then she just made your life easier, put your creatures at the top and at the bottom when she's about to cast Corrupt and save yourself six loyalty.  It is possible to play this style at lower levels but you need a lot of patience, and loyalty.  If you have enough discard spells (Unburden) or support (Elaborate Firecannon) you can use this effectively to skip Corrupt and cast Raise Dead once it's charged up and you have three dead creatures.

5) Jace - I probably use him the least because his skills are the weakest but with the right cards, he can be the most interesting to play with.  But for beginner's, Jace (and a low level Lilliana), will probably lose a lot of battles.  My most effective combo with Jace is to play Sphinx's Tutelage, a support that adds a two mana cost to the opponent's top card whenever you draw a card.  I fill the deck with draw card spells and support and hope that I draw Sphinx's Tutelage and watch the opponent unable to cast any card.  I've found that opponents that are hard to defeat by the other PWs will fall to Jace once blocked by the Sphinx.  The introduction of Cycling in Amonkhet has made Sphinx's Tutelage even more powerful.  If you can cycle indefinitely, then the mana cost of the opponent's top card will get so inflated that the match becomes totally one-sided.  It could take a while to defeat a boss with hundreds of HP, but it will fall eventually.  I've fallen asleep on my phone playing this strategy but don't count out Jace, his skills may not be as good, but he's really good at stalling.  Either stalling an eventual defeat or to grab that one last victory you need.

Hopefully this guide helps new players progress.  If you have other tips for beginners please add to the comments below.


  • Larz70Larz70 Posts: 74 Match Maker
    Sharing this excellent Google Doc with super helpful deck recommendations.  A must-read for new players who are using the five PWs.

         If anyone knows who the author is, let me know so I can give him or her the proper credit.
  • LaeuftbeidirLaeuftbeidir Posts: 1,839 Chairperson of the Boards
    Well.. That's something that has been started, but not yet finished by me - not all walkers are in there, and the latest standard rotation isn't yet implemented : that's the reason why this was never shared externally.

    Since you obviously got that from our Slack channel, you could have asked there before sharing. It's not that I would mind sharing Infos, it's just incomplete - I don't like sharing incomplete work. And the next time, please ask in our channel for the author if you want to share something.
  • Larz70Larz70 Posts: 74 Match Maker
    Very sorry for sharing that doc without your permission, I went ahead and removed it.

    I hope you complete your guide soon as I will be looking forward to it.
  • LaeuftbeidirLaeuftbeidir Posts: 1,839 Chairperson of the Boards
    Don't worry, no hard feelings from my side! I'll post it here again once it's complete
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