Page 1 of 1

Some thoughts about Planeswalkers

Posted: 02 Feb 2016, 08:54
by Tinfish
The whole Oath of the Gatewatch thing got me thinking - there are Planeswalkers taking the oath for every color except black. Sorin is off doing whatever, and is half white at least. Can the Gatewatch stand with one side missing? It's not like Ob Nixilis would sign up, since he has a personal hate-on for most of the other Gatewatch planeswalkers.

That got me thinking about the Planeswalkers we've seen:

Ajani, usually white but has been spotted sporting green and red in the past. Likes giving counters to creatures.
Ashiok, blue-black mill/processor. Only appeared in Theros, and Ashiok's plane of origin and history is unknown.
Chandra, mono-red, likes fire a lot, usually sub-par.
Dack Fayden, red/blue artifact stealsman.
Daretti, red artifact upcycler.
Domri Rade, red/green lover of all god's critters.
Elspeth, white soldier factory.
Freyalise, green elf factory.
Garruk, usually green but occasionally green/black. Loves big critters.
Gideon/Chad, white becomes-a-dudesman.
Jace, blue mill/card draw engine.
Karn, colourless robot fun police.
Kiora, blue/green land/card draw and kraken aficionado.
Koth, red dude who turns your mountains into dudes.
Liliana, black discard engine and grave digger.
Nahiri, white soldier factory and equipment purveyor.
Narset, white/blue instant and sorcery assistant.
Nicol Bolas, blue/black/red horrible mean dragon man.
Nissa, green lover of forests, elves, and forests which become creatures.
Ob Nixilis, black card draw/life total messing/demon summoning.
Ral Zarek, red/blue tapsman, lightning boltsman, and crazed temporal manipulator.
Sarkhan, the dragonman. The only colour he hasn't been over the years is white. Looooves dragons.
Sorin Markov, black/white vampire factory.
Tamiyo, blue tapsman and card draw engine.
Teferi, blue card engine.
Tezzeret, blue/black artifact enthusiast.
Tibalt, mono-red disappointment to his parents.
Ugin, colourless dragon who hates your stuff.
Venser, blue/white blinksman and exiler.
Vraska, green/black killing machine.
Xenagos, green/red satyr factory and mana engine.

Or, arranged by colour:
White: Ajani, Elspeth, Gideon, Nahiri
Blue: Jace, Tamiyo, Teferi, Tezzeret
Black: Sorin, Ob Nixilis, Liliana
Red: Chandra, Tibalt, Koth, Daretti, Sarkhan
Green: Freyalise, Nissa, Garruk

Azorius: Narset, Venser
Orzhov: Sorin
Boros: Ajani
Selesnya: Ajani
Dimir: Tezzeret, Ashiok
Izzet: Ral Zarek, Dack Fayden
Simic: Kiora
Rakdos: Sarkhan
Gruul: Domri Rade, Xenagos
Golgari: Vraska, Garruk

Temur: Sarkhan

Grixis: Nicol Bolas

Colourless: Karn, Ugin

From this we learn some things. Blue and red have the most planeswalkers, tied at four (because Tibalt doesn't count). Blue planeswalkers are liable to have names starting with T and have consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel arrangement. If it weren't for Ajani dipping his toes into red and green, Boros and Selesyna would be entirely unrepresented. Three planeswalkers (Dack Fayden, Nahiri, and Daretti) have artifact subthemes. Green and black don't do much with artifacts, so the absence of artifact-related planeswalkers in those colours isn't surprising.

There are some interesting cases here where a planeswalker doesn't seem to fit their colours or Ravnica guild affiliation. Kiora, while blue/green, isn't very Simic: a Simic planeswalker would probably chuck counters around and dig through the library for creatures. Vraska is really more black than green, and, unlike the Golgari, doesn't interact with the graveyard at all. Ashiok's abilities feel like they belong on an Eldrazi planeswalker (though technically I suppose all Eldrazi are planeswalkers).

I'd like to see more planeswalkers in underrepresented colour pairs, I might have a go at designing some. And now I'm kinda curious as to what an Eldrazi-themed planeswalker would look like. I don't really think that three-coloured planeswalkers are a good idea, from a design space they're kinda all over the place and don't really work outside of Tarkir (or presumably Alara), where the lands and multicoloured stuff exist to support those colour combinations.

What colour combinations or underserved design spaces would you like to see filled with planeswalkers?

Re: Some thoughts about Planeswalkers

Posted: 02 Feb 2016, 10:32
by theycallmejokke
I believe both Mark Rosewaters and Doug Beyer have come out on there respective blogs saying Eldrazi can't be planeswalkers, thou blogs being what they are I now ofcause can't seem to find these statment so perhaps I am miss remembering.
With 30+ planeswalkers already walkning around I would personally much rather Wizards focus on the walkers they already have, some of which could really really need some fleshing out.
Why doesn't Tibalt count?

Re: Some thoughts about Planeswalkers

Posted: 02 Feb 2016, 10:53
by winterpanda
Here are some Tumblr posts by Mark Rosewater about Eldrazi and planeswalkers: ... d-an#notes ... razi#notes

Also, Mark said that throughout the MTG story, other planeswalkers (no matter the colour) may join the Gatewatch.

Re: Some thoughts about Planeswalkers

Posted: 02 Feb 2016, 12:30
by Phi
I generally don't like the Gatewatch. It feels like a very cheesy superhero team. I also don't think the dual-colour planeswalkers need to be similar the the guilds, since the guilds are not the absolute interpretation of the colours, to my understanding. You can be U/G without an interest in biology, for example.

As theycallmejokke said, there are enough planeswalkers. I would also rather they expand on them than come up with new ones. They can give Tibalt a card that isn't terrible, for a start.

So what are your favorite planeswalkers, from a lore perspective? Mine are Ugin and Ashiok.

Re: Some thoughts about Planeswalkers

Posted: 03 Feb 2016, 04:41
by theycallmejokke
From a lore perspective, I have to say the Theros block just made fall in love with Ajani and Elspeth all over again, they where already two of my favorit Planeswalkers but I really immensely enjoyed there respective stories in that block.
Kharn also holds a speciale place in my heart, but for a very specific reason, he was part of the Weatherlight crew which comicbook adventures was what got me into magic back in the days.

Re: Some thoughts about Planeswalkers

Posted: 03 Feb 2016, 08:02
by jadamelio
I agree with jokke about the colours, the guilds are only really on Ravnica(Ral Zarek bumps around the multiverse). I like using Tibalt in EDH, he's a cheap draw engine and he isn't often targeted.
I love Venser and Teferi but we won't be seeing more of either of them unless Sarkahn wants to go mess with time again.

Re: Some thoughts about Planeswalkers

Posted: 03 Feb 2016, 10:26
by winterpanda
I really like Nissa despite all the people banging on about retcon stuff. I also like Kiora (especially in her battle with Thassa) and Elspeth (I hope we get to see her again).

Re: Some thoughts about Planeswalkers

Posted: 03 Feb 2016, 12:04
by square1
In spite of some shortcomings in the card quality and narrative, I'm still a big Chandra fan. When faced with complicated board states and challenging combat math, Chandra reminds me I can always just go straight to the dome.

Re: Some thoughts about Planeswalkers

Posted: 04 Feb 2016, 02:32
by Tinfish
Hmm, I didn't mean to imply that Planeswalkers Must Resemble The Guilds. Just that (for example) Kiora's not looking Simic means there's at least two design spaces in blue/green for Planeswalkers.

Personally I'm a big fan of Narset, I can't wait to see where she ends up, but (despite my misgivings about three-colour planeswalkers) I felt a little disappointed that Narset Transcendent didn't have red in her. I'd also like to see more of Ashiok, maybe find out a little more about what exactly Ashiok's deal is and what they're after.

I expect they'll tell us where Nahiri got to at some point, too, given that her absence is a big part of the backstory behind Tarkir and Zendikar.