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Magic the Gathering is a game about flavor, more than anything else. Every set has a story, a background, a whole world created just for the players. Ever since Magic began, they searched for a way to get from world to world, and yet have consistent and compelling characters that follow the player as they move from world to world. Originally, the player was a Planeswalker, a person with the spark that let them travel from one world to the next. Other people in the Multiverse were also Planeswalkers, powerful wizards like Urza and Mishra, or Jace and Chandra. In the old days, Planeswalkers were nearly omnipotent beings, but no longer. Now you and your planeswalker allies are limited in power, and must band together to survive.
In game terms, Magic the Gathering Planeswalkers are now a new type of card, introduced in the Lorwyn block. They're permanents, but not creatures. They don't have power and toughness, and instead have Loyalty counters, which function as their attachment to you as the player. Having a planeswalker working under you use their abilities can increase or decrease their Loyalty, and if they're attacked by creatures, their loyalty decreases accordingly. If their loyalty hits 0, they leave.
Fitting with their power, Planeswalkers are powerful cards, each representing a character. In fitting with this, you can control more than one planeswalker, but not more than one of the same planeswalker. You may have, for instance, Ajani Goldmane and Chandra Nalaar in play under your control, but you cannot control both Chandra Nalaar and Chandra Ablaze, as they are the same person.
Read on to learn more about each Magic the Gathering Planeswalker, see what their abilities are, and decide which is best for you. Not for you? Check out some deck ideas instead.
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Ajani Goldmane is a Nacatl hailing from the plane of the Naya shard on the plan e of Alara. In Magic continuity, he was Ajani Vengeant first, but that card was printed later.
Ajani Goldmane is a white planeswalker with a cost of (2)(W)(W). He comes into play with 4 loyalty counters, and like most planeswalkers, has three abilities. The character of Ajani shines through in his abilities, which represent purification, with spells that strengthen the spirit of his allies.
- +1: You gain 2 life.
- -1: Put a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control. Those creatures gain Vigilance until end of turn.
- -6: Put a white avatar creature token onto the battlefield. It has "This creature's power and toughness are eac h equal to your life total."
Ajani's younger version is allied with both white and red magic. His cost is (2)(R)(W) and he comes into play with only 3 Loyalty counters. His abilities take the destructive flavor of red and mix it with the spiritual power of white, to create a magic of vengeance, to lay waste to his enemies.
- +1: Target permanent doesn't untap during it's controller's next untap step.
- -2: Ajani Vengeant deals 3 damage to target creature or player and you gain 3 life.
- -7: Destroy all lands target player controls.
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Chandra Nalaar is a planeswalker allied with red mana, and she burns with the fury of a thousand suns. She doesn't care about subtlety, about tact. She wants her freedom and she wields fire to get and keep it. That's what Chandra is about; fire, fire, and more fire.
Chandra Nalaar is the more 'peaceful' version of her card. She costs (3)(R)(R) and comes into play with 6 loyalty counters. Her three abilities are, like her character indicates, fire.
- +1: Chandra Nalaar deals 1 damage to target player.
- -X: Chandra Nalaar deals X damage to target creature.
- -8: Chandra Nalaar deals 10 damage to target player and each creature he or she controls.
Chandra's second form is her when she's angry, which just serves to make her pyromancy even more powerful. Chandra Ablaze costs (4)(R)(R) and comes into play with 5 loyalty counters. Her abilities are more powerful, but more expensive, and deal with damage to libraries as well as players.
- +1: Discard a card. If a red card is discarded this way, Chandra Ablaze deals 4 damage to target creature or player.
- -2: Each player discards his or her hand, then draws three cards.
- -7: Cast any number of red instant and/or sorcery cards from your graveyard without paying their mana costs.
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Elspeth Tirel is a white-aligned planeswalker from an unknown plane dominated by the Phyrexians. She traveled to Ba nt and found everything missing from her life before. She swiftly became a knight, and took up residence in that shard of Alara. When Nicol Bolas's Conflux happened, Bant was irrevocably changed, and she planeswalked away. Soon, she arrived on Mirrodin, as the Phyrexian invasion began.
Elspeth has two cards, one just coming out in the new Scars of Mirrodin. The first card, from Shards of Alara, is "Elspeth, Knight-Errant." It costs (2)(W)(W) and has four loyalty counters to begin with.
- +1: Put a 1/1 white Soldier creature token on to the battlefield.
- +1: Target creature gets +3/+3 and gains flying until end of turn.
- -8: You get an Emblem with "Artifacts, Creatures, Enchantments, and Lands you control are indestructable."
Elspeth's second card is "Elspeth Tirel" and costs (3)(W)(W). She comes into play with four loyalty counters, just like her other version. This version's abilities are a bit different.
- +2: You gain 1 life for each creature you control.
- -2: Put three 1/1 white soldier creatures on to the battlefield.
- -5: Destroy all other permanents except for lands and tokens.
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Garruk Wildspeaker is a war rior-druid aligned with green mana. He was first seen on the Lorwyn expansion, and his backstory speaks of some time he had spent on the plane of Zendikar. He spends his time in the wild, and is uncomfortable in the center of civilisation. His ultimate goal is to become one with nature, and become a predator at the top of the food chain. Unlike other planeswalkers, Garruk only has one version as of now.
Garruk Wildspeaker costs (2)(G)(G) and comes into play with a mere three loyalty counters. His three abilities represent his oneness with nature.
- +1: Untap two target lands.
- -1: Put a 3/3 Green Beast creature token onto the battlefield.
- -4: Creatures you control get +3/+3 and gain trample until end of turn.
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Gideon Jura is one of the newest planeswalkers to grace the history of Magic the Gathering. His appearance as a card came in the Zendikar block. As a man, he was raised to the challenge of training in the magic of Order, and thus is highly aligned to White. As of now, there is only one version of his card.
Gideon Jura costs (3)(W)(W), and he comes into play with a huge six loyalty counters. His abilities represent his magic in the sphere of Order. His third ability is relatively unique among planeswalkers, as it costs 0 to use. He also has the unique ability of turning himself into a creature, which allows him to fight back against opponents that would attack him. That leaves him fragile, however, as destroy creature effects can target him.
- +2: During target opponent's next turn, creatures that player controls attack Gideon Jura if able.
- -2: Destroy target tapped creature.
- 0: Until end of turn, Gideon Jura becomes a 6/6 Human Soldier creature that's still a planeswalker. Prevent all damage that would be dealt to him this turn.
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Jace Beleren has a long and checkered past with the mythology of Magic the Gathering. Not as long as some , such as Nicol Bolas, but long nonetheless. Jace is a master of Blue Magic, and has a natural talent for telepathy which makes him unique in the Multiverse. His encounters with Bolas, Tezzeret, and Liliana leave him scarred both physically and mentally. Jace has two versions: Jace Beleren, and Jace, the Mind Sculptor.
Jace Beleren was first printed in Lorwyn and has been printed several times since, becoming a staple blue Planeswalker. He costs (1)(U)(U), making him one of the cheapest planeswalkers to cast, and he comes into play with three loyalty counters.
- +2: Each player draws a card.
- -1: Target player draws a card.
- -10: Target player puts the top twenty cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
Jace, the Mind Sculptor was printed in Worldwake and represents an older, more powerful Jace. He costs (2)(U)(U), par with most planeswalkers, and still comes into play with three loyalty counters. He is unique in that he has four abilities instead of three.
- +2: Look at the top card of target player's library. You may put that card on the bottom of that player's library.
- 0: Draw three cards, then put two cards from your hand on top of your library in any order.
- -1: Return target creature to it's owner's hand.
- -12: Exile all cards from target player's library, then that player shuffles his or her hand into his or her library.
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Koth of the Hammer is a brand new planeswalker introduced in Scars of Mirrodin. As such, little is known about him besides his alignment with red mana and the fact that he is one of the Vulshock, a race known for their dealings with artifacts and forges.
Koth of the Hammer costs (2)(R)(R), the cheapest red planeswalker. He comes into play with three loyalty counters, and has the standard three abilities.
- +1: Untap target mountain. It becomes a 4/4 red Elemental creature until end of turn. It's still a land.
- -2: Add (R) to your mana pool for each mountain you control.
- -5: You get an emblem with "Mountains you control have 'Tap: this land deals 1 damage to target creature or player.'"
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Liliana Vess is over a century old, and has been a planeswalker since before the Ap ocalypse and the following Mending. The Mending stripped planeswalkers of much of their power, so the black-aligned Liliana made deals with demons to increase her power. This, coupled with her affiliation with necromancy, makes her a capable and powerful planeswalker.
Liliana Vess was one of the first planeswalkers introduced, in the Lorwyn set. She costs (3)(B)(B) and comes into play with five loyalty counters, making her expensive but somewhat resilient. Her abilities focus on discard and resurrection. There is currently only one version of her card.
- +1: Target player discards a card.
- -2: Search your library for a card, then shuffle your library and put that card on top of it.
- -8: Put all creature cards in all graveyards onto the battlefield under your control.
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Nicol Bolas was a legendary elder dragon, and is one of the most powerful planeswalkers in existence. He is over 30,000 years old, and is considered to be the oldest living being in the Multiverse. He is a master of Black, Red, and Blue magic, sufficient to defeat even Teferi's renowned time magic with his own. Bolas was also responsible for the Conflux, the event that took the shards of Alara and merged them once more into a single plane. Even after that, his machinations were incomplete, as he arranged the release and return of the Eldrazi. Where he is now, or what his plans may be, are unknown.
Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker is the only planeswalker instance of Bolas. He costs a whopping (4)(U)(B)(B)(R), and comes into play with five loyalty counters. His abilities make up for the cost, however.
- +3: Destroy target noncreature permanent.
- -2: Gain control of target creature.
- -9: Nicol Bolas, planeswalker deals 7 damage to target player. That player discards seven cards, then sacrifices seven permanents.
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Sarkhan Vol is a planeswalker based primarily in red mana, who has strong affili ations with dragons. He was raised on a plane where warlords had driven dragons nearly to extinction, and was a shaman who revered them. He planeswalked to the shards of Alara, where he met Nicol Bolas and began to carry out the wishes of the elder dragon. He is then used as a pawn in Zendikar, along with Jace and Chandra, to awaken and release the Eldrazi. Sarkhan has two cards: Sarkhan Vol, and Sarkhan the Mad.
Sarkhan Vol is the earlier of the two cards, before the Eldrazi drove the man mad. He costs (2)(R)(G) and comes into play with four loyalty counters.
- +1: Creatures you control get +1/+1 and gain haste until end of turn.
- -2: Gain control of target creature until end of turn. Untap that creature. It gains haste until end of turn.
- -6: Put five 4/4 red dragon creature tokens with flying into play.
Sarkhan the Mad is the older, crazier version of Sarkhan Vol. Instead of his red-green alignment, he is now red-black. He costs (3)(B)(R) and comes into play with seven loyalty counters.
- 0: Reveal the top card of your library and put it into your hand. Sarkhan the Mad deals damage to himself equal to that card's converted mana cost.
- -2: Target creature's control sacrifices it, then that player puts a 5/5 red Dragon creature token with flying onto the battlefield.
- -4: Each dragon creature you control deals damage equal to it's power to target player.
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Nissa Revane is an elf planeswalker from the plane of Zendikar, who uses her potent green magic to call her fellow elves to her and bolster their abilities. During her travels through the multiverse, she experimented with black mana in secret. Nissa is one planeswalker that actually searches out a specific card in your deck, making her slightly limiting to add to any old elf deck.
Nissa Revane comes into play with a mere two loyalty counters, and costs the planeswalker-standard (2)(G)(G) to cast.
- +1: Search your library for a card named Nissa's Chosen and put it onto the battlefield. Then shuffle your library.
- +1: You gain 2 life for each Elf you control.
- -7: Search your library for any number of Elf creature cards and put them onto the battlefield. Then shuffle your library.
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Sorin Markov is a vampire planeswalker, and is thought to b e one of the oldest living beings aside from Nicol Bolas. He practices a dark corner of black-mana magic focusing on blood powers, with which he is capable of draining life or even controlling minds. He has dedicated his long life to a schedule of pleasure, and always seems to have business elsewhere, on another plane. He was one of the original people who imprisoned the Eldrazi, and so it was his concern when they began to awake once more.
Sorin Markov only has one card, and it costs (3)(B)(B)(B), and he comes into play with four loyalty counters.
- +2: Sorin Markov deals 2 damage to target creature or player and you gain 2 life.
- -3: Target opponent's life total becomes 10.
- -7: You control target player's next turn.
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Tezzeret is a powerful artificer and planeswalker from the shard of Esper, on the plane of Alara. Unlike fellow blue mage Jace, Tezzeret focused on artifice, the creation and empowerment of artifacts. He has an explosive temper and a large untapped potential. He eventually found Nicol Bolas and began to follow the elder dragon. He ran the Infinite Consortium for Bolas, helped him sculpt Jace into the man he is today, and is held mindless and twisted by Bolas in the dragon's meditation plane.
Tezzeret the Seeker currently has two cards, this one and a new one in the Scars of Mirrodin's block. He costs (3)(U)(U) and comes into play with four loyalty counters.
- +1: Untap up to two target artifacts.
- -X: Search your library for an artifact card with converted mana cost X or less and put it into play. Then shuffle your library.
- -5: Artifacts you control become 5/5 artifact creatures until end of turn.
An older version of Tezzeret was seen on Mirrodin recently, named Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. It can be well assumed that Tezzeret's will is aligned with the powerful planeswalker. He comes into play with three loyalty counters and he costs (2)(U)(B) to cast.
- +1: Look at the top five cards of your library. You may reveal an artifact card from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.
- -1: Target artifact becomes a 5/5 artifact creature.
- -4: Target player loses X life and you gain X life, where X is twice the number of artifacts you control.
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Venser, much like Tezzeret, is an a rtificer. Unlike the blue mage, however, Venser has a longer history. He was born on Urborg, after the Phyrexian invasion, where he lived alone salvaging parts. Through his journeys before and after the Mending, he met many planeswalkers and has traveled to many planes. He currently has arrived on Mirrodin, presumably in search of his lost friend Karn.
His planeswalker card, known as Venser, the Sojourner, costs (3)(W)(U). It comes into play with three loyalty counters.
- +2: Exile target permanent you own. Return it to the battlefield under your control at the beginning of the next end step.
- -1: Creatures are unblockable this turn.
- -8: You get an emblem with "Whenever you cast a spell, exile target permanent."
So that's that, for this guide to Magic the Gathering Planeswalkers. Did you find what you wanted to know? Or is Magic not your cup of tea? Well, you could check out this beginner's guide to Magic the Gathering, or you could switch genres and read this Final Fantasy Upgrade Guide!