Planeswalkers of Phyrexia All Will Be One

I decided to take last week off from writing because leaks of Phyrexia: All Will Be One were showing up in booster packs of Dominaria Remastered and I felt weird both ignoring and discussing them. I decided to wait a week to see what was officially released and it was no disappointment. 


While we haven’t officially seen a lot of cards the day I’m writing this, we’ve seen quite a few planeswalkers, some of which have been compleated. I don’t know what that means in terms of lore, but I know it means Phyrexian mana that reduces the loyalty making the cards a bit complicated to evaluate. 


Let’s look at these new walkers.


#7 The Eternal Wanderer: 



The first thing that jumps out to me about this is that it’s a regular rare. Combined with the amount of walkers, it makes me feel like we’re going back to a War-of-the-Spark-style set


The Eternal Wanderer is quite powerful. It starts with high loyalty at five and protects itself in many ways to make the game revolve around it unless answered immediately by a removal spell. 


Being attacked by just one creature means it can’t be overloaded. You can’t get out ahead by threatening it with a bunch of one- and two-powered creatures. In fact, its -4 will make any issue resembling that much less of an issue. If your opponent happens to have something like a Birds of Paradise in play, you can -4 leave yourself your big creature and leave them with a mana bird. 


In some contexts, this card looks like it will be great. The sad news is decks like Grixis are dominating in Standard and such at the moment, and this card plays poorly against both Make Disappear and Invoke Despair. It’s still a strong card that will have some good match-ups, but it might be too expensive unless things change and people aren’t trying to interact with the stack. 




While I’m not sure it can be slid right into any existing archetypes, it has synergies with new Elesh in that you can plus it to Flickerwisp your own creature and get a double trigger for value. A deck like this could break out if enough role players emerge. This is a fun one to keep an eye on, and it’s a card I expect to see played in small numbers in Standard and maybe beyond. Its most direct comparison would be Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, but it has a little more upside with synergies.




I’d call The Eternal Wanderer a hit, and it’s my pick for coolest planeswalker in the set thus far.


#6 Vraska, The Betrayal’s Sting: 



Vraska is a tough one to evaluate. It can be played for two costs, and both seem a bit underwhelming until you consider that adding proliferate may complicate things. While I’m skeptical that a true toxic deck may exist based on what I’ve seen so far, it doesn’t need to be done with that. Proliferating creatures with counters and other planeswalkers are all on the table. Turning a creature into a treasure is dangerous, and it has to minus to do so, which makes it vulnerable. 


I’m skeptical this card is strong enough in any competitive Constructed format without a strong reason to want to proliferate. It’s a cool card and well-designed, but ultimately there’s too much mana.


#5 Nahiri, the Unforgiving: 



In my years of looking at Magic cards, this is one of the toughest planeswalkers to evaluate. 


It protects itself in a weird way by forcing creatures to attack you instead of it, and it also has a rummage effect. The rummage effect appears to be active even if hellbent as if you have no cards to discard, it’s not a clause that you will not draw. 


The toughest part of this card is evaluating its 0, which is the reason to play the card. In Modern we can do things like create a Fury or Solitude that has already been evoked to get yet another trigger and leave us with a walker in play. Bloodtithe Harvester comes to mind in Standard, and there are many potential ways to utilize this ability for value, but the ability is so unique that it needs to fit in a deck rather than a build around in and of itself. It’s merely a piece of the puzzle.






A creature-heavy deck with enters-the-battlefield triggers would be ideal. It can bring back Elesh to have a combo turn where you spend 0 mana to put the Elesh in play and then spend mana doubling triggers. 


The upside on this card is extremely high. It can be powerful as a three-mana card, as it protects itself until its loyalty is high enough to be meaningful. 


This card may hit, but it will take some real deckbuilding prowess to make it all come together. 


#4 Lukka, Bound to Ruin: 



This is one of my favorite planeswalkers ever. Lukka, Bound to Ruin, is not nearly as powerful, but it has some applications. 


My first thought is adding it to something like a Fight Rigging deck with cards like Shakedown Heavy and Rotting Regisaur where you can play it on five mana and -4 to sweep the opposing board immediately and leave a walker behind. This would also allow for double-spell turns where you play Lukka, plus it, and then cast an above-rate big creature. 




While that all sounds cool, it’s an underpowered planeswalker, and I don’t expect it to see a ton of play, as its -4 may not be relevant in many games and neither of its other abilities are strong enough to write home about. 


Lukka is a miss for me. 


#3 Kaya, Intangible Slayer: 



Kaya is one of the most difficult planeswalkers in Magic to get into play. It’s seven mana, and four total-colored pips make it a tough ask for your mana base.


It does provide game-breaking effects, as it has hexproof and can bury your opponent in card advantage while giving them only scry 1s. Its ability to dodge targeted removal makes them less relevant if they’re digging for answers, as they’d need to pressure it in play with creatures. 


However, Kaya has a big Invoke Despair problem. It doesn’t protect itself from that unless you’re able to sneak other walkers into play. Kaya seems like an excellent answer in a back and forth to a card like Sheoldred, as it will put two must-answer threats in play, even if Sheoldred only becomes a 1/1 Spirit. 




Kaya is the type of planeswalker that you can play a copy of in grindy midrange match-ups where no one is interacting with the stack, as those types of match-ups tend to come down to topdecking and this is a powerful top deck in that kind of game. Unfortunately, those games are few and far between in current Standard, and Kaya’s high converted mana cost will make it too difficult to hard cast through any kind of countermagic. However, it may be strong enough to see play in a deck focusing on cast spells like Invoke Justice in the early turns so you can cheat it into play. 



Hexproof on a planeswalker is an awesome ability. The problem with Hexproof creatures, unlike other games, is that creatures can’t be attacked by creatures. Planeswalker can be attacked so hexproof provides meaningful counterplay. 


Kaya may have some use cases, but its high mana cost and inability to completely take over like Ugin will leave it as a sparingly used card in competitive formats. 


#2 Nissa, Ascended Animist: 



Another seven-mana planeswalker, but this time, two Phyrexian mana symbols to make life even more complicated! 


This card can be cost for five, six, or seven mana and the more you pay the more you get. 


Paying seven mana with lots of forests in play will result in an immediate overrun. Awaken the Woods, anyone? Outside of that it’s going to be tough to find situations in Constructed Magic where you have both an army of creatures and seven mana and you aren’t winning already. 



Nissa has the ability to produce tokens based on its loyalty, which will not fluctuate. You won’t lose your token if Nissa dies, thankfully. Plussing to make a giant creature is quite an improvement from a card like Wrenn and Seven that also made sizable creatures at five mana. Even at five mana this will be a four-loyalty walker when you plus it, giving you a 4/4 while also churning out potentially bigger creatures the following turn. 



I’m not ready to call Nissa great by any means, in fact, its likely more the opposite. Nissa can be powerful in some contexts, especially against a deck playing lots of enchantments and artifacts you may want to pick off, particularly if you can ramp it out rarely and continue to destroy a card a turn with it while it’s not being threatened. Those contexts are probably very limited, so I’d expect Nissa to see little play outside of decks like Mono Green Stompy where it can provide additional big threats while your opponent tries to kill every creature down your curve. 


I’m not a big fan of this Nissa. It’s just about there, but it’s a bit too overcosted to have a real impact. Nissa is a miss from me. 


#1 Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler: 



I’ve saved the best for last. Tyvar is a planeswalker that plays well with mana creatures, creatures like Bloodtithe Harvester, and a bevy of other possibilities. Yet another card that works well with Devoted Druid and all the Druids potential combo pieces. Tyvar conveniently brings back both Devoted Druid and Vizier of the Remedies if that’s the route you want to go. 




Tyvar’s cost three mana, fits into the appropriate colors, and has synergies with various Elves. This is the kind of card that could make various Elves decks playable, as it allows you to work around sweepers by playing everything out in a single turn and then capitalizing. In the past, I’ve been quick to dismiss decks like Elves because it just didn’t have a way to withstand much hate. Tyvar provides the explosiveness to potentially change that, so I’m curious to see what kinds of decks Tyvar fits into. 


Tyvar is the highest ceiling walker on the list because of its low-mana cost and it does something unique in the style of deck it fits into, which provides counterplay to its biggest vulnerability. With Elves and other creatures with strong activated abilities, its sweepers and removal, Tyvar allows you to get value out of those creatures while threatening to bring them right back in a single turn. 


I have high expectations for Tyvar


So far we’ve seen a ton of planeswalkers. While many of them look fun, I don’t see any Oko’s laying around, which could be good or bad news depending on how powerful you want your Magic card to be. I’m eager to see how so many planeswalker impact various formats, including Limited.


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