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March 28, 2018

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Daily Dose of Dominaria – Not one, not two, but a trio of Planeswalkers

Welcome all to the Daily Dose of Dominaria. We’ve spent the last week and a bit breaking down some powerful new Legendary creatures from Dominaria from each colour, and even multicolour ones as well.

Today, I shift the focus away from creatures and move towards Planeswalkers! All three of the Planeswalkers from Dominaria are ones that we haven’t seen in a while, and in the case of one of them, we’ve never seen in Planeswalker form. After seeing repeated versions of Jace, Chandra, Gideon, and company in set after set, Wizards of the Coast announced they would be branching out to tell the stories of other Planeswalkers. And they’ve done just that in Dominaria.

Planeswalkers are often a focal point for a set release, as many players get excited about what they might be. So let’s down to business and investigate what these three Planeswalkers are doing in Dominaria.

First off is a character we have only ever seen in creature form before. They’re also the second ever Planeswalker (Garruk, Primal Hunter) to have three of the same mana in its casting cost. Here is Jaya Ballard:

JayaBallard

To start off you get a strong five loyalty for five mana. It’s always nice for a Planeswalker to start off with high loyalty as a way to survive through the turn that you cast it. Let me break down all of Jaya Ballard’s abilities.

[+1]: Add RRR. Spend this mana only to cast instant or sorcery spells. – This is similar to the ‘Add RR’ ability of Chandra, Torch of Defiance, except with the limitation of only being available for instant and sorcery spells. A key detail about this ability is that you can use it for more than just red spells. You can use this to cast a Glimmer of Genius for one blue mana, or a large Pull from Tomorrow. An ideal use of the mana would be for the new Legendary sorcery Jaya’s Immolating Inferno. This will allow you to eliminate three targets at once.

[+1]: Discard up to three cards, then draw that many cards. – Having a second +1 Planeswalker ability is nice and will make sure that Jaya hits six loyalty the turn you cast it. I like the flexibility of this ability as it allows you to choose between discarding zero and three cards. That means that you don’t have to discard your entire hand if you don’t want to. Having better card selection in red will allow you to hit your burn spells and powerful creatures quicker.

[-8]: You get an emblem with “You may cast instant and sorcery cards from your graveyard. If a card cast this way would be put into your graveyard, exile it instead.” – This is a great Planeswalker ultimate ability that can finish off your opponent. You get a permanent Past in Flames, allowing you to recast all of the spells in your graveyard. By the time you get to this ability, there should plenty of targets in your graveyard.

In the past I’ve been a fan of blue/white Planeswalkers. This includes everything from the ability to blink a creature with Venser, the Sojourner to making the next spell you cast have rebound with Narset Transcendent. Dominaria brings us another blue/white Planeswalker with Teferi, Hero of Dominaria:

teferi

Straight away you get a five-mana Planeswalker with four starting loyalty, a respectable starting point. Let’s see what else Teferi, Hero of Dominaria can do as I break down all of his abilities.

[+1]: Draw a card. At the beginning of the next end step, untap two lands. – Having a plus ability on a Planeswalker that allows you to draw a card is rare to see for obvious reasons. Where this ability shines is that it also untaps two of your lands as well. This will allow you to have two mana up during your opponent’s turn after you cast Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. It also allows you to cast cards like Negate to protect Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. In future turns, this will allow you to cast spells during your turn and still have up mana during your opponent’s turn as well.

[-3]: Put target nonland permanent into its owner’s library third from the top. – This Oust like ability can be used as temporary removal to get rid of a major threat. In desperate times, it can even be used on your own permanents if you want to recast them a couple turns down the line.

[-8]: You get an emblem with “Whenever you draw a card, exile target permanent an opponent controls.” – Wow, what an ultimate ability. Like most ultimate Planeswalker abilities, this will help you take over the game quickly. If you are able to wait until Teferi, Hero of Dominaria has nine loyalty, you can get this emblem and then use its +1 ability to exile two permanents a turn.

In the history of Magic, there have been two colourless planeswalkers, Karn Liberated and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. Both are seven-mana plus, because having a Planeswalker that you can play in any deck is quite powerful. Even with that stipulation, these Planeswalkers have only been played mostly in Modern Tron decks since seven-mana to cost something is still a barrier. But that barrier is now gone in Dominaria, with the release of Karn, Scion of Urza:

karnscionofurza2 (1)

Karn, Scion of Urza begins with a massive five loyalty for only four colourless mana. Let me break down all of Karn, Scion of Urza’s abilities.

[+1]: Reveal the top two cards of your library. An opponent chooses one of them. Put that card into your hand and exile the other with a silver counter on it. – This ability will be the one you will always play the turn you cast Karn, Scion of Urza, unless this is the second Karn, Scion of Urza you have cast in the game. This will bring it to six loyalty on turn one making it hard to kill right away. Most of the time you will get a land with this ability, but there will be sometimes you will get two spells and get a good card from it. Either way your opponent chooses, you are gaining card advantage each time you use this ability.

[-1]: Put a card you own with a silver counter on it from exile into your hand. – You know those cards you exiled using the first Karn, Scion of Urza ability? Now you can get them back. This ability will make sure that a powerful card your opponent exiled won’t get lost in the cracks, and that you can have it back in your hand the following turn. There will be times when you are playing multiple Karn, Scion of Urzas that you will use this ability on the turn you cast it to get back a card exiled with a previously cast Karn, Scion of Urza.

[-2]: Create a 0/0 colorless Construct artifact creature token with “This creature gets +1/+1 for each artifact you control.”Karn, Scion of Urza doesn’t have a true ultimate ability, but this third ability can definitely allow it to protect itself when needed. Since Karn, Scion of Urza is colourless, you can use it in any deck you want. Not all decks that use this card will be artifact themed though, meaning at times when you create this Construct artifact creature it will be a 1/1 at best. I think the first two abilities are good enough that you don’t need to only put this in an artifact deck. If you do put it in a blue/black artifact shell though, this ability could give you some large creatures each turn.

Now that is a powerful trio of Planeswalkers. The one I’m most interested to see in action is Karn, Scion of Urza. The ability to be played in any deck at the low casting cost of four mana will be too enticing for players to pass up.

Thanks again for reading another edition of the Daily Dose of Dominaria. Join me tomorrow as I start investigating how Wizards (and I don’t mean the company) will be taking over Dominaria.