Friday 28th November 2014,
Comic Booked

Planeswalk This Way

Kyle Black 06/27/2012 Reviews

Yes, I hate myself for that title.

You see it every now and then on various MTG sites: the a Planeswalker-centered deck. Back in March, we were all shocked by the Junkwalkers (WBGu) build. Given that some of our favorite Planeswalkers are on their way out of the format, I thought I’d take a look at how you can go about crafting a Planeswalker-centered deck.

Fair warning, this isn’t for the faint of wallet. Through various trades/failed deck ideas, I happened to have this deck assembled, but, given the raw power behind a lot of these cards, putting it together piece-by-piece could be a daunting task. Anyhow, let’s start with the build:

Kyle’s Esper Walkers

What a shock, I’m doing an Esper build! What can I say, I look good in Blue.

Theorycrafting

I laid out my general strategy a bit like this:

  • Control the early game with removal and Liliana of the Veil
  • Survive the mid-game and start getting out the heavy hitters for late-game.
  • Keep early/mid Planeswalkers alive.
  • Obliterate in the late game with Gideon Jura and big tokens thanks to Sorin, Lord of Innistrad.

So, what would I need to do that?

  • Sweeps and spot removal for the early game. Black and White were the obvious choices: Doom Blade/Go for the Throat, Oblivion Ring, Day of Judgment, and Terminus.
  • Keep my Planeswalkers alive with Lingering Souls.
  • Have plenty of draw power to be able to blow through my deck, which I accomplish with Think Twice and Forbidden Alchemy. Sure, they only occupy five slots in my spellboard, but they both have Flashback, which means, as a bonus, each card is fair discard material for Forbidden Alchemy.

And, thus, the deck was born.

The Planeswalker Line-Up

Immediately, I wasn’t interested in the Red Planeswalkers at all. I had a hard time seeing how they could successfully combo with Planeswalkers of other colors, so I got rid of them. I had originally thought about making this GWB, but my Garruk Relentless are currently in-use; alas, I arrived at Blue, Black, and White, and there are so many options. So, what did I do? I used almost all of them.

Sorin Markov was immediately out of the running. He’s not a bad card, but, at three Black mana, he is just not a prime candidate in a three-color deck. I couldn’t think of a reason not to at least try out all of the other Planeswalkers in these three colors, so I arrived at this Planeswalker roster:

I like this Planeswalker board a lot. I’ve gone back and forth about the number of Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, and it may change again. The only Planeswalker I’m not sold on is Elspeth Tirel. She’s not bad, but I don’t know if she’s worth the cost. I’m almost never using her +2 on the first turn, so she’s 5 mana for three tokens. A third Gideon Jura or second Tamiyo, the Moon Sage may soon take Elspeth Tirel’s play, but I’m probably going to wait until I get a chance to take this to an FNM or something. I’m trying to think of a way to get a third Liliana of the Veil in there, but it just isn’t coming to me.

Playing Esper Walkers

I’ll say this, you have to be patient playing this deck. Flexibility and survivability are nice bonuses. You need to have nerves of steel. Understand that you’re going to have some scary early games, especially in Aggro match-ups. I come from a Control background, so I’m used to this style of play. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is, of course, devastating against this deck, which is partly why I chose to main-deck the Phantasmal Image (the ubiquity of Geist of Saint Traft and looming threat of Thrun, the Last Troll also factored in this decision). Frankly, a third Phantasmal Image in the main deck may not be entirely unwarranted, especially if your FNMs are full of Delver and Pod or R/G Aggro decks.

The Future of This Deck

This deck will lose three Planeswalkers after the rotation in October: Gideon Jura, Karn Liberated, and Venser, the Sojourner. The loss of Karn, Liberated isn’t all that bad, but losing the other two, Gideon Jura particularly, is really painful. Ajani, Caller of the Pride doesn’t really belong in this deck, but Liliana of the Dark Realms may. Her +1 is nice for this deck, and it does allow you to charge up for the -3/-6. With the loss of the Scars of Mirrodin lands, we’ll have to be packing more Basics unless Return to Ravnica bestows upon us worthy replacements. I’d be willing to try her out, but I’m not sure she’s as useful as her more scantily-clad and better-drawn counterpart.

M13 also gives us the reprint of Jace, Memory Adept. I’m not this card’s biggest fan, but, in a post-Scars meta, he could probably warrant some main-deck love. Naturally, we have no idea what Planeswalkers will come out of Return to Ravnica, so we could get some new players from there as well.

So, there you have it. My build is public on TappedOut, so you should feel free to edit and playtest at your discretion. Let me know how it’s working for you in the comments!

 

 

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