March 22, 2016

Planeswalkers of Shadows Over Innistrad


Innistrad has been and will always be an important block in my Magic the Gathering life and it has been my favorite block flavor-wise and story-wise. The first Innistrad block gave us a lot of cards that are even continuously being used in a lot of eternal formats - personally, my Modern and Legacy lists include Liliana of the Veil, Geist of Saint Traft, Snapcaster Mage, Delver of Secrets.

Shadows Over Innistrad visits the horror-themed plane again and hopefully this will not disappoint us. Before we proceed to the planeswalkers in this block, let us appreciate this very cool playmat for the Shadows Over Innistrad Gameday champion.

The first planeswalker for this set is no one else but the lord of this plane - Sorin Markhov. Sorin returns to this set with very promising abilities just right for a control deck like Esper. Sorin, Grim Nemesis has a +1 ability then lets you draw a card and reducing your opponent's life. This is perfect for Esper or Orzhov midrange and control decks and unlike Dark Confidant, putting cards with big mana costs like Planeswalkers and big impact spells can be used with Sorin. His -X ability would have been better if it can target a player instead but the fact that it can let you gain life is a bonus. I love his ultimate though, since this goes well with his +1 ability and it is the perfect finisher for a control-based deck.

Second is Nahiri. Based on the flavor texts of the cards in the spoilers, it seems that this set focuses on Nahiri and Sorin as Nahiri promised destruction and suffering to Sorin and Innistrad. Personally, I think Nahiri has a lot of potential for Modern and Legacy. Nahiri, the Harbinger's first two abilities are fair abilities - hand filtering and a way to protect herself (being able to target an enchantment makes it even better). But what is scary about Nahiri is her ultimate as her -8 ability can be activated after two activations of her +2 ability. Oh I just can't imagine the look on your opponent's face as you get an Emrakul from your deck and attack. ^_^

Third is our very first Werewolf Planeswalker - Arlinn Kord. Arlinn has 5 abilities and that is one more than Jace, the Mind Sculptor's, isn't that great already? This card is more of a version 2 of Huntmaster of the Fells. I think the 0 and -1 abilities will be the mostly used abilities of Arlinn Kord. More like Huntmaster, Arlinn Kord's most likely play is generate a 2/2 wolf and flip to Arlinn, Embraced by the Moon where she has her best ability in my opinion - and that is lightning bolt at the cost of just 1 loyalty counter. Being red and green can also assure you are aggressive enough to have creatures in play when she flips and that is where her +1 ability for mini overrun really shines. In terms of power level, I think she is tied to Nahiri but they both go into very different decks and their success will be dictated by the success of their respective decks. I can foresee Arlinn easily having a home in Red-Green based aggro decks for Standard and Modern.

Lastly, Magic's Poster boy gets another card - Jace, Unraveler of Secrets. Jace has been my favorite Planeswalker of all time and the reality is there are two versions of Jace that costs more than $75 and maybe this is a way for wizards to balance out the average power levels of planeswalkers because I honestly do not like this Jace. Outside of Standard, I don't think this card can find a home. The best ability is the -8 as having a non-removable source of counterspells. Scry 1 and drawing a card is also very good but -2 as his way to protect himself just makes it more difficult to reach 8 loyalty counters to trigger his best ability.

What do you think about the new planeswalkers? Which among them will see play in Standard, Modern and Legacy? Let me know in the comments section below.

This set having 4 planeswalkers and other sweet mythics like Archangel Avacyn and several good rares makes it a very strong set in terms of power level. We are nearly halfway in the spoilers now and I sure hope that all the good stuffs hasn't been revealed yet. Looking forward to the rest of the set so that we can start brewing as soon as possible. Peace out guys!

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