Modern Musings: Ixalan Spoilers & New Planeswalker Rule

Hey everyone, It’s spoiler season again, and that means it’s time to dig into some juicy spoilers.  Today I’m going to be reviewing some of the cards could see play in modern spoiled so far and talk about how I think the new planeswalker rules may impact modern.

Let’s get the new planeswalker rules out of the way first so we can examine any planeswalkers out of this set with the new rule in mind.  From now on, planeswalkers are legendary and no longer are bound by the “Only one of the same type at a time” rule that has been around since the card type’s inception.  What this means is that you can now have two planeswalkers of the same type on the battlefield at once.  For example, you could have a Gideon of the Trials and a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar on the battlefield at the same time.  A loss for flavor, but a big leap for gameplay.

Originally wizards wanted planeswalkers to work differently than legendary cards in that it forced diversity/kept their power level in check.  The idea was that you if had say Ajani GoldmaneAjani Vengeant, and Chandra Nalaar, you’d be encouraged to play the Ajani Vengeant (or Goldmane) and Chandra together instead of just running both Ajanis in your deck and risk having unplayable cards sitting in your hand.

So what impact will this have on modern? The most relevant interaction is between Liliana, the Last Hope and Liliana of the Veil since they seem to be the most used walkers (that have duplicates anyway Karn and Nahiri don’t really count).  This rule is also a buff to Gideon of the Trials and may create a true tribal Gideon deck.  Maybe tribal Jaces is a thing too, time will tell.

A final note is that for standard this is an especially satisfying change since they keep printing planeswalkers that share a type.  Also now since there are cards to deal with planeswalkers more directly the balancing factor isn’t really needed anymore.

Any 3/3 for G is worth taking a look at it.  However ramping your opponent is a pretty significant drawback as it somewhat negates the advantage of playing a 3/3 for G.  I could see this fitting into the bushwacker deck, as it is so fast that it might be able to ignore the ramp downside.  Outside of that deck however, it’s going to be hard to justify running this guy.

 

Cavern of Souls this is not, however it can still help greedy tribal decks fix their mana while still being able to cast Collected Company (unlike Ancient Ziggurat).  I expect to see this card in pretty much every tribal deck as there is little reason not to.

A planeswalker that makes new planeswalkers, this card is just neat.  As for constructed viability, I’m not too sure where it stands.  Three mana is the right mana cost to see play in modern but his abilities seem a bit low impact.

+1 “Whenever one or more creatures you control deals combat damage to a player this turn, draw a card, then discard a card.”

This is probably the weakest version of Tamiyo, Field Researcher‘s ability they could have possibly done.  This ability can’t be used on your opponent’s creatures, and you only get to loot once, even if multiple creatures connect.  And on top of that, it has to deal its damage to a player, so your opponent has the ability to stop your looting.  On the other hand the opponent might feel pressured to try and stop you from looting and make bad blocks because of it.  So really this ability is meant to be used in a more aggressive deck perhaps.

-2 “Create a 2/2 blue Illusion creature token with “When this creature becomes the target of a spell, sacrifice it.”

Making a 2/2 is nice, but at -2, its pretty much a one and done ability.  It does have some synergy with the first ability, but it’s not too likely it’ll get through your opponents creatures being a 2/2.

-5 “Create two tokens that are copies of Jace, Cunning Castaway, except they’re not legendary.”  

This ability is super sweet and powerful too.  The entire worth of this planeswalker basically hinges on how easy it is to get his ultimate off.  I think that it can become very hard for your opponent to win with multiple copies of this this planeswalker activating their abilities as they all stack together very well.  It’s important to note that the tokens can threaten their -5  as well creating even more Jace tokens.  It isn’t hard to imagine how quickly this could get out of hand.

Ultimately I think Jace may be a bit too weak to see play in modern, which is too bad, because I think the card is probably one of the coolest and most flavorful planeswalkers that wizards has designed.  I think he’ll see quite a bit of play in standard and commander though if you really want to play him.  That being said, I’ll probably brew a modern deck utilizing this guy, he’s just too cool not to (maybe a blue/green deck).

Well that’s all for this week folks, with Ixalan spoilers ramping up now, I’m sure that we’ll have plenty to talk about in the weeks leading up to prerelease/release.  See you guys next time!

 

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