- See also Planeswalker (book).
Planeswalkers are among the most powerful beings in the multiverse, and are the thematic identities of the players of the game. Planeswalkers can be born at random in any sentient race, with no outward signs of their latent power. However, there is an incredibly remote chance that any given sentient, natural being will be born with a planeswalker's spark. When that being is put through a period of extreme stress—in many cases death—the spark can trigger, causing the individual to ascend and become a planeswalker. Within the game, each player is supposed to be a planeswalker, which is a point emphasized in the current marketing strategy (for example the intro packs' description refers to your opponents as such). This concept originated from the Alpha rule book.
|Parts of a Card|
|Spells, Abilities, and Effects|
Planeswalker card types were first introduced in Lorwyn. Like the player him or herself, a planeswalker card represents a powerful being that is able to move from plane to plane. Planeswalker was featured as rules cards 1-3 of 5 in the Lorwyn set and 1 of 9 in the Magic 2011 set.
Planeswalkers enter the battlefield with a set number of loyalty counters, printed in the lower right of the card. A planeswalker can be attacked, like a player, or be dealt damage by an opponent redirecting the damage one of his or her spells would deal to the player controlling the planeswalker. Damage dealt to a planeswalker removes that many loyalty counters and a Planeswalker with no loyalty counters is put into the graveyard.
Planeswalkers usually have three abilities: one ability that adds loyalty counters as a cost for a small benefit, one that removes a small amount of counters as a cost for a larger effect, and one that removes a large number of loyalty counters for a big effect. The last effect is commonly referred to as the Planeswalker's Ultimate ability and usually leaves the opponent in a devastated state. The starting loyalty of a Planeswalker is commonly significantly lower than the cost of the Ultimate and a player has to build up the loyalty to access the Ultimate.
- Planeswalkers are permanents. You can cast one at the time you could cast a sorcery. When your planeswalker spell resolves, it enters the battlefield under your control.
- Planeswalkers are not creatures. Spells and abilities that affect creatures won't affect them.
- If two or more planeswalkers controlled by a player shared a subtype (such as "Jace"), the controller choose one among of them, and put the rest into their owners' graveyards as a state-based action.
- Planeswalkers have loyalty. A planeswalker enters the battlefield with a number of loyalty counters on it equal to the number printed in its lower right corner. Activating one of its abilities may cause it to gain or lose loyalty counters. Damage dealt to a planeswalker causes that many loyalty counters to be removed from it. If it has no loyalty, it's put into its owner's graveyard as a state-based action.
- Planeswalkers each have a number of activated abilities called "loyalty abilities." You can activate a loyalty ability of a planeswalker you control only at the time you could cast a sorcery and only if you haven't activated one of that planeswalker's loyalty abilities yet that turn.
- The cost to activate a planeswalker's loyalty ability is represented by an arrow with a number inside. Up-arrows contain positive numbers, such as "+1"; this means "Put one loyalty counter on this planeswalker." Down-arrows contain negative numbers, such as "-7"; this means "Remove seven loyalty counters from this planeswalker." You can't activate a planeswalker's ability with a negative loyalty cost unless the planeswalker has at least that many loyalty counters on it.
- Planeswalkers can't attack (unless an effect such as the one from Gideon Jura's third ability turns the planeswalker into a creature). However, they can be attacked. Each of your attacking creatures can attack your opponent or a planeswalker that player controls. You say which as you declare attackers.
- If your planeswalkers are being attacked, you can block the attackers as normal.
- If a creature that's attacking a planeswalker isn't blocked, it'll deal its combat damage to that planeswalker. Damage dealt to a planeswalker causes that many loyalty counters to be removed from it.
- If a source you control would deal noncombat damage to an opponent, you may have that source deal that damage to a planeswalker that opponent controls instead. For example, although you can't target a planeswalker with Shock, you can target your opponent with Shock, and then as Shock resolves, choose to have Shock deal its 2 damage to one of your opponent's planeswalkers. (You can't split up that damage between different players and/or planeswalkers.) If you have Shock deal its damage to a planeswalker, two loyalty counters are removed from it.
- There are 13 multicolored planeswalkers.
- There is 1 colorless planeswalker.
- Jace, Chandra and Garruk each have four different planeswalker cards.
- Liliana and Ajani each have three different planeswalker cards.
- Jace, the Mind Sculptor is the only planeswalker with 4 abilities, all others have 3, with the exception of Garruk Relentless, who has a total of five loyalty abilities or six abilities of any kind, counting the back side Garruk the Veil-Cursed.
- Sarkhan the Mad has the most loyalty counters (7) when it comes onto the battlefield.
- Nissa Revane and Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded have the fewest loyalty counters (2) when they come onto the battlefield.
|Artifact||Equipment, Fortification, Contraption|
|Enchantment||Aura, Curse, Shrine|
The defining trait of planeswalkers is the ability to travel between separate universes with ease, while the vast majority of people throughout the multiverse are not even aware that other worlds beside their own exist.
The new breed of planeswalkers no longer display the near-omnipotence of their predecessors. While they are usually powerful mages, they are still physical beings that in general age normally, can be harmed, and need the same sustenance as other mortals. This is in stark contrast to the earlier planeswalkers. Some of them have managed to suppress or avoid some of these limitation by magical means; however, these are specific to each planeswalker.
The new breed of planeswalker manifested itself for the first time in Venser of Urborg, a Dominarian artificer who participated in the solution of the Dominarian temporal crisis. Teferi's first theory was that the rifts mutated Venser's spark, which affected his ascension.
This new breed of planeswalkers was born during the Mending, when Jeska sacrificed her life and her spark to mend all temporal rifts in the Multiverse (doing so in such a great scale was probably enabled by her former existence as Karona, the embodiment of Dominarian magic, and the fact that Dominaria is the Nexus of the Multiverse.) The Mending caused a change in the very rules of Multiverse and a change in the nature of the planeswalker sparks.
Planeswalkers had incredible magical capabilities, surpassing all but the most powerful mortal wizards. Their lives could last indefinitely, and their physical forms were matters of will as they were energy projections of a center of consciousness. Through intense effort, planeswalkers could create their own artificial planes. Because of planeswalkers' prolonged life spans and immense power, some are worshipped as gods; many end up insane, or, at the very least, they come to regard the lives of mortals in low-esteem, if even at all.
A planeswalker is specifically a being who possesses a planeswalker's spark. There are other beings who, through various means, are able to travel between planes, but those are not technically considered planeswalkers (Marit Lage, the Eldrazi and the Myojin of Night's Reach are the best-known examples). Many prerevisionist characters were referred to as planeswalkers but may not technically have been; without any further information, they remain subject to debate.
Reasons for change
Pivotal for the Mending was the creative team's long-standing wish to make planeswalkers more identifiable. Toning them down provided a solution that also cleared the ways for the new Planeswalker card type. This in turn allowed planeswalkers to be not only the focus of the storyline but also of brand identity.
As with most changes, the reactions were mixed. Some deemed it unnecessary to kill off existing characters, arguing that they could have been altered to fit the new approach. Others felt that diminishing their powers made the characters less interesting. Additional criticism was directed at the way the Mending was handled in the Time Spiral Cycle. An open letter was written to Brady Dommermuth that summarizes these viewpoints on Phyrexia.com.
Discussions on differences between the old and new planeswalkers spawned many (sometimes malicious) names for the latter type, generally to make them easier to refer to, but also to show how much they differ from the original ones. Among the most popular are "neowalkers", from Greek neos ("new"), and "Bradywalkers", named after Brady Dommermuth, creative director.
The current planeswalker subtypes are: Ajani, Ashiok, Bolas, Chandra, Domri, Elspeth, Garruk, Gideon, Jace, Karn, Kiora, Koth, Liliana, Nissa, Ral, Sarkhan, Sorin, Tamiyo, Tezzeret, Tibalt, Venser, Vraska, and Xenagos. If two or more planeswalkers with the same subtype are on the battlefield are controlled by a player at the same time, all but one of them will be put into owner's graveyards as a state-based action.
- Erik Lauer. (October 19, 2007.) "Playtesting Planeswalkers", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast. (October 22, 2007.) "Planeswalker Enchantment Art", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Devin Low. (October 26, 2007.) "The Nineteen Principles for Developing Planeswalkers", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Doug Beyer. (October 24, 2007.) "Planeswalkers Unmasked", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Doug Beyer. (June 04, 2008.) "Planeswalkers and the Written Page", MTG.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- "A Planeswalker's Primer for Conflux: Planeswalkers" — YouTube
|Phyrexian Invasion of Dominaria|
|Members: Bo Levar • Commodore Guff • Daria • Freyalise • Kristina of the Woods • Taysir • Tevesh Szat • Urza • Lord Windgrace|
|Replaced members: Parcher • Teferi|
|Invasion block: Invasion • Planeshift • Apocalypse | Time Spiral block: Time Spiral • Planar Chaos • Future Sight|
|Invasion Cycle: Invasion, Planeshift • Apocalypse | Time Spiral Cycle: Time Spiral • Planar Chaost • Future Sight|
Ajani Goldmane () • Ashiok () • Nicol Bolas () • Chandra Nalaar () • Domri Rade () • Elspeth Tirel () • Garruk Wildspeaker ()