‘Tis the third week of Standard Showdown, Planeswalkers, how are your creations doing? Having trouble taking down foes, or are you the one doing the take-downs? Either way, we’ve got news on the most popular decks and strategies emerging from Wizards’ latest promotion as well as our first bit of card reveals and news from Aether Revolt (finally)! Let’s dive right in-
The (Pen)Ultimate Showdown:
If this is the first you’re hearing of Wizards’ new holiday promotion, Standard Showdown, you can find out all the what, where and why in last week’s article.
For those of you already in the know, hopefully you had a chance to experiment with some new decks last weekend. People from all across the world have been submitting their top designs to Wizards of the Coast as the tournaments go on and, in response, Wizards publishes the top decks from each week. I’d recommend giving this a look if you go out and play in Week 3 of Standard Showdown, as you’ll most likely encounter some of these decks.
If checking out deck lists with no explanation isn’t your thing, or you’re still trying to figure out decks to play with, you can also check out the top strategies of Showdown thus far. This will lead you through the most popular and powerful decks you’re likely to see in the current Standard realm, along with a little insert and how they work. They even have a, “Play this if,” style blurb so you can see which strategy fits your current play style.
Last week, Wizards also put up some excellent build by color articles which revealed the best cards and strategies in Standard for each color and the best way to use them. Unfortunately, white and black mana were missing last week, but now we’ve got them all gathered for you. If you like to build around colors rather than specific cards, these are for you:
Alright, so you’ve got the best strategies and best decks from Week 2 under your belt, but I want to get even more specific. Sometimes you’ll encounter decks based around a single card, and boy does Kaladesh have plenty of powerful cards to do that with. So how about we end our round-up of Week 2 of Standard Showdown with the Top Eight most powerful cards in Standard.
But enough about the current Standard-what does the future hold in store for us?
First Look at Aether Revolt:
Over the past week, Wizards revealed all the packaging art for the newest set as well as all the promotional artwork for Game Day cards and the new Planeswalker decks. If you take a look, you’ll see the biggest new announcement of the week-AJANI IS BACK!
Of course, if you’ve paid any attention to the Kaladesh story, you already knew that, but its nice to finally see official confirmation along with the new card. Speaking of story, new chapters were released both this week and last week and you can catch up with it all at the story archive. You’ll also notice that some story chapters correspond with a preview of a new card, so keep reading for more reveals.
Now, if you take a look at the rest of the packaging, there’s no doubt that another Planeswalker will be getting a new card this set:
That’s right, after being teased as the main villain all throughout Kaladesh, it’s time for the head judge of the Inventor’s Fair and evil artifact mastermind to get his new card. After confiscating the best inventions from the fair, what scheme can we expect to see Tezzeret cook up this time?
After more than a few rounds of the Gatewatch Planeswalkers getting new cards (2 for Nissa, 2 for Jace, 2 for Chandra and one for Gideon and Lilliana) it will be a huge breath of fresh air to not see their faces on yet another Planeswalker card. Don’t get me wrong, I love each of their cards and each of them as characters, but the story definitely needed some fresh faces. And, yes, I’d say both Ajani and Tezzeret are fresh seeing as the last time we saw Ajani was Journey into Nyx back in 2014 and Mirrodin Besieged all the way back in 2011 for Tezzeret. So how about we breakdown Ajani’s new card and get a glimpse of what Aether Revolt has in store for us:
Well at first glance we have a Planeswalker with a loyalty of four and a cost of six, which seems a little high considering we’ve had cards of the same loyalty for less. When you look at his first ability, though, the cost makes it completely worthwhile. Not only do you get a +2, but you constantly keep your hand stacked and get to maneuver through your deck at a good pace. One of the best weapons you can have in any Magic game is card advantage and that’s exactly what Ajani grants you. Meanwhile his -2 ability is perfect for controlling the battlefield and keeping significant threats away from Ajani. Yeah, you’ll have to deal with your opponent gaining some life, but you’ll most likely have so many spells in your hand and creatures on the field from Ajani’s first ability that your opponents little life gain will only be a temporary setback. And then we have his ultimate, -9 ability. I love final abilities that leave no doubt in your mind that you’ll win the game and this is definitely one of those. Tons of decks in Pro Tours are made up nearly entirely of Planeswalker cards or a one-sided mix of Planeswalkers and creatures. Well, you can expect Ajani to be added to every single one of those Pro Tour decks as giving all Planeswalkers +5 loyalty is a game-ender. Heck, most Planeswalkers only require +5 to even use their ultimate. On the other hand, if you’re going for straight up creature rush, giving everything a permanent +5 will be too overwhelming for any opponent unless they level the playing field by getting rid of all creatures (yours and theirs), which is still a win for you. Now, the only downside is that Ajani takes three turns to build to his ultimate (considering you don’t have to use the second minus ability) but again, you should be so filled up with cards from Ajani’s +2, that any setback will be easy to overcome. Overall, this is one of the best Planeswalker cards we’ve seen in the past couple years and will see heavy play in Pro Tournaments. Nice to see one of my favorite white-focused Planeswalkers get his day in the sun (move over Gideon).
That’s all for this week, Planeswalkers, but next week starts the official beginning of preview season for Aether Revolt, so check back for more card reveals! Thanks for reading!