Skip to main content

5 Planeswalkers in Magic: The Gathering With the Best Ultimates

I have been playing Magic: The Gathering since 1994 and have won a few draft tournaments in MTGO and MTG Arena.

Ajani Vengeant


Ajani Vengeant is a tournament quality card. It can be used in conjunction with your aggro or control decks.

The first ability lets you lock down one of your opponent's permanents and makes them unusable for as long as you keep locking it. You can use this ability in conjunction with Tamiyo the Moon Sage or Icy Manipulator to lock those those pesky creatures or annoying artifacts. You can also be cruel and lock down your opponent's lands.

The second ability is essentially Lightning Helix. You can use it to defend Ajani against creatures or damage the opposing player. If your opponent neutralizes Ajani quickly, at least you got to deal three damage and gain three life.

The third ability / ultimate ability is an asymmetric Armageddon. This ability is crippling to your opponent and will certainly end the game quickly unless your opponent has mana dorks or mana rocks.

Ral Zarek


Ral Zarek may not be used that much but it is a highly underappreciated planeswalker.

The first ability lets you tap any permanent and untap any permanent. This can be used to shut down an opposing blocker or to tap it so cards like Ajani Vengeant can lock it up. It can also untap permanents so you can untap an attacker to use it for defense or you can untap permanents to enable combos.

The second ability is a Volcanic Hammer. It can target any creature or player but sadly cannot target planeswalkers.

The third ability / ultimate ability is a Time Warp with a gambling aspect. You can get as low as zero free turns or a maximum of five free turns. This is powerful as even with a median of two free turns, it is enough to either win or at least change the tide of battle.

Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker


At first glance, Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker seems to be unplayable. With a casting cost of eight mana consisting of three different colored mana and four colorless mana.

The first ability lets youdestroy any non-creature permanent. This includes artifacts, enchantments, lands and planeswalkers.

The second ability is like a permanent Control Magic which cannot be Disenchanted.

The third ability / ultimate ability is a tribute to the original Nicol Bolas which discards the opponent's hand. This one deals 7 damage, discards 7 cards and has a pseudo annihilator ability of a seven permanent sacrifice. So your opponent has barely any permanents left and has no cards in hand and gets 7 damage to boot.

This ability will be a game ender ninety-five percent of the time.

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon


Ugin is an ancient dragon that is every bit as deadly as his brother Nicol Bolas.

The first ability lets you deal three damage to a player, creature or planeswalker. This is good on its own and become even better as it adds two loyalty to Ugin which bumps him up to mine loyalty. If you do not have planeswalker removal good luck getting rid of him.

The second ability is a better version of Engineered Explosives which lets you exile all colored permanents of a certain mana cost and lower. This can be very useful against recursion decks that rely on resurrecting creatures to refill their ranks.

The third ability / ultimate ability is the reverse of Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker's ultimate ability. You gain seven life, draw seven cards and free cast seven permanents from your hand into play. This ability is enough to end most games as you gain a ridiculous amount of free card advantage that is virtually insurmountable.

Tamiyo, the Moon Sage


Tamiyo is a throwback from the Kamigawa expansions as she is part of the Moonfolk from Kamigawa. Unlike many of the planeswalkers who thirst for battle or are destructive in nature, Tamiyo prefers more scholarly pursuits.

The first ability lets you tap any permanent and keep it on stasis for a turn. This can lock down attacking creatures, utility artifacts and even lands. Combine this with Ajani Vengeant and your opponent is automatically 2 lands down every turn.

The second ability is a good card drawing ability. This is a good combo for cards like Sleep. Sleep taps all creatures of a target player. If you want to prolong the effect, you can use Exhaustion to make sure the creatures remain tapped for round 2 of Tamiyo's abilities.

The third ability / ultimate ability is the Spellbook's ability of no maximum hand size plus the ability of cards that have been put into the graveyard via casting, milling, discard or removal, to be put back into your hand and recast again. This is powerful as you essentially can reuse your cards over and over again. The only limit is the amount of mana you can produce.

Most Powerful Ultimate

© 2020 Jan Michael Ong