Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Prebuilt Planeswalker Decks in Magic
Many Magic sets feature prebuilt planeswalker decks that can be played as-is in standard format. While these decks only have moderate power, they serve as great entry points for new players and come with a powerful planeswalker the theme builds around.
Most prebuilt planeswalkers have unique search spells that tutor them from your deck or graveyard, helping you find them quickly—which deserve the effort? Judging the actual card (and not their decks or tutors), these are the ten best prebuilt planeswalkers in Magic: The Gathering!
Planeswalker Deck Contents
Here's a quick list of what you'll see in standard 60-card planeswalker decks:
- 1 mythic-rare planeswalker
- 2 copies of a rare that activates an effect and tutors the planeswalker
- 3 copies of an uncommon that gains bonuses while your planeswalker is out
- 4 copies of a common that supports your planeswalker's theme
- 4 copies of a common dual-colored land
The above cards can't be found in the set's regular boosters, making the prebuilts the only way to nab them. Planeswalker decks also typically provide:
- Various other cards to fill out the deck
- Two standard 15-card booster packs
- Code to unlock the deck's cards in online game MTG Arena
10. Ajani, Valiant Protector
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 6
Tutor: Ajani's Aid
Like many prebuilt planeswalkers, Ajani suffers from a high mana cost and low starting loyalty of four. However, he's one of few with two loyalty-adding effects; +2 gives a creature two +1/+1 counters while +1 reveals cards from your deck until you find a creature, adding it to hand.
So you can switch between finding new creatures or buffing present ones, fortifying your field and making it hard for foes to swing at Ajani. And in the rare cases you build up to -11, you place a number of +1/+1 counters on a creature equal to your life total and give it trample for the turn, probably winning the game if your victim doesn't have an instant-speed removal.
9. Jace, Arcane Strategist
Tutor: Jace's Ruse
Again, we see a disappointing six-cost spell with only four loyalty, but like other War of the Spark planeswalkers, Jace has an enchantment-like passive effect, placing a +1/+1 counter on a creature you control whenever you draw your second card each turn. This is easy to trigger with Jace's +1, which simply draws a card, and you can also apply it on opposing turns if you have instant-speed draw effects.
-7 simply makes your army unblockable that turn, putting your buffed creatures to good use. This makes Jace a surprisingly aggressive spell, rare yet valued in blue.
8. Liliana, the Necromancer
Tutor: N/A (Core 2019 prebuilt planeswalkers don't have tutors)
Liliana lacks a unique tutor, but costs less mana than most prebuilts. +1 isn't amazing, simply having a player lose two life, but it can be the final blow against weakened opponents. -1 is better, spending just one loyalty to return a creature from your graveyard to your hand.
Best of all, -7 activates a devastating and affordable ultimate, destroying up to two creatures and puting up to two from any graveyards onto the field under your control! Since these effects are sequential, you can even revive the opposing monsters Liliana just destroyed.
7. Nicol Bolas, the Deceiver
Tutor: Visage of Bolas
Even for a prebuilt, Bolas requires a whopping amount of eight mana (not to mention three different colors), and for all that effort, he only starts with five loyalty. That said, he'll quickly gain more with +3, which forces each opponent to lose three life, discard a card, or sacrifice a non-land permanent (their choice).
-3 is simple yet effective, destroying a creature while drawing you a card, and ultimate -11 hits all opponents for seven damage while drawing you seven cards.
6. Domri, City Smasher
Tutor: Domri's Nodorog
Domri arrives with just four base loyalty, but can amass more with +2, which grants all creatures you control +1/+1 and haste for the turn, letting them act immediately. Two bonuses in one while gaining multiple loyalty makes this one of the best resource-stockpiling effects among prebuilt planeswalkers.
-3 hits any target for three damage, basically giving you "Lightning Bolt" on a stick, and ultimate -8 grants your creatures three +1/+1 counters plus trample for the turn, enough to overwhelm most rivals in battle.
5. Jiang Yanggu
Tutor: N/A (Global Series planeswalkers don't have tutors)
Jiang doesn't need as much mana as many prebuilts, and since only one of his slots requires green, he's easy to splash in multicolor builds. +1 is admittedly weak, simply granting a creature +2/+2 for the turn, but -1 is better, creating a legendary 3/3 Mowu token. For one loyalty, those are admirable stats; just remember you can only control one at a time.
But most interestingly, Jiang's ultimate only requires five mana, giving a creature +X/+X and trample for the turn, where X is the number of lands you control. If Jiang isn't injured, this only takes one turn to build towards, pressuring foes to scrape together a removal.
4. Chandra, Bold Pyromancer
Tutor: Chandra's Outburst
Chandra has decent starting loyalty of five, only needs one color, and offers a great +1 that gives you two red mana and hits a player for two damage. Useful in itself, this direct damage also discounts red spells with spectacle (like "Light Up the Stage").
-3 hits a creature or planeswalker for three, and Chandra's brutal -7 inflicts 10 damage to a player and all creatures and planeswalkers they control. That's a powerful ultimate that doesn't take too long to build towards, likely giving you the match in 1v1 contests.
3. Ajani, Inspiring Leader
Tutor: Goldmane Griffin
Ajani only needs one color and arrives with a respectable five loyalty. He'll store more with +2, which gives you two life while placing two +1/+1s on up to one creature, another great loyalty-adding effect.
-3 exiles a creature but gives its owner two life, an excellent way to eliminate indestructible enemies. Ultimate -10 gives your army flying and double strike for the turn, granting a massive advantage in combat, especially since double strike stacks well with +1/+1 counters (which boost each hit of double strike).
2. Rowan, Fearless Sparkmage
Tutor: Rowan's Stalwarts
Rowan often partners with her brother Will, but this card proves her worth as a solo planeswalker. Costing just five mana and bearing as much loyalty, Rowan wields a great +1, granting a creature +3/+0 and first strike for the turn, usually enough to defeat blockers before they counterattack.
-2 hits up to two creatures for one and prevents them from blocking, killing weenies while bypassing bigger threats, and ultimate -9 gives you control of all creatures for the turn, granting them haste and untapping them. That's pretty expensive for a single-turn effect, but it's Rowan's first two abilities that really cement her status.
1. Elspeth, Undaunted Hero
Tutor: Elspeth's Devotee
Demanding at least three white mana, Elspeth is much less splashable than most prebuilts, but compensates with a lower mana cost and solid five loyalty. +2 adds even more while giving up to two creatures a +1/+1 counter, and -2 places the creature "Sunlit Hoplite" from your graveyard or library onto the field for free! Hoplite is a 2/1 with first strike during your turn who gets +1/+0 while you control Elspeth, a solid and easily-revived blocker.
-8 gives your creatures flying and +X/+X for the turn, where X is your devotion to white. Counting Elspeth's own symbols, that's at least +3/+3, but it'll skyrocket much higher in mono-white decks.
Prebuilt Planeswalker Advantages
Although they tend to require more mana than other planeswalkers, don't overlook the viability of prebuilts. Some of them bear worthy tutors and strong effects that deserve consideration, and they tend to cost much less money than booster planeswalkers.
Not all prebuilts are winners, but they provide fun starter decks at affordable prices. But for now, as we await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of pre-constructed planeswalkers, vote for your favorite and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2020 Jeremy Gill